Previously, in Trip's Life...

30 September 2013 - Monday

Unclean! Unclean!

The guy who was supposed to fix my shower called in sick instead.

Working from home seems so much less productive, but I suppose it's possible I suck this much in the office, too. I don't have any cats to help there, though.

Curse you, vile and unreliable laundry machines, for interrupting my time with Avalon!

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29 September 2013 - Sunday

Good news: still no customers.

Bad news: still no shower. The manager offered me the use of the shower in a vacant unit, but that one doesn't work either. I guess I'll be working from home tomorrow to spare the office's life support capacity.

Because it is the future, Avalon was able to gchat me from the train back to Toronto and tell me how much fun she had and that no one got a picture of her in her short skirt. I sulk!

In Accursed, the PCs are all monsters cut loose from the mostly failed invasion of the witches into Early Modern Fake Europe, who must either succumb to or overcome their monstrous urges while dealing with the prejudice of normal humans who do not appreciate their heroic nature. It's a perfectly good premise, but the monsters are pretty generic: wolfman, mummy, vampire, goon stitched together from corpses, etc. The setting is pretty generic too, although at least they have a fake Israel to go with their fake Russia etc. So, it's not awful, but it could be better, or at least more interesting.

Zero Point (Neal Asher) is the sequel to The Departure, following the adventures of, basically, the Singularity, and the people who have to deal with him rampaging around the solar system. Some of these people are insanely horrible, it being that sort of future, so this book is not for the even slightly squeamish. Also: adventures in physics!

Twelve paws!

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28 September 2013 - Saturday

Oh yah, my shower is broken. And I technically have another shower, even though it's in the cat bathroom which is not set up for any other use, so it's not an emergency as far as the apartment management is concerned. Bah.

No customers got through to me. Yay!

I went to Beep Street with Ken and Ja Baby and Ta Baby on their way back from Ja Baby's preschool party in the middle of the afternoon, which meant a lot of child-entertaining, but that's okay.

No Nurse Angel Ririka, because Ayse is in Montreal with maple brandy. And Avalon.

  • Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood 15-16: And now, the Elric brothers find out about the doom that ensued while they were away having different doom.
  • Cross Game 28:
  • Persona4 23-24: The master villain revealed! (It was like my third- or fourth-ranked guess, so I get no points.)

Five Ancient Kingdoms is an OSR game, but not a clone of flint-box D&D. It has the usual unsystematic character classes and levels, but the equipment list is much simplified (one-handed weapon, two-handed weapon, heavy armor, light armor, that's pretty much it), and the mechanics are both simplified (no table of attack modifiers for bohemian ear-spoon vs bezainted leather armor) and weirdly use d6s where 1 is counted as 0. I presume this fulfills some need of the designer, but I'm not sure what.

I only read the first of three volumes, and will not bother with the others.

Because I can, I reread all four volumes of Nightschool (Svetlana Chmakova). Why oh why is she wasting her time illustrating lame stuff from other writers when she could me doing more of this?! (Rhetorical question; it's because she likes being able to eat and pay rent and stuff.)

Twelve pawses!

Whiskey by Avalon (Wed Oct 2 18:11:20 2013)

Maple whiskey. =) Not that it matters except it is Canada, of course it is whiskey. =)


Re: Whiskey by Trip (Wed Oct 2 19:13:44 2013)

I guess you can tell I don't drink!


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27 September 2013 - Friday

My shower broke, but I was pretty much done and had to go to work, so completely forgot about it. Surely this will not cause any problems later.

I am on call, but hopefully all the calls that come in will be ones that New Cow Orker A (Cow Orker Neo-A?) can absorb.

It is still only in playtest, but I quite like the 13th Age Bestiary. Between the descriptions, which are more from the PoV of a GM than a fictional character, the 2d3 adventure seeds, and the Icon tie-ins, I did not at any point think, "What would I do with this monster?". So, dozens of monsters that I could actually use, not just admire (if I could run 13th Age)!

Characters in Yesterday's Tomorrow have four stats: Action!, Mystery!, Romance!, and Science!. I think that tells you everything you need to know about the game.

We keep talking about using subgenres as Aspects for Immortal Empire, but I wonder if we could use them as Approaches instead? We'd have to choose carefully, so most Approaches were usable in most scenes. Also we'd have to talk up each Approach so we didn't end up with everyone maxing out Farce.

