Previously, in Trip's Life...

30 September 2017 - Saturday

Not only did I get up early to go grocery shopping, I made it to Marith's to help her pack some stuff into boxes for moving! Also she showed me her Minecraft world, which is very pretty.

Then we went over to Monkeycat Mountain and had really good lamb tagine and watched some anime.

  • Durarara!!x2 3.8: Things are obviously spiraling in to some kind of doomfilled conclusion, not just to the season but the whole series.
  • Steven Universe 4.1-6: More plot! More Connie! More Beach City! With bonus meditation! And Pearl being adorably awesome, or awesomely adorable! This is such a good show.

But after Ayse finished buying all the episodes on Netflix so we could finish watching six episodes despite Dave's bootleg files being corrupt, it was time to sleep.

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29 September 2017 - Friday

No Avalon, only lethargy. And laundry.

In The Epic Crush of Genie Lo (FC Yee), two characters from The Journey to the West meet again in the modern Bay Area. One of them is a Chinese-American high school girl, and the other is trouble. Demons ensue. They are not the characters you would necessarily expect, which is awesome, and it is a pretty entertaining book.

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28 September 2017 - Thursday

Somehow, I escaped Tumblr in time to watch Jupiter Ascending. It's clearly in the same genre as Guardians of the Galaxy, although the spaceships with unattached parts remind me a little of Tenchi Muyo. I cannot say it was a good movie on most axes (like plot, or worldbuilding), but it was pretty to look at. Or maybe I'm just thinking of the female alien overlord (played by Tuppence Middleton) and her smile. Surely it would be okay to give her half of Earth?

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27 September 2017 - Wednesday

No 13th Age, only scheduling conflicts. But on the other tentacle, Avalon!

Penny Dreadful 6 has more doom. Well, every episode has doom, but this one has bonus character death.

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26 September 2017 - Tuesday

No Avalon! But it is because family, not because work.

Episode 5 of Penny Dreadful is a flashback to how Ives Ruined Everything. Without denying women their sexual agency, I think it's safe to say that [SPOILER]ing [SPOILER] is not often an ideal life choice.

It occurs to me that my analysis of stock Wizard vs new Wizard (Sorcerer?) neglects the faint possibility of characters leveling up. At 5th level, the Sorcerer has seven spells available at the start of each day, and they don't necessarily risk them with each casting, while the stock Wizard still has only two or three spells, and has to roll for each casting. That's less similar, but I don't know whether it's a problem. The Wizard can swap spells without too much difficulty, and those spells are probably more powerful than the Sorcerer's, especially in terms of damage. This is where playtesting would come in useful.

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25 September 2017 - Monday

Penny Dreadful 4. Wow, boysmooches. And not the ones I would have expected, either.

Hey, look, advice on making new DW playbooks (from the creator of A Sundered World, which is not perfect but actually exists, so is better than anything I do). I am, naturally, doing everything wrong with the Wizard, but will carry on.

Speaking of which, the way the Wizard is currently written, they start each day with three spells that they can cast as often as they like, at least until the GM starts exhausting or wounding spells for 6- rolls. In comparison, the stock Wizard starts with two spells available, and risks losing them every time they cast, but also gets cantrips (which may or may not be risky when cast). I guess this is comparable?

Should I rename the class the Sorcerer? It's really not very wizard-like, at least to people from D&D-land. Also if I use the new stats, it's not based on Wisdom anymore.

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24 September 2017 - Sunday

Today, I suck! But at least I got to see Avalon.

I have no layout power, but the elements that go into a Weird Fantasy Dungeon World playbook like the Wizard are these.

Name: The lists on stock DW playbooks are pretty generic, for obvious reasons. How non-generic a list I want to make depends on how much of the setting I want to pre-define, I guess. Or I could leave it blank, but I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who has trouble coming up with names.

Look: Wizards aren't a standardized thing like in Generic D&D-Land, so the hat and robes elements don't work as well. Also, I am torn between wanting to add a Mutation field to this and wanting to have only cute characters. Maybe if I choose the mutations very carefully...

Stats: Regardless of whether I stick with D&D stats or switch to the personality-based stats, these are going to be pretty much the same as in DW. Unless I get rid of the 3-18 scale, but not much different even then.

Damage Die: I was thinking of giving the Fighter their d10 only with their signature weapon, so I could give the Wizard a d6 with spells (since there aren't any spells that do do their own damage, they all just let the Wizard deal their damage) and the usual d4 normally. Does that disadvantage the Wizard too much if they don't happen to get a damage-dealing spell to start with?

Armor: Just a spot to write down the value that comes from the choice of Gear.

Vigor: Base HP for a stock wizard is 4, so add half of that to 6, and Vigor is 8+CON. Unless I use the new stats, in which case it's 8+AGG

Health: 8+CON, or 8+TEN (no, not eighteen!). I seem to be talking myself into the new stats.

Drive: The less D&D-compliant version of Alignment, a choice of three things that get you XP at the end of the session if you did them. Usually it's help people by doing your class thing, hurt people by doing your class thing, or do your class thing for its own sake.

