Previously, in Trip's Life...

30 April 2017 - Sunday

Last week's PAD&D5 is this week!

After finishing last sessions's escort quest, the Heroines of Red Larch try to get back to exploring the underground part of [SPOILER], but need some speciality gear. In the big city, they report to the authorities about all the good work they've been doing against [SPOILER], so have to cough up slightly less gold for the gear. Then Mika's not-at-all-shadowy and not-at-all-sinister masters send her a crowgram to go down to [SPOILER] for another escort quest. It's not exactly what everyone else wants to do, but it's a good deed and in the right direction, so the whole team sets out for [SPOILER], stopping to let [SPOILER] know what's up with Rimardo's glowing [SPOILER]. The escort quest goes pretty well up until almost Red Larch, when they attract the attention of [SPOILER] who very unfairly use tactics. The enemy can't hurt the Heroines, but the Heroines can't do a lot to protect the civilians and their draft animals from hit-and-run despite Lam's new paladin steed Honk-Sneeze the Very Large Elk and his high movement. Finally, they manage to get set up to receive the next attack, and despite some [SPOILER] showing up to help the bad guys, beat them down and get their leader's surrender.

No Avalon, she has more kid sickness. :(

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29 April 2017 - Saturday

Jus's school had a festivity and a walk-a-thon today, so I went and mostly hung out with Nonny because I have most-favored-uncle status. While I was doing that, Jus walked five miles for donations!

Everyone was wiped out after all day in the hot sun, even people who did not walk five miles, so eventually we ordered yummy Thai food to eat with our anime.

  • My Little Pony 9: Xenophobia is bad. I'm not sure that depiction of the outsider would really pass muster these days, though.
  • Durarara!!x2 2.9: Wow, Izaya backstory! Everything really is his fault.
  • Vision of Escaflowne 15: Mecha catgirls and PTSD!
  • Onimonogatari 3-4: MEEP! :(
  • Steven Universe 2.11: Body horror for nonhumans!

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28 April 2017 - Friday

Marith came over and we watched Cowboy Bebop up through 11. Now we have the whole crew, and also some kind of horrible thing! And assorted tragic pasts.

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27 April 2017 - Thursday

Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits (David Wong) is not related to John Dies at the End, being near-future supervillainy in a libertarian topia, but it also has a protagonist from the lower end of society, although Zoey is a better person than David and is faced with less cosmic doom. Although, from a human perspective, mad science and billions of dollars are so overwhelming there might not be a difference.

I am so far behind on this. I think I better quite babbling about game design until I am caught up.

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26 April 2017 - Wednesday

We have no Brooks, so Mike took over his food slot. The experimental barbecue was only mediocre, though.

Since we finished the current plot arc in 13th Age, we are going to play Dungeon World for a while! But it will be terrible, because I am running.

After some worldbuilding, we have a barbarian whose people were frozen in time (and a glacier) long ago, a fire priest from the fallen dwarven civilization, a tiefling warlock (because making deals is the most merchant-class form of magic), and a swashbuckling pirate heroine. I have determined that they will start in Owlbear Crossing, where the owlbears are milked.

Maybe we should have left more blanks on the map? Eh, my brain has plenty of blanks, it'll be good enough.

Apparently, PbtA Eclipse Phase already exists. I am kind of afraid to read it, because it will be either better than I could do, or WRONGWRONGWRONG (or possibly even both). I should probably die in a pit preemptively.

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25 April 2017 - Tuesday

Once again I went to the far office, but there are now more people there, so although there is still room for me, it feels even more too crowded. Plus if other people go on Tuesdays, the near office will be less crowded!

This Book is Full of Spiders: Seriously, Dude, Don't Touch It (David Wong) is the sequel to John Dies At The End, or at least another horrifying episode involving the banality of modern life in the lower socio-economic stratum, horrible monsters taking over and/or eating people, official unhelpfulness, a dog named Molly, and the potential end of the world. It is a little more serious than the first one, or at least takes itself more seriously.