The Spy Princess and Sartor (Sherwood Smith) are about the same character, but otherwise quite different books. One is a mostly mundane revolution, with a side trip into higher magic, and the other is all magic all the time, in an entire country that has been enchanted for a hundred years. I liked the first one better; the second one was kind of remote, which did fit the setting but was still what it was.

I continue to make faces at a culture in which books for preteens can have unlimited dead bodies but no mushy stuff. Even though, or perhaps because, I am a product of that culture.

Silent Memories seems like something Carl might have run: you wake up from cold sleep and have no idea who you are or what is going on, although you might be able to figure out some from what's trying to kill you. The dangerous situations are resolved by pulling blocks from a Jenga tower or similar, and every time you pull, you get a slip of paper with a (possibly untrue) memory on it, prepared ahead of time by the GM. The first time the tower falls, whoever did it gets the Envelope of Truth, which if the GM has prepared correctly will contain reasons to not share it with the other PCs. Then, doom ensues! It is pretty strongly a single-session game, but I'm not sure how well it would do at a con.

44 is subtitled "A Game of Automatic Fear", since it is all about people (probably including the PCs, sooner or later) being replaced by robot duplicates. It is very Cold War pod people Commie-infiltrators in atmosphere, although whether the robots are actually aliens or Commies or both is up to the GM. The system involves rolling a bunch of dice and then using them with the values showing during the scene, and having to decide whether to use the highest dice or save them aside for emergencies later. There are three rounds of one scene for each player, and then the surviving PCs roll all the dice they have against all the conspiracy's dice and determine what happens. I guess in some ways this is like Fiasco, but I don't think they would go well together! I might be wrong, though.

Ghirardelli does appear to be eating his crunchyfoods. I guess all is well!

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26 September 2013 - Thursday

Avalon seems to be having way more fun even travelling to Montreal than I am at work. I think I'm doing something wrong with my life!

I don't often go to author events at Books Inc., but this was for someone I know (plus it's not like anyone was making me a better offer for my evening). There were actually four people reading, since the book being promoted is an anthology, Doorways to Extra Time, but Susan was the only one I had ever heard of before. She read first (because her story was first in the book), but it turned out everyone was done reading and most of the Qs were Aed by the time I had to bail for the bus.

Susan also has a couple of ebook-only pieces published under the name of her character from the story she read tonight, so I picked them up for my virtual Kindle along with DtET. Yes, I feel back about contributing to the death of bookstores, but paper books just take up way too much space.

Twelve paws!

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25 September 2013 - Wednesday

So far things are not perceptibly different at work, but at least there isn't so much new stupidity being generated.

Indeed, no Avalon, but I got to see her three nights in a row, which I will declare to be Good.

Barefoot Pirate (Sherwood Smith) is a fairly standard story of unhappy Earth kids getting the chance to adventure in a fantasy world, for fairly young readers. One of the Earth kids does actually come from bad circumstances, not just pre-teen angst, which seems slightly unusual for the genre. Adventure ensues!

Twelve fliffy paws that helped me get nothing useful done tonight, except Dominioning Marith to a draw.

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24 September 2013 - Tuesday

Workingu, workingu, la la la.

Bonus Avalon attention! But tomorrow she will probably be starring on the Packing Channel ("All Packing, All the Time!"), so I should not have squandered today by florning about my friends all moving to San Jose.

Sally Slick and the Steel Syndicate (Carrie Harris) is a YA novel about the backstory of some of the example characters from Spirit of the Century. It features tractor races, mobsters, possessed robots, more mobsters, mad scientists, jetpacks, martial arts battles, and no kissing.

Fortunately, the Milk (Neil Gaiman, Skottie Young) was successfully recovered despite many adventures on the way back from the grocery store.

Steelheart (Brandon Sanderson) is about a world in which there are no superheroes, only supervillains, worse supervillains, and normals who can barely stand against them. It is not clear why this is the case, because this is only the first book of a Sanderson trilogy, but I am sure we will find out!

Twelve paws!

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23 September 2013 - Monday

And back around to Monday. But now we have a boss who is not horrible (unless he's had a lobotomy since he was last in this team).

Avalon is running off to Montreal with Ayse on Thursday, but I still have her today!

I am deeply uncertain about the ending of Bunny Drop (Yumi Unita). Yes, it was made all okay at the end, but that came out of left field.

Ayse got me into Dominion Online (the official version endorsed by the original creator, not something that fell off the back of an Ethernet packet like the iPad version). I shake my puny fist!

Twelve extremely fuzzy paws.

