Saturday, August 20, 2016

RPGaDay 20

Most challenging but rewarding system have you learned?
Hmm, I've learned lots of systems. Although, unless you have a math or science degree, you never really learn Champions (at least the 1980s edition). That was challenging but meh on the rewarding. Ironclaw was rewarding, but not particularly challenging to learn.

I think the answer is Fate. It's not really a hard system but it's a very different mindset than the games I've been playing for the last..few decades. That made it a challenge for me to learn.

Friday, August 19, 2016

RPGaDay 19

Best Way to Learn a New Game

The best way to learn a game is to play it. You get something from reading the rules, from creating characters, even by having demo conflicts (skill, social, combat, etc), but you never really learn the game until you're at the table.

It's when the dice hit the table, you find out how the rules really work. You find the twists and turns and how they play out.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

RPGaDay 18

What innovation could RPGs benefit most from?
For map and miniature focused games, 3 dimensional hologram maps would be really cool. Come to think of it, anything that would make it easier to game long distance. I mean technology like Skype and Google+ Hangouts help, but real-time map interface, with miniature/icon sync, and better signal clarity would really help.

I have friends who moved to Canada, and I miss gaming with them. Or my high school friends, or gamers I've met online.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

RPGaDay 17

What fictional character would best fit in my group?

Oh, um. It's easy to think of ones that won't fit (even if they are fun to read about). This is additionally complicated by my difficulty remembering names.

Oh, wait, I've got it, Harry Dresden. Leonard (from Big Bang Theory) is another easy one.

There just aren't many who play rpgs. Okay, there are some webcomic strip characters who play, but other than that, well, the numbers are limited. There's Diana Tregarde (from a Mercedes Lackey urban fantasy series). CD suggested Ivy Tamwood (from the Kim Harrison series). 

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Family and Tatting

I started the pendant for the beanile class at Palmetto Tat Days. The metallic red thread and black core beads are really pretty. The satin rattail and beads example didn't really work. The beads are too large. Oh well, it was worth a try.

Deadlands game on Thursday. We faced off against the same thug who falsely arrested my character before. Alas, she still failed to kill him. However, the mad scientist was accidentally killed (really, something moved under his clothes and we shot it, missed it and hit him).

Tuesday night a friend of mom's called. Mom needed me to visit. I asked my boss Wednesday morning and thankfully he was okay with it. Thank goodness for an understanding boss and a job with paid leave, and having paid leave to use. 

Friday morning, I went to go see Mom. She ignored the packing list I'd given her. I picked up CC on the way, taking her portable sewing machine. Mom wanted pockets put in her housedresses. We picked up Mom's tv, installed it in her room, took her out to lunch, then left CC at the center to sew the pockets, while Mom and I ran some errands and packed. We still missed a few things, but now she has some toiletries, real clothes beside house dresses, an alternate pair of shoes, etc. CC did a wonderful job of installing pockets.We moved Mom's car and headed home. We stopped halfway for gas and some snacks when I realized I'd left my wallet.

I checked my car again, backtracked to mom's car, mom's room, and then Mom's apartment. I'd left it on the washing machine. Since our washing machine stopped working, with a load of clothes in it, I'd taken those clothes to mom's apartment to wash and dry. I ended up being away from home for more than 12 hours and soooo tired. And I accidentally left my good stork scissors with CC.

But Saturday was the local tatters' meeting. Our usual meeting place (the library) is closed for renovations, so we're meeting at a Whole Foods community room. We can have chocolate at the meeting again. Anitra gave me my exhibit items (scarf, etc). Yay! I had a couple books as birthday presents for her husband and gave them to her.

I messed up my knitting. I noted down the pattern wrong. I bound off and ooh boy, I ran into tension problems. The left side is the cast on.

Sunday, CD and I went washing machine shopping. Luckily, Sears was having a sale. Now I just need to get the basement cleaned up enough to move washing machines through it. At least I have a week and a half.

CC and I met for supper Monday night. She needed a little venting time and I wanted my scissors back. I drank too much caffeine and had a little trouble getting to sleep.

Here, have some clouds.

beads are tooooo big

RPGaDay 16

Historic person you'd like in your game? What game?

Is he still historic if he died recently? I'd love to have played a game with Robin Williams. I think with him in the game I'd either want something really crunchy (rules!) like Shadowrun or something more narrative, like Spirits of the Century. I'm not sure how far he'd stray from his character, but I could see him playing a social chameleon character.

Farther back, Ada Lovelace would be cool. She's got that mathematically trained mind with the creativity she got from her father, but under better control. She imagined computer programming! Imagine what she could do with Shadowrun. Would she play a hacker?

