This is both a wiki (a website editable by all) and a blog (an online diary about the stuff AlexSchroeder reads and does). If you’re a friend or relative, you might be interested in reading Life instead of this page. If you’ve come here from an RPG blog, you might want to head over to RPG. There are other similar categories to be found on the SiteMap.
Für Rollenspieler gibt es ebenfalls eine eigene RSP Kategorie.
Recently John Payne talked about distributing RSS feeds in eBook form on Google+. Interesting idea, and the resulting discussion of copyright and feed aggregation soon touched upon the Old School RPG Planet. Ian Borchardt correctly said “Just because the authors post their work to the web doesn’t mean they forfeit their copyright. If you collect this work into another form, you are violating their copyright.” Andy Standfield replied “This has all already been covered by many courts and legal experts. This is all considered fair use.”
I started to wonder. Many courts? I decided to google for some more information and found What’s the law around aggregating news online? A Harvard Law report on the risks and the best practices. This 2010 article said that all the parties settled before a finding was made. In the US, that would mean we don’t really know. The article also has a longer section about the Fair Use test and how to apply it. In addition to that, the situation would be different outside the US – possibly more restrictive here in Switzerland, for example.
Drinking my coffee I thought about it some more and finally decided to take the Old School RPG Planet offline. I wasn’t really using it anymore and I really dislike the idea of further discussions with annoyed blog authors. I also didn’t feel like contacting a hundred bloggers, most of whom don’t have their email address on the front page of their blog. The site should now redirect to the Legacy D&D section of the RPG Bloggers Network. It supposedly does more or less the same thing, except that the authors have to register their own sites. Too bad the RPG Blog Alliance doesn’t have categories.
I recently visited RPG Now and decided to visit the list of updated PDFs. Unspeakable rites of the ancients—that many!? I think the reason I have so many PDFs is that I bought two bundles for a fistful of dollars destined to help charities years ago. I went through the list and only downloaded the products I felt I was interested in. I skipped Pathfinder products. I skipped paper miniatures. I skipped floor plans. So many things that I’d love to have, but there is just not enough time! I clicked on Traveller stuff, Fate stuff, OSR stuff like Sine Nomine, Labyrinth Lord, Dungeon Crawl Classics (DCC), and since I can never download more than ten files, and since I cannot automatically deselect all the files I selected for download I manually deselected the ten entries I just downloaded, selected another ten entries, downloaded, downloaded—I downloaded 77 updated files.
Wow. We are definitely living in plentiful times.
So now I had eight zip files in my download folder and I realized another problem: There’s a folder on my external disk for RPG PDFs and its directory hierarchy is multiple levels deep. Dungeons & Dragons or Pendragon? TSR or Frog God Games? Basic D&D accessory or module? Sorting all the PDFs into the folders is driving me nuts.
And what’s worse: my iPad has a PDF reader (Good Reader) with it’s own, separate copy of a subset of these files. And in my idiocy I used a different directory structure on the iPad.
So now I need to figure out what to do, and how to keep the two in sync without my Repeated Strain Injury flaring up.
November 25, 2013. Creative Commons released 4.0 versions of their licenses. Yeah! More info on their blog.
Cory Doctorow says the following on BoingBoing, which is where I learned about the new versions:
I must say, I was always a bit annoyed when I saw the local versions of Creative Commons licenses. What does it mean for me, when I live in Switzerland, host stuff in the US, and said stuff is based on the Canadian port of the license? The FAQ now says: “Unless you have a specific reason to use a ported license, we suggest you consider using one of the international licenses.”
I also often wondered about additional rights we have here in Europe. For example, I might allow you to make copies of my face, but I can still control the use of said copies here in Switzerland using my “personality” rights. The blog post announcing the 4.0 versions of the licenses now says: “Where the licensor has publicity, personality, or privacy rights that may affect your ability to use the material as the license intends, the licensor agrees to waive or not assert those rights.”
I saw Andrew Hyatt post on Google+:
I skimmed my
~/.emacs and looked at all the little settings I think would make better defaults… For the complete file, see my current config file for Emacs on Windows.
