Previously, in Trip's Life...

30 July 2017 - Sunday

No PAD&D5 because people are busy, but Mike had boardgaming all day just down the street, so the first part of my was actually pretty much the same.

There were enough people that we split into two tables. The one I was at played 10 Days in Africa (simple, possibly good for kids), poked at First Class but gave up because there were too many rules just to set up, played Tokaido (charming), and then when Kelsey and Brooks showed up tried Mansions of Madness (a little confusing, despite having an iOS app to play the GM, but we declared victory nonetheless). The other table played Titan and then I think Betrayal at House on the Hill, with maybe something else in between. There were about nine people playing games, but perhaps because we were split up, I did not explode from lack of extrovert power.

I didn't win any games except the cooperative victory in Mansions of Madness, but had some fun playing anyway.

Kelsey gave me a lift home, which was faster than walking to the train station and riding the train or bus and walking home, even if not as healthy.

You'd think I'd be old enough to not notice young women in low-cut dresses, but apparently I still suck.

Avalon's work is still trying to crush her, but she is not dead!

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29 July 2017 - Saturday

I really meant to get up and shower before the cleaners, instead of after, but I failed. Everything is later and sweatier now.

It has been a long time since we had Earl and Cat for Nirvana in Fire instead of anime, so we did! Also, mussels and more mussels!

  • My Little Pony 19: We tried to watch this, but Jus said the monsters were too scary for right before bed, so then we didn't watch it. Since we only ever show MLP right before she goes to bed, I don't know when we're going to watch it.
  • Nirvana in Fire 17-18: The secret doors episode! And Meng is a good guy, but too upright for this life.

Veins of the Earth is a supplement (nominally for LotFP but compatible with probably any OSR) about a terrifying and fantastical underworld, by Patrick Stuart and Scrap Princess, the team responsible for Fire on the Velvet Horizon and Deep Carbon Observatory. It is inspired by actual caving (which is a lot harsher than most games, although maybe not as harsh as having to make six consecutive d20 rolls under your mediocre stats), so it is dark and resource-poor and hard to navigate in, and full of freakishly deformed civilizations and bizarre monsters. It has the mix of magic and science that seems to be characteristic of old old skool: creatures evolved from archaeans, Neanderthal shaman-ghosts, atomic bees that use your carbonized bones as control rods for their reactor-hives. Also, a bunch of odd effects from spending too much time in pitch-blackness eating your friends to survive, weird spells, three-dimensional random map generation, twelve different kinds of darkness, and a centipede the size of a freight train with a museum on its back.

Like DCO and FotVH, VotE is a little too poetic for me to fully absorb, but is excitingly dark and surreal and makes me wish I were creative.

I want to say something about Species Domain (Shunsuke Noro), but I'm not sure what. I think it's the only manga I've seen in which the main character tries to seem like someone who could do magic even though magic doesn't work in this universe?

MLP by marithlizard (Wed Aug 2 20:15:27 2017)

Most of the episodes of MLP have much less scary monsters, so I think it will be okay if we just skip that particular one and move on.

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27 July 2017 - Thursday

I figured out how to make next week's Dungeon World session exciting, although it does rely on the players getting some bad rolls. I think that's a safe plan with this group. Muahahahahaha.

Other than that, nothing accomplished.

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26 July 2017 - Wednesday

Dungeon World and Indian food!

This session was at least differently awful, with lots of robot arms to fight, and also the peril of falling. I need to figure out how to handle players who all want attention at the same time; I can see why rounds and initiative order became a thing. Maybe I need to try to arrange fights where people are spread out? Or just ignore people other than the one I'm talking to, but that's rude!

Sovereign (April Daniels) is the sequel to Dreadnought, in which further supervillainy must be thwarted. The major plot element from the first book is not neglected, and the supervillain plan is suitably epic and obnoxious. Also, TERFs suck.

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24 July 2017 - Monday

I went to work, which I guess counts as something, but otherwise, useless.

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23 July 2017 - Sunday

Today I accomplished even less than yesterday. I didn't even do a good job of feeding or watering myself. Also, I took a nap.

Aspen seems to be doing well despite the twice-daily oppression of medicine.

I can at least do some links!

As usual, these are mostly from Affinity.

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22 July 2017 - Saturday

Did I accomplish anything today? Meh, not really. I read volume 3 of Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur (Amy Reeder, Brandon Montclare, Natacha Bustos, Ray-Anthony Height), that's about it.

