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Page Collection for ^2007-05

2007-05-01 No More Hay Fever

Remember 2007-04-12 Hay Fever? Well, two or three days ago I noticed that it was practically gone. I hope that I’m only allergic to one tree, hehe. Four weeks a year is more than enough.

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Gratuliere dass der Heuschnupfen vorüber ist. Jetzt musst du nur noch rausfinden welche Baumblüte es ist!!!!

– der Vater 2007-05-04 02:07 UTC

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2007-05-04 Battleship Potemkin

We saw Battleship Potemkin (1925) – strange to see such an old black and white, silent movie. :)

It was interesting from a historical perspective: Black & white compositions, costumes… And some wonderful scenes: The massacre on the Odessa stairs, the buggy, and so on.

Recommended for history buffs only.

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2007-05-04 Emotional Carapace

A blog post by Christa [1] reminded me of some changes I’ve noticed as I grew older.

I don’t experience pain when I hear or see it, but I’m now in my thirties and I have to carefully filter what I listen to. I think I need to do that because we don’t have the TV connected to the networks, and I don’t read a daily newspaper. Perhaps this prevents the typical emotional carapace from growing too strong. So when I see plastic surgery on a TV in a shopping center, or if I see people die on the news as I sit in a coffee shop, or if Claudia tells me about the psychopath stories she had to type, I feel my brain shut down. I have to switch places, move out of the room, or interrupt the conversation. At first my stomach starts contracting. It feels like my balls are trying to crawl up into my tummy and cold sweat starts dripping down my sides.

Looking back, the first strong such reaction I remember having was when I saw Gladiator (2000). When I left the movies, I felt as if I had shrunk by three or four inches.

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Alex…this is all based on emotion…I’ve had it explained to me today and I will write another post about it. In my case, since I have a pain disorder that is based on a screwed up nervous system, impressions of all kinds that upsets me will make the pain flare up badly. Then it depends on what by nature upsets us, of course. In my case it’s kids and animals that hurts or are injured.

What you’re describing might be connected to age since we all get more receptive when we get older. Sometimes it also triggers helplessness to see or hear someone in pain, so it’s all connected.

I will write more about this in my blog today.

Christa 2007-05-05 12:00 UTC

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2007-05-04 Printing Problems

I bought another PDF book. See 2007-05-04 Zorcerer of Zo for details. Looking at my RoleplayingBookshelf, I realize that it is the most expensive roleplaying PDF book I’ve ever bought (USD 15).

I’m trying to print it double-sided. We have a Brother HL-5030. The printer does not do duplex. I really need to get a good duplex printer. Trying to print double sided pages on this printer is driving me nuts. I printed a batch of 10 odd pages, put them between some heavy books trying to cool and flatten them again as has been suggested on a previous occasion. When I printed the back sides, it turned out that somehow I had managed to print the back sides with the same page. While I’m double-checking, I realize that the printer has pulled in a half an extra page and is now confused, printing half the page into the empty space between papers. Cancel the job.

Try again, using a manual feed this time. After two or three pages I realize that the count is off again. Try again and this time I get the same page on the front and back again. This is so getting on my nerves I feel like throwing the printer at the people responsible for this. The userinterface must involve some trickery. As you have to enter start and end pages plus specify whether you want even or odd pages, I must either assume that they’re not counting the way I am, or one of us is obviously confused.

I had planned to print the first twenty pages on ten sheets of paper. I now have sixteen sheets of paper, with various pages printed on the front and back, but nothing I feel like putting in a binder and keeping around. It boggles the mind. The frustration is clearly not a healthy thing.

I can either print single-sided, print at the office, buy a new printer, or try to get used to reading from my monitor. >{ danger danger danger

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2007-05-04 Zorcerer of Zo

After reading yet another positive review of Zorcerer of Zo by Atomic Sock Monkey I finally broke down and bought the PDF online. Trying to emulate two-sided printed on our cheapo printer, once again. See 2007-05-04 Printing Problems for details.

As I read through it, I think I’ll be using (subjective) Fudge rules instead of the “Good Parts” PDQ system presented.