Background: Everyone is human, so race is irrelevant. And background, as used by those playbooks that use it, is generally more about how you got to be the Whatever, not your original origins. It still gives you a choice of two or three minor moves or modifiers to other moves.

Bonds: I sort of want to use flags instead. The point in that article about flags not changing much is not a big deal, flags can be swapped out when they aren't relevant any more. But it would mean coming up with approximately ten jillion possible flags. (Only three or four possible bonds for a character seems okay, but not only three or four flags.) I suppose the flags don't have to be linked to any one character, though, so I could have fewer than N times the number of playbooks and let players choose or roll from the list. But I still need a list.

Starting Moves: Starting Spells, Recieve a Spell, Take a Spell, Push a Spell. That's probably enough.

Level: I don't see any reason to change the range 1-10. If I had ever run DW that far and seen how players react to reaching level 10, perhaps I would, but that doesn't seem likely to ever happen.

XP: I am thinking about increasing the amount of XP it takes to level up, just because it seems like DW characters level up really fast. On the other hand, that might be because I'm a terrible GM, and also because when a big chunk of XP is awarded at the end of each session, playing a whole bunch of little tiny sessions really boosts that. So I don't know.

Load: Or rather, inventory, since we're switching from enumbrance-limited to slot-limited. I'm not sure which, if any, new stat would give you more inventory space, so maybe it's just a flat six slots for each character. Or five to seven depending on the load rating in DW?

Gear: Since having a damaging spell isn't guaranteed, maybe a little more emphasis on weapons.

Advanced Moves: This is the hard part, or maybe second hardest part after the spell list in the Wizard's case. A lot of the stock Wizard advanced moves are about being the educated smartypants, or about learning magic stuff, neither of which applies, but some of them seem usable.

I meant to fill these in a lot more, but this is taking too long to write. Perils of combining it with my normal blog, I guess. Maybe I should break it out into its own blog like I did with Age of the Black Sun a while fifteen fucking years ago.

Ugh, I am a Oldz. And not a useful one, either.

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23 September 2017 - Saturday

I managed to get up and showered before the cleaners arrived today, so I was able to shop at a reasonable hour and get home to sign up for more indie games at Big Bad Con. Yay, Golden Sky Stories! (I will be awful at it, but at least it is a new thing.)

Earl and Cat were not dead, so they came over and drank with Ken and Ayse.

  • Nirvana in Fire 24-25: Now that [SPOILER] has been disposed of, the plotting and scheming can return to normal!
  • Steven Universe 3.20-25: We tried to only watch five, since that is how many we need to preview for Jus for the coming week, but augh! That was not a place we could stop! Jus would explode if that were the last one she got to see!

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22 September 2017 - Friday

I finally got around to watching Mad Max: Fury Road, which I had to resubscribe to Netflix DVD service to see (there are a lot of movies I am somewhat interested in, which are not streamable yet.) I haven't seen the previous movies, only absorbed their essence through the cultural miasma, so perhaps I was not ideally prepared to appreciate it, but it didn't really grab me. I also didn't see any of the deep sociological or psychological stuff that Tumblr found in the movie. So, I think I fail at enlightened movie-watching. On the other hand, I did wonder, based on the extreme redness of the world, whether it was actually set on Barsoom, which is a thought I didn't see on Tumblr. (But Barsoom is actually more hospitable.)

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21 September 2017 - Thursday

Avalon's new job is failing at letting her have more time in the evenings! Hmph! Protest!

Instead I watched another Penny Dreadful, which the good highly sketchy doctor's pigeons come home to roost. Some people just don't have the mental fortitude to play god.

I picked up Akashic Record of Bastard Magic Instructor vol 1 (Hitsuji Tarou, Tsunemi Aosa, Kurone Mishima) because "Akashic Record" is an obscure cool term, but alas it is not being used to good effect. It's pretty much magic school anime crossed with Great Teacher Onizuka. Okay, not quite, but not enough different to be very interesting.

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20 September 2017 - Wednesday

Second half of the big flashback fight in 13th Age! Icons everywhere, but the one who gets stabbed by Goblin Bond is Anwë's (of course), and the Elf Queen is revealed to be a howling void of soul-sucking. Then all the PCs get murderized and the entire palace is eaten by the Devourer. The End!

Next week, we resume present time, trying to get all the maguffins to kill the Devourer. Or maybe Anwë throws herself into a volcano, because jeez.

Some more evocative(?) phrases/(adventure/story titles):

  • The Poison Daughter's Lovers
  • The Silver in the Bee-Hills
  • The Groom of the Sea
  • Baron Ulderfoy's Howling Bronze
  • The Dead Walking on the Sea of Mist
  • Groom-Bride of the Snail God
  • Sentenced to Wed the Sea
  • Well of Corrupted Stars

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19 September 2017 - Tuesday

The company tech talk on how the frontend people use clever CSS packages to make our browser interface pretty made me want to learn CSS and make my blog less boring, but the impulse passed quickly.