Monday, August 15, 2016

RPGaDay 15

*Your best source of inspiration for RPGs*
That's another tough question. I get inspired by books, by movies, by tv shows, by news articles. by other games, and by notes in the game books. For example, the first adventure I wrote and ran at a con was based on stories of lost holy relics. It was one part from a Brother Cadfael mystery, one part from Victorian antique collectors, and one part from a note in the game book about territory changing hands.

My most recent Pathfinder character was inspired by a short reference about an NPC's background in a Pathfinder adventure (she's the NPC's daughter). I've had one inspired by a special character race boon in Pathfinder Society, and my Deadlands character was inspired by the real story of Bass Reeves.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

RPGaDay 14

Question 14: Dream Team of people who used to game with?
For most of them, I won't use actual names, because they are alive and might not appreciate me blasting their name throughout the internet.

So, Bill Elliot is one, AP (I haven't even seen or heard from her in years), JJ (high school friend who lives too far to game with easily), BF (who lives even farther away), MS (a college friend who also 'disappeared'), and SS (who just doesn't have time to game these days).

I know, that list tells you pretty much nothing about them. I met Bill in college and he was willing to play almost any game and willing to run most. I will never get a chance to play with him again unless there's an afterlife.

AP, well, she was one of my college roommates and we were good friends. But we parted ways my senior year and I've only seen her a couple of times since then.

I get to see JJ once a year and he's active in gaming in his area. I suppose we could try gaming long distance, but the technology for that only got to the point for it to be possible in the last decade. And we've never thought of it.

That goes for BF, too. He's in another state, in another time zone. Again, I should suggest a game via Google Hangouts or Skype or something.

MS had some neuro issues and didn't take her meds. She was fine for awhile but got worse. She went back to live her parents until she stabilized. She wrote for awhile and then stopped. I never heard from her again.

SS is fairly local. He only lives about 40 minutes away. But he has a more than full-time job.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

RPGaDay 13

What makes a successful campaign?
That is an excellent question. It has to be interesting enough to keep everyone involved and avoid GM burnout. It has to have well-explained expectations for the GM and the players (so people aren't expecting a lighthearted romp and get a horror instead, for example). Personalities and play styles have to mesh, at least to a certain extent; so no one 'yucks someone else's yum' as they say.

Friday, August 12, 2016

RPGaDay 12

What Game is your group most likely to play next? Why?
Huh, we're already playing Deadlands Savage Worlds and Pathfinder. We don't change game systems very often.

I'd like to play some Fate, maybe Jadepunk, or Spirit of the Century, or Shadows of the Century again. Or maybe 7th Sea, 2nd edition. I wouldn't say no to Shadowrun, either. Or Ironclaw/Jadeclaw.

All of those are fun games, and most of our gaming crowd has them or has access to them. I just don't know when we'll change games again.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

RPGaDay 11

Which Gamer most affected the way you play?
I'm not sure. I guess one of my early GMs, Bill Elliot. He was an older player/GM and he was one of the people who convinced me to run Shadowrun. After a bit, he joined me as co-GM for the same game. He was the 1st GM who had the confidence to run a romance for one of my characters.

I miss him.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

RPGaDay 10

(Do you really need to see the questions again?)
 *Largest in-game surprise you've experienced?*
Oh, now I remember. It was in my SO's game. I was playing an Eisen (think 17th century German, after the 30 Years War) who had been warned by a foreseer about her 'role to stop the civil war.' As a survivor of Eisen's civil war, aka War of the  Cross, this got her attention. She and some newfound compatriots ended up on a river (neat trick from landlocked Eisen) and saw two castles, on either side, firing cannon at each other.

We debated which side to dock at, since we didn't want to sail through the cannon fire, which coincidentally stopped as we neared. The people in the castle were quite hospitable and we realized they were fey. The Avalonian warned us about fey and for us to mind our manners....or else.

At supper, our host announced we had been invited to a raid. By his counterpart across the river. After being loaned appropriately festive outfits, we joined our host on boats to cross the river, with musicians on boats in-between the raiders providing accompaniment.

We docked and were met by soldiers of the opposing castle. They very politely told the raiders where to dump the cannon for maximum effectiveness, and where to not walk so we wouldn't trod on the grass.

Eventually, we reached the castle courtyard, with parquet floor set down for dancing, more musicians, food, and drink (with the trays slotted to fit onto blades). It was a lovely raid. With dancing.

In time, our host, and his neighbor/foe explained matters to us. They were fighting a war, but because they were long-time neighbors they were polite about. The reason for the conflict? One noble fey said you should write a thank-you note as soon as you receive a gift and the other said you should wait until you have a chance to use the gift, then write the note.