I have been keeping Aspen's cone of shame on except when I am right there to watch her, but she does not seem to be fussing at her wound at all. Maybe the painkiller is keeping her too high to worry? She doesn't like getting the medicine squirts, but she doesn't fight as much as she would have in the past.

Poor kitty.

  • My Little Pony 18: I think the lesson here is that any publicity (award) is good publicity?
  • Durarara!!x2 3.5: Nothing good can come of annoying Celty that much.
  • Vision of Escaflowne 23: Allen Schezar, don't be a doofus!
  • Steven Universe 2.24-25: Even Peridot cannot resist the influence of Earth! Just like Garnet couldn't, back during the days of her origin story, apparently!

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21 July 2017 - Friday

Work provided lunch today in exchange for listening to the all-hands meeting, but it was pizza and salad, so not much better than the salad I would have had. Hmph.

I thought tonight would be doing laundry and maybe watching a video with Marith, but instead it was emergency vet expedition, because I am a terrible cat-dad!

I was trying to trim mats out of Aspen's fur, but she was wiggly and I was inept and I trimmed her skin! She did not complain (more than she was complaining about being touched to begin with), but it looked pretty bad, so I used the lizardsignal to summon Marith and we whisked her to the vet for the second time in two days. Now Aspen has staples and drugs and a cone of shame and more drugs and a shirt, which is way too much stuff for any one cat to put up with!

Neither Marith nor the vets said how much I sucked for hurting Aspen so badly, although I am sure they were thinking it.

Were not! by marithlizard (Mon Jul 24 00:25:37 2017)

I am pretty sure that everyone who has ever tried to perform any kind of procedure on a protesting wiggly (cat/dog/kid/fellow creature of any sort) understands how easy it is to make a mistake! In fact if you asked, I'm sure the vets would all have similar stories of their own to tell.

It is okay to regret having made a mistake without making the mental leap all the way to Terrible Cat-Dad Doomed Forever. You are an excellent cat-dad and if I had pets I would trust you to take care of them anytime, so there.

Re: Were not! by Trip (Mon Jul 24 17:04:38 2017)

Easy for you to say, it wasn't your skin that got cut off!

Re: Were not! by marithlizard (Tue Jul 25 12:20:20 2017)

Easy for me to say, I have opposable thumbs and a keyboard!

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20 July 2017 - Thursday

Today I ended up working from home because the cats had to go to the vet in the middle of the day. Blrgh. Productivity is for capitalist lackeys anyway, right?

The cats were so oppressed even though it was just an annual checkup! Aspen even mewed, which is quite unusal for her. Poor kitty!

Today I am ranting about how D&D has made monsters boring. Monsters should be fantasy (or horror/weird fantasy), not biology and OO design! What is the point of dragons when they are color-coded species that hatch and breed and lair and feed and age like any other animal? And most of the myriad humanoids don't even deserve to be monsters: they're vaguely human but crude, smelly, funny-looking, and stupid, so they're just foreigners and don't need to be dehumanized any further! This doesn't mean things like stirges can't be (weird) animals, but monsters should be monstrous!

Magic should be magical, too, not something every village has an accredited specialist in! NPCs with magical power are usually cultists or hermits or mutants or all three, so why should PCs get to be respectable academics or clergy? Worship strange gods! Receive forbidden wisdom from the stars! Get custom spell failure tables!

But it does't matter what I think, since presumably no one will ever let me run Dungeon World again, because I suck.

Get off my lawn anyway.

The nachos I had for dinner appear to have disagreed with me. Well, they weren't good for me anyway, so it's okay if I never want to eat them again. But I am sad for my lost sleep, even though it wasn't that much.

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19 July 2017 - Wednesday

Finally, after multiple weeks of no gaming, we have Thai food and Dungeon World! The Thai food is good, the gaming maybe less so because I am GMing. I cleverly made this adventure exploration-based, but it is looking increasingly like that is not what DW is good at. I need a front with active forces opposing the PCs! Which I have a plan for, except probably after this it will be back to D&D and no one will ever want to play DW with me again ever, and who could blame them?

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18 July 2017 - Tuesday

Bah, more work! No brain. Only blarghs.

But, that means more links!

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17 July 2017 - Monday

Bah, work!

I was thinking about SCOOS2 PCs fighting strange monsters summoned by their enemies, and how the players would inevitably want to learn how to summon those monsters, and then I thought, what if the motivation of the PCs is being anti-summoning? Not quite Closers vs Openers, but more like the League of Emancipated Pokéthulu.