More Penny Dreadful. Some people should just not be invited to seances. Also, flesh golem dick.

Speaking of stats, the 3-18 range is also pretty iconic, but it isn't really used much in DW. In fact, the only thing it's used for is hit points which I'm replacing so it's not used at all! But on the other hand, saying "You get one tick per level up, and raising a stat by one takes 5 - new_value ticks" might not reduce the complexity all that much. Decisioning: still hard!

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18 September 2017 - Monday

Bah, Monday.

For lack of anything better to do while eating dinner (not enough tentacles!) I watched the first episode of Penny Dreadful on Netflix. It was pretty much as advertised, with extra boinking.

Speaking of all the Wizard moves that say "roll+WIS", I understand why Dungeon World uses the D&D stats: the six stats are almost as iconic as the four basic classes, or maybe more so given how many games use them with little variation. But, I really think that PbtA games like Masks and Monsterhearts did the right thing in following Apocalypse World's lead of making the stats all personality-based. Is there some compromise? It seems like swapping Strength out for Aggression would require almost no changes at all, ditto Constitution for... Determination? Mettle? Resolution? Tenacity? I think I like Tenacity best, but the others would work too. Intelligence and Charisma are probably fine as-is. Dexterity and Wisdom are both trickier, but can be recombined into two different stats. Focus has the active parts of Dexterity – picking locks, volley – but also mental focus, so all those "roll+WIS" moves in the Wizard would turn into "roll+FOC". Awareness is discern realities as well as the reactive parts of Dexterity (IE, defy danger).

So, Aggression, Focus, Tenacity, Intelligence, Awareness, Charisma? Too much of a change from D&D? Not enough of a change?

(I also thought about using elemental names for personality stats (Metal, Water, Earth, Air, Wood, Fire) but that's too obscure and pretentious.)

Personality stats by marithlizard (Mon Sep 25 22:29:39 2017)

But, how cool would it be to be able to say, "So...the druid is metal as fuck, the paladin's kind of wooden, and the cleric is a bit too airy about choice of spells for the primary healer. Why should I hire your party again?"

"Because when the combat starts, trust me, we're ALL on Fire."

Re: personality stats by marithlizard (Mon Sep 25 22:30:56 2017)

Also, you say 'obscure and pretentious' like it's a bad thing!

Re: personality stats by Trip (Tue Sep 26 11:11:58 2017)

Well, i was thinking Strength/Aggression would be Metal, so it would be the fighter or barbarian who would be Metal AF, but yes. Aggression = Metal, Focus = Water, Tenacity = Earth, Intelligence = Air, Awareness = Wood, Fire = Charisma.

Immortal put me off pretentious and obscure terminology long ago.

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17 September 2017 - Sunday

Today I was not early-rising and productive, although I did get a bunch of gaming books, and some manga, moved onto the appropriate bookcases. Poor Aspen is having her fortress of coffee table plus unsorted book piles dismantled! But it's getting toward the time of year when the closet with the heating pad might be more appealing anyway.

I could noodle with ideas for WFDW indefinitely, but even though it is a doomed project that can never go anywhere, I should probably try to make one character class relatively complete. So, time for a spell list for the Wizard! There are three classes of spells: ones you can start with at level 1, ones you can get at levels 2-5, and ones you can get at levels 6-10. The first two classes might be the same, not sure yet.

Level 1-5 spells:

  1. Cloud Ladder - You can climb on smoke or thick mist, although it's not the most stable of paths.
  2. Command Animal - A nearby animal (not monster or supernatural creature) will do your bidding, to the extent of its abilities and self-preservation instincts. It understands your orders, but does not gain any ability to reason or communicate. If left unsupervised, it will eventually go back to what it was doing.
  3. Consume Likeness - You can transform your body to be exactly like a fellow human's by consuming an ounce of their blood or a fingernail-sized scrap of their flesh. The transformation lasts until you decide to end it, or you transform again.
  4. Fiery Eyes - You can make your eyes glow brightly, illuminating out to near range in front of you, and can ignite things by focusing your gaze on them (close, reach, blazing if used as an attack).
  5. Invisibility - You (and your clothes and equipment) can turn invisible. This lasts for an hour at most, and ends if you do any magic, or are affected by any magic. The spell is always exhausted afterwards.
  6. Ray of Magnetism - You can project an invisible ray of magnetic force from your hand that attracts or repels one iron or steel object within near range, as strongly as a person could pull or push. If you have ferrous objects handy, you can use this to volley with the tags reach and near (add far if you have actual arrows or the like).
  7. Rope Trick - Throw a rope or chain up in the air to snag a hut-sized pocket dimension that people can climb into. You or anyone inside can shrink the opening down to 1", and even pull up the rope. The pocket dimension collapses, expelling all within, after half a day or so.
  8. Song of the Lamp-Eft - Summons a number of small, brightly glowing lamp-efts equal to your WIS. They will drift through the air or cling to things as you direct while you are near, but might get distracted if you leave them behind. They will disappear if exposed to a candle's worth or more of non-lamp-eft light.
  9. Spirit Mirror - You can see invisible spirits, ghosts, fairies, etc in reflective surfaces. You can use the spell to compel one to speak to you, but that will enrage or drive away any others. When you do, roll+WIS. On 10+ hold 3, on 7-9- hold 2, on 6- hold 1 in addition to whatever the GM says. Spend this hold 1-for-1 to make the subject truthfully answer one question; when it's all spent, the spell is exhausted.
  10. Tortoise Shell - Solidifies air into a 5' hemisphere that weighs only a few pounds but is as strong as steel armor. The hemisphere will dissolve back into regular air within a few hours.
  11. Web - The area within reach of your nearby target point is filled with thick spiderwebs. If there are no walls or ceiling to support, the webs will collapse, but everyone there will still be enmeshed.
  12. Wisdom of the Dead - The ghost you name will come for fresh, warm blood. Each of these amounts of blood counts as one unit: 1d4 damage to yourself, 1d8 damage to someone you share a bond with, all the blood from someone you don't share a bond with, all the blood from an animal the size of a bull. You need at least three units, for the three gates to the afterlife. Roll + the extra units of blood. On a 10+ hold 3, on a 7-9 hold 2, on a 6- hold 1 anyway. Spend this hold 1-for-1 to get an honest answer from the ghost.