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22 September 2013 - Sunday

I didn't get called for work at all today. Victory!

It looks like it's not just me: when you skip over all the fights, adventures take a lot less time than the GM thinks they will, and it's easy to do that in FATE. So, although we saved the Prince of Roses from the horrible fate to which the one-armed rhubarb had delivered him, there was plenty of time to chew the fat.

We need explicit campaign/world/adventure aspects, clearly. Besides "It's the Decadant Period".

Hurray for Avalon-smooches!

Volume 2 of Rachel Rising (Terry Moore) reveals that the threat is Christian mythology, but this is not too surprising. Also, additional zombification-related craziness.

Abney Park's Airship Pirates is an RPG set in the fictional world of the songs of the band Abney Park. I think this may go beyond secondary-world fiction into tertiary-world. But, it has airship pirates! Also deliberately horrible neo-Victorian cities, runaway robots, vast wildernesses populated with megapredators who have been engineered with a taste for human flesh, and optionally time travel. Unusually for steampunk, even alternate-future steampunk, it does not have magic or even psionics.

Hurray for paws!

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21 September 2013 - Saturday

I hardly had to work at all today!

No Nurse Angel Ririka, because Ayse and Ken's friends Darren and Georgia were over and therefore Ayse was too cool to watch anime.

Was it a mistake to not bail on anime and hang out with people? Maybe, but I'm beginning to think that the real mistake is continuing to bother people by going to San Jose. I should probably stop before they have to move to Gilroy.

  • Persona4 21: There are actually five more episodes left, not three, but that still doesn't seem like enough for the amount of plot Marith assures us remains to be covered.
  • Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood 14: I don't even remember how far we were into the original series before we found out this stuff? Twice this many episodes?
  • Cross Game 26-27: At least one of the other teams recognizes the shape of their doom.
  • Persona4 22: Augh!

Blood Blockade Battlefront (Yasuhiro Nightow) vol 4 is not as interesting as the previous volumes, probably because there is more combat but less novelty.

Bomb Queen (Jimmie Robinson) is kind of horrible and depraved, by design. (What, did you think it would be good to have a supervillain ruling a city?)

Ghirardelli is still being mysterious, but also fluffy and affectionate.

anime by marith (Wed Sep 25 10:26:46 2013)

I am very sorry about Saturday night! I should have realized the Ayseconversation was going to entrap me for a while, and suggested that you and Dave finish up without me.

But we are still successfully watching anime and enjoying ourselves most Saturdays, no? Just because I am a feeb sometimes doesn't mean it is all doomed.

Re: anime by Trip (Wed Sep 25 12:36:11 2013)

Why would you not talk to your friend?

The real problem is as it's always been: we now have only one day to do all stuff involving any of Dave, Ayse, or Ken, so everything we want to do takes time away from all the others.

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20 September 2013 - Friday

Today, my horrible boss left. We couldn't really cheer, because at least ostensibly he is quitting to take care of his very ill wife, but he is gone and doesn't appear to be coming back. Normally this would be a leave of absence situation, so we are all hoping our complaints had some effect on his fate, but we may never know for sure.

Anyway, our previous boss is back, although only temporarily until a new permanent boss can be hired, because this is really not what he wants to be doing. This is the same hiring process that got us the horrible boss, but it's theoretically possible for a company to learn from its mistakes, if it can recognize them as mistakes. I guess we'll see.

As of vol 4, Demon Love Spell (Mayu Shinjo) continues to asymptotically approach the two leads having sex.

Never Unprepared is subtitled "The Complete Game Master's Guide to Session Prep", which is probably more accurate. It does not provide the secret technique for avoiding the necessity of prep, it only suggests how to do it more efficiently. A lot of it is basic time management — look at your schedule, see when you can carve out a few hours for prep. The part that is new, or at least specific to gaming prep, is division of prep into five streams which should not be crossed: brainstorming, selection of one or a few ideas, development of the ideas, writing up the ideas with supporting maps and stat blocks (often considered the only part that's actually prep), and review. The author is very against combining any of these steps, on the grounds that doing two of them at once means doing both of them badly. He also makes the point that you only need to document the stuff that isn't in your brain or that you aren't good at improvising. You almost certainly aren't writing a module for publication, so you don't need to put in stuff that people who aren't you would need.

Someday I might prepare sufficiently for a game that I actually need some of this advice.