Normally, they would have resolved it by referencing a certain (magic) book of manners. However it had been stolen by a (Scottish) noblewoman, Lady Martha of House Stewart.

Yes, the nobles were fighting a very Civil War. And the villain? Martha Stewart.

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Catch Up and Stuff

I spent the weekend with my mom. She's went to assisted living on Monday and there's so much to do. I left her a list Sunday night to do after I left. The move apparently went smoothly enough, but of course, she didn't get everything she wanted. I told her I'd drive back and get stuff but she said she'd get someone closer to do it.

I won a book! It's  A Season of Ruin by Anna Bradley. It was a lovely surprise.

I finished the 4th in The Others series, Marked in Flesh. PL loaned it to me. That leaves Dark Serpent yet to read of my recent purchases. I'm trying to decide to whether to read it now, or to wait until the next 2 are out.

I recovered my shuttles from Mom and bought a couple Clovers at JoAnne's. I also got the idea to use rattail and large beads to demo beanile.

I got my copy of 7th Sea, 2nd edition. I've created a character, an Eisen soldier. My latest Pathfinder Pawns arrived Monday as well as the latest hardback book; Horror Adventures.

I meant to show this off a couple weeks ago. Mom made this ...I don't know what to call it. It's to hide the saucer under a flower pot, in a decorative fashion.
My begonia
 Under this plant is woven one that I made. I used an embroidery hoop. It's based on wagon wheel woven rug.
prayer plant
This is a handy tip to know to get a conference room, etc to go quiet. It doesn't work in all cultures (for example, a choral group found it better to sing a single note)

Last week, I spent time getting mom ready for her next transition. She's going to an assisted living place temporarily. In the meantime, I hired in-home care to take her on errands and doctor visits. Her friends handled the follow-ups. I must say, I am really glad mom has long-term care insurance. It's making the process much easier.

I have made one pair of earrings for the Palmetto Tat Days class. They are so pretty.

Here are a few plants from the planter outside my office.
I have no idea, it's purple

silvery grey plant


another purple

RPGaDay 9

Linking to the questions again
Beyond the game, what's involved in an ideal session?
Good conversation, laughs, and a good story to tell later. In an ideal session, we'll be challenged, barely make it through, spend some time laughing, talking, and then later we'll have stories to tell 'about this one time we were playing and.....happened.'

Monday, August 08, 2016

RPGaDay 8

For the list of questions
Hardcover, softcover, or digital? What is my preference?

Ahh, that's variable. To stand up to wear and tear, I want hardcover. The binding can stand up the slings and arrows of traveling to and from the gaming table. Softcover is easier to carry around but the absolute easiest is digital. I can carry my entire gaming library on my iPad but I still often find hardcopy easier to read and flip through.

So I prefer a combination of hardcover and digital. I want hardcopy to read and flip through; then digital for reference and portability.

Sunday, August 07, 2016

RPGaDay 7

The questions
What Aspect of RPGs Has Had the Biggest Impact on Me?
Running games has given me self-confidence and improved my public speaking. The 1st time I tried public speaking, I choked.

Now I run games, both published ones and ones I've written, for friends and for strangers. I have run in stores and at conventions. I have been the first game master for people and taught people a new system.

Saturday, August 06, 2016

#RPGaDay 6

Image with list of questions
Most Amazing Thing a Game Group Did for Their Community?

In real life? It's not actually a Game Group, but Knights of Fiat Lux for the past 8 years have run a small con, with gaming and other activities, to benefit the Autism Society of NC. This year, they raised over $4000.

In game? It started as an excuse to talk to the colony's military governor but it blossomed. We came up with a morale boosting, tourism increasing, trade spiking idea. Take the site of the recently ceased hostilities and make a race course. With a few changes, it could handle off road bikes, cars, off-road cars, drones, etc. The construction would boost economic recovery, then it would be a draw to bring people the area, boosting the local economy that way, plus providing the consumable would provide ongoing economic support.

 Unfortunately, the other side resumed hostilities before we could even tell the military governor, much less carry it out. After we left (ending the hostilities on the way), we learned someone had found our plans and carried them out, with great success. Our engineer, who came up with the idea, was quite bitter over that.

Friday, August 05, 2016

#RPGaDay 5

All the questions (1 image)
What stories do your group tell about your character?
Um, I'm not sure. One of the few I can recall is from that same overpowered AD&D game, and the guy who played the paladin talks about threatening my character if she kept throwing area of effect spells (like fireball and snowball) in his area.