It's really hard to do worldbuilding without becoming serious! But maybe I can do something with the PCs being desirable to sorcerers &c.

Return of links!

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16 July 2017 - Sunday


Surprise! The train schedule is different! It now runs every 90 minutes instead of every hour, and not at the same times we have scheduled around. We will have to change the hours of gaming!

Nevertheless, we did play PAD&D5!(Although we had no Hazel, because she is in Hawaii.)

After some rest and interrogation of prisoners, the Heroines of Red Larch go back into the place they retreated from last session, passing the [SPOILER] on their way out. They explore in a different direction, and discover the sad fate of those defeated before, as well as getting some information about what still remains. The Heroines are merciful to some hapless schmoes, which hopefully will not come back to bite them. Finally, having explored everything that seems reasonable, they go in to clean up what they started. There is a complicated thing that I can't describe even slightly without spoilers, but Lam's first use of a power she's had since level 3 is awesome and the Heroines are able to clean the clocks of the opposition and reap great rewards. Like, as much loot as the rest of the campaign so far! Also they explore some other bits that now seem reasonable, and although Mara's brain almost gets eaten, this section of this dungeon is cleared!

Next session is cancelled because life, and the odd weeks are unavailable, so we don't get to game again until the 13th. Oh well.

Poor Avalon is so oppressed by work, but someday she will be free!

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15 July 2017 - Saturday

Today at anime we met Ayse's friend from the Toast Slack, Meg! She seems pretty nice, and is another non-driver. Perhaps she will come hang out more, since she is recently back from Abroad and does not have people to hang out with. Perhaps this will encourage Ken to make more chile verde!

Also we (well, Marith and I) met Julia's school's bearded dragon, which is staying with students over the summer. It is either very relaxed, or dumb as dirt, either of which is probably a good adaptation to its circumstances. It is very spiny, though.

  • My Little Pony 17: Cutie Mark Crusader Annoyance Formation GO!
  • Durarara!!x2 3.4: Saika lore plus villain cosplay ambition!
  • Vision of Escaflowne 22: Finally, Folken's story! And his unrefusable offer to Van!
  • Hanamonogatari 5: Climactic confrontation! The end!
  • Steven Universe 2.22-23: Finally, concrete information about gem society! And also Peridot's death trap! Remember, they will always save the day!

Speaking of ruthless violence, do monsters in SCOOS actually eat people? Do cultists sacrifice people? What if the monsters and cultists are PCs? What if the victims are PCs? Should it all just be cartoon violence? It seems wrong to not have any death, but brutal murder and dismembered body parts littering the landscape seem a little lacking in humor. (On the other hand, kill puppies for satan. Also, Groo the Wanderer.)

Looking at it from another direction, what states can PCs be in that would be funny? (Just counting down hitpoints is boring.) Still able to participate in the scene but they have a bright red handprint or goose egg or smouldering clothes (-1 to Command, +1 to Truckle?). Mummified in bandages, stapled back together, slathered in burn ointment, or otherwise totally trashed, but able to at least move around and talk to people. Being completely dead could be funny if people have to hide or otherwise manage a corpse, but maybe not much fun for that player. Unless they can haunt the other PCs? And having to bring someone back would be an adventure, at least the first couple of times. Maybe after the first time anyone is resurrected, it's just assumed that death is not a problem for the PCs any more?

Maybe instead of Ye Liveliest Awfulness being a playbook, it's a move anyone can/must take when they die and get called back up from their essential saltes? It would need to have downsides, but the upside of being nearly indestructible (if I'm remembering the story correctly) would make things easier going forward.

Braining is hard, I think I'll die in a pit now.

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14 July 2017 - Friday

I reread The Annihilation Score and The Nightmare Stacks to make sure I was up to date for The Delirium Brief (Charles Stross), and they were awesome, but so was tDB. Also, brutal. This is the book where the entire context the main characters have been working in gets swept away and they discover the abyss beneath. (It is very deep, and has teeth.) This is more of an ensemble cast than previous books: pretty much every (surviving) major character since TheApocalypse Codex gets some time on screen, for all the good it does. Very doom. Much hosed. Wow.

The Prey of Gods (Nicky Drayden) is much less grim, but then the characters haven't been built up over many books. It is cyberpunkish fantasy set in South Africa, with robots and gods and drugs and cross-dressing rock stars and genetically-engineered pests and coming out. I don't know enough to determine whether it expresses a South African sensibility, but it seems plausible that it does.

