Previously, in Trip's Life...

31 January 2010 - Sunday

Gaming: Playing NPCs is hard, especially during a fight. There's all this dialogue and personality and stuff. Also, many enemies should probably run away when they're bloodied, but that makes the fight only half as hard, so I'd have to halve the XP. Maybe I should give all the monsters twice the hit points instead...

Dave is pretty optimizatory, but I'm pretty sure character classes from PHB2 are just plain better in all ways than classes from PHB1. But PHB3 is out soon, so all those PHB2 classes will get theirs!

Wire squares to show the location of movable zones work well.

Features of the battlefield that can be manipulated by PCs and monsters are fun, but need to be well-placed. Features that should be added to the field during the battle don't seem to ever get added. (Monster leader auras also never get applied, bah.)

GMing is hard, let's play SAngband.

Visual Entertainments: Finished the second disc of Aquarion. I think the third disc is already on its way, but I may not bother after that.

Cats: Twelve paws!

Writing: Double check.

Just use more enemies by Graydon (Tue Feb 2 17:17:26 2010)

The first, bloodied, oh-gods-they-have-levels group of enemies flees; the second group of enemies figures, hey, those other suckers absorbed lots of spells, I bet we can take them.

This is good for adjusting encounters to avoid corpse-piling the party (you don't have to have the second group attack) and it's also a great way to keep the party deeply uncertain what they are fighting or what it might do next.

Graydon by Jeremy (Tue Feb 2 19:40:25 2010)

Stop listening to Graydon. He's a bad, bad influence.

Re: Just use more enemies by Trip (Wed Feb 3 12:48:22 2010)

It's no problem having enemies confident when they enter the fight ("We heard these guys was tough, but it was kobolds telling us that!"), but when they're all down half their HP and none of the PCs are, staying in the fight becomes less plausible for most encounters. Maybe I just need to send in more zombies and killer robots.

not really a bad influence by Graydon (Wed Feb 3 15:03:01 2010)

even if they only let me run Paranoia once.

Trip, the point is to set things up so the groups are not connected.

Group A is, I don't know, giant weasels; the weasels make a simple predation play, go for anyone physically small, try to drag away the wounded. Generally get the party a bit physically spread out, but eventually start just plain fleeing as the "I don't care if these are giant animals; they're annoying me" spell casting and heavy magic items get used.

Group B has no connection to the weasels beyond knowing that they're there.

So you get either a ghast just bright enough to grab one damaged and isolated party member and hide again, or you get a disciplined band of orcs who figure, hurm, if we all throw javelins at the casters (from behind this concealed pit) as our first action, we can maybe pull this off, or you get a territorial edge effect; Group A does a runner because the thing that lives here has been woken up and it's much better if the party deals with it.

(Oh, yeah -- once the party gets really stuck into the big fight? you want the equivalent of a buffalo stampede, right through the battlefield. Keeps things interesting.)

Re: not really a bad influence by Trip (Wed Feb 3 16:56:45 2010)

In D&D, it could be a dinosaur stampede!

I think you may be solving a more interesting problem than the one I have, which is just that it seems wrong to give full XP for a monster that scarpers after losing half its hit points (that is, after providing challenge/entertainment for only about half the time it could if it fought to the death). Having twice as many monsters but only giving half XP for each one because it only fights to half its capacity would certainly do the trick, as would silently doubling the hit points of each monster so they fight for all their real hit points before running away.

Or, of course, I could break free of the tyranny of experience points and just let the PCs level up whenever it seems dramatically appropriate.

if they only half win... by Graydon (Wed Feb 3 18:22:38 2010)

It's been... Thor and the White Christ, more than 20 years since I played D&D, and more than 10 now since I was running a RuneQuest game, so I'm likely wretchedly out of date, but I did always like RuneQuest's "did you use that skill?" approach to experience.

That said, I'd say you get one quarter XP for holding the field after the opponent flees.

I'd also say you need to make sure that the players don't know they can take this opponent. So it's important that the challenges range from "easy" through "never in this life" with a median around "even match".