(show-paren-mode 1) (winner-mode 1) (windmove-default-keybindings) (column-number-mode 1) (savehist-mode 1) (iswitchb-mode 1) (global-set-key (kbd "C-x C-b") 'bs-show) (require 'dired-x) (setq dired-recursive-deletes 'top dired-recursive-copies 'top dired-dwim-target t) (setq sentence-end-double-space nil) (dolist (hook '(emacs-lisp-mode-hook lisp-mode-hook rcirc-mode change-log-mode texinfo-mode-hook)) (add-hook hook (lambda () (eldoc-mode 1) (set (make-local-variable 'sentence-end-double-space) t)))) (setq eshell-save-history-on-exit t) (setq cperl-hairy t cperl-electric-parens 'null) (add-hook 'cperl-mode-hook (lambda () (local-set-key (kbd "C-h f") 'cperl-perldoc))) (add-hook 'rcirc-mode-hook (lambda () (rcirc-track-minor-mode 1))) (defun describe-hash (variable &optional buffer) "Display the full documentation of VARIABLE (a symbol). Returns the documentation as a string, also. If VARIABLE has a buffer-local value in BUFFER (default to the current buffer), it is displayed along with the global value." (interactive (let ((v (variable-at-point)) (enable-recursive-minibuffers t) val) (setq val (completing-read (if (and (symbolp v) (hash-table-p (symbol-value v))) (format "Describe hash-map (default %s): " v) "Describe hash-map: ") obarray (lambda (atom) (and (boundp atom) (hash-table-p (symbol-value atom)))) t nil nil (if (hash-table-p v) (symbol-name v)))) (list (if (equal val "") v (intern val))))) (with-output-to-temp-buffer (help-buffer) (maphash (lambda (key value) (pp key) (princ " => ") (pp value) (terpri)) (symbol-value variable)))) (define-key isearch-mode-map (kbd "C-h") 'isearch-highlight-phrase) (put 'narrow-to-region 'disabled nil) (put 'not-modified 'disabled t) (put 'upcase-region 'disabled nil) (put 'downcase-region 'disabled nil)
I’ve just implemented a new non-optional Oddmuse feature. I’m removing all hostnames and IP numbers of older log entries. The log entries older than 90 days are stored in a different log file in order to speed up the generation of RecentChanges. During maintenance, these log entries are copied from one file to the other and I’m now taking advantage of this copying to remove the hostname or IP number.
Basically I find that as a person, I dislike invasions of privacy and I feel that in some small form, software engineers are inviting it because often it’s easier to do. We often model things to never forget, e.g. version control.
One of the important pages on Meatball was ForgiveAndForget. Forgetting is human.
At the same time, with Snowden and the NSA, I feel that as a hoster I’m more comfortable if I cannot provide the logs an agency is looking for.
Furthermore, I’ve had a very small number of emails from users asking me to remove their hostnames from the log files because they had accidentally edited the wiki from work. Pages containing their hostname will eventually be deleted but log entries were not. Now they’re anonymized and people can feel safer knowing that the traces will eventually disappear again.
The idea is that you would only need hostnames or IP numbers to fight spam and vandalism: Add regular expressions matching either hostname or IP number of spammers or vandals to your list of banned hosts and prevent the attack from continuing. After a few days, however, this information is no longer required. In this day and age of privacy invasion, I think software should take a pro-active stance. The log entries must be anonymized.
The existing log file for the older entries is not changed. If you want to do the right thing, there’s a script called anonymize.pl in the contrib directory to do just that.
Just call it in your data directory. Example:
alex@psithyrus:~/oddmuse$ perl ~/src/oddmuse/contrib/anonymize.pl Wrote anonymized 'oldrc.log'. Saved a backup as 'oldrc.log~'
See Oddmuse:Upgrading Issues for a more technical explanation of what’s going on.
Ian Borchardt recently wrote a lengthy comment in reply to Andy Standfield’s Google+ post about determining CR/EL for monsters. He allowed me to repost it and all he asked for was me mentioning “that it was a G+ comment and therefore not a literary masterpiece – more a stream of thought.” Slightly edited.
When creating a wilderness encounter table for a sandbox game don’t bother with the details. Work out the likelihood of an encounter with creatures that feels right to you and use common sense in the application of the results. Encounters shouldn’t be in “balance” with the party.
Remember that in a sandbox game, an encounter does not actually mean that the characters have an immediate direct combat encounter with the creature. For example, a party of 1st level characters are travelling through the wilderness and you roll up an ancient blue dragon. Instant party death. right?
No. Have them encounter the dragon on the wing, hunting food. The party won’t have enough meat, magic or gold to be worth the dragon’s bother so it will probably keep on the wing. Meanwhile the characters have definitely encountered a blue dragon and can relish the magnificence of the fantasy encounter (or more likely the terror as they huddle under a tree hoping the dragon hasn’t seen them [“Ha!”] and won’t eat them).