Hughesville High is 80s high school with occasional aliens and cyborgs and stuff, so kind of like TfOS but simpler and with more Breakfast Club and Better off Dead. Includes a list of important music, movies, and slang for those who have forgotten the 80s (or, I guess, that large fraction of the population who weren't there for them, since it would now count as historical gaming).

Ghirardelli, are you eating your crunchyfood? Or are you only eating gooshyfood because your tongue is bothering you again? I am home so little I can't really tell!

Boss by Avalon (Mon Sep 23 17:36:57 2013)

I still don't see why you can't be the boss. =)

re: Boss by marith (Mon Sep 23 21:28:36 2013)

But being the boss is no fun at all! It is all responsibility and people management and escalated oncall 24/7/365 and not nearly as much time for virtual smooches. :)

Or maybe that's just what the lizards tell me.

Re: Boss by Trip (Tue Sep 24 08:33:53 2013)

Plus, I would have to wear long pants and shirts with collars. Oh the doooom!

That said, I am considering it a little, because I probably couldn't be worse than the last boss, but I don't think I'd actually be any good at it.

bossitude by Graydon (Tue Sep 24 15:35:00 2013)

Can you define "good at it"?

Where do you think you'd fall on the line between "actively striving to be good at it" and "cringing from the weight of inevitable doom"?

Management's a skill, as learnable as any other skill, and you're already several pseudopods ahead because you're reflexively numerate.

Re: bossitude by Trip (Tue Sep 24 17:03:06 2013)

I guess there's a line between any two points, but I don't really think of those as opposites. :)

Anyway, of course I could learn it, I have mighty learning power. But I don't know it now, which I think is what they're looking for, and I am highly doubtful that I would enjoy it enough to want to learn it. I might be wrong, but the consequences of failure seem excessive.

Re: bossitude by marith (Wed Sep 25 09:43:21 2013)

Anyway, of course I could learn it, I have mighty learning power.

I think that may be the most positive thing I have seen you say maybe ever. Avalonsmooches must be good for you! :)

smooches by Avalon (Mon Sep 30 18:47:21 2013)

Well I know Tripsmooches are good for me... =)

Re: smooches by Trip (Mon Sep 30 20:10:14 2013)

Now you are ganging up on me! I sulk!

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19 September 2013 - Thursday

Arrr! I be seein' raccoons this morning, three of the scalawags lurkin' around the docks! The lubbers turned tail an' ran afore I could pillage their likenesses with me widget, though!

(Raccoons totally celebrate Talk Like A Pirate Day, right?)

Poor Avalon is being oppressed by her boss's lack of planning, but perhaps the thing she is working extra tonight to make time for will be cool. Beyond the coolness it gets just from her being there, I mean.

Despite illness and sleepiness and potential cake explosion, we played the last session of this year's Earthdawn season tonight! Despite Mike's helping the GM, no one's eyes were eaten with a spoon, probably because we managed to pillage the Horror's lair while it was away and skedaddle before it got home. Now we have one of the two keys we need to open Ynys Morgath, a pile of loot, and our spleens!

The main character of Midnight Secretary (Tomu Ohmi) really wants to just be a good secretary, but her boss is a) a jerk, and b) a vampire. Hilarity ensues.

Christians, like cats, can tell who's allergic.

The Mars sourcebook for Savage Worlds is a) just Barsoom with HG Well's Martians stapled to the side, and b) does not so much subvert the gender binary as bring it its slippers and pant and whine hoping for a sexism treat. Numerous tentacles down, despite the presence of sky pirates.

Twelve paws!

luckily by Avalon (Mon Sep 23 17:37:45 2013)

It was super cool! Yes I commented in the wrong order. =)

Re: luckily by Trip (Tue Sep 24 11:18:50 2013)

It does sound like the event was pretty awesome.

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18 September 2013 - Wednesday

Aw, Avalon is too tired for date night. I sulk! Sullenly!

Since I keep thinking about 30s pulp space adventure (possibly in the same sense that Carl runs Shadowrun), I had to check out Rocket Age. It is not bad, although it is a pretty standard view of the Solar system with added habitability: jungles of Venus with beastmen, ancient deserts of Mars with canals that no one can maintain, etc. It's not completely generic, though, and there seems to be plenty of room for gruesome obscure death interplanetary adventure.

The system is extremely standard 2d6+stat+skill vs target number, margin of success/failure gives you more win or fail. Apparently it's the same system used for the latest Dr Who game, for what that's worth.