I moved the text I had written to Subjective Fudge of Zo.

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no e-book reader on your gp2x? (with pdf2txt or something like that perhaps?)

PierreGaston 2007-05-05 08:58 UTC


To be honest, I’d rather read something on paper. Plus the RSS is basically gathering dust in a cupboard of mine. I should have realized that the gp2x is not fundamentally different from the Color Gameboy that is also gathering dust…

AlexSchroeder 2007-05-05 12:03 UTC


I agree. I’d much, much rather have paper than a pdf any day of the week. Bound and glossy too. .pdfs are ok, but it’s just not the same. Old fashioned, I know.

Oh, and if your gp2x needs a good home………….. :)

greywulf 2007-05-05 12:27 UTC


Hehe. Wanna exchange the gp2x for some RPG material? :D

AlexSchroeder 2007-05-05 12:53 UTC


Lol! It’s a deal :) I’ve a tonne of classic RPG fodder I’ll happily send your way!

greywulf 2007-05-06 17:12 UTC


Hehe. Well, take a look at my AdventureWishlist and make an offer, or suggest something else. Not sure how customs and postage and packaging and all that will come into play. Just suggest something that seems fair to you.

AlexSchroeder 2007-05-12 13:23 UTC


Lemme see…..

I’ve got a very battered 1st edition of Warhammer Fantasy Role-play and loads of d20 adventures, 5th edition Call of Cthulhu, Chill, Hordes of the Things, Red Book D&D, Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil, Runequest Griffin Island and Land of the Ninja, Rolemaster and lots of Companions and….. awe heck. About 30 years of gaming stuff in boxes upon boxes. More than I even know, methinks.

How about I pull together a box-worth of stuff, list it out and if it’s acceptable we make the trade? :)

If there’s anything from the (short) list above that’s caught your eye, let me know.

greywulf 2007-05-13 10:23 UTC


I think I’d be most interested in d20 adventures. As for systems themselves, I’d only be interested in systems that received lots of praise recently. As far as I remember those were WFRP 2nd ed. & Runequest 5th ed.

Adventures seem much more likely to stand the test of time. Thus, I’d opt for adventures all the way! :)

AlexSchroeder 2007-05-13 22:18 UTC


Duely noted!

I’ll put together a decent selection this week and post a list. I’m sure I can come up something you’ll like :)

greywulf 2007-05-14 10:06 UTC


OK, here’s a whole heap of adventures for you (if you want them, of course!). They’re all in very good condition with cracked spines at the most. I’ve included the adventure level to give you an idea of the range and potential usefulness:

The Sunless Citadel (1st), The Forge of Fury (3rd), Deep Horizon (13th), Rappan Athuk: The Upper Levels (4th-9th), Rappan Athuk: The Middle Levels (9th-12th), Death in Freeport (1st-3rd), Terror in Freeport (2nd-5th), Madness in Freeport (4th-6th), Kalamar: The Root of All Evil (1st), Witchfire: The Longest Night (1st-3rd), Into the Belly of the Best (4th-6th), Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil (4th-14th).

That’s 12 great adventures ranging from 1st to 14th in level. Some of them - Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil and the Freeport series in particular - are some of the best adventures ever written for D&D. All of them are good though; I’ve played them all at least once. The Root of All Evil is a terrific scenario. Ignore that it’s set in Kalamar and it fits anywhere. Setting it to start in Ptolus would be fun……

Oh, and I’ve got Oriental Adventures and the Rokugan Campaign Setting sourcebooks too. Both are brilliant, and might well suit your style. They’re gathering dust right now due to lack of interested players ☹

Anyhow, if you want them mail me your address and I’ll send them to you.

Deal?

greywulf 2007-05-15 10:16 UTC


It’s a deal! :)

AlexSchroeder 2007-05-15 12:54 UTC


Excellent! I’ll have the package ready to send out on your return then :)

greywulf 2007-05-16 14:11 UTC

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2007-05-06 Feeds

If you’re one of the poor souls who signed up for this feed because you were interested in my life, Emacs, Wikis, or Oddmuse, you’re probably not enjoying all these RPG posts. I think the solution is to switch to a more appropriate feed.