But what’s the benefit of this encounter that wasn’t, you may ask? I’m glad you did! The party now know that there might be a lair of ancient blue dragon somewhere in the vicinity (and by that I mean easy flight range) if you are in the wilderness. They might remember this for later, once they are powerful enough to feel they have a good chance of adding dragon slayer to their resume. But in the meantime the presence of the dragon is going to colour the region through which they are travelling. For example any herds in settlements are going to be small to avoid being a tempting target. Towns might even have an arrangement with the dragon were suitable “princesses” are offered up for sacrifice – and they might actually prefer visitors to one of their own daughters. The dragon might even need a set of human hands and be looking for a set of adventurers to do a task for them. Whilst a threat works everyone knows adventurers are mercenaries and will do anything (even kill) for filthy coin.
Ed Simbalist (one of the authors of Chivalry & Sorcery) wrote an excellent essay back in the day (1978): Monsters are people too which really is recommended reading [C&S Companion – hard to get though now]. Monsters aren’t there as adventurer bait, but usually doing their own thing. Role-playing should be important for the monsters as well. For example, the party is at camp roasting a deer they shot earlier in the day, when they “encounter” a goblin patrol. Certainly this could devolve into a fight but what if the reaction roll is friendly? Perhaps the goblin patrol is actually lost and their leader doesn’t want to admit it (but pretty soon his troops, tired and hungry, are going to revolt). And that roasting leg of deer smells sooooo good. Perhaps they can bluff a tax for travelling through “their” lands. Except the people around the fire seem to be rather hard-bitten warriors rather than peasants and are not likely to be particularly surprised or overawed by a mosquito-bitten goblin troop? You now have a role-playing opportunity – never underestimate the benefit of intelligence (in the scouting rather than goblin’s lack of sense) and making friends. Even with goblins.
That’s all up to how you apply the encounters you generate. But there is still the important part of the players reaction to encounters. And that is to use reason. The sandbox game, unlike the heroic story-path game, isn’t there in the world for them. It’s a living breathing world without them, and the encounter table should realise that. At times they are going to encounter stuff that is too tough for them to beat, in which case running away is an important alternative that often seems to be forgotten by a lot of modern players that think the world must be all about them.
Special small regional encounter tables are a good thing too, although they often develop in play – for example one region I kept on rolling dwarves, which lead to the fact that there was a big mining boom going on here, so the regional chart got created with a lot of dwarvish and mining aspects. Including an encounter of gold nuggets in a creek bed. As our different encounter tables for civilised, frontier, and wilderness areas. And don’t forget all the non-monster encounters. For example, encountering an army off to war leads to “you have been recruited” or even “your horses have been recruited – here’s a chit for them (accompanied by the soldiers laughter as they lead your food and horses away)”. And affect the surrounding game. Good sets of encounter tables drive a sandbox game by presenting stuff. Also a good idea is to have a set of unique encounters on file cards. This could be stuff like villages, big monsters in lairs, and the like. When a “unique” encounter is rolled, shuffle and pull a card. That encounter is now there. Replace and top up these file cards occasionally, and remember to keep track of where the used ones were used.
My own take on wilderness encounters can be found in my Swiss Referee Style Manual.
Today I was asked via email whether the author of a One Page Dungeon released under the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike license could revisit the adventure and release a different (longer?) version using a different license. Here’s what I replied, slightly edited.
You can release everything you ever wrote under as many licenses as you want. Thus, you can work on your previous One Page Dungeon Contest entry, with the same map or a different map, the same or a different text and release it under a proprietary license, a Creative Commons license, or whatever other license you like. The situation is different if you’re building on somebody else’s work: somebody else’s map, somebody else’s monsters, etc. This is true for any other of your One Page Dungeons. You wrote it, you get to change it and release it anyway you want. The only thing you cannot do is prevent other people from building on those old One Page Dungeons that you released under a CC license. But that covers only that particular map, that particular text and doesn’t affect anything else you care to publish.
You’re good to go!
Feel free to send me any other licensing questions. I’m not a lawyer but I’ve been thinking about licensing issues for a long time.
My websites are hosted on a virtual machine called psithyrus. It was down for many hours and it just came up again. I don’t know what happened. One moment I’m reading mail and nearly two days later it’s rebooting.
Nov 24 04:50:05 psithyrus dovecot: imap(alex): Disconnected: Logged out in=34 out=674 Nov 26 01:27:16 psithyrus kernel: imklog 5.8.11, log source = /proc/kmsg started.
Most of the sites are not terribly important—such as this wiki blog of mine—but I feel bad for the Campaign Wiki users.
Brendan was thinking about limiting magic users on Google+ and I started thinking about my own house rule…
I’ve been using the strict reading of the B/X spellbook rules for a while in my campaign.
What I’m seeing is that magic users worry about the spells they will eventually pick because they know the number of slots is limited. Read magic is important because it grants access to scrolls and without it scrolls have no value since you can’t copy spells from scrolls.