I think it's also important that experience derive mostly from doing better than expected, so winning a straight-up even fight with everybody on single digit hit points and no spells is worth maybe half the standard XP rating; winning with only minor HP loss by one party member rates the full XP award.

This moves things from a ticky-list of corpses into "was there grace and elegance involved in producing the corpse?"

I'd say you get full XP for solving problems through trickery, bribery, or diplomacy, too. If you use diplomacy on the dinosaur stampede, extra bonus XP may be warranted. :)

Death to grinding by Carl (Thu Feb 4 05:11:33 2010)

Did 4e move away from "XP for defeating the monster" back to the bad old days of "XP only for killing things?" There's no need to grind out combats past the fun part; if you want to have things run away when they're bloodied (and the PCs are not) and the outcome is obvious and still award full XP, it's not like WotC will parachute elite ninja assassins to make you pay for your crimes against the laws of god and man!

Or, as you contemplate, skip the XP and just level the PCs up when it pleases you and the players to do so.

One of the things I liked a lot about Gretchen's Khem setting for D&D was that it had ransom, so you could get rewarded for capturing things and ransoming them, and likewise PCs could be captured instead of killed, so fights weren't always a bitter struggle to the death. I liked that much better than D&D's default "it's ok to kill evil things because they're not really people" which has unpleasant mental resonances for me. But others milage may vary!

An aspect of ransom in Glorantha that I liked a lot was everyone calling out their ransom as they entered battle, so the tougher opponents knew who to head for first.

Re: Death to grinding by Trip (Thu Feb 4 14:52:27 2010)

I'm not sure I believe you about the lack of ninjas. Giving full XP for only half the fighting is a lot like letting the players get away with something, and we can't have that!

XP is definitely awarded for defeating an encounter regardless of bloodshed (but not for avoiding it altogether), and there are also awards for noncombat encounters (skill challenges) and quests.

Ransom would have been good to institute in the first place, although maybe I can do it now that the PCs are travelling to a new area with strange customs. Let's see... gaining a level solely by defeating monsters, for the standard party of five PCs, would mean fighting 50 monsters of their level. If we set the total ransom for those 50 as equal to the monetary treasure that should be given out over that level, that comes to 4% of the value of a magic item of that level per monster. (In practice, some of that XP will come from quests, skill challenges, or un-ransomable monsters, so there would still be some random piles of cash in the level's treasure awards.)

A fight with equal-level monsters where the PCs are outnumbered 2:1 is very hard (level+4) but winnable, so a PC's ransom should probably be a little more than twice that for a monster of the same level, so call it 10% of a magic item of that level, or 5% of the money the party should rake in over the level. Having to ransom the whole party would then cost a quarter of the expected money from that level, which seems reasonable. Of course, they'd have to become part of society to the extent that someone would pay ransom for them, but they can probably put cash in escrow with someone instead of having to find a patron. The cash might even still be there when they need it!

This makes shouting out your ransom equivalent to shouting out your level, but that's probably fine for D&D.

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30 January 2010 - Saturday

Gaming: Oh yah, I guess I should write up something for tomorrow, huh?

Scanning in monster stat blocks and then printing them out is less horrible than two rounds of photocopying with scissors between, although it was surprisingly annoying figuring out how to stick a few images into one image. I finally used OmniGraffle, although that's really not what it's for.

Textual Entertainments: Darkship Thieves (Sarah A Hoyt) is sadly neither particularly good nor particularly original.

Visual Entertainments: Started the second disc of Aquarion. Oh no, it's the Shining Dodecahedron! Lose SAN!

Cats: Twelve paws!

Writing: FAIL.

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29 January 2010 - Friday

Work: Phone calls successfully conducted: 1. Phone calls arranged for Monday: 2.

My, the Internet really is full of things: Rocks!

Cats: Twelve paws of extra scampering!

Writing: Check.

My, the Internet really is full of things by marith (Sun Jan 31 17:55:23 2010)

Invisible things! :)

Pish! by Trip (Sun Jan 31 21:25:31 2010)

And also Tosh!