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24 April 2017 - Monday

Columbus Day, SpecOps, and Paradise (Craig Alanson) are full of flaws, but I read them anyway, probably because I am also full of flaws. Having run out of them, I might be able to avoid starting up again if another one is released.

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23 April 2017 - Sunday

No gaming, people are busy. Gaming next week.

Today I did some shopping and generally walked around, which I guess was good even though I still didn't make it to 10k steps. Fresh air is healthy, right?

For possibly the first time, I did all of every single fight in a Marvel Puzzle Quest event, even though I didn't get full points for the last few iterations of each one. It was not as satisfying as one might hope, and also didn't get me enough Iso-8 to level up the character I was trying to level up. Bah.

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22 April 2017 - Saturday

I threw my Saturday routine off by going to the March! For! Science! I have never been to a protest before, so I wasn't sure what to expect. It was mostly very slow, which I guess is reasonable since I heard there were about 10,000 people there! It didn't look like that many, but what do I know about crowds? Anyway, we marched from City Hall to Plaza de Cesar Chavez, which is a few blocks, and then there were speeches by various science-oriented people including our Congressional rep for the district and Phil Plait. Hopefully it made people who were considering supporting science-denier Nazi fuckwits reconsider? I dunno, man. I know marches are a thing that has an effect, but it didn't feel like it.

  • My Little Pony 8: Twilight Sparkle is totally the sort of person who would attempt to have fun by the book, yep.
  • Durarara!!x2 8: Apparently this gambling ring and these people who just got pwned will be important later in the plot, somehow.
  • Vision of Escaflowne 14: Putting a freaky PC with One Unique Thing in the mecha voids the warranty.
  • Onimonogatari 1-2: The art for Shinobu's backstory is almost all stills, and it's still interesting! But so very very doomed.
  • Steven Universe 2.8: Amethyst is such a weirdo.
  • Steven Universe 2.9: Bad Pearl! Self-abnegation is not a prerequisite for martial prowess!
  • Steven Universe 2.10: "Weird" and "secure" don't usually go together, Ronaldo.

Mysterious Girlfriend X (Riichi Ueshiba) volume 5 has a mysterious movie, which is really quite ominous. I hope that foreshadowing does not come to pass!

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20 April 2017 - Thursday

Marith came over and watched another few episodes of Cowboy Bebop (we're up to #7). The protagonists really are very bad at making money.

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19 April 2017 - Wednesday

Hurray Thai food!

But then I continued to suck abysmally at 13th Age, because I suck and can neither think or talk. However, there was a big fight and we escaped with the Emperor (traumatized though he may be) and Mrs Li's arm, having sent Trouble to bother our enemies, so perhaps this arc is over.

For We Are Many (Dennis E Taylor) is the sequel to We Are Legion, in which our uploaded hero continues to try to make things better with technology. I don't think the author gives enough weight to the years that are passing, or the scale of even solar systems, let alone interstellar space. For that matter, the power of exponential growth seems to wax and wane as convenient for the plot. And finally, what is up with highly social species always being cast as the implacable foe?

I still don't know what SCOOS2 characters want! It has to be something serious enough that they will work toward it at least sometimes, scarce enough that monsters from other schools will compete for it, concrete enough that it's reasonably obvious how to work toward it, and not so heavy that grownups would step in. And not too boring and not too goofy.

Teenagers normally want what? Sex, the adulation of their peers, the respect of their elders? Not concrete enough, unless they get quantified somehow, and probably also not scarce. Speaking of sex, both Apocalypse World and Monsterhearts both have moves that are trigged by the character having sex with someone, and Urban Shadows has a more generalized "intimacy" one, but possibly this is not a route to go down. Although Lovecraft is full of unnatural breeding and stuff, and sex jokes are certainly popular...