What I’m also seeing—but I don’t know whether that is related—is very few magic users and the few magic users I’ve seen are all low-level henchmen to player characters of a different class with levels 4–6. It seems to me that magic users die quickly when the whole party is low level and that’s why my players have been avoiding them as primary characters. I don’t think this is due to my house rule.
What I’m not seeing a lot of—even though I hoped to see a lot of it—was player characters seeking out high level magic users and elves in order to gain access to new spells. The characters learn new spells from the few magic users and elves they meet during their adventures. Maybe I need to add rumors about particular spells.
For now I’m still happy with how things have turned out even though they didn’t turn out exactly as I had hoped for.
More thoughts about reading B/X D&D in the links from my Ode to Ode to Black Dougal.
Wir sind umringt von Werbung. Verlockende Angebote überall: neue Telefone, neue Spiele, neue Kleider, neue Filme, neue Möbel, neue Musik, Sonderangebote, Sparen beim Kaufen. Der Konsum stützt die Wirtschaft, die Wirtschaft bietet Arbeit, die Arbeit bietet Geld, das Geld ermöglicht den Konsum. So verheizen wir die Umwelt. Deswegen arbeiten wir in den reichsten Ländern der Welt nicht fünfzehn Stunden die Woche sondern vierzig, fünfzig, oder sechzig Stunden die Woche.
Warum sollten wir ausbrechen wollen? Und wenn man ausbrechen wollte, wo hin? Wo bleibt die viele Freizeit, welche uns der Produktivitätgewinn eigentlich ermöglichen sollte? Das Problem ist, dass wir nicht auf dem Niveau unserer Grosseltern leben wollen. Ich will auch nicht in einem kommunistischen Land leben, dass mich zur Armut zwingt. Ich will mir meinen Konsum nicht verbieten lassen.
Der stete Kampf gegen die Verlockungen des Konsums ist die Herausforderung unserer Zeit. Jeder für sich kann die Konsumgesellschaft etwas kleiner und die Freizeitgesellschaft etwas grösser machen. Es geht darum, selektiv zu konsumieren statt mehr zu arbeiten. Ich mache schöne Ferien und kaufe mir ein iPad, verzichte aber auf das Haus im Grünen und ein Auto. Ich gehe gerne auswärts Essen, kaufe mir aber keinen neuen Fernseher, keine neue Spielkonsole, keine neue Sportausrüstung.
Ich will die Werbung nicht sehen. Ich will im Laden nicht am Regal mit all den leckeren Keksen und der guten Schokolade vorbeilaufen, weil ich in meinem Alter anfange anzusetzen. Als wir jünger waren, haben wir jede Woche eine Schachtel Eis gekauft. Damit ist jetzt leider Schluss. Genau so wenig will ich Berichte über die neusten Spiele lesen, über die neuste wetterfeste Wanderausrüstung, über die neusten Fahrräder, über die exklusiven Ferien, die schönen Stoffe für neue Bettwäsche, die Teetassen und Pfannen, die Computer und Kameras. Ich will wegschauen. Ich muss wegschauen. Meine Antwort auf die ständige Werbung ist Konsumverweigerung.
Als ich im Geschäft einmal gefragt wurde, warum ich nur 60% arbeiten wolle, gab ich zur Antwort, ich tue dies für mein Liebesleben. Meine grösste Angst war schon immer, viel zu Arbeiten, eine Karriere zu machen und dann früh zu sterben, ohne die Früchte meiner Arbeit je genossen zu haben. Ich wollte auf alle Fälle nicht einer von denen sein, der seine Beziehung auf dem Altar der Arbeit opfert. Wenn eine Karriere sich nur für einen hohen Preis erringen lässt, dann lasse ich es lieber sein, trete kürzer, bleibe in der kleinen Wohnung und träume vom schönen Regal aus Massivholz, das ich mir nicht leisten will.
Als ich nach weiterführenden Links gegoogelt habe, fand ich diesen Artikel von Beat Döbeli, der sich vor zwei Wochen zum ebenfalls Gedanken machte: Was machen wir mit den Automatisierungsgewinnen?
Kristian Köhntopp empfiehlt Land of Desire von William R. Leach (2012).
Unheimlicherweise gibt es ein Foto von mir und Beat Döbeli von Eugene. Ich bin verblüfft.
Referrers: Joethelawyer's Wondrous Imaginings: Clark Peterson's Woes HERR ZINNLINGS ARBEITSZIMMER Troll and Flame Planet Emacsen Dreams of Mythic Fantasy yandex.ru/clck/jsredir?from=yandex.ru;yandsearch;web;;&t...mp;mc=1 Red Box Copenhagen Akiyama's Blog The City of Iron Asshat Paladins Gothridge Manor RPG Bloggers