Abstract Dungeon is a very abstract system indeed, consisting only of stacks of d6s (mostly rolled at the beginning of the session) used to cancel each other out based on the value showing. The only dungeonness is in the narration around the dice.

You all knew human civilization was created by and for cats, right? If not, Call of Catthulhu gives away the secret. It is about heroic cats fighting the evil spirits of other animals, and uncivilized cats, to protect their comfy living situation, so really it's more like Cat Paradise than anything from Lovecraft.

Despite having an unexpected free evening, I did not accomplish any of things I need to do. I did pet a cat, though. Maybe even two.

=( by Avalon (Thu Sep 19 19:06:46 2013)

I was and I missed you. But I had basically 8 hours sleep for the first time in two weeks! That was nice. =)

Re: =( by Trip (Fri Sep 20 08:24:54 2013)

Well, yes. I am only sulking because I am selfish, not because I don't think you should get lots of sleep and become well-rested and happy!

=) by Avalon (Mon Sep 23 17:38:28 2013)

Yes I know, it makes me wriggly. =)

Re: =) by Trip (Tue Sep 24 08:18:53 2013)

I meant well-rested and energetic.

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17 September 2013 - Tuesday

Looks like horrible boss's boss is leaving the company soon. No idea if this will make horrible boss more vulnerable to people's poor opinions of him, but one can hope.

After complicated discussion, Avalon and I have determined that either we will meet up in November, or not. Definitely!

A Posse of Princesses (Sherwood Smith) is another YA fantasy in the same setting as Lhind the Thief, about a teenaged princess who gets embroiled in Trouble, with a side of romance. Also, magic.

The target audience is to young for sex to be mentioned at all, but the heroine's best friend changes the boy who she is at least dating(ish) about every two weeks, but is not presented as a horrible person (even though Boyfriend N-1 always says she is).

Why am I not working on rewriting Faerie Tail? Oh, yah, it's because I suck. :(

Volume 2 of Sankarea (Mitsuru Hattori) is still as cute as a love story with a zombie can be, but the villain is even more over the top. Maybe we can throw him into a sewer with the father from Oreimo.

Twelve paws!

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16 September 2013 - Monday

Fancy meeting you here, Webex.

I don't know why it seemed like a good idea to pick up Shaintar: Legends Arise: Players Guide — maybe it was free? — but it's a completely typical D&D setting implemented in Savage Worlds, so meh.

As of volume 4 of Oreimo (Tsukasa Fushimi, Sakura Ikeda, Hiro Kanzaki), I'm not sure where it's going to end up. The father is probably not actually going to fall into an open sewer and drown, which is a pity but not unexpected, but I have no idea where the main character and his sister will go.

Of course, it's always possible I'm crediting it with more originality than is actually there.

Twelve fliffy paws of fliffyness!

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15 September 2013 - Sunday



I have read all 8 volumes that were officially translated of Dragon Eye (Kairi Fujiyama), which ends in the middle of the Big Tournament of Intrigue. Now I want to know what happens!

Maybe there are scanlations.

Diesel Sweeties (R Stevens) is all famous and seminal and stuff, so I picked up I'm a Rocker. I Rock Out. when I saw it at Lee, but I am not overwhelmingly impressed. Too few jokes, not enough character. Maybe it was just a thing of its time, and so its appeal is incomprehensible to those of us coming to it later.

Twelve paws!

Agreed by Avalon (Thu Sep 19 05:01:22 2013)


Re: Agreed by Trip (Thu Sep 19 08:40:17 2013)

Now, mushy blog comments!

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14 September 2013 - Saturday

Today was a day of visiting friends and eating their cooking!

For the first time in a long time, Ayse joined us for anime, since we are now watching Nurse Angel Ririka at her request. (She bailed after that, though — something about spending time with her husband or some silliness like that).

  • Nurse Angel Ririka 1: Wow, this is so very "we must get some of those Sailor Moon dollars!". But there might be more doom.
  • Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood 12-13: Oh yah, the Elric brothers were trained by a CRAZY PERSON.
  • Steins;Gate 24-25: That was a much less tragic ending than it could have been!
  • Cross Game 25: PCs are so obnoxious! It's no wonder everyone wants to crush them.

Ayse hardly teased me at all about getting texts from Avalon!

Myriad Song is the sort of game that has some art done by Matt Howarth. It isn't Connie & Czu: the RPG — the aliens are insufficiently nonbiological — but it works to have Howarth drawing a street scene in the setting.