Or the same Living Greyhawk character who was 4th level before she made it through an entire combat still conscious. Nadia had a tendency to follow her friends, a paladin and fighter/cleric, into the thick of battle. And she'd get hit a couple times, fall unconscious, the paladin would stabilize her, and then heal her after the fight.

I could ask them what stories they tell. I usually play a support character and such characters rarely shine.

Thursday, August 04, 2016

RPGaDay 4

List of questions
Most Impressive Thing Another's Character Did?

One of my friends had a character (Living Greyhawk again) who so impressed a small tribe, they worshiped her as a demi-goddess. She was playing a dragon disciple, black dragon, with acid breath. We were trying to impress them, to get them to help us, and one of the options given was to show off our strength.

She said a few words, then spit a ball of acid that took down a tree, and maxed out her intimidation roll. The GM took into account how impressive her action was and decided they were very impressed.

In a Mutants & Masterminds, one of the characters flubbed a roll with perfect timing. We were fighting a (NPC) duplicate, from another dimension, of our greatest hero. The duplicate didn't know he was a mole, sent to be a double agent and betray us. He shared a room with the PC in question. It came to the final fight with the invasion imminent. The mole asked us to kill him, so he wouldn't betray us. The PC botched the roll to finish him. It was so narratively perfect. At the last moment, the PC flinched, unable to kill his friend. It was left to the other heroes to perform the deed.

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

#RPGaDay 3

Question for August 3rd
(all the questions)
 "Character moment you are proudest of"

Not an easy question. There's the moment in Living Greyhawk when my severely underpowered* bard (seriously, the NPC cohort was higher level) broke the module. We knocked out one of the NPCs then she used Fascinate ability and charm to find out all the big bad's plans. That's something that wasn't supposed to be possible, but his save was based on her perform skill and she had that maxed, but a supernaturally high Charisma skill.

*Living Greyhawk was a shared world campaign and usually game sessions were played with characters about the same level. You had to have a minimum of 4 players for a legal table, and a max of 6. I think Nadia was 10th level and the cohort, or NPC follower of one of the PCs, was 12th, or maybe 13th. She was along to make it a legal table, but it was doubtful she'd actually do anything.

Or maybe it was when my (overpowered character for an overpowered game) halfling wizard/illusionist in AD&D so impressed the King under the Mountain that instead of killing her, he let the entire group have the run of his armory, both mundane and magical.

She accidentally found a door and went inside. She saw a huge chest, overflowing with gold, treasure, gems, and art. She saw a massive, obviously magic hammer. She saw an enormous bed, with a commiserate nightstand. Aaaand she saw the mug. She climbed the nightstand and found the stein to be filled to the brim with beer. Well, she was called Cuplifter, so she carefully tilted the mug enough to get a sip. It was wonderful. And the giant in the bed woke up. He looked at her. She looked at him. She said, "Good beer." He was so amused that she ignored all the wealth and headed straight for the beer, and then was boldfaced about admitting it.

Or maybe, it was when my Ironclaw character and another character essentially talked a bandit into going straight. After all, he wasn't a successful bandit. He'd be better off in another line of work. One that wouldn't get him hung.

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Publishing Scheduled...and Yet Silence

So, I finished my post last week and set it to publish in an hour. And it never published. So, to anyone actually waiting for it, sorry. I hit Publish Monday (again), and this time it worked.

Friday, I went to lunch with my co-workers to celebrate one's lunch. We went to Carolina Brewery. I'd never been before but I can recommend their barbecue and their sweet potato fries. None of us had any beer; middle of the workday after all. No hardship for me, I don't like beer. Our newest co-worker told us about a trip she'd taken to Paris. She's good at telling stories.

Anyway, I made progress on my test swatch for my knitting. It failed, which means I'm starting over using what I learned. My target, is a 7" by 1" strip. My result was about 10" by 1/2".

I've made one earring, for the pattern for Tat Days. I say 'made', but I still need to make one join and hide the ends. Then I need to load more beads, make the mate and then start the variant.

No progress made on the blocking. I need to take the one I've blocked, photograph it, and send the picture to Anitra. And of course, I need to block the next one.

RG's puppy chewed a hole in her blanket (the puppy's blanket). I took it home and I'm going to try to patch it. My main concern is that my patch is not more vulnerable to puppy teeth than the rest of the blanket.