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18 April 2017 - Tuesday

I avoided going to the far office, yay. Then I went home and saw Avalon, who is having a hard time because she is surrounded by people who are not good enough for her. Bah, humans!

Volume 4 of Mysterious Girlfriend X (Riichi Ueshiba) finishes up the idol plotline that started in the last volume, but after that, the two leads' relationship goes into kind of a holding pattern. I hope something interesting happens in volume 5!

So what do SCOOS2 PCs do? This question is still open!

See things others are blind to? Check.

Go places others can't? Gates to other places, R'lyeh, the Dreamlands, okay check.

Talk to things others cannot converse with? Check, see above.

Survive where others expire? Mentally, at least.

Defeat foes others cannot beat? Maybe... I still need to figure out what the fundamental conflict is.

Transform themselves? Well, monstering out is traditional. But transformation leads inevitably to magical girls, which might not be ideal (especially since I only have four kinds of magic, not the five that a proper team would need).

Actually, it's not like the PC playbooks have to be built the same way, or form a set, or anything, they just all have to be interesting to play. Being self-contained is handy that way. Without worrying about consistency, then, the ones that come immediately to mind are:

  • Sailor Yuggoth - magical girl with adorable space-fungus-lobster sidekick
  • The Deep One - soggy, with a rich cultural history
  • The Ghoul - grubby, poor impulse control
  • The Cultist - human, but with aspirations
  • The Mad Scientist - human, but with a plan
  • The Normal - strangely resistant to SAN Loss but otherwise just some guy
  • The Construct - robot? mutant? zombie? Robot mutant zombie!
  • The Catgirl from Saturn - or catboy, if you can even tell the difference
  • The Yithian - like the mad scientist, but more aloof
  • The Dark Young Jailbait of Shub-Niggurath - cloven hooves and tasteful tentacles

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17 April 2017 - Monday

Somehow I managed to look at a different screen tonight, and watched the first episode of Dark Matter because Earl and Ken both like it. Hey, look, PoC! Even if somewhat stereotyped. So far it is as well done as can be expected for visual SF in a future setting, although there are plenty of issues like the ship being ridiculously huge for six people, inconsistent artificial gravity, terrible fighting techniques from people who should know better, and poorly-thought-out direct interfacing. The first episode ends on a big reveal, so I'll have to see what the second episode brings.

John Dies At The End (David Wong) is about two hapless guys who encounter reality-corrupting monsters of various horrible kinds and find their already-mediocre lives getting ruined, or at least thrown into an uproar. The main character is pretty much a doofus, but sometimes manages to do the right thing, despite bug monsters, mysterious people from nowhere, a deep uncertainty as to what is really real, and Las Vegas. I see why it is a cult favorite.

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16 April 2017 - Sunday

Happy Jewish Zombie Day, everyone!

Ayse and Ken had the usual feast, but Cat could not make it because she is even more of an introvert than I am. We devoured shallots and pork loin and potatoes and deviled eggs and many other things, but then exploded due to lack of energy, and did not watch Nirvana in Fire or anything.

Secret of the Princess (Milk Morinaga) has the often-used trope of "you'll do anything to keep your secret? then go out with me!" but it doesn't start out "for real", and the blackmailer soon suffers serious remorse, so I don't mind too much. Also, complete in one volume!

So I still don't know exactly what SCOOS2 PCs do, but apparently most people don't understand or remember it when they do it. That doesn't mean monstering out turns you invisible, you'll just get extra detention for not taking off that silly costume right now, young lady! I think that means the PCs can't be outright monsters, which is fine. Being torn between two worlds is obviously much more melodramatic, although making the game about self-definition is suspiciously serious.

What kind of things do the PCs do that make NPCs go blank (besides sorcery and/or mad science)? Should they have actual powers? Yes, because this is still a comedy game about teenage monsters, not subtle psychological drama about alienation and poor body image! Although creatures like Deep One Hybrids don't have much in the way of powers in Lovecraft, or even in Emrys...