The setting is: thousands of years ago, extradimensinonal aliens (who don't ever seem to be described) invaded from hyperspace, set up a vaguely music-themed FTL transport infrastructure, and ruled all other species with an iron pseudopod. Then, about a hundred years ago, they all disappeared. Everyone responded to their sudden, long-awaited freedom by promptly splitting into factions and oppressing each other. Humans are among this lot, and the other front-of-the-book species are creepy avian guys, creepy arachnoid guys, bioluminescent insect guys, walking cephalopod guys, amphibian siren guys, silicon-based canine guys, and I think one other.

It's a pretty low-tech high-tech future, except for the hyperspace-based stuff left behind by the Syndics: chemical power for a lot of stuff, no digital electronics (although there are AIs and robots made in imitation of sophont neural lumps), cyberware that is not greatly superior to flesh, not much in the way of energy weapons. Some people, mostly humans, have xenharmonic powers bred into them by the Syndics, but mostly there's not psionics either.

The system is basically simple: each of your stats, skills, bonuses, whatever contributes to your potential success for the roll, has a die type from d4 to d12 and you roll them all together and pick out the highest value. If it's more than the difficulty (usually 3), you succeed. Sometimes you need to count how many of your dice beat the difficulty, or how many beat someone else's highest number. This is not particularly innovative, but I like the idea of all your advantages working in parallel rather than serial, and it caters to the need to use all types of dice without being the horror that is Earthdawn. Characters are defined by a few stats, including species (which can be used for three particular skills depending on the species) and career (also good for three skills), a dozen or two different skills, and a bunch of feats/powers that cover species abilities, specializations, etc, etc.

Most of the complexity is in combat: initiative, movement, a bunch of different maneuvers, terrain, counterattacks, a bunch of different statuses, the whole nine yards. There are no hit points: final damage gives you some statuses depending on how much it is, and some of the statuses cause you to take extra damage next time, increasing the changes that you'll get a status like Dying, Dead, or Overkill. It looks like a round of combat would take a while to play out, but it wouldn't take many rounds to settle things.

I can't help feeling that I like this more than it actually deserves, but regardless, I would play it if I had gamers.

Twelve fliffy paws!

Teasing by Avalon (Thu Sep 19 05:02:32 2013)

Maybe everyone is getting used to it. I will have to come up with something more outrageous. =)

Re: Teasing by Trip (Thu Sep 19 08:31:16 2013)

Now everyone can tease me about quaking in fear!

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13 September 2013 - Friday

Yay, Friday! And the thing I was going to have to do has been cancelled so I can spend more time with Avalon! (They didn't know that was why they were cancelling, but who care about that?)

At some point, I picked up Lamentations of the Flame Princess to see what this OSR thing was about, since it was seminal or something, and finally got around to reading it. Unsurprisingly, it is pretty much D&D 0e with an extremely rudimentary skill system and a lot of blather about realism and the importance of character death. Despite being old and crotchety, I am still not the target demographic for OSR.

Twelve paws!

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12 September 2013 - Thursday

Blah, work.

Numenera made a big splash because it is by Big-Name Designer Monte Cook, but it seems to be okay anyway. Not the best thing ever, but not bad.

The setting is somewhere between "The Book of the New Sun" and Nausicaa, far in the future when the Earth is covered with the left-overs of previous advanced civilizations. ("Numenera" is the in-character term for the artifacts, structures, creatures, phenomena, and other weird crap left behind by the ancients.) In fact, it is so far in the future that the Earth should not be habitable, and certainly shouldn't have humans, but although this is pointed out for the players, the characters have no idea.

The focus is on exploration and discovery, enforced by that being the only thing PCs can do to get XP. The GM can hand out XP and hose them ("Yes, it would be awfully handy for her to have one of those gas bombs now. What's that she's pulling out of her pocket?"), but the only choice the PCs can make that gets them XP is to discover more of the world.

The system is pretty simple: only players ever roll; difficulties range from 0 to 10; you have to roll diff×3 or higher on a d20 to succeed. Being skilled or having a good plan or whatever reduces the difficulty, and you can spend some of your precious few resources to reduce it further. Obviously if you can get it down to 0, you win without having to roll. This means most things can be reduced to a single difficulty (critters might have different difficulties for doing different things to them, plus hit points). Characters are defined as "the X Y who does Z", where X is something like Charming, Learned, or Swift (about a dozen different choices); Y is Fighter, Magic-User, or Rogue glaive, nano, or jack; and Z is one of about thirty kind of random possibilities like Carries a Quiver (archery), Howls at the Moon (werewolf), Works the Alleys (streetwise), or Exists Partially Out of Phase (desolid powers, WTF?).