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28 January 2010 - Thursday


Work: Phone calls successfully conducted: 0. (Next time for sure!) Interviews successfully conducted: 1. At least I made it to the end this time!

Food: Marith and I went to Lavanda with Cat and Earl for Earl's birthday dinner. Things eaten include, but are not limited to" bacon-wrapped dates, blood orange slices in honey and stuff, charred squid, beet salad, pork tenderloin, red cabbage with apple, butternut squash with mascarpone, vinegar-marinated beef, geometric pasta, panna cotta, and chocolate lava cake.

Cats: Twelve fuzzy paws!

Writing: Check.

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27 January 2010 - Wednesday

Work: Phone calls arranged for tomorrow: 1. Interviews arranged for tomorrow: 1.

Upgrades: At long last the new balcony sliding door has been installed, and I can actually separate the inside air from the outside air!

Visual Entertainments: Finished first disc of Aquarion. It is very much of the animation style that it is.

Cats: Twelve very oppressed paws!

Writing: Check.

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26 January 2010 - Tuesday

Work: FAIL. Sick. No brain.

Visual Entertainments:

  • Oh! Edo Rocket 18-19: Not even Dave expected that!
  • Tokyo Marble Chocolate 1-2: I don't know what that creature was, but it was Not Of This Earth. That doesn't excuse putting it in a box, though.
  • Avatar 17: Best. Play. Ever. (In other news, Toph still rules.)
  • Darker Than Black 15: This can't possibly end well.

Starting next week, Spice and Wolf second season!

Cats: I have been hearing tiny high-pitched squeaks from the direction of the next room, which I think might be Aspen serenading Marmalade in his Linen Closet of Solitude! I can't be sure, though, because Aspen clams up whenever I get too close. Also, there's an open balcony door between us so I might be hearing something from outside. But it might be Aspen being cute!

Writing: FAIL. See above.

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25 January 2010 - Monday

Work: Interviews conducted today: ½.

<lining style="Ag">At least they didn't leave me hanging!</lining>

My, the Internet really is full of things: Sparkly invertebrates!

Cats: Aspen curled up next to me during the night! She was even closer to my alleged cat-eating end! Of course she scarpered as soon as I moved.

Writing: Check.

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24 January 2010 - Sunday

My, the Internet really is full of things: Make your own Sailor Senshi! (via Marith)

Gaming: We tried starting Thrace right at 17:00, and it sort of worked. It did not take too long to level, even though Ken and his Pay for Plusses (if you use Windows) account helped Marith pick a feat, and Ken did not have to cook, so there was no doom there.

My character is still the lamest, but that is because I am me, and also I have great talent at finding the weakest class in any class-based system.

Next session, we will go find the nexus of magic power underneath the town, and probably get eaten by undead demons.

Cats: Twelve paws! Also, three tails!

Writing: Double check.

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23 January 2010 - Saturday

Housekeeping: Last four bags of books to BookBuyers, and they took almost everything! Now I have room to accumulate another pile of books to go away.

My, the Internet really is full of things: Beautiful clouds!

Random Encounters: Earl, in the used book store, with the hat. (Why does Earl look better in hats than me? Hmph.)

Visual Entertainments: Started Aquarion. It reminds me of Rahxephon, only with more people being sucked into solid objects and stuff.

Cats: Ghirardelli is very adorable, but not much like a keyboard. Aspen and Marmalade are also adorable, but mostly lurk on the bed where they can nestle in the covers.

Writing: Check.

things on the internets by marith (Sun Jan 24 21:18:37 2010)

Those are really very beautiful clouds! Some of his other pictures are impossibly stunning, too.

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22 January 2010 - Friday

Work: Phone calls from yesterday rescheduled for Monday: 1. Interviews scheduled for Monday: 1.

Housekeeping: Bah, only 50% acceptance at BookBuyers! Admittedly, half of what I took was stuff that they had previously rejected, but that was like a year ago, and they did take some of it this time.