Level 6-10 spells:

  1. Chariot of Winds - You and additional people up to your WIS are borne away atop a whirlwind. It only travels as fast as a horse, but can cross mud, water, rough ground, and even steep slopes without slowing. While on the whirlwind, you are out of reach of people on the ground, but still near them.
  2. Crusading Disk - Choose how many d4s of damage you will take: that total is how many days this whirling disk of pure, saw-edged hate will spend hunting down your enemies, even after your death. It can see in the dark, but otherwise has only human senses to find and identify people by the criteria you give it (it can't target members of an organization, only wearers of a uniform), and it is vulnerable to weapons and magic, but it flies in zigzags as fast as a thrown dagger.
  3. Curse of the Black Flame - Roll+WIS to set someone alight with a black flame, fuelled by their life force, that will ignite anyone who gets too close to them. On a 10+, your target bursts into flame so fast that everyone within reach of them also catches fire. On a 7-9, they ignite slowly enough that no one else is caught.
  4. Grasping Light - Everything within reach of a nearby target point is bathed in sunlight. The light clings like quicksand, trapping and pulling in those it illuminates. You can only have one zone of light at a time.
  5. Magnetic Pillar - A pillar of black iron erupts from the earth at a target point within far range of you and draws in magnetic metals. At far range from the pillar, the force is about equal to the metal's weight; within near range, it's several times as much, and within reach of the pillar it's nearly irresistable. You can only have one pillar active at a time.
  6. Move Earth - You can cause earth (even hard-packed and sun-dried, but not solid stone) with near range of you to move around like a swarm of ants. For each minute that you spend concentrating, you can make one 10' cube of earth move into an adjacent 10' cube. This spell becomes exhausted when you stop concentrating.
  7. Phantasmal Guard - Roll+WIS. On 10+, pick three nearby targets or one far away target. On 7-9, pick one nearby target. Each target is attacked by an illusionary monster drawn from your deepest fears. Although the monsters exist only in the targets' minds, they are real enough to cause psychosomatic damage. Deal your damage to each target (ignores armor), and then again the next time they attack you or move toward you.
  8. Phoenix Wings - Your arms turn into wings of flame. You can fly faster than a running horse, and use your wings to hack and slash (with the tags hand, reach, dangerous, blazing).
  9. Raise Dead - Name a person whose grave is in the area and roll+WIS. On a 7+, the named person rises from their grave. On a 9-, others rise. The dead always hunger for the flesh of the living, and speak only in the tongue of Lamentation.
  10. Shadow Well - Roll+WIS to make the target fall through their own shadow into a nightmare world. On 10+, they are trapped there until they find some way out. On 7-9, they will be able to escape within a few minutes, but not unharmed: do your damage to them twice, the first roll ignoring armor. On 6-, one shadow is much the same as another...
  11. Skeletal Deliquescence - Roll+WIS to turn someone's bones to jelly, transforming them into an ooze-like creature. On 7-9, they can regrow their bones on their own in a few minutes, but on 10+, they're stuck until you use this spell to restore them. While boneless, they can crawl around slowly and squeeze through spaces as small as an inch, but cannot physically attack or defend themselves, and can only speak in a hideous bubbling whisper.
  12. Song of Opening - When you are at a magic portal, to Faerie or a hidden realm or just somewhere distant, you can experimentally determine the mystic resonances to open it. Roll+WIS. On 10+, the portal opens and stays open as long as you're there to keep it open. On 7-9, it only opens for a moment.

That's only 24 spells total, which is not as many as stock DW has, but is probably enough for a start.