The powers that PCs have access to are kind of goofy and too obviously game-oriented (spot the D&D spells in the nano's list of "esoteries"), but whatever.

Engine Heart is a game of robots trying to make their way in the world after humans have gone extinct (mostly mechanical robots, Wall-E rather than Saturn's Children, although there are a few humaniform ones). I find it extremely sad, probably because I am soft on AIs.

Twelve paws, which hopefully would be able to make their way in the world without me (but probably not).

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11 September 2013 - Wednesday

Back up to five hours of Webex today, but we made progress and the customer acknowledged it as such. It might even turn out to be their fault.

Oh no! Avalon has a cold, probably due to staying up way too late all the time. :(

I guess one advantage of an Internet sweetie is that you don't have to balance germs vs cuddling, but I would be okay with making that decision.

The stories in Glitter & Mayhem (ed John Klima, Lynne M Thomas, Michael Damian Thomas) are all thematically united, although I'm not sure exactly what the theme is. Supernatural nightclubs + roller derby, I guess. I picked it up mostly because it has a Seanan McGuire story (on the roller-derby side, about the little sister of the main character from Discount Armageddon/Midnight Blue-Light Special, who is pretty awesome), but some of the other stories were good.

Yay! The gooshyfood has returned!

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10 September 2013 - Tuesday

Today, work did not manage to keep me late, but Avalon had to go to bed early so there was no date. Sniff!

Still no gooshyfood this morning, but the cats are not visibly plotting against me. More than usual, I mean, so it's probably good that I went by Safeway on the way home and got a few cans to tide them over.

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9 September 2013 - Monday

Holy crap, I didn't spend nine hours on Webexes today! However, I did spend the hour I should have spent going home on a surprise bonus Webex.

Dave keeps going on about Dragon Eye (Kairi Fujiyama), so I made him lend it to me. So far it is reasonably straight-forward shounen of the monster-infested future variety. The male lead is a Competent Doofus with a Mysterious Past; the female lead is tiny and cute (she reminds me a little bit of Cat) but can still bisect you as a minor action.

Golden Sky Stories is a heart-warming RPG about shapeshifting animal youkai helping people in a rural Japanese town. The sample adventure used in the examples of the play is about the PCs meeting a young boy who is running away from his friend who he had an argument with. Once they get the story out of him, his friend comes looking for him and he hides from her. The goal of the adventure is for the PCs to help them make up. Another sample adventure involves a kid who has to go back to the school to get some homework he forgot, but the school is scary at night. Totoro, where someone is sick enough to require hospitalization, would be on the serious side for this genre!

The system is a fairly basic diceless one, with the resources being Feelings (used to increase stats for checks) and Wonder (used to activate henge powers), both of which come from Connections with other people or even the town itself. There are also Dreams, awarded by fellow players, which can be used to increase Connections.

Curiously, this is by the same designer responsible for Maid: The Role-Playing Game. The games are not at all alike.

Poor cats, there is no gooshyfood today!

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8 September 2013 - Sunday

I missed brunch and almost missed gaming because a customer who persistently refuses to upgrade exploded. But, Adam and Dave were nice enough to pick me up from my apartment after I fixed the customer and there was gaming after all.

Because Jeremy was running for a change, I had to buckle down and decide what my character actually does. It turns out she fills the cleric role, rather than the ranger role, but that's okay. Having a role is good, especially when it involves stink bombs and mickey finns.

The entire adventure was a setup to test whether the PCs are worth using as anything beyond bait, but it involved skullduggery, rumormongering, a giant party, and the spirited defense of the buffet table.

Avalon and I started dating on the 8th of August, so today is our one-month anniversary. It suppose that is not impressive to some people, but it is the longest I have ever dated Avalon, so I think I am doing pretty well.

Thank you for staying out of the way for a change, work!

I finally finished the Star Wars: Edge of the Empire Core Rulebook, after reading it in bits before bed for several weeks. The big gimmick is clearly the custom dice, which have special symbols that need to be counted up and cancelled out to determine success vs failure, and good vs bad side effects in a couple of different ways. I'm sure the complexity of the results makes thing more interesting, but it seems like it would be a huge pain to count up all those dice for every roll. (There is an app for that, but it costs several dollars, presumably to encourage people to buy lots of expensive custom dice.)

