Monthly Archives: May 2011

Summer begins

Fuck, its Memorial Day again. Normally I love Memorial Day, it is the beginning of summer and I look forward to the hot summer nights and sultry days. This year I know in my heart Labor Day is going to get here and it will be another wasted summer. I am going back to bed, someone wake me up for Comic Con.

GURPS and I

Back in 1985 Steve Jackson Games put out is own roleplaying game GURPS (Generic Universal Role Playing System). Although we continued to play AD&D, GURPS really became my game of choice for a couple of reasons. First because it was much more gritty and realistic than any previous RPG. Second it was flexible, one system, any setting, any genre. Third, it was reasonably easy to learn and get started quickly and build to the level complexity you wanted.

GURPS, however, is not without its flaws. It does not scale well for one thing. It works pretty well at the low end of character development. 100-150 point characters are pretty reasonable, but once PC’s start getting beyond the 200-250 point area, things start falling apart.  It also did not take players very long to figure how to optimize characters or any particular genre. For instance, a  warrior with a Strength of 12 and a Dexterity of 16 was going to be hell on wheels pretty quickly. The side effect of that, is characters tended to start looking the same after a while, right on down to the disadvantages and quirks they choose.

All that aside and getting back to what I liked about GURPS. Steve Jackson Games knows how to put together a setting book. Heck, I’d have bought most of them anyway, to use with other games. The other thing they excelled in was writing adventures. Keep in mind, most of the adventures being written at that time were all dungeon crawls of various types, even Sci Fi, horror and western games were not straying very far from that paradigm. Steve Jackson Games put out Orcslayer, then Harkwood and what was different about them was these adventures were encounter based rather than environment based. Orcslayer was actually a book of combat encounters for Man to Man, which was sort of a GURPS Lite prototype. The Orcslayer encounters were linked together by the over arcing storyline of the kidnapping of Lord Peredur of Durham’s granddaughter. Harkwood, Orcslayer’s sequel, was an adventure of court intrigue at the annual jousting tournaments held in the barony of Harkwood.

Of course today these types of adventures are more common, back then, they were an anomaly. I have been running my HackMaster campaign now for something close to 9 years and it has so far been primarily of environmental challenges. Here recently, I have been considering shifting gears and trying to be more encounter oriented. Now that summer is approaching, perhaps instead I will make my players build GURPS characters and run them through Orcslayer, Harkwood and my own Beast of Tier adventures.

My Green Lantern Ring Collection

With the Green Lantern movie coming up I thought maybe I should attend the movie in my favorite costume, putting on my Green Lantern T-shirt and matching ring and become the Green Lantern of Space Sector 3600, the last sector, known as the “SLACKER SECTOR”. The only question is, which ring should I wear.

 

Interesting things on the internet

Today on XKCD the alt text says that if you click the first hyperlink on any page in wikipedia that is not in parentheses or in italics, and repeat that process, you will eventually end up at Philosophy. I tried this out and it actually works most of the time. I did find occasionally I would end up in a loop, for instance, the first such link on San Francisco Bay Area is San Francisco Bay and the first link on that page points back to San Francisco Bay Area.

Facebook and Me

Facebook and I have always had a tenuous relationship. I have never been a big fan of their privacy policy and I have written before about how Facebook is a content provider only it is we users who produce the content for our friends to consume and we do this free of charge. That aside, Facebook is increasingly becoming more important in our lives whether we want it to or not. Almost everyone I know is on it, although not everyone uses it much, myself included. Facebook is a nice centralized place to maintain things like current email address and phone numbers. It is also a pretty good way to send messages, there are people out there who check their email once a month, but are on Facebook 4 hours day. I think the time is coming where we will sneer at people who don’t have Facebook accounts in the same way we sneer at vegans and people who don’t own TV’s.

Rapture Bombs

The best thing about yesterdays rapture prediction fail was the #rapturebomb pictures on various sites. This picture was the best one of the day.

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I wish I knew the original source. I found it in the comments section in an article covering #rapturebomb at Gizmodo.

My blog is broken

Something is up with comments, I am not sure what it is. I will look into this as soon as I have some time.

The Best Star Trek Episodes

I read The 10 Best Star Trek Episodes article at The Best Article Everyday with some reservations, this sort of thing is way too subjective and many a forum flame wars have been fought over this subject. I do not necessarily agree with all their choices, some of them seem to be stretching it to include one from every series (except Enterprise). However, it is a good try, there are several excellent choices and I 100% agree that Balance of Terror is probably the single best all time episode of Star Trek.