I originally had the spell Magic Circle (to exclude/contain supernatural creatures and influences) in the list, but had to take it out again when I realized that I'm not sure how to implement it. Should the circle be absolute, so that the Wizard can block an archdemon even at 1st level? Or should it be a battle of magical strength vs magical strength? Either one can be justified in genre, I think, but they have play differently, and the second one probably needs some way to quantify magical strength. Decisioning is hard!

Rope Trick has some real-world baggage, but when I tried to come up with an equivalent Pocket Dimesion spell it was kind of meh.

It's intentional that spells like Invisibility and Phoenix Wings affect only the caster; I don't want to replicate the buff-fests of D&D3E. Possibly it's too restrictive, but we'll see. (Well, we would see, if there were ever going to be playtesting.)

A general spellcasting move doesn't seem to be necessary: a lot of spells just give you fictional positioning to make other moves (mostly defy danger, of course), and spells that need risk are their own moves. (Technically all spells are their own moves, but you know what I mean.) Here's a move for when the Wizard tries to be even riskier than that:

When you force a spell to reach further, last longer, or otherwise have a greater effect, roll+WIS. On 10+, the spell does what you ask of it, but then becomes exhausted (cannot be used until you take a breather). On 7-9, choose one: the spell does what you ask of it but then becomes wounded (cannot be used until you make camp), or it fails and becomes exhausted in the attempt. On 6-, the spell becomes wounded in addition to whatever else the GM says.

And just to be clear:

When you spend a few minutes resting and recovering, regain all your Vigor.

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16 September 2017 - Saturday

I managed to get up at a reasonable hour and go shopping so that I was back home in time to sign up for games at Big Bad Con when registration opened at noon. They have an anti-hovering system where you can only sign up for two events in the first week, then two in the second week, and only then does it become a free-for-all, but it was a good impetus to not sleep in. Now I am signed up to play in two games with systems I am interested in (Blades in the Dark and Monsterhearts) , both on Friday. I am also signed up for ten straight hours of gaming, so I will need to find some kind of decent portable meal substitute before then...

Also, since I successfully signed up for games, I went ahead and got a hotel room, since although commuting back and forth to Walnut Creek might technically be possible, it would suck massively.

We had to cut anime a little short because Marith has to be at work at 6:00 tomorrow, and got a slow start on new stuff because we wanted to catch her up on the important episodes she missed in Roseville, but there was still some watching.

  • Durarara!!x2 3.7: Apologies to the shippers, but can Shizuo please twist Izaya's head off now?
  • Steven Universe 3.15-19: Back to the plot! And Connie!

Durarara by marithlizard (Tue Sep 19 14:06:58 2017)

You have to wonder how an entire steam shovel got shoved off the top of a building there. Badly Dressed Martial Arts Girl certainly couldn't have done it by herself. Also, to me the villainous plan looks a lot less like the claimed "get rid of the monster" than it does "push the monster into finally getting serious". So maybe you'll get your wish!

Re: Durarara by Trip (Tue Sep 19 18:40:30 2017)

It looked to me like whatever was supporting it got broken so it slid off.

We can hope!

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15 September 2017 - Friday

Apparently the meaning someone deciphered for the neural net spell with the silliest name is something I had already established as an option for the Wizard, so um something? I'm going to call it a victory, anyway.

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14 September 2017 - Thursday

Watched a couple more episodes of Little Witch Academia, which would be better if it were subbed.

While I was trying to think of spells, I found this list. Death of the sun! Grasping light and clinging blade! Plant of peace! Crusading disk!

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13 September 2017 - Wednesday

Today we actually played 13th Age, although we were quite late getting started and then spent a long time floundering without a battlemap before getting to the fight (still without a map). We need more organization, or discipline, or something. Also we need to not play until 22:30, but at least next week we can start the round with escalation die 2, and maybe I will remember to have Anwë use her AoE attack on the ancient orc archer she just stabbed, and the Black, who just disemboweled her shadow. Not that I will ever roll well enough to hit anyone.

I'm pretty sure this is a freakish minority opinion, but I still like Dungeon World better than even simplified D&D4.

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12 September 2017 - Tuesday

Instead of the other various ways I could have frittered my life away, I finished Stranger Things. It was pretty swell, and leaves plenty of room for a second season (due out just before Halloween, allegedly). I'm really not sure about the police chief's approach to things, though.

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11 September 2017 - Monday

Wow, thunder! And even some visible lightning! Also some rain, which came down hard while I was walking home but only for a few minutes. As a computer user I probably shouldn't approve of thunderstorms, but I do anyway.

From the slowness at work, I deduce that all our customers are on the East Coast (and thus underwater) or the West Coast (and thus on fire).

Episode 1.6 of Stranger Things! I think most of the pieces are on the board (on one side or another) now, which means it's time for a plot twist.

Besides what people used to D&D and its derivatives think of spells, I want casters to be able to learn the kinds of things I talked about when discussing the contributions of knowledge from beyond to human society: making magic swords, building cyclopean architecture, raising plant monsters to serve you, converting your friends into a more durable form, creating accounting systems that infallibly expose embezzlers, etc. This is tricky, though, because it has to be useful enough to be worth the character's time, yet not so useful that all characters immediately get huge bonuses (although this is less of a problem in DW, where we mock your puny level-appropriate encounters, and especially in WFDW where we explicitly mock your puny list of monsters anyway).