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15 April 2017 - Saturday

Today I managed to go grocery shopping, but that is about it.

In the afternoon, I went over to Monkeycat Towers for egg dying, and have the brightly-colored fingertips to prove it! But Marith was hiding in her sickbed, and Ayse and Ken were wiped out from being up with sick kid all night, so there was no anime.

The Flying Witch manga (Chihiro Ishizuka) seems to be the same as the anime, only in black and white and not moving.

Okay, so I can't figure out what exactly SCOOS2 characters should be doing, beyond "teenager stuff" and "high school stuff". But what it means to be a teenager or a high-schooler depends on the setting, so maybe I can approach it from that end.

The most important thing in any environment is the people, so how do NPCs deal with these magic-using monsters? In CoC, when you get exposed to mind-blasting horror, you first get the chance to fail an INT-based roll to not understand what you're seeing, and then if you make that, you still get a SAN roll to avoid flipping out, so the three possible outcomes are:

  1. Don't see/process/remember the thing, at least not correctly ("It was terrorists! With chainsaws!")
  2. Deal with the thing just fine
  3. Flip out, which I think means succumb to an established desire, or maybe just run away/freeze

(In other words, the standard three options: win, lose, or don't play.) PCs need to mostly be B, except when it would be funny. A and C are both funny for NPCs, but A is probably better as a general thing for background NPCs. Actually, optional C (if it would be funny) and then A would be best. Would people who routinely interact with the PCs, like parents and faculty, have to be B as well? Or could they be A? I suppose being given detention for playing a stupid prank on the teacher isn't really any different than being given detention for monstering out in front of the teacher! (Is detention still a thing?)

If the PCs are hybrids or humaniform larvae or whatever, maybe they have three corresponding options for their future: human, monster, or (just maybe) stay a part of both worlds. I don't usually go for games with a definite end, but maybe it would fit, here. Kind of a long way from the wacky Toon-like hijinx of TFOS that SCOOS was based on.

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14 April 2017 - Friday

Most of the Tor originals have been good, but I did not get "The Jewel and her Lapidary" (Fran Wilde) at all. Presumably this is because I am illiterary.

As is traditional in yuri, Kiss & White Lily for my Dearest Girl vol 1 (Canno) has leads of disparate personality, but this time one is the one who studies and studies and is second in the entire school at academics, and the other one sleeps through class and still comes in first. There may be sparks. Cute sparks.

Game design is hard, let's play Marvel Puzzle Quest and reblog stuff on Tumblr.

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13 April 2017 - Thursday

No Avalonhugs, she was up all last night with sick kid. Instead, Marith came over, and since she wants to save Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu for Nigh-Weekly Anime, we watched the first three episodes of Cowboy Bebop. I had forgotten just how terrible Spike and Jet are at getting paid.

Also Ghirardelli got petted, because he is rich in purrs.

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12 April 2017 - Wednesday

Welcome to our cyberpunk dystopia (although for full marks it should have been a for-profit prison).

This week at 13th Age: Persian food! I got "Jewel Polo", because how could I resist a name like that? But we have no Brooks because one of his family peoples is in the grasp of what Americans call "health care".

Possibly due to the lack of Brooks, Ken wanted us to run a heist as other characters who might be taking advantage of the commotion to also try to steal the White. Because his children are younger and his work is less competent than Jeremy's, he did not have time to make these alternate characters, although he tried to switch to Dungeon World and then Fiasco, neither of which is simple enough for switching in a session that short. Finally we just winged (wung?) it as the Undead A-Team with essentially Coin-Flip Dungeon and it was ridiculous. Because we are ridiculous.

The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps and A Taste of Honey (Kai Ashante Wilson) are respectively a short novel and a novella set in a fantasy world that is nominally far-future SF, where most people are black instead of white (because seriously, why not?). The sufficiently-advanced underpinnings didn't quite ring true to me, but they were pretty good for their part in the story. Also, boy-smooches and an ambiguity!