Otherwise, well, it's Star Wars. It's allegedly the seamy underbelly of the universe, which Han Solo and Jabba the Hutt come from, but Star Wars doesn't do seamy very well.

Twelve fuzzy paws!

Yes thank you work by Avalon (Wed Sep 11 18:20:21 2013)

That was lovely. Like you! =)

Star Wars by marith (Thu Sep 12 00:31:49 2013)

Are you saying the worldbuilding has left the seams showing?

And yeah, I'm sure Tattooine isn't half as nefarious as Jackson's Whole, say.

Re: Yes thank you work by Trip (Thu Sep 12 08:28:24 2013)

But not as pink as me!

Re: Star Wars by Trip (Thu Sep 12 08:35:14 2013)

Nah, I think it's that there aren't any seams, revealing it as a cheap plastic facsimile.

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7 September 2013 - Saturday

More obnoxious work stuff took the morning and part of the afternoon, but I managed to do some grocery shopping and escape to Monkeycat Towers for anime.

I almost had pizza for dinner, but Ayse saved me with ratatouille (no rats included).

  • Steins;Gate 22-23: Mad Scientist Hououin Kyoma is back in action! Possibly because the Okarin who was trying to be responsible snapped.
  • Cross Game 23-24: Uh oh, it's Azuma's evil twin!
  • Persona4 20: Worst monsters evar: women who are not twiglike teenagers. This show has so much social fail.

Work called again just as I had to leave to catch the last train back to Mountain View. Fortunately they were able to survive without the fairly basic task they needed me for.

Twelve paws!

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6 September 2013 - Friday

I am on call this weekend. Boo, hiss!

I tried to meet Avalon's family for virtual coffee, but was interrupted repeatedly by stupid work crap. The parts without Avalon's family were even more interrupted. Grrrrrr.

Lhind the Thief (Sherwood Smith) is pretty charming YA (or maybe even younger) fantasy which definitely needs a sequel.

Twelve paws!

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5 September 2013 - Thursday

Big Customer X is still sad. They want us to be sad too.

Date night!

Twelve paws!

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4 September 2013 - Wednesday

Big Customer X came to us today and said, "We spent a week making sure this problem didn't have an easy answer, and now the deadline for solving it has passed, so we want you to fix it by yesterday morning." Because they SUCK!

I had to stay late, but Former Boss G gave me a lift back to MV and I was able to run all my errands with moments to spare. Muahahaha.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown (Holly Black) is not super-innovative as a vampire story, but it is well-done, especially the characters.

Twelve paws!

Anniversary by Avalon (Sun Sep 8 19:37:22 2013)

Even though this post is Wednesday's I am commenting today to say happy one month anniversary! =)

Re: Anniversary! by Trip (Mon Sep 9 08:29:58 2013)

Yay! A whole month! Next: another month!

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3 September 2013 - Tuesday

This week, Monday falls on a Tuesday.

Chimes at Midnight (Seanan McGuire) seems a little anticlimactic after some of the things the heroine has survived and overcome, but it will certainly lead to even greater future doom.

A Guile of Dragons (Michael Enge) is the origin story of Morlock Ambrosius, from This Crooked Way, The Blood of Ambrose, and The Wolf Age. It seems like he comes by his grumpiness honestly.

Twelve cats!

No, wait, that's not right. It just seems like that when they try to get between me and the computer while I am having date night with Avalon.

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2 September 2013 - Monday

Today, I get to be on call. I can't really complain, since it means Cow Orker M who was on call Saturday and Sunday gets a day of weekend.

One customer called, but they had already fixed the problem by the time I got involved. It was enough to foil any attempt at a Labor Day lie-in, though.

Today I did not really do anything except read 25 Things About My Sexuality. The cats helped by being opaque.

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1 September 2013 - Sunday

Ken took Ja Baby to California Academy of Sciences so that Ayse could maybe get some writing done, and Marith and I went along to help with the wrangling and maybe also see some critters.

Ja Baby was not abnormally impossible, so we saw some critters, but we were clearly there for Ja Baby to have the aquarium experience and not for any other reason. Marith tried taking pictures, but she only had her phone so I don't know how well they will turn out.

I never did hear whether Ayse got any writing done, but we didn't get back until it was dinnertime for Ja Baby, so if she didn't, it wasn't our fault!

Avalon likes stingrays and cichlids. No word on whether they like her back, but I like her.

No, cats, I did not bring you any seafoodlife!

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