Monthly Archives: December 2015

So long 2015, Hello 2016

2015 was not a bad year all things considered. I wasn’t robbed, so right off the bat we are better off than 2014. I think the last HackMaster game went extremely well, probably among the top 2 or 3 campaign I have ever run. Things at work went pretty well, with few seriously problems or setbacks. Of the bad things that did happen, there was nothing earth shattering, PezWitch did get into a car accident, but it was the other drivers fault and everything was covered by the other guys insurance. We paid off our mortgage, which was no small feat. All in all, 2015 was a moderately successful year.

I have high hopes for 2016. We are planning a trip back to Montana, with a stop over in Seattle, that should be fun. I think I have a good foundation for the GURPS campaign we are starting next week. I suspect PezWitch will finally corner me into buying a new house, boy is she going to be surprised when I make her and the cats move everything. So again, my hopes are high, Happy New Year Everyone.

RE: Email Archive

From December 2005 until January 2007 I kept every single personal email I sent and received. I wrote about this about a year and a half ago as I was trying to decide what to do with this on the 10 anniversary of this archive. I was thinking about posting each email here on the day it was sent or alternately just putting it up for anyone who wanted to could look at it. However, as I read through the emails, I found there was a lot of very personal things in there, not just about me, but my friends and family as well. There are emails in there from people who are now dead and emails from people I have not spoken to in 8 or 9 years. So in retrospect I think those two options would be inappropriate. Maybe at the 20 year mark I will reconsider, because at that point, I don’t think anyone will care what we were doing or saying in 2006.

Raspberry Pi vs Banana Pi

Seems like each Christmas I get a small single board computer (SBC), this year it is a Banana Pi. The Beagle Bone Black I was using had some shortcomings that made it difficult to use the way I wanted to. For instance, it required a 5V power source to do anything more than a command line, its Linux distro’s were seriously lacking and the quality of the product was very suspect as I went through two of them in very short order. The biggest issue was most of the things I did with my Raspberry Pi, I had to either abandon entirely or took a serious amount of conversion to make work.

The Banana Pi is for the most part compatible with the Raspberry Pi, it has more choices for OS, the specs are far superior and boots into a GUI while running off a battery. PezWitch bought me two of them, because she dropped one and wanted make sure I had a functional gift, both worked fine. One of them I have mounted on my test bed, the other is going to become the center of Gargoyle Two. Gargoyle One was my first attempt at a wearable data collection device. I have ordered a few things to get this going in the direction I wanted, including a 3.5 in LCD screen. Next weekend I hope to start building Gargoyle Two.

 

Holiday season random thoughts

It is the last day of my vacation, it is also the last of my vacation days for the year, there is really just a couple of short weeks between now and my vacation day reset, so life is good. I have not been posting much lately and that will likely not change anytime soon. So here are some things that have been on my mind.

Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition: We played 4 games of this culminating into my year Christmas game. My original review of it can be found here, and not much has really changed in my opinion. I think it is a respectable game and a decent D&D edition. In actual play, there were some rough spots, but again, I suspect that had more to do with Roll20.net than it did with the actual rules. Overall, I like the game, but the real problem is, I don’t love it.

Star Wars – The Force Awakens: Once again, the movie was not bad, it was a bit of a remake of Star Wars – The New Hope, on the other hand it did not damage the franchise in terms of anything being truly bad. The real problem of course is, it also did not bring anything new to the table. My hope is, this movie is simply laying the ground work for the next movie, which I hope is not just good, but GREAT! What I hope is that people don’t look for reasons to hate the movie and just take it for what it is.

Companions of Xarth Wiki: The CoX wiki is a bit of a mess, it has grown very organically from a few simple webpages. The problem with any knowledge base grown in this manner, is it tends to be an exercise in chaos. There is not much organization, some of the material is outdated, incorrect or flat out useless. One of the things I want to do this next year is scrap the wiki as it exists today and build it back up into a more useful tool. I have transferred about 80% of the information on the wiki to my desktop wiki program, Zim. My plan is to weed out all the useless stuff, update the things that need updating and organize it better.

GURPS Cyberpunk: While I was planning this campaign, I came across an old article I had read many years ago in the Roleplayer, a now defunct newsletter published by Steve Jackson Games. The article entitled Prime Time Roleplaying laid out a format for producing game sessions to mimic TV series. This seemed like a really good way to run the game I am planning to run. I said from the beginning, this would mimic Burn Notice in many ways. My idea is, each episode will be roughly 3 games, each game being a single act within the episode. From the article;

Act I introduces the villain’s crime fully, and gets the PCs involved. It climaxes in a minor confrontation with the villain or his henchmen when one of the PCs gets too close. This confrontation, which will often take an impersonal form – a bomb in an apartment, a car chase, a sniper – should put the PCs on the right trail.

Act II centers on the PCs’ investigations, as they put together the pieces of the puzzle that lead to the villain. By the climax of the second act, the investigators should be fairly confident of whodunnit; the tension in this act comes from the need to catch the villain before he gets away or strikes again.

Act III brings the PCs into direct confrontation with the villain, climaxing in – we hope – the miscreant’s downfall. Following Act III is the epilogue, which wraps up loose subplots and clears the stage for next week’s episode.

This was a good article, when it was published in 1988, it has withstood the test of time, and yes, I still have my original copy.

D&D, GURPS and beyond

This Friday night will mark the end of our D&D 5E stint, once we are past that, I will write down some thoughts on the subject. We will then take a couple of weeks off, since Christmas and New Years both fall on Friday this year. Come January 8th, we will begin our GURPS Cyberpunk campaign, which I have described as Burn Notice meets Billings Montana in the year 2063.

I was first introduced to GURPS back in 1985 when Steve Jackson Games released Man to Man, sort of a stripped down version of GURPS 1st Edition, in much the same vein as GURPS Lite. In the late 80’s, GURPS became my game of choice, although really, we played D&D way more than we played GURPS. Regardless, I remember playing some really fantastic games of GURPS, especially in the Horror genre. Of course anyone who has followed my group in the last several years, knows we have played GURPS perhaps a dozen times or so with some interesting results.

In preparation for this game, I am in the process of re-reading my three favorite cyberpunk novels, Ready Player One, Jennifer Government and Neuromancer. As a bonus I just discovered that Shockwave Rider by John Brunner is available on Kindle Unlimited, this is probably THE proto-cyberpunk book, it was cyberpunk almost a decade before cyberpunk became its own sub-genre. So anyone looking for a reading list, there you go.

 

Happy Anniversary

Today is our 31st wedding anniversary. To date I still have not figured out why PezWitch stays with me considering all the stupid shit I have pulled over the years. Regardless, I am glad she did.

Scoring Trolls

I have been on the internet a long time. I have been trolled by the people who invented internet trolling. When you have been at this as long as I have, it becomes a bit of a game really. So needless to say, I am pretty thick skinned and it is very hard to impress me. These days when someone trolls me, I score them 0 to 5.

5: You are a master, you had me spitting nails and calling you Hitler in three posts, good job.

4: You managed to make an interesting argument and kept me engaged, but you probably had to work at it and you might have even made me angry at some point.

3: You are either a really good troll with a boring topic, or a bad troll with a good topic. Either way you managed get me to respond, but most likely I lost interest at some point.

2: Really you are probably a 1 and I have taken pity on you. Your subject is boring and your delivery is poor. I am probably only engaging you to help you improve.

1: You are a complete n00b, I do not find you entertaining on any level. I probably do not even realize you are trying to troll me and responded to you by accident.

0: You probably need to leave the internet.