Cats: It is very adorable when kitties sleep by my feet, but having to keep my legs in the same position all night makes them sad in the morning.

Writing: FAIL.

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21 January 2010 - Thursday

Work: Phone conversations successfully conducted: 0. (According to her vacation message, the person I was supposed to talk to was out sick today.) Follow-up interviews to interviews from last week: 1. I think this will probably fall through because I wasn't able to say, "Support is my LIFE!" and the hiring manager has been scarred by people who suck up her extensive training and then leave the group. This is sad, because I'm pretty sure I could do the job and not go crazy or anything, but I totally see where she's coming from.

My, the Internet really is full of things: PIRATES!

Visual Entertainments: Finished Lucky Star. Aww!

Cats: Twelve paws, and also six ears!

Writing: Check.

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20 January 2010 - Wednesday

Work: Phone calls arranged for tomorrow, in preparation for interviews in the next few days: 1.

Visual Entertainments: Started last disc of Lucky Star. Aww.

Cats: Twelve scampering paws!

Writing: Double check.

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19 January 2010 - Tuesday

Work: Jobs applied for: 2.

Visual Entertainments:

  • Code Geass R2 24-25: That was a dramatically satisfying ending.
  • Darker Than Black 14: Electrical powers have many uses.
  • Oh! Edo Rocket 16-17: Humans are so prejudiced against shapeshifting alien monsters.
  • Avatar 16: Katara is scary.

Cats: The cats were so oppressed! I locked them all in the back room so the workmen could come in and replace my balcony door, and they languished for hours and hours until finally the manager admitted the workmen weren't actually going to come today. So not only were the cats oppressed, they will have to be oppressed again in a week or two!

Writing: FAIL.

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18 January 2010 - Monday

Work: Phone interviews successfully conducted: 1. Code problems solved: 1. (Same company.) I also talked to the people I interviewed with last week, and tried to convince them I'm not too light-minded for a very serious enterprise support environment. I have no idea if they believed me.

Gaming: For a while I've been trying to figure out how to combine the fun of a roleplaying game with the fun of a card game (specifically Mythos, but there are many other fun card games), but my ideas keep developing concrete rules and turning into just card games. This is ultimately because I haven't defined exactly what I mean by "RPG fun" and "card game fun", but proximately I keep stumbling over what to do with the role of GM as adventure designer/player of the opposition. I know there are GM-less RPGs, but it has been demonstrated that I am pants at running anything even slightly more indie than D&D.

Game design is hard, let's die in a pit with bugs and worms! (Start with a deck containing three bug cards and seven worm cards...)

Visual Entertainments: Finished the fifth disc of Lucky Star. After some consideration, I have concluded the genre is best expressed as a cross between Azumanga Daioh and Digi Charat. This may explain why I keep typing the <cite> tag as <cute>.

Cats: Twelve paws!

Writing: Check.

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17 January 2010 - Sunday

Gaming: What I ended up preparing worked okay, although I still need to figure out how to run skill challenges that don't devolve into everyone rolling to assist the person with the highest relevant skill.

There was great surprise and consternation when Naled made with the Stinking Cloud spell in the middle of a parley with kobolds, and then later when the rescued caravaneers told people what had happened, but maybe his comrades now have a better idea why he was run out of his homeland.

It's not really very likely that he'll be blamed for starting a war.

Textual Entertainments: Kit made me buy Skinwalker, by Faith Hunter. Jo is still more awesome.

Visual Entertainments: Fifth disc of Lucky Star! I liked the old closing better.

Cats: Aspen is still so very oppressed!

Writing: Check.

aww :) by kit (Tue Jan 19 08:29:32 2010)

You say the nicest things. But I do like Jane very very much!

Re: aww :) by Trip (Wed Jan 20 11:40:27 2010)

Jane is definitely my first choice for when I need faces ripped off, but Jo has better internal monologue, and we all know what's really important for a hero!

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16 January 2010 - Saturday

Housekeeping: Took eight bags of books to BookBuyers. Even though I got back almost two bags, my front library is starting to look a little less overfilled. Also, I have been officially advised that it's worth trying rejected things again after just a month or two, so there is hope even for these bags.

Gaming: Realized I really should prepare something for tomorrow, prepared something, realized it was crap, prepared something else.

Cats: Twelve paws!

Writing: Double check.

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15 January 2010 - Friday

Work: Missed a couple of calls when I went out to run errands, but I will call them on Monday.

Housekeeping: Took four bags of books to BookBuyers, got back less than one.

Argh: Aeriodisconnect has screwed up idiom again. Fortunately the hosage seems to be limited to that one server, so I still have the rest of the Internets.

Visual Entertainments: Finished the fourth disc of Lucky Star. It's still cute, but I think they need something new.

Cats: Yay! Aspen sat up on something, instead of being ground-level-slinking kitteh like usual!

Writing: FAIL. See above.

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14 January 2010 - Thursday

Work: Interviews successfully conducted: 1. It turned out to be in the same building where I worked for Corio all those years ago. As expected, my DBA/SQL skills are not all that they might hope, but if all the other candidates are less l33t, then perhaps they will decide it's worth training me up.

Textual Educations: Everything I know about SQL I picked up on the Intertubes, so I got the O'Reilly Learning SQL book (Alan Beaulieu) to get some theory. I'm still trying to get an intuitive feel for JOINs, but the idea that the result of a SELECT really is a table and can be JOINed, SELECTed, etc was enlightening.

Visual Entertainments: Started fourth disc of Lucky Star. New characters!

Cats: Twelve paws!

Writing: Check.

SQL by Jeremy (Mon Jan 18 22:14:42 2010)

SQL is fun. No, really. :-)

Re operating on results of select, with/as is your very best friend.

Re: SQL by Trip (Wed Jan 20 12:18:47 2010)

It might be fun! It seems like the sort of thing that needs more than one dimension to describe properly, though.

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13 January 2010 - Wednesday

Work: Interviews arranged for tomorrow: 1. Apparently they weren't that impressed with me in the phone interview, but they were even less impressed with the rest of the candidates, so there's still hope.

Visual Entertainments: Finished third disc of Lucky Star.

Cats:Twelve paws!

Writing: Check.

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12 January 2010 - Tuesday

Work: FAIL.

Visual Entertainments: Tuesday Night Anime!

  • Oh! Edo Rocket 15: The retired resident really scares me.
  • Code Geass 23: Ah, the ever-increasing doom!
  • Avatar 3.14-3.15: Go Mei! And Ty Lee!
  • Darker Than Black 12-13: It's the return of the comic relief characters!

Silly Computer Games: Check.

Cats: Twelve paws!

Writing: Check.

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11 January 2010 - Monday

Work: Jobs applied for: 1. Phone interviews arranged for later in the week: 1.

Visual Entertainments: Started the third disc of Lucky Star. My theory is that <rot13> Xbangn vf n yrfovna. </rot13> In support: <rot13> Ng yrnfg, fur fcraqf n ybg bs gvzr cynlvat bire-18 qngvat fvzf, naq jnf cerggl rinfvir jura nfxrq jung xvaq bs thl fur yvxrf. </rot13> Against: It's not really that kind of show. Also, I am notoriously stupid as well as morally unedifying.

Silly Computer Games: Sangband pwnz0rs my brain.

Cats: Aspen spent much of the night sleeping on the strange lumps in the bed that happened to be my legs, and did not spazz out hardly at all.

Writing: FAIL.

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10 January 2010 - Sunday

Gaming: There was great sleepiness, so for Thrace we had a fight with wimpy goblins and that was about it. We got the last 80 XP we needed to level, though!

Food: Ken made his special shortrib stew stuff, this time with hand-made egg noodles to put under it!

Silly Computer Games: Brogue seems to have lost out to Sangband. But the real loser is my brain.

Cats: Twelve adorable paws!

Writing: Check.

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9 January 2010 - Saturday

Housework: After failing yesterday, I successfully took a cartload (four bags) of books to BookBuyers. They rejected a whole bag, though, which saddens me. I guess I will have to do something else with my piles of old Super Manga Blast and Animerica Extra.

Visual Entertainments: Finished the second disc of Lucky Star. It is still silly and cute.

Cats: Bleah, cold. Ice Age Wooly Housecat Ghirardelli came out to pester me, but Marmalade and Aspen spent pretty much the whole day hiding on my bed.

Writing: Uninspired check.

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8 January 2010 - Friday

Work: Jobs applied for: 7.

Silly Computer Games: Brogue and Sangband. Help, I seem to have fallen into the Rogue Basin!

Cats: Ghirardelli miaus and miaus so very plaintively!

Writing: Check.

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7 January 2010 - Thursday

Work: Sent reminders to people I contacted before, but no new jobs applied for.

Housework: A few parts of my kitchen and bathroom have been improved from Horrifying to merely Grotty. This leaves only the entire rest of the apartment. Bah.

Visual Entertainments: It's good thing I've already seen the first disc of Lucky Star, because this one is borked. Bah!

Cats: Twelve fuzzy paws!

Writing: Check.

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6 January 2010 - Wednesday

Work: Jobs applied for: 9½.

My, the Internet really is full of things: How many of them can you get?

Housework: Bought and assembled four shelving unit dealies, which now occupy the space formerly occupied by the Big Table and hold everything that it should have held. (The Big Table is now in my bedroom, where it will serve some function, no really.) There is space for three more shelving units along that wall, so maybe later I can clear off the coffee table too.

Sadly, Target does not appear to carry DVD racks like the ones I have, or in fact any DVD racks at all, so I can't get the huge piles of DVDs off the floor yet.

Visual Entertainments: When I added Lucky Star to my Netflix queueueue, Netflix helpfully added all of it, so I have the first disc which I have already seen, but that's okay. It is Silly.

Cats: Most of the spots where the cats used to flop have been unmade or at least drastically changed by the Great Rearrangement, so now they all flop on my bed all day.

Writing: Check.

9.5 by Jeremy (Wed Jan 6 19:23:33 2010)


Re: 9.5 by Trip (Wed Jan 6 20:59:16 2010)

Indeed, I think it's a personal record!

You get some sort of award for making the first comment of 2010. I'm not sure what, though.

Special awards by Jeremy (Tue Jan 12 19:31:48 2010)

How about you run the first^H^H^H^H second session of PAD&D4?

Actually, surviving the first session probably counts as a reward, anyway.

Re: Special awards by Trip (Wed Jan 13 11:13:07 2010)

I can do that. I suppose I should come up with some encounters or something, huh?

Make a comment!

5 January 2010 - Tuesday

Work: Technical questionnaires completed: 1.

Refurbishments: All old grotty windows successfully replaced with shiny new double-paned windows of +1 energy efficiency! (Sadly, my front door is still -2 and my balcony door about -6.)

Visual Entertainments:

  • Oh! Edo Rocket 13-14: Well, that can't be good.
  • Code Geass R2 22: I wonder if they'll finally tell us what FLEIA does.
  • Avatar 3.13: That was silly, but pretty cool.
  • Darker Than Black 10-11: Finally we get a little more about the bizarreness of what's happened to the world!

Cats: Poor Aspen, scruffed twice in one day! Poor Marmalade and Ghirardelli, confined to single rooms twice in one day!

Writing: Check.

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4 January 2010 - Monday

Work: Hiring managers spoken to: 1. Emails from companies that previously spurned me: 1.

Arrrgh: The manager claimed we'd be given 48 hours notice before being invaded by workmen bearing new windows, but instead I got a notice this evening that I am to be invaded tomorrow, so instead of writing or watching anime with Marith or reading, I have been rearranging furniture to make room for window replacement. The manager was quite apologetic, but that didn't make my furniture any lighter or smaller.

Gaming: With Great Power... (Michael Miller) is an interesting indie superhero game with extra narrativism and a card-based system. It uses a lot of comic-book terminology (panel instead of action, page instead of round, etc), but it's not any more annoying than the movie or TV terms used by so many games, and there's one bit that's actually not bad. Like anything that appears in a comic, anything that happens in WGP has to be scripted (cards played to determine who wins and has narration rights), pencilled (possible outcomes brainstormed with the input of other players), and inked (finally narrated by whoever won narration rights). Most groups play that way anyway, but it's good to have it recognized by game designers.

Heroes are written up as about half a dozen aspects, of which one or at most two are powers and the rest DNPCs, allies, convictions, secret identities, origin details, and other story elements that can be used against them. When the heroes are created, the group has to establish a theme of the form "X vs Y" (Ideals vs Practicality, Justice vs Vengeance) and each aspect gets assigned to one side of the theme, with at least one per character on each side. Villains are similar, but usually with fewer aspects and one aspect has to be The Plan.

Bad outcomes of conflict scenes are represented by adding "suffering" to aspects. When an aspect accumulates enough suffering, it comes under the control of the GM (DNPC kidnapped, allies alienated, convictions teetering), and if not redeemed, it becomes permanently transformed (DNPC recuited by villain, secret identity blown, radiation accident). If every hero's main aspect is transformed, the villains' plan succeeds, otherwise it's foiled.

Aspects can't be used in conflicts until they've been introduced in character-building ("enrichment") scenes. Even enrichment scenes have a little conflict, but it's just one set of stakes on each side, resolved by the comparison of one card from each side.

Conflict scenes use a more complicated system, with multiple chances for aspects to accumulate suffering, but it's still based on comparing cards. Suit has to be followed unless a penalty is paid, and changing suit requires a description of how the battle is being changed (attacking the infernal device instead of the villain, using villainous dialogue against the pinned hero, picking up a car when fisticuffs aren't doing the job).

WGP implements the principle that present failure leads to future success in two ways. In erichment scenes, whoever plays the lower card gets to keep the higher card played by the opponent, thus improving their hand. In conflict scenes, getting cards from the opponent is more random, but whenever a character yields, the Story Arc counter increments, tilting the rules slightly more in favor of the players and more against the GM.

I'd like to try it sometime, but I'm pretty sure it's far too narrative for any group I'm part of.

Cats: Marmalade and Ghirardelli are quite intrigued by the new arrangment of Things, but poor Aspen is probably horribly traumatized.

Writing: FAIL. See above.

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3 January 2010 - Sunday

Gaming: Finally, kobold extravaganza victory! The sandstorm was enough to tempt the PCs into attacking again, and even enough to keep them from getting horribly murderized. The high point was probably when Damaia used Crackling Fire to make a bunch of kobolds vunerable to fire and lightning just in time for Naled to set them all on fire and Thor charge up his spirit frog and get them struck by lightning every time somebody hit one, although slowing and immobilizing the buffest kobold and parking Stinking Cloud on her was also good. The low point was probably Thor getting knocked off a cliff and having to make death checks. Neverthless, in the end all the kobolds were defeated and the caravan was rescued!

Level UP!

Visual Entertainments: Finished Venus Versus Virus. Meep.

Cats: Twelve paws!

Writing: Check.

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2 January 2010 - Saturday

Visual Entertainments: More Venus Versus Virus. If this really is the last disc, it's going to be a pretty compressed ending.

Cats: Running the space heater under the computer desk makes my feets warm, but also causes kitties to crowd out my keyboard. Hm.

Writing: Check.

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1 January 2010 - Friday

It's 2010!!

(Is it the future yet?)

Textual Entertainments: Catching Fire (Suzanne Collins) is the sequel to The Hunger Games and is just about as grim. However, by the end of the book there's hope that in the third book, everyone will die relatively quickly!

Visual Entertainments: Started the second disc of Venus Versus Virus. There is still plenty of doom!

Cats: I have twelve paws but it is only 2010! Maybe I'm ahead of the curve!

Writing: Check.

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