Still not sure what stats to use for SCOOS2. Or even how many. Inspired by Golden Sky Stories, maybe Urges (physical stuff), Feelings (social), Thoughts (human stuff), and Visions (magic/monstrous stuff)? That's only four, which seems low, and maybe too skill-like. And making someone with Visions +3 write down three visions and only use the ones that apply in a specific situation is almost certainly right out.

I guess AW only has four, if you don't count "weird". But the ones it has are well-suited to what post-apocalyptic PCs do: hard for being ruthless and violent, cool for people being ruthless and violent at you, hot for bringing people together, sharp for outwitting people and using limited resources, and weird for strange psychic stuff on the side. (Is it wrong of me to think of psychic stuff as being on the side? Maybe.) So what do SCOOS2 PCs do, at a similar level of granularity? Now I'm back to needing a premise.

SCOOS had Appeal, Competence, Erudition, Fighting, Mojo, Sanity, and Standing, which are not the right sort of stats for PbtA at all, even if they are like the DW stats.

Maybe I actually want to use Blades in the Dark-style actions instead? I don't think I do, but maybe I'm wrong. It could happen!

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12 July 2017 - Wednesday

No Dungeon World, since we are down two people. There is only ZZZZuul.

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11 July 2017 - Tuesday

Because California hates public transit (okay, not really, it's just Republicans siphoning off Federal taxes to shore up the red states that don't produce anything), it took ages to get to the doctor's office, but then I heard the results from Saturday's phlebotomization, which is that my ichor is hardly terrible at all! Also, mass down slightly.

My daily pill count has diminished by one!

For the second day in a row, I worked on rewriting my NaNoWriMo, but it's not working very well. Blrgh.

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9 July 2017 - Sunday

Last week Dave and I were in Roseville, but now it is time for PAD&D5! With bonus Edie, since her summer camp was afflicted by plague, fire, criminals, and possibly bears!

The Heroines of Red Larch make a cunning plan to sneak into the secret underground [SPOILER], which goes more or less as expected except that it's mostly full of [SPOILER]. At least they're cheap to bribe! There is also an ambush, it turns out, which is quite a struggle but eventually the Heroines triumph! They escape with some prisoners to a safe(?) place to hole up and recover, hopefully to return soon and finish with this stop on the way to the ultimate [SPOILER].

Hurray for Avalonhugs! Boo for Avalonwork!

The Other Side of Secret (Hideaki Yoshikawa) is surprisingly complete in four volumes, with pretty much all the mysteries (except the central one) explained, conflicts resolved, and much cleavage displayed.

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8 July 2017 - Saturday

Today it is Too Hot! So naturally I had to disrupt my schedule by going to the medical facility to get my ichor extracted in the morning, pushing my grocery expedition into the hottest part of the day. Yes, that was clearly a good move. I think it's time to estivate now.

It is not too hot to watch anime, though!

  • My Little Pony 16: Poor Fluttershy! I believe the lesson of this episode was "don't pick on the introverts" and will send space penguins to poke anyone who says differently.
  • Durarara!!x2 3.3: Saika vs Saika! Or er something? I never suspected any of that!
  • Vision of Escaflowne 21: Oh, the doom! But only of Folken's minions, this time.
  • Hanamonogatari 3-4: Exposition and basketballs! Also, a reapparance of Araragi, who seems to have matured, and a revelation that sheds some light on the finale of Koimonogatari.
  • Steven Universe 2.20: Go Sadie! But Sadie's mom ended up okay.
  • Steven Universe 2.21: Wow, we finally might get some information out of Peridot!

Another SCOOS2 move:

When you do something complicated and technical roll+TBD. On a 10+, choose two:

  • It works
  • You don't break or use up what you needed to do it
  • You don't leave a big incriminating mess

      On a 7-9, choose one. On a 6-, it's probably none of the above, in addition to what the GM tells you.

      (If your playbook makes you good at something technical, you get a unique move with better outcomes for doing it. This is just for "I saw it on Youtube".)

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7 July 2017 - Friday

Wow, Friday came quick this week! Why can't it always be like this?

Marith wanted to watch Inside Out, and she is off today, so I bought a DVD player and we saw it. It was pretty swell! I could quibble with the details of how the brain is portrayed, and probably with gendering and body image stuff of the internals, but I won't. It was good! I think the idea of the brain as a system is a good one for people to have.

I still have not come up with an entire theoretical framework for SCOOS2 from scratch. I keep getting distracted by meaningless concrete details like snooty ghoul hybrids living in (the basements of) big houses up in the hills and working-class Deep One hybrids down by the waterfront with the fish refineries and go to church at the Esoteric Order of Dagon. (Does that mean the ghouls attend the Church of Starry Wisdom? That doesn't seem quite right.)