Speaking of making things, I am still waffling on whether there should be alchemy stuff, although possibly only because I want to put in single-shot black powder alchemical lasers instead of historical guns. I like them, I'm not sure if they're too weird, the wrong weird, or perfectly valid weird. (At DW levels of resolution, they're mechanically the same.)

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10 September 2017 - Sunday

In this week's PAD&D5, the Heroines of Red Larch managed to get to the big city and buy a few pretty dresses for Lam (also a couple of magic items) and report to the Legitimate Authorities about the dragon drama and the new religion and the war against the [SPOILER]. Lam has disquieting dreams about [SPOILER] being cut off, and when she talks to people in Yartar that it might apply to, it seems to be coming true. Maybe [SPOILER]'s prophecies of doom were not so off the mark as the Heroines first assumed!

On their way to report their experiences to Rimardo's patron, the Heroines are ambushed by the original [SPOILER] of the area, who are extremely annoying but not uncrushable even when they hide in [SPOILER]. Then Rimardo dumps his patron, and his soul is sucked into the afterlife so he can study up and become a cleric of the Crystal Dragon (but he still ranks lower than the Ninja Popesses). This only takes a few moments of external time, so soon the Heroines (and Rimardo, but not Ishmael the hireling cleric) are scouting the [SPOILER] they assaulted so effectively before. The part they cleaned out is still deserted, but the next level has a swarm of [SPOILER], or maybe two competing swarms, but neither is very effective except at getting beaten up and fleeing. So much for attacking with surprise!

Sadly, we had no Hazel, so we were down one ninja and one miniature giant elk. Also we were kind of lethargic. I blame that Trip guy, he's just no good.

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9 September 2017 - Saturday

We tried to catch Marith up on the Steven Universe she missed in Roseville, but she decided it was more important to catch up on surprise Nirvana in Fire, which is fair.

  • Nirvana in Fire 22-23: Still all fallout from the Worst Birthday Party Ever. Gee, do you think maybe Mei Chang Su is a terrifying manipulative person?

After Earl and Cat toddled away sleepily, full of BLTs and intrigue, Marith and Dave and Ayse and Ken and I watched some SU so that Jus can watch it during the coming week and not EXPLODE.

  • Steven Universe 3.11-14: These episodes are lighter and more town-focused, I guess for contrast after "Mr. Greg". The Gems hardly appear at all, but at least we get one episode with Connie.

It's not a week ending in Sunday if I don't blather incoherently about gaming!

Knowing what kind of spells I don't want for WFDW doesn't tell me what spells to actually have. The Wizard should be easiest, since she doesn't have to have a theme (she finds or is given spells individually, they aren't related to some field of actual knowledge). But, I really don't want to give the player the list of every possible spell and have them start optimizing. In GM mode, I could just customize the spell list for the Wizard I have, but what about Designer mode? Some kind of tree/prerequisites? No, that just makes the optimization start with the selection of the first spell. Too much work for me. Random spells? Or player chooses one of three spells presented by the GM (rolled with optional fudging)?

It looks like the stock Wizard and Cleric have about 30ish spells total, from level 0 to level 9. I can probably come up with that many spells as long as they don't have to be related.

But what about sorting them into level 1 vs level 9, or more painfully, level 7 vs level 9? Is spell levels even a thing that's worth preserving from D&D? I guess I can see not wanting some abilities (flight? teleportation? area attacks?) until higher levels, but the DW power curve is generally very flat. At most I can see putting some spells off until level 6-10, just like the advanced moves.

I write too slowly.

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8 September 2017 - Friday

Did I accomplish anything at work today? No, no I did not. Because I suck.

More disordered Weird Fantasy Dungeon World thoughts.

Rather than adding up weight values, I tend toward a simpler slot-based encumbrance system: you get about 5+CON slots to carry items in. Most weapons, shields, torches, etc take a slot, armor takes a slot or two if it's heavy, and most importantly, a backpack or bag takes a slot. If you want to get at something that isn't in a slot by itself, you're going to be making defy danger rolls if anything else is going on.

Another possible background for humans:

The Wandering Kingdom began as the court of an ordinary, stationary kingdom, but made the mistake of boasting that their palace was better than Queen Mab's. Now they are cursed to never sleep twice in the same place, and must wander the world. The lesser members of the Kingdom can return to the same building after a lunar month or so, and the middle ranks follow cycles a year or three long, but for the King and Queen, never means never.

Travellers are always accused of theft, witchcraft, lewdness, and other crimes, but the Wandering Kingdom holds to its notions of honor and others mostly recognize that, even if they laugh at the equally archaic costumes and modes of speech, and the Wandering Knights are respected by all travellers for the work they do in keeping the roads less dangerous.