 

Things that don’t surprise you much

I am not going to come right out and say they are criminals or thieves, I will leave that to others. I knew Creede Lambard when he was a disc jockey at the radio station in Laurel Montana, I played D&D with him for several years. I only met his wife Sharleen a few times. Around 1983 they left Montana to move to Austin Texas for jobs with Steve Jackson Games. Shortly after they left, there was a rumor going around they had cleaned out the bank account to TreasueCon, the small genre convention they were helping to organize. A few years later Steve Jackson Games nearly went under due to poor management and theft of company assets by an unnamed senior staff member. Shortly before the incident became public, Sharleen was the President of company and running its day to day operations. Shortly after the incident, Creede and Sharleen relocated to Seattle Washington. So while I can not prove they were actually guilty of anything, I can say truthfully, I was not surprised to read The Family that Preys Together, in the Seattle Weekly, where once again, they seem to be implicated in wrong doing.

35 years in reverse

This fellow made a video of himself every year for 35 years, this year he strung them together to make this video showing him aging in reverse. This is one of those things I wish I had thought of.

RE: Writing

My Internet crush Felica Day has written an article on how to increase your writing productivity. Much of it is common sense, but if you are serious about writing it is a pretty good starting place.

http://felicia.posterous.com/10-simple-ways-to-double-the-speed-of-your-wr

My own writing productivity has drastically dropped since I got my new job. I simply do not have the time anymore to sit down and write a 1000 words day, heck, most days I struggle to write 250. Even on weekends I find it difficult because now I am squeezing more activities into less time.I would really like to get to doing a 2nd draft of my short story and I’d like to get started on a longer project I have been outlining, but I simply lack the time. I am seriously considering dropping this blog in favor of the more shallow Facebook (but easy to use) or at the very least writing here less, maybe cutting down to 12-15 posts a month.  I have made no decisions, but I see some changes coming down the road.


On a separate note. Smallville, the really wretched TV show about Clark Kent before becoming Superman, is finally off the air after 10 seasons. All I have to say is in some alternate reality, this show lasted 7 episodes and Firefly had an epic 10 season run, and that is a universe I want to live in. As for this universe, I cry for humanity.

Review: Tron – Legacy

Normally I try to add some substance to these reviews, but Tron – Legacy was entirely “Meh”. While it did not suck, it was also not exceptional in any way. Don’t bother buying it unless you already have the original and are a completest of some kind. It is probably worth rotating through Netflix, but honestly, there is no hurry.

Interesting things around the internet

This was published by the New York Times, in the sports section.

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House hunting

PezWitch has decided she wants to move to Round Rock/Austin. This means we will be getting rid of this place and buying a new house. Last Saturday was Free Comic book day and we were going to our comic shop of choice, Rogues Gallery anyway, so PezWitch set up an appointment to check out a house. The owners wanted $99K, which seems reasonable for the area. The first thing I notice when I walk in is the smell of dog urine, not a good start, especially in light of the next problem. It looked like they started to redecorate and never finished. Only one room had any flooring, the rest looked like they tore out the carpet, presumably because their dog had been urinating on it for 15 years. The whole place needed to be painted, both inside and out. So right off the bat there is probably $10K of work even before the pre purchase home inspection occurs and they almost always have another $5K of repairs to be done.

Silly answers to serious questions

People should not ask me questions when they really don’t want to hear the answer. A few days ago for some depressing reason or another I ended up in a discussion about funeral arrangements and how we wanted our first tentative steps into the afterlife be dealt with by those who survive us. After politely listening to my co-workers say what they would like, I stated I wanted my funeral pyre to be a burning full sized viking warship packed with all my worldly belongings. Like always in these conversations I find myself being stared at like I am an alien from another planet, so I added “What, too subtle ?”. While I am on the subject of Chris weirdness at work, during one of my early staff meetings in my new position, my boss asked if there were any questions and I raised my hand and asked “Since I am now 2nd level, when to I get to roll for my new hit points ?”, I got a few giggles, but mostly it was confused stares.

My Memory

I have a pretty good memory, although sometimes it is a bit selective. For instance, I remember D&D games from 1980, I remember pretty much every TV show I have ever watched and I remember every book I have ever read, at least I thought I did anyway. Of course don’t ask me what my cell phone number is or my mothers birthday, because I will have to look it up.

For the last couple of years I have been re-reading many of the books I read as a teenager and young adult. So far I have remembered everyone one of them. Before re-reading them, I could tell you the plot, all the major characters and describe significant scenes. Some of those books stood the test of time and others did not.

These last couple of weeks I have been re-reading The Illuminatus! Trilogy. Oddly, these books have been a blind spot for me. I remember reading them, PezWitch remembers me reading them. However, in the re-reading it is like I never read the books at all. The only thing I remembered from the books is the main character Hagbard Celine and Fnord. This is a bit disorientating for me, however at least all the gags are new. The only explanation I have is obviously I am a victim of the Illuminati Orbital Mind Control Laser.