"The Devil in America" is also by Wilson, and also fantasy, but not otherwise related. It is set in the southern US in the late 19th century, and the named characters are black, so it's horror far beyond anything the main character's poor design merits.

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11 April 2017 - Tuesday

Bah, I got suckered into commuting all the way to the far office for the all-hands, and then it was cancelled. Stupid San Mateo.

The Chthonic Codex (Paolo Greco, Christopher Stanley) is another OSR thing, maybe a whole campaign, set in the Hypogea ("underearth") of caves and deep chasms beneath a horrible desert, where schools of mages have relocated for the mana-tar and formed their own closed society. There are strange conceptual monsters, new spells, rules for learning spells by mystic initiation, map generation by throwing handsful of dice, and piles of random tables for generating bizarre assignments from your master, bizarre masters emeritus, bizarre ritual actions for mystic initiation, you get the idea. Also, goat creatures.

I'm up to episode 7 of Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid, which is still cute and wacky (and fanservice) but also a little melancholy.

If thinking about who SCOOS characters are is too hard, what about what they do? Hm, also hard. How about who tries to stop them from doing it? For that, I think it should be other teenagers, and adults who interact with them as teenagers, not monsters that will eat the world or Delta Green operatives who want to stop them from eating the world or the like.

But what are they being stopped from doing? In a perfect gaming group, it wouldn't be necessary to think about what the characters should do, because anyone who made a character would be overflowing with direction and ambition, but any gaming group I'm part of is necessarily imperfect. Most gamers are at least willing to avoid "I keep my head down and try to graduate with a good GPA and no criminal record", but there should be some kind of direction, even if the clarity of Seadog Tuxedo (you are Penguin Pirates, and Sun Shamans are coming up with wacky schemes to melt your icebergs) is out of reach.

Just needing a resource (blood, sacrificial victims, sweet sweet uranium) is something, but maybe doesn't provide enough variety. Oh, hey, since magic is a thing, what about a magical ritual? Not the "avoid wandering monsters for ten minutes and get a free spell" of D&D, but something between a heroquest and a lifestyle, that takes a year (or four) to go through all the steps. Each time interval, or by each astrological checkpoint, each group (club? grade? school?) has to accomplish some set of ritual actions: "Before Aldebaran sets for the last time, you must... (roll, roll)  defend  a/the  jeweled   princess  from/against a/the  first light ." Then you have to figure out what that means (a "Signs By Which Ye Shall Know Them" table?), and foil all the other groups who are simultaneously trying to foil you (even if there isn't only one "jeweled princess").

That could be a pretty awesome game! But I'm not sure it's this game. It doesn't seem like the right flavor of magic for even a fluffier Cthulhu mythos, even if I give up on the fire/blood/dream/star system. Bah!

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10 April 2017 - Monday



Speaking of SCOOS, there were a few mechanics I wanted to shoehorn in.

  • The tension/escalation counter being stars. I don't know whether the stars being more right should mean higher stakes, like Danger in Danger Patrol, or more power until you get too many and explode, like Exhaustion/Madness in Don't Rest Your Head, or something else entirely, but I'm pretty sure that once you get to one star, cell reception goes out.
  • The four kinds of magic:
    • Fire (electricity, alchemy, weather, the forces of nature, explosions, Cthuga)
    • Blood (bodies, shapeshifting, genetic crimes, healing, disease, zombies, Shub-Nigurath)
    • Dream (minds, visions, mind control, the Dreamlands, astral projection, Cthulhu)
    • Star (numerology, geometry, teleportation, time travel, intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, Yog-Sothoth)
  • Change Sanity to something less ablist. "SAN loss" in SCOOS is more like executive depletion anyway. "Chill"?