Writing that made me aware of the tension between the two roles I'm acting in: designer and GM. The difference is that the GM gets to make up setting details, but the designer only gets to evoke the genre. Although, hm, looking at The Last Days of Anglekite, The Green Law of Varkith, and The Cold Ruins of Lastlife, the variant genre is evoked with setting details. Still plenty of blanks, but there is some structure to the map.

I dunno, man. Gaming is hard. Maybe I should stay under this rock. With the crawling dead and tentacled monsters from the stars that whisper things.

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7 September 2017 - Thursday

Today, I watched two episodes of Stranger Things! I am a video-watching fiend!

That is not what I expected to happen with that corpse. Or with that makeover.

Have I been reduced to random thoughts, because having to come up with actual spell lists (or whatever it is that the Hierophant and the Warlock get) is too much like work? Well, so be it.

One of the standard spells that especially needs to be thrown out is animate dead. When the dead rise from their graves, hungering for the flesh (blood, souls, etc) of the living, that's awesome. When any spellcaster can recycle dead enemies as safe and obedient meat robots for 50gp each, that is not awesome. (It's efficient, which is appropriate for many D&D-based subgenres, but not this one.)

On the subject of monsters, do I really want fairies? They seem cool in Pernicious Albion but are they actually cool? Maybe they're too much like humans, or too Monster-Manually (unicorn, dryad, pixie, spriggan, blah blah). But is it good to have something magical that's at least vaguely natural, or at least not tentacles from beyond the stars? And fairies can be creepy and horrific, and could in theory all be unique. I don't even have to explain what they are, since "draw maps, leave blanks" applies to cosmology as well as geography...

And what about demons and angels (probably the same thing (as each other, not as fairies, although...))? Maybe only the lowest, least abstract angels are enough like humans to make a contract with the Warlock. Still need a list of patrons, though.

Also need a list of strange gods for the Hierophant to worship. The only one I have so far is the god of snails, hermaphrodites, bisexuals, halfbreeds, and others who embrace or embody the power of AND, and I'm not sure what magic that actually gets a worshipper, or what geases it puts on them. Also considering falling stars, standing stones, and carnivorous flora, but likewise. Should I go for something more straightforward and combative, like Babeester Gor?

strange gods by marithlizard (Sat Sep 9 11:49:05 2017)

I love the idea of a god who embraces the power of AND - what about the hierophant pantheon being structured around linguistic/grammar concepts?

  • The AND god gives you the power to symbolically align or attach things - at low levels, only ones that frequently go together in common phrases or cliches, but at high levels maybe almsot anything. I'm not sure if this could work like alchemical fusion or more like synchronicity powers (what was the Ars Magica term forthat?) "I have peanut butter, and bread. I will make a peanut butter sandwich and the act of doing so will cause a jar of jelly to turn up in the near vicinity." Also, some possiblities for love/proximity/partnership and other mental manipulation spells. Other possible ways to and: shadows, mirrors. "Me? I'm just Bert. But ever since I met that guy, whenever I look in the mirror, there's an Ernie with me."
  • The OR god is the god of yin and yang, of finding divisions and categorizations and enhancing them. Also alternatives. "Put the weapon down." "I could do that, OR..." For physical manipulation at high levels, maybe something like ore separation?
  • The BUT god is not amused when you make those lame jokes about it. Its domain is limitations, and grants devotees the ability to maneuver in verbal judo. I cannot NO your statement, but I can add a BUT to it that will largely nullify it in the ways I care about, if I'm clever enough.
But, I might simply need more sleep and be babbling.

Re: strange gods by Trip (Mon Sep 11 14:28:54 2017)

That is an excellent idea, but too symmetric and clean and meta for this game. There is a pantheon, kind of, but the Hierophant's options should all be weird corner ones.

Re: strange gods by marithlizard (Mon Sep 11 19:28:09 2017)

Fortunately, grammar and linguistics are not short of weird corner cases!

Re: strange gods by Trip (Thu Sep 14 11:35:20 2017)

This is true, and I encourage you to write a NaNoWriMo about a world with grammar-based divine magic!

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6 September 2017 - Wednesday

After approximately one million weeks, we have returned to 13th Age! We spent all of this session eating We spent all of this session eating burritos and working out what is going to happen to the world and the Icons in the coming age, provided the PCs don't do anything unexpected in hunting down and finishing off the Devourer.

It looks like the Empire will survive, although diminished by the Crusader taking a big chunk of the north (First Triumph getting Devourered won't slow him down much). On the other hand, the Lich King will be brought back into the fold, and the roles of Archmage and Lich King reshuffled into the Minister of Yang and the Minister of Yin. The Orc Lord will be eaten by the Devourer, along with the dwarven city of Anvil, but the dwarves will do okay. Unfortunately, the elven civil war will result in elvendom splitting into many factions (remains of the unified Court, high elves, wood elves, drow that tried to get superpowers from the Green's blood and got demon-tainted, drow who got mixed up in necromancy, probably some drow who stuck with the spider theme, etc) and not being unified in the next age. Also the gnomes will bail on the faerie forests and align with the Dwarf King. Now that the PCs have freed the White, it will rescue the Green from the drow, and the Five will take over the northern coast of the Middle Sea from Drakenhall (and St Claire Island) to Concord, despite some infighting. The Priestess, having not had much impact on the course of history, will probably not be an Icon next age. The High Druid will, but probably with more emphasis on reclaiming ruins and less on farming. The Diabolist will be influenced by the drow-tieflings as much as they are influenced by her, and become less of a force opposed to civilization. The Great Gold Worm will stay stuck in a hole, and of course the Prince of Shadows will remain completely mysterious (although Shadowport might have to move a bit to be a better center of international intrigue).

Next week, flashback to the Imperial wedding that was interrupted by a volcano and a war and a memory-wipe! Also level UP!

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5 September 2017 - Tuesday

The cool, rainy wind coming through my bedroom window felt very nice, but apparently I can't sleep properly with the window open and no white noise. Bah!

Second episode of Stranger Things, still creepy!

I didn't think much about WFDW in Roseville, but I thought a little since getting back. There was a lot of walking to get groceries.

The Fighter's primary thing is their signature weapon. So, how do we make that weirdly fantastic?

Signature Weapon

This isn't your signature weapon because you always carry it, or even because you've mastered it. It's part of you on a much deeper level. Why is that?

☐ You made every part of it yourself from ore and seed and calf.
☐ It was created from your blood and bone.
☐ It has been passed down from parent to child in an unbroken line from your family's dark origins.
☐ You received it from a powerful supernatural creature in exchange for an oath that is yet to be fulfilled.
☐ You crafted it from a fallen star.
☐ The spirit in the weapon has chosen you as the bearer who can accomplish its goals.

Choose a base description....

Likewise, the Ranger has their animal companion.

Animal Companion

You have a close connection with a loyal beast that aids you in the hunt, acting as you direct. How did you get this companion?

☐ You found a strange creature dying in the wilderness and nursed it back to health. (fairy)
☐ The Dark Beast has served your family for generations. (demon, summonable (1d4 damage))
☐ It's your own bestial mutant twin. (human)
☐ It's the animalistic half of your own soul made manifest. (spirit, summonable (1d4 damage))
☐ Your first animal companion was so loyal that not even the grave could keep it from your side (undead, hungers for living flesh)
☐ Okay, you may have used your family's secret techniques to train it, but it's just a normal animal, jeez.

Name your animal companion and choose a look....

The Thief doesn't have a single hook like that, their thing is their skills. Poisons, locks, and traps could expand into alchemy and fantastic mechanisms, but maybe the Thief should be the option for no weird stuff, just skill?

thief class by marithlizard (Tue Sep 5 18:44:19 2017)

Maybe motivation could be the hook for the thief class? Why do you steal things?

  • Everything else you fence like normal, but you are assembling a fantastic hoard of object type X and that's secretly your passion in life.
  • You were sold to a Dickensian urchin ring at the age of four, and even though you are grownup now and out having your own adventures you know you still have to pay them dues regularly or they will Get You.
  • The dark god-statue in your apartment can only be fed by illegal actions, and you're stuck in a very long-term lease.
  • You crave the high from danger such that you are driven to more and more daring acts of burglary (gives you disad points)
  • Ruddigore-style family curse.
  • Your lockpicks are your friends, see how they glisten. See this one shine, how he smiles in the light.
  • With every theft/other crime you collect evidence about a theory you are trying to prove, or a cause you are trying to advance, or someone you are trying to find/bring down/whatever.

Re: thief class by Trip (Wed Sep 6 16:06:19 2017)

Oh, that could work! I guess to match the others it should be "how did you come to have these skills?" but close enough.

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4 September 2017 - Monday

I made it back from Roseville! The cats are fine, which I knew because Marith checked in on them. It is not as hot here as it was when we left, which is good.

In Roseville we played Dominion (I won! Somehow!), a little bit of Puerto Rico until we realized that it was going to take forever, Lords of Waterdeep, 7 Wonders, and lots of Pirate Fluxx. (Some people played Tzolk'in but it only seats four so I didn't.) We watched a few episodes of Steven Universe season 3, which were amazingly great. We ate food and more food and some additional food, and no one starved despite Sherilyn's worries. The kids swam and swam and shrieked. I swam a little and did not get sunburned. I did not manage to go out walking because it was roughly one million degrees out ("It's too hot in the Bay Area! Let's go to the Central Valley!"). In the car, we listened to Night Vale season 2.

There was no Marith, and no RPGs, but otherwise it was a successful vacation!

  • Steven Universe 3.6-10: Amazingly great! Especially Mr. Greg! But also all of them!

I managed to go grocery shopping, which was hot and sweaty but undoubtedly healthier than staying inside all weekend. Then I was lethargic, so I tried watching the first episode of Little Witch Academia, which was okay, but dubbed and not well. Then I watched the first episode of Stranger Things, which was pretty swell and full of doom. I will probably watch more of it! But not tonight, because sleep.

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1 September 2017 - Friday

No Avalon, only Zuul.

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