Then I was thinking about what bonuses the ghouls can get by buying item cards (not that this is going to be a card-based RPG; I blame Mage Knight), which led to wondering what basic social moves there should be, and then my brain puked up the idea of dividing them up by relative social status.

"When you awe or command your inferiors..." is the move for when you have an air of command, impress people with your fashion/beauty/skill/wheels, or just plain intimidate them. Stage performances and the like are also covered.

On the other side of the equation, "when you truckle to your superiors..." is triggered when you do things like beg for mercy, protest loyalty/obedience, or just fade into the background while dressed as a minion.

For most occasions, though, you want to "befriend your peers", which covers just plain talking to people, mingling or blending in with crowds, and other normal interactions.

There's no Social Status stat to check before making one of these moves; if you awe or command, you're making an assertion about social power in the current situation, and if you roll a hit, they're buying it, at least provisionally. (If there's no chance that they'd buy it, then you can't make that move, just like defy danger in DW doesn't let you leap arbitrarily wide chasms.)

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5 July 2017 - Wednesday

Once again, I somehow failed to be eaten by mutant cannibal terrorists on the train. At this rate, public transit may someday be considered a viable option for getting places!

Normally this would be a Dungeon World night, but Ken had long-distance travel and also extra kid-screaming, so no. Probably for the best, as I have no brain.

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4 July 2017 - Tuesday

"This year, the US should mark the occasion by sitting in a corner and thinking very seriously about what it's done."

Good on NPR for helping the Fucking Nazis display their complete idiocy!

Too much cooking and more swimming and stuff for Dungeon World, but we played some Mage Knight, which has so many rules. I mean, I guess not by the standards of a serious wargamer, but still quite a few! Also, plenty of imperialism and apparently some blood sacrifice. I'm not sure this is a good-aligned game.

Nonny is not old enough to stay up for fireworks yet, but Jus had much zooming and oohing and aahing. I am only okay on fireworks, but the barrage of multicolored bursts at the finale was nice.

I was in the car that sang Hamilton because Ayse lent us her iPad.

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3 July 2017 - Monday

What with all the kids and swimming and Pokemon Go (not me!) and stuff, we only had a tiny bit more Dungeon World, but that is fine. We also had air conditioning and Chinese food and Guardians of the Galaxy (which Dave and I think Ayse had not seen before.

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2 July 2017 - Sunday

Apparently most people think the train is filled with mutant cannibal terrorists, but in fact riding up to Roseville went just fine. There was even Wifi, although I did not use it to participate in the actual dystopia.

I did read, because that is what public transit is for!

Rebel is the third in Rachel Manija Brown and Sherwood Smith's Western/Post-Apocalyptic/Supers series. We get to see more of the world! The main character becomes a more functional member of society! Working poly relationship! Bigotry screws up everything! The (recent) past revealed!

The Furthest Station (Ben Aaronovitch) doesn't interact with the main plot of the "Rivers of London" series, but I think it's set a couple of years later, because Peter's cousin Abigail is old enough to cause even more trouble. Also, unexpected magic!

Roseville has no busses on Sundays, because why would anyone who doesn't own multiple SUVs even live there? But Josh very kindly came and picked me up from the train station and traffic casualties were light despite his father's driving advice.

People who travelled the whole way by car also arrived successfully!

Despite making terrible faces at quasi-Vancian casting for ages, I wrote up a wizard for Al's run of The Sword of Air in Dungeon World. This would work better if I could roll dice worth beans!

Anyway, we gamed until way late, because other days may be full of children and/or movies and/or fireworks. Yay Dungeon World!

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1 July 2017 - Saturday

Yay, humans to clean my apartment. Boo, waking up.

But, no grocery shopping since I will be out of town for days.

  • My Little Pony 15: I'm not sure about this one, although I guess if you take the lesson to be that it's better to investigate how something is happening than to declare it impossible it's not so bad. Still seems like it's setting kids up to give all their money to quacks and preachers, though.
  • Durarara!!x2 3.2: I don't even know what's going on any more.
  • Vision of Escaflowne 20: Sheesh, Hitomi, you were warned about that!
  • Hanamonogatari 2: Kaiki bears disquieting information, as always.
  • Steven Universe 2.17-19: This week: community theatre, Garnet and Pearl finally talk, and more horrifying horror! Also, Connie's mom has to admit her daughter is a PC.

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