But before I can worry about any of that, I have to go back to first principles: Who are the PCs? What do they do? Classic SCOOS is pretty much TFOS, with a random mix of humans and all kinds of aliens monsters in high school, facing random nonsense (A giant space cat shoggoth has decided you are its offspring! An alien empire A swarm of mi-go takes violent exception to your kidnapping their people for your science fair project!) or sometimes school-related nonsense (Big football game but the quarterback has been abducted by a giant space cat shoggoth!), but I'm no longer convinced that random wackiness is the right way to make a comedy game.

So, who are the PCs? Humans? Human-monster hybrids? Vaguely humanoid monsters? Complete monstrosities? "All of the above" seems too unfocused now. And how does my view change after reading "The Litany of Earth" and "Winter Tide"?

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9 April 2017 - Sunday

Today, PAD&D5!

The Heroines of Redlarch and their captors make it to their destination without further opportunities for experience gain, and of course are completely vindicated, morally speaking. However, the law does not understand, and they are obligated to take an escort job for [SPOILER] at under the market rate, the difference going to pay off their fines.

Their escortee attracts trouble from her own enemies and passers-by, and the Heroines are of course hated by evil-doers whose comrades they have previously defeated, but after three battles they make it to the other side of the map and deliver [SPOILER].

Level UP!

All Lam gets at 6th level is an aura of +2 to saves, but apparently other classes do better, so maybe we won't be utterly crushed by whatever we encounter next (probably the rest of the [SPOILER] since we were arrested before we could finish).

Volume 3 of In/Spectre (Kyo Shirodaira, Chashiba Katase) is full of exposition, more than I thought warranted but maybe the intended audience isn't as steeped in genre. Also, the main character is still kind of a terrible person, but very amusing. I can't tell if the male lead is actually completely uninterested, or just taciturn to the point of opacity.

session write-ups by Jeremy (Wed Apr 12 16:32:13 2017)

Have I mentioned how much I look forward to these write-ups? :-)

I think Lam just got an aura of +2 to saves, AND a semi-autonomous ninja drone with ridiculous movement options. I'm really beginning to regret that ax (which isn't anywhere in the module, BTW).

Re: session write-ups by Trip (Thu Apr 13 09:50:45 2017)


Lam has never actually used the illumination-changing power, so there's no retcon required if you want to nerf redefine it.

Re: session write-ups by Jeremy (Thu Apr 13 19:31:09 2017)

Nope, I made my bed and will have to lie in it.

And whine a lot, and write up some suitably creative opposition. :-)

Re: session write-ups by Trip (Fri Apr 14 11:35:36 2017)

Your commitment to the shape of your doom is commendable!

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8 April 2017 - Saturday

Useless! After the cleaners left, I spent all morning and much of the afternoon sitting in my room reading. I did not go grocery shopping, I did not even get lunch. Completely useless!

I did go to anime, at least.

  • My Little Pony 7: Don't mess with Fluttershy's friends!
  • Durarara!!x2 7: Mysterious villains attack! Also, Kida has some kind of weird idea in his head about saving Mikado from himself, I can tell.
  • Vision of Escaflowne 13: The final battle for Freid. :(
  • Otorimonogatari 3-4: That is not how I was afraid this arc was going to end!
  • Steven Universe 2.6: Guitar Dad!
  • Steven Universe 2.7: I wonder how many straight guys thought Garnet was being unreasonable? I wonder how many girls will take it to heart anyway?

Phantom Pains (Mishell Baker) is the sequel to Borderline, in which everything we thought we knew about Faerie and magic is turned upside-down. Our main character is still a huge mess in many ways, but she is really doing her best, and succeeds in both making things better and being better herself. I didn't like it quite as much as the first one, possibly because less novel, but it did a good job of turning everything upside-down.

Perilous Waif (E William Brown) is pretty much a more modern Citizen of the Galaxy: a young person starts off in an orphanage on a religion-blighted backwater planet, talks her way onto a starship, and has amazing adventures which raise her status greatly. However, this young person is in a society with Eclipse Phase levels of AI, custom bodies, and variant cultures, and is heavily augmented herself. In fact, her augmentations are one of the central mysteries of the book, only explained towards the end. This is allegedly the first book of a series, although I'm not sure where it can go from here that isn't ridiculous.

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7 April 2017 - Friday

Yay, it's Friday! Will I manage to sleep?

We Are Legion (Dennis Taylor) is fundamentally terrible, because nerdy white guy fixes everything, but at least the white guy had to get killed and turned into the AI for a von Neumann probe first. He is reasonably well-intentioned and does not think fixing things means killing all the brown people, either, so for a random self-published book on Amazon, that is doing pretty well! (Also, being a mainframe, he does not get any girls.)

Will Save the Galaxy for Food (Yahtzee Croshaw) is part parody of pulp space pilots flying around and having adventures with alien princesses and whatnot, but also about people who used to do something meaningful being reduced to ferrying tourists around for staged thrills because Progress. And gangster admins. It was okay funny, but it treated the pulp space adventure as a joke, which reduced the impact of its loss.

I bought Uprooted (Naomi Novik) some time ago, but failed to read it until just now, when Ayse reminded me. That was foolish of me! It is a very good fantasy adventure, not quite a fairy-tale but definitely on that side of fantasy. There is even a prince in shining armor, who is neither perfect nor terrible (well, not more terrible than the base level for aristocracy), but the best supporting character is the Wood, which is way creepier than most unknown terrors. The wizards are also good, because all of it is good.

I don't seem to be getting very far with EPWorld, so on the walk home I thought about other games I have tried to design and failed because I didn't have the Power of the Apocalypse (or just because I suck at game design).

Peking Space Opera Blues is probably not different enough from other space opera to be worth reviving. Using common personal energy shields as a gimmick to make martial arts combat favored over blasters is nice, but really people should be sticking each other with fusion-powered tasers or shark sticks, not just punching each other. There are games where one-hit kills are the default (The Gaean Reach), but I don't think anything descended from Feng Shui should be like that.

For ages I have wanted to do a 1930ish space game and I even have some bits for it (Death Squids from Alpha Centauri! Antarean Wasp-Soldiers!) but I keep foundering on how to make spaceflight that allows for some kind of exciting interaction between ships (even if not actual dogfighting) and could be done sans computers while still respecting or at least acknowledging the distances of space. Reactionless inertialess flight from one planet to another so ships only interact in atmosphere? Hyperspace tunnels filled with some kind of atmosphere for swooping? Nothing seems quite right, and the Apocalypse will not help me here.

For a less long time I have wanted to do something combining magical girls and dungeon crawling, but I don't really have a premise (Who are these weirdos? What do they do?) yet. I'm not even sure what the theme for the transformations is! Only a brain could help me.

And, of course, SCOOS, my only game complete enough to make it onto RPGGeek but still ancient and horrible. Wait, those are features, not bugs! But I would still like to redo it. Except I'm not sure I can because what I think of as high school hasn't existed decades. Movie 80s high school never really existed, but these days, if a kid steps out of line, they get clubbed to the ground by fully-armed riot cops and dragged away. People have said that Call of Cthulhu is a work of sublime dark comedy because it is written as serious horror, but...

Mmm, peanut butter ice cream. (Ice cream not included, but at least it's icy and creamy.)

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5 April 2017 - Wednesday

Gaming dinner tonight was Korean fried chicken, which was very tasty but not as filling as I hoped. Maybe I should have ravened more, but I always worry about leaving enough for other people.