Enjoy. :)

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Comments on 2007-05-06 Feeds

I’ve updated Planet Emacsen to point at the Emacs feed.

EdwardOConnor 2007-05-08 18:13 UTC

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2007-05-06 Happy Feet

We saw Happy Feet (2006) on DVD yesterday. LionKimbro had recommended it at the end of last year. I didn’t like the movie very much. There were some interesting images such as the male penguins facing the terrible winter night, or the antics of Lovelace and the smaller party penguins. Other than that, however, I was not intrigued. I don’t like tap dancing, and I don’t feel the singing penguins worked for me. And these scenes do take an awful amount of time.

One scene stuck: Mumble sending Gloria away. That was a powerful moment. And yet. Not enough to make up for all the singing and dancing.

Not recommended. Go see a movie by Ghibli Studios instead. Spirited Away (2001), for example.

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2007-05-06 Merlin, Bubu und Avelina

Claudia spielt Merlin, ein Gelehrter (gut) mit vielen Büchern. Merlin hat einen magischen Umhang (good), der den Träger unsichtbar macht, wenn man ihn umgekehrt trägt. Zudem hat er grosse Geisteskräfte★ (sehr gut + Zauberstern) die es ihm erlauben, die Gedanken anderer zu lesen und sie zu hypnotisieren. Er wird ständig von einer intelligenten Eule (gut) begleitet. Die Eule heisst Bubu und kann im Dunkel sehen (gut) und ist ein ausgeprägter Morgenmuffel (schlecht). Fliegen und jagen kann sie wie jede andere Eule auch (keine Punkte → durchschnitt). Merlins Schwäche ist, dass er schon etwas älter ist und deswegen ziemlich schwach (schlecht) ist. Seine Spezialität beim Einsatz seiner Geisteskräft ist Vorsicht Hinterhalt!

For langer Zeit lebte Merlin in einem kleinen Haus im Tollkirschenwald zwischen Mu und Bora Bora. Es war Frühling und er entschloss sich, den Dachstock aufzuräumen. Dort fand er eine Schachtel mit Andenken seines Onkels Titus. Unter all den Briefen war auch eine Kristallkugel und im Sonnenlicht schien ein kleiner Goldfunke darin zu tanzen. Merlin schüttelte die Kristallkugel und heraus flog eine kleine Fee.

Moni spielte eben diese Fee – Avelina kann fliegen (gut) wenn sie die richtige Gestalt angenommen hat. Mir ihrer Holzperlenzauberkette (sehr gut) kann sich Avelina in folgende Gestalten verwandlen: Eine kleine Fee, ein Goldfünkchen, ein Einhorn, ein Phönix, ein Goldfisch, eine Lilie, eine Birke, und eine Steinrose. Avelina hat auch einen Zauberstab★ (gut + Zauberstern) mit dem sie zaubern kann. Zudem ist sie schön und faszinierend (gut). Ihre Schwäche ist ihr Federgewicht (schlecht). Sie hat einen Bogen mit einer Sehne aus Einhornhaar, ein goldenes Herz, und eine goldene Stimme (keine Punkte → durchschnitt). Ihre spezialität in verwandelter Form ist das Zornesfeuer!

Sobald Bubu hörte, dass Avelina eine Goldfunkenfeen ist und ihre Eltern sucht hat die Eule sich ins Zeug gelegt und Merlin überzeugt, dass die Zeit gekommen ist, sich auf die Suche zu machen.

Auf der Suche nach mehr Information über die Feen hat Merlin seine Bücher durchforstet, aber nichts gefunden (misslungener Wurf: Merlin ist ein guter Gelehrter, aber die Info war sehr schwer zu finden). Dafür gab es einen Lernpunkt und Merlin fand eine unerwartete Warnung vor den Wölfen der weiten Steppe auf dem Weg zu den Bergen der Goldfunkenfeen. Zudem fand Merlin einen Bericht über Titus’ Zