Previously, in Trip's Life...

31 May 2013 - Friday

Yesterday's problem was not resolved when I got in (despite, or possibly because, all the managers involved stayed up all night), but we managed to get the system back into the correct state and handed back to the customer by the end of the day. I think they will be okay, but if they aren't, I'm the one on call this weekend anyway.

I'm not sure I can give a better description of Planarch Codex: Dark Heart of the Dreamer than the introduction:

This is a planar supplement for Dungeon World, World of Dungeons, and other games of dungeon adventure. It is modular, so use the parts you like.

  • FERAL ANTHROPOLOGIES provides new GM guidelines for playing in settings where culture matters.
  • CORSAIRS AND LOW BRIGANDS describes the pervasive scourge of planar banditry and how to take part in it.
  • THE RAVENOUS CITY introduces the monstrous planar metropolis of Dis and its inhabitants.

It is swell.

Yike, Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha has suddenly gotten dark!

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30 May 2013 - Thursday

At 8:00, I came in to a customer issue that cow orker D needed help on, and was still working on it when I left for home at 19:30. Around 16:00, I ran into my manager while looking for a developer to answer a simple question, and he immediately escalated it into a huge deal, which as far as I can tell did not result in anything other than what I was planning, but did add a tangled web of management to all actions.

Seawitch (Kat Richardson) is the Nth in the series about a Seattle private eye who gets astral travel powers by temporarily dying. The first books had significant horror elements, but the series is shifting more toward fantasy as the protagonist adapts to her new life.

After I got home, I had another two hours of work. It was successful, and even went faster than I expected, but it was not really what I wanted from my evening.

The cats tried to help, but I cruelly prevented them from leaping onto the laptop.

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29 May 2013 - Wednesday

I guess I did work stuff today, but overall it was not a stunning example of effectiveness.

Game design is hard, let's go watch anime.

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28 May 2013 - Tuesday

Virtual Monday is somehow not quite as bad as a real Monday, this week.

The Queen is Dead (Kate Locke) is the sequel to God Save the Queen, in which our heroine(?) accepts her position as queen of the underground cannibals and kicks ass in an alternate-historical London with hot werewolves and slimy vampires.

Nanoha's rival magical girl's minion is quite something for a kid's show. Wum.

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27 May 2013 - Monday

Memorial Day is actually a Teradata company-wide (well, US-wide) holiday. There aren't many of those!

Sadly, someone forgot to tell the customers, and Cow Orker D, in addition to having to be on call for an extra day, got an entire busy weekend's worth of calls backed into today. :(

Instead of doing anything even slightly useful, I tried to create a Dungeon World hack that better fits the current alternate Sunday campaign. Fortunately now I have five example characters to turn into playbooks, which helps a lot in conceptualizing what kinds of moves I need to support. DW already has only a few combat moves, so mostly I need to expand the selection of social moves, and add mechanical consequences other than losing hit points. Also all the things I haven't even thought of yet.

I am under no delusion that people will want to ditch the thoroughly play-tested Fate Accelerated for this gross kludge, but I'm not getting very far with "Eclipse World" so perhaps this simpler problem will enlarge my brain.

I'm watching Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha (at some point I put it in my Netflix queue, probably because I vaguely remembered someone recommending it, and now it is arriving), and I'm not sure this rival magical girl is redeemable. She zapped the kitty!

Fortunately none of my cats were watching to be traumatized.

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26 May 2013 - Sunday

Dave's enthusiasm for Dungeon World is heartening, but everyone eventually agreed it wasn't right for the campaign we wanted, which is not so much with the dungeons and the looting. For lack of a better suggestion, we went with Fate Accelerated, although it was not anyone's ideal choice. We even made characters and had them mugged in a bar (and then rescued by a handy NPC when being outnumbered by better fighters with better gear seemed to be going poorly).

I think I can come up with problems for each PC (except mine, because my characters are always lame — maybe I should make her a secret cultist or something), and sufficiently insoluble problems are like plot hooks, right?

Apparently Marith and Ayse experienced Ja Baby Drama instead of an additional day of Baycon. Perhaps the con in Sacramento on Independence Day weekend will be less plagued by drama.

Cow Orker D, who is on call this weekend, was oppressed and abused by customers until he had to get me to take some of the heat off. As far as I can tell, the answer to the customer's problem is, "Don't do things to specifically make the cluster not work correctly", but of course that's not acceptable.

Twelve fuzzy paws of fuzziness!

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25 May 2013 - Saturday

Marith came over today, and Aspen permitted pettins! The Box of Coziness is truly powerful!

Marith, Ayse, Ja Baby (and Ta Baby, although he is still not in a position to express much volition) stopped by Baycon for a little while. We spent most of the time stalking the remote-controlled robots which both fascinated and alarmed Ja Baby, but Marith registered so she could check out the dealer's room. They plan to go back tomorrow, but I am already scheduled so I will not be there.

Ja Baby has a badge name now. Ayse was so proud!

Then we ate sushi until it came out our ears.

  • Persona4 5: Wow, she's obnoxious.
  • Hanasaku Iroha 21: Does that count as a cliffhanger? Probably.
  • Steins;Gate 7-8: I'm not sure I've ever seen time travel used for that before.
  • Cross Game 8: That is one downside of encouraging competitiveness, yes.

Despite the lack of Sherlock, we only watched five episodes because that was the auspicious alignment with the train schedule. Maybe we should have pushed on to seven or eight episodes, though, even though I would have been crushed beneath the sleepies.

Adventures on Dungeon Planet is a Dungeon World hack for what the author calls "science fantasy" — the genre in which the phrase "alien wizard" would not be out of place. The adaptation isn't very difficult, since both genres are fantasy adventure in which exotic scenery and novel dangers are key. But now, you can face those dangers as a robot!

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24 May 2013 - Friday

I interviewed a potential future cow orker in India. I dunno. I can only point to one thing that worries me, but that some of my existing cow orkers got hired makes me nervous.

Cow Orker M is out sick today, again. Fortunately the natives are not too restless.

Twelve fuzzy paws of fuzziness!

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23 May 2013 - Thursday

When I got in this morning, one customer was exploding and both the ones from yesterday were reporting that they were not fixed. But, eventually, we got all of them calmed down, or at least put off until tomorrow.

I guess I sort of feel like I accomplished something today, but most of it should have been accomplished yesterday.

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22 May 2013 - Wednesday

I meant to help Customer X, but then Customer Y called and took up all the time until my scheduled meeting with Customer Z, and then some.

Stars Without Number is almost exactly Basic D&D plus Classic Traveller. The world generation is more story-oriented than Traveller's, and there is a system for organizations (which the PCs can get involved in at 9th level), but overall it's pretty old-school.

Some Apocalypse World hacks are just diffs from AW, meaning you have to have it to play, but Monster of the Week is a full-fledged indepedent game, and a pretty good one. It seems like it should work fine for any Buffy- or Supernatural-style game, although it would need some tinkering to work for Shadow Unit. The major change (aside from new playbooks and moves) is Luck, which lets you auto-succeed or negate one hit, but never comes back once it's used up, ensuring that characters have finite arcs. I was going to mention the open-ended magic rules, but they're actually not too dissimilar to the wizard move in Dungeon World.

Anyway, I would probably play it, or even run it, if I had gamers.

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21 May 2013 - Tuesday

If I were clever I would try to arrange to get more brain inflation, in hopes of being less tired. But I am not clever.

Curiosity drove me to download the D&D Next playtest packet (plus it was free). Unfortunately, I think it should be called "D&D Previous".

3rd ed and 4th ed both brought something new to D&D, but 5th ed not so much. It adopted some ideas from 4th ed, but otherwise the system is pretty comparable to a somewhat streamlined 3rd ed. Actually, it might be even less new than that, since the rules gave me a definite OSR vibe (although that could be from them not being finished), and two of the adventures in the playtest packet are ones I remember from my Red Box/Blue Box days. If D&D is trying to cash in on the OSR, maybe it's time to dub it "D&D Last" and move on to Dungeon World or Fate.

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20 May 2013 - Monday

But I was only useless for two days! How can I be expected to go back to work already?!

The Six-Gun Tarot (RS Belcher) is pretty entertaining horror/Western, but I object in principle to mixing the Cthulhu mythos with Christian mythology.

I'm only up to volume 6 in my reread of Negima! (Ken Akamatsu) and the Kyoto story arc, which seemed so major at the time, is already done! There really is going to be a huge amount of magical world arc later.

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19 May 2013 - Sunday

More uselessness! Yay!

I have run out of El Cazador de la Bruja to watch. Sadness. Woe.

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18 May 2013 - Saturday

Today I was also pretty much useless, but it's a weekend so it's less of a problem.

Traveller World is just what it sounds like: Traveller + Apocalypse World. I'm not sure the two halves of it really fit together in the current version — the Traveller parts need to be loosened up, I think. But, it's better than any AW hack I've ever done!

The second season finale of Sherlock (if a season with only three episodes can be said to have a finale) was pretty swell. There was much discussion about how he got away with it, but in fact it all seemed eminently doable.

But the third season is only in production now! It will be ages until it is available streaming on Netflix!

  • Cross Game 7: The master villain is super-ratbastardastic! I hope he is wrong about Aoba having no future, though.
  • Persona4 4: It seems somewhat backwards to have people become PCs after facing down their inner demons.

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17 May 2013 - Friday

Yay! Friday! And a good thing, too, since I don't think I had a single useful thought all day.

Maybe not even any useless thoughts, either.

I bought The Human Division (John Scalzi) as the 13 installments released as ebooks, but never got around to reading it until just now. It does work both as individual shorts and as part of a plot arc, but it needs several more installments to display the full doom.

Redshirts, also by John Scalzi, is so explicitly meta that it's not really meta at all. Or something like that.

Novellist God is not your friend.

The Apocalypse Ocean (Tobias S Buckell) is a shortish novel in the same setting as Crystal Rain, Ragamuffin, and Sly Mongoose. Since the earlier books inexplicably failed to sell well, it had to be Kickstartered, but finally is in existence. Finally, much is explained! In fact, enough is explained that it could be a conclusion to the series.

Graveyard Child (MLN Hanover) is the fifth book in the "Black Sun's Daughter" series and resolves the mystery that the PCs have been struggling with since book two. It even addresses some of the problems they caused in book one when they had no idea what was going on. It could therefore be the conclusion, but there is plenty more trouble already on the mantelpiece so the series could reasonably continue. I hope it does!

I wasn't able to find a copy of World of Dungeons, but I did find The Streets of Marienburg, which allegedly contains all the same material plus some stuff to set it in the Warhammer FRP world. Sure enough, it looks like a remote, unpolished ancestor of Dungeon World Roleplaying Game, which is what WoD was supposed to be. I'm not sure why this is a worthwhile thing, but I admire it for its crazedness.

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16 May 2013 - Thursday

Hey, maybe that horrible thing will finally get fixed! But I'm not holding my breath.

Moonshifted (Cassie Alexander) is the sequel to Nightshifted, following the further adventures of a hapless nurse dragooned into working the supernatural ward and the trouble that follows her home.

Marith pointed out that John Scalzi would be at Books Inc. tonight, so I stopped by to check it out. I dunno, I think I might be insufficiently fanboyish. However, the secret 14th installment of The Human Division was pretty funny, and now I know that churros are the new bacon.

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15 May 2013 - Wednesday

Cow Orker M being on vacation sucks. He better be enjoying himself.

Brown Girl in the Ring was Nalo Hopkinson's first published novel, and apparently got all kinds of awards. It is a perfectly fine book, but probably most notable for being voodoo (I don't know the generic term for religions in that space, sorry)-based urban fantasy written in Caribbean dialect. I suppose that sounds like I'm saying it got awards on novelty value, but doing new things is actually good and should be rewarded.

Supers is a very rudimentary streamlined RPG, which basically consists of allocating a bunch of d6s to various skills, defenses, and powers, and then rolling them against each other. I suppose it would work, but it doesn't seem very satisfying.

The Dying Earth Revivification Folio is an update of the system of the original Dying Earth Role Playing Game to a somewhat streamlined (but essentially similar) version, adding random character generation based on assembling cards specific to the scenario. It also includes three scenarios, not particularly related except in that the character cards by default represent the same characters.

Technically you could play with just this, although it does not have nearly as much setting/atmosphere information as the original DERPG so you would have to already know what you were getting into.

Points deducted for making all the characters male and putting a somewhat vapid female lust object in every adventure. It's true that the original stories were written back before women were legally considered human, but we need not wallow in those times today.

The final volume of Negima! (Ken Akamatsu) is out, so I am rereading the entire series from the beginning to put it in proper context. One down, thirty-seven to go!

Wow, the translation was a lot slangier early on. And Negi was a lot more of a nebbish.

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14 May 2013 - Tuesday

My brain doesn't want to think about databases. It wants to think about gaming. But, if I don't think about databases, I cannot maintain my cats in the style to which they have become accustomed. And, thinking about gaming is mostly pointless, because I have almost no one to game with (and even fewer who want to play anything other than D&D or Champions).

Hello, databases. Tell me where the mean customer hurt you.

Episode 10 or so of El Cazador de la Brujna and we finally have Illuminati and ninjas!

Kindly observe how I continue to keep you in gooshyfood, toys, and heated beds, cats!

dbRPG by Jeremy (Sat May 18 09:55:37 2013)

There's got to be a way to combine databases and gaming. And multiple good reasons we shouldn't.

Re: dbRPG by Trip (Sat May 18 14:56:27 2013)

I believe database + RPG = WoW.

dbRPG by Jeremy (Sun May 19 13:06:34 2013)

At third level, necrocoders get one optimizer hint per day. It must be preselected after 36 hours of no rest and the consumption of 1200 mg caffeine.

Re: dbRPG by Trip (Mon May 20 09:44:43 2013)

That's "potion of eternal alertness" to you!

At 20th level, you can optimize the optimizer.

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13 May 2013 - Monday

Oh no, it's Monday the 13th! Fortunately, I have it on excellent authority that petting cats and giving them offerings of gooshyfood neutralizes bad luck.

Shattered Pillars (Elizabeth Bear) is the sequel to Range of Ghosts, or perhaps I should say second book in the n-ology, since it does not resolve much. It does move the plot along quite nicely, though, and Erem is even creepier than originally supposed.

I found a PDF of an old playtest for a game that is to Azumanga Daioh what Clover is to Yotsuba&!, but it doesn't look like it ever went anywhere.

El Cazador de la Bruja continues to entertain, although it is not nearly as tightly plotted and tense as Noir or Madlax. Sadly, Netflix does not seem to have more than the first two discs, so I may never find out what happens.

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12 May 2013 - Sunday

Today I was pretty useless. Mostly I played WoW and got a panda monk up to the point where she could choose Alliance and join Adam's guild.

Trying to use the WoW interface still drives me crazy.

Volume two of Knights of Sidonia (Tsutomu Nihei) continues to be entertaining, although I still have trouble telling the characters apart.

If someone says he got everything he has by his own efforts but his bio begins with the word "scion", you know he's going to turn out to be a rat bastard.

I'm sorry I was too lame to sit on the couch and pet you, cats!

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11 May 2013 - Saturday

Suppressed Transmission: The Second Broadcast is more of Kenneth Hite's conspiracy, secret history, ultraterrestrials, and general weirdness, this time including the Voynich Manuscript.

I failed at shopping, so we didn't have eggs Benedict, but we had poached eggs with hollandaise sauce and arugula on rolls, which is probably second-ranked in Warfare.

Ken crushed us brutally in Dominion, with great brutality, because he is a brutal brute.

Chinese-style noodles with shiitake mushrooms, bok choy, and spicy bean paste FtEW!

Ayse wins for figuring out what the gimmick in Sherlock 2.2 was, although I demand partial credit for figuring out the tie-in. Also, Dr Watson, if you comment on another man's cheekbones, you are automatically imperilling your heterosexuality.

Apparently the peer grading did not overcome the self-grading, since I ended up with a grade substantially higher than the one that was described in the exercises as "pretty good". In fact, I appear to have cheated some actual learner out of a Certificate of Completion with Distinction. :(

  • Hanasaku Iroha 19-20: Obligatory school festival episode! Nakochi and Minchi both missed their chances.
  • Steins;Gate 6: I guess that's one way to ensure information stays inside the conspiracy, although it has no ending condition. Hax0r Guy will be glad when it expands to the next obvious suspect, I'm sure. Maybe she'll stab him.

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10 May 2013 - Friday

Yay, it's Friday!

I made up a bunch of stuff for the Immortal Empire, but then it was all vetoed, even the suggestion of using Fate Accelerated (a simplified version of FATE Core which inexplicably has no RPGGeek page). Bah!

Oh, not only are all the peer-review exercises due by tomorrow afternoon, but so are all the peer reviews and the self review. I guess I better do them now, then, since I will be at Monkeycat Towers all day tomorrow!

[time passes]

I probably marked my own final too high, since I could follow the logic, but presumably the peer reviews will take care of that.

Eight paws that want to help me sleep! Four paws that will be over here not paying any attention!

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9 May 2013 - Thursday

Workingu, workingu, la la la.

No Return (Zachary Jernigan) is the sort of fantasy that could almost be Suficiently Advanced Technology on a different planet in the far future, but I think it's really magic, with an unusually grisly non-renewable resource. The characters in at least one plot thread needed to be shanked and left in a ditch somewhere, but another plot thread had ones who were at least trying. Anyway, high marks for imagination.

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8 May 2013 - Wednesday

Working on the peer review exercises so that I can be judged fit to grade the exams of other students as well as my own. I went up from 2/10 to 6/10, so clearly the third one will be 10/10, right?

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7 May 2013 - Tuesday

The office is full of high muckitymucks from the giant corporate pyramid that towers over Neo-Dayton. I wouldn't care, except that they are consuming all the diet beverages. Bah.

Apparently my ability to grade proofs is severely lacking. Alas, the video explaining the nature of my failure is on, which seems to kind of suck. Maybe it will finish loading by tomorrow.

I finished readng through the four Eclipse Phase adventures I could easily find, A Bump in the Night, Continuity, Glory, and Ego Hunter. RPGGeek lists several other adventures, so maybe I just need to try harder to get them, but so far it seems like the major activity PCs are expected to engage in is research, with lesser amounts of burglary and fighting. Maybe GUMSHOE would be a better base than AW.

Could AW support something like GUMSHOE's "use of investigation skills always succeeds" paradigm? I guess all you'd need to do is specify that on a miss for an investigative move, you still get the basic information even though the GM gets to make a move. ("Reveal an unwelcome truth" is always appropriate for an investigative move: "Yes, you found a match for that alien DNA in your database -- your personal medical database...".)

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6 May 2013 - Monday

Argh, Monday.

Now I want to do stuff with the setting we came up with yesterday, but everyone else is much too busy and important to think about gaming except for a couple of hours every other week. :(

(Except sometimes Dave.)

I have no brain, but the apartment is full of paws!

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5 May 2013 - Sunday

For reasons that are unclear, instead of doing anything with the superhero campaign we generated the other month, we played Microscope again and generated a fantasy campaign.

I don't know if you were aware, but we are extremely silly people.

El Cazador de la Bruja continues to be more light-hearted than Noir or Madlax, although not necessarily less violent or doomed.

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4 May 2013 - Saturday

I finished the remaining questions for the final, although perhaps not well, and produced a vaguely readable output to submit. Whee.

Sherlock 2.1 had a lot of plot! Not surprising, I guess, since each episode is movie-length. Also, naked dominatrix, almost-naked Sherlock, and Sherlock and Watson being gits in a variety of ways. But it was agreed that Irene Adler counted as a strong female character and not awful (except IC).

The last time we watched Sherlock, I think I had not yet read Shadow Unit, but Sherlock is so completely a beta. (There is probably already plenty of fanfic about this.)

  • Cross Game 5-6: The oppression under which the heroes suffer is becoming more clear!
  • Persona4 3: Now Chie has a persona too, so the monster-crushing can really get under way!

The cats are back to normal levels of affection.

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3 May 2013 - Friday

Friday at last! For some definition of "at last", but no matter how much unstructured time I had in San Diego, it wasn't like being a free agent.

I have become infected by Ascension, which is sort of a cross between MtG and Dominion. It costs money, which may save other people, but it is too late for me.

I planned to have at least 5/10 of the problems in the mathematical thinking final done tonight, but I was on a roll and got up to 7/10, so I may pass out with a clear conscience.

Tonight it is Ghirardelli who needs all the affection in the world. Fortunately, he is So Fluffy.

ascension by marith (Thu May 9 23:35:44 2013)

You are an evil, evil brain-destroying space parasite.

Re: ascension by Trip (Fri May 10 08:42:33 2013)

Ha hah!

Jeremy, you know you want to!

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2 May 2013 - Thursday

Here I am back at work again. This week seems poorly thought-out.

Midnight Robber (Nalo Hopkinson) is not as epic as I expected, but despite the unconventional (by honkey standards) language, it was totally legitimate SF.

Also, humans suck, even if they aren't white.

Super-Affection Beast Marma-Marma is here to protect you from the dangers of sleep!

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1 May 2013 - Wednesday

Only half a day of training today, and back in with the Sales crowd to hear about competition. The number of conversions from those Other Databases Products to Teradata is heartening, but I have to wonder what new hires at Oracle et al get told.

Travelling back worked out better than travelling forth, with much less waiting for scheduled transportation to show up, but was otherwise pretty similar. No vehicle I was on exploded or even ignited.

Hello, cats! Hello! Hello! I am glad that you are not dead! Are you glad that I am not dead? What about cats that are not Aspen? Okay then!

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