This week in 13th Age, we had no Mike, so K'Tangs was busy negotiating with vampires while everyone else wandered off into the comedy plotline. There were silly disguises, a flaming skull trying to pick up on the skull Anwë was carrying in a birdcage (it had the directions to where K'Tangs had divined the Emperor and Mrs Li's arm were), and a staged sealed-room murder mystery where Anwë got to sweep over Mr Decapitating Triple-Wraith (of the Blasphemous Laboratory Triple-Wraiths) in her flowy white necromantic-servant robes and leave nothing behind. One of the undead in the murder play was using Mrs Li's arm as a prop, so they figured the Emperor couldn't be far away, and sure enough, he was in luxurious house arrest at the top of the tower while bride candidates were presented to him. Anwë got to the front of the line and vamped the Emperor to get the Lich King's guards to move away to give them some privacy, and then Fay grabbed him and jumped out the window with her Koru Barbarian hang-glider.

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4 April 2017 - Tuesday

Far office again, for briefing on all the exciting features of the new release, but at least there was Indian food. (I ate way too much naan, but it was so tasty.) Also people admired my pink shorts, but did not call them fabulous.


Winter Tide (Ruthanna Emrys) follows on from "The Litany of Earth", as Aphra Marsh gets drafted by the FBI to help with an investigation again, this time closer to her ancestral home of Innsmouth. It's an extremely anti-othering spin on the Mythos, which is not to say that everything is fluffy and made of puppies. There are still things that are fundamentally inimical to life-as-we-know-it, and plenty of things that are life-as-we-know-it but still jerks (like the old white guys at Miskatonic, who somehow come off as less than heroic this time).

The Internet tells me there is to be at least one more book, and there are definitely enough interesting new characters for a long series.

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3 April 2017 - Monday

Ew, Monday.

I read some OSR adventures, for no really good reason.

  • Castle Gargantua, a randomized giant castle full of traps, transformation, illusion, and grotesque death.
  • Blood in the Chocolate, industrial espionage in the secret factory of the Netherlands' foremost chocolatier. Plenty of grotesque death.
  • Misty Isles of the Eld, LE elves from hell and their horrible bio-/psycho-tech machinations. Death, grotesque, probable.

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2 April 2017 - Sunday

Today, I did nothing that was of any use to anyone!

Decrypting Rita (Margaret Trauth) is about a robot in a transhuman future who accidentally gets distributed across multiple timelines (which may or may not be real) and must save the world in all of them. It is awesome, and visually exciting. Read it in a good light, though.

Speaking of transhuman futures, I need to figure out how to handle mercurials in EPWorld. The simple and obvious solution is to make The AGI and The Uplift playbooks, but I don't know that it's the right solution. Is being an uplifted octopus as central to a character as being a xenolinguist or a Martian Ranger or a mob hacker? Either "yes" or "no" is a valid answer, but probably I have to pick one. If the answer is "no", then probably each ego playbook needs a space to check Origin and get a minor move, like the way Dungeon World handles races.

A moderately-fine breakdown of Origin would be: human, AGI, simian uplift, cetacean uplift, avian uplift, cephalopod uplift. (Folding all the uplifts together would be Cephalopod Erasure!) Am I missing some? Are there finer divisions of AGI? Can simian uplift be folded into human? I guess I need to go back through Eclipse Phase.

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1 April 2017 - Saturday

Today it was nice and sunny, but breezy enough that it was somehow not too hot, which doesn't happen very often here in California, but should happen more!

In the afternoon, I walked through the lovely weather to birthday sushi and nommed it with many of my friends, including Brooks and Kelsey who I normally only see at 13th Age (only Dave came from the PAD &D5 crowd because everyone else was busy doing things not related to ME). Hurray!

Since we had Earl and Cat, after everyone went back to Ayse and Ken's place and hung out a bit and put kids to bed (I have been replaced as Nonny's favored bedtime story reader, oh NO!), uninvolved people went back home and we watched...

  • Nirvana in Fire 13-14: Sheesh, those other people trying to plot when Chang Mei Su is already plotting in this kingdom! Also, ninjas vs eunuchs!

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