Of course, Fantasy Gamers Conclave was over the weekend. It's a small Saturday and Sunday convention. CD, RG, and I have been running Pathfinder games there for at least since 2010. Alas, they're taking a break and won't have a con next year. But maybe the year after that. :crossed fingers:

I ran Silverhex, or rather 3 of the 6 quests, for 3 people who'd never played tabletop RPGs before. They were interested, and one of them had a Beginner's Box but found it confusing. Getting a chance to play and see how it works in real life and learning by doing really helped. All three of them decided to join PFS (PathFinder Society). Whether they follow up with more PFS play, well, that's up to their preferences and opportunities. I had a picture of one of the maps, but I can't find it.

Saturday afternoon, I ran Sun Orchid Scheme. It's a regular scenario. I had a full table for that one. I had two new(ish) players using pre-gens and everyone else had PFS characters. We also wound up really late. I didn't get to sleep until after 2 am.

CD let me sleep in Sunday and our games didn't start until 1 pm, thankfully. I ended up running a couple of quests from Phantom Phenomena. I had 4 people playing, interrupted by a couple of them needed elsewhere for a time. All the players had fun, and that's the important part.

They raised over $3000 for Autism Society of North Carolina. I helped a little more by buying something at auction. There were other things up for bid that I wanted but they went out of my limited price range.

One really neat thing, on the way home on Sunday, there were some heavy clouds rolling in. And as the sun was setting behind them, there was a smaller whisp of cloud coming out and the sun shining through it cause it to light up like a rainbow. I really wish I could have gotten a picture, because my words are not up to describing just how unusual and lovely it was.

We also had another major storm roll through. There was one crash of thunder so loud it sounded like a cannon going off. Fortunately, this time we didn't lose power.

Some books I had ordered, also arrived on Saturday. I finished reading one of them on Sunday and started another one. That leaves 2 more (book 2 & 3 in a series), plus one I've been putting off because once I start it, I won't want to stop for anything, including sleep.

Tonight is my date with Carry. You'll find out about that next post.

And here's an entertaining flowchart. Are you caught in a time paradox?

More Zen Koi images

#RPGaDay 2


Question #2: Best Game Session since August 2015
That's pretty tough for me. I take notes at games because my memory isn't always as good as I'd like. Between that and not remembering exactly which session happened when...well, this is a challenge.

I'll go with something recent then. Recently, I ran some Pathfinder for people who were interested in roleplaying games but had never actually played any. The joy of introducing someone to this hobby and see them have a fun time.

Oh wait, there was the time incident in Deadlands, Savage Worlds game. Our group is a mix of bounty hunters, law, and interested parties looking for some mad scientists, magic workers, and miscreants. One of the characters is a Catholic priest, so he's against murder.

We had found one chap who had been experimenting on people, installing devices to make them...tractable. At least one of the characters ('if he's dead, he can't continue his work, for anyone') was all for killing the guy and he was going to do so while the priest was otherwise occupied. Of course, the players know what's going to happen and the player is not averse to this guy catching a case of the dead, but his character would be against killing him in cold blood. GM has him roll Notice, an untrained skill (so d4-2). The guy open ends (rolls a 4 on a d4) and notices in time to intervene in the killing. The one time this character successfully noticed something!

The miscreant ended up dead anyway. Shot by the priest. An NPC managed to trick the prisoner into grabbing a gun, making it look like he was trying to escape and was dangerous. Again, the priest noticed in time and while he wasn't the only one who took a shot, he was the only one to hit.

It was a lovely dice support the narrative and vice versa moment.

Monday, August 01, 2016

#RPGaDay, a month-long interjection into my regular blog


Inspired by

As any of my readers can tell, I play tabletop RPGs. And I have done since (dramatic pause) last century!

1st question: August 1: Do you prefer to use real dice, a dice application or program, or use a diceless system? 

I'd have to go real dice. I have gotten dice to 'match' a particular character, like green and brown ones for the earth cleric. Plus, I've played West End Star Wars, Shadowrun and Champions, all of which require literal bricks of d6s; not to mention White Wolf and Legend of the 5 Rings which both needed at least 10 d10s. When I was running Ironclaw at cons, I had a bag of dice to share with players. Each die type (d4, d6, d8, d10, d12, no d20) was a different color, to make instruction easier ('you need to roll the blue and the red dice'). Not to mention, I have Fate Dice, too.

I currently have multiple bags of dice. There are several pretty dice, dice I bought because I just felt I needed new dice, specialized dice (see FATE games) and 'emergency dice' because I forgot my dice bag. In addition, some cons and stores have dice made with their logo on one of the faces.

Dice applications or programs don't give the same sensory input. And since I don't usually know the programmers, I don't know whether I can trust their work to be truly random.

I have very rarely played diceless systems, so I don't have a good feel for them. I have played games that used cards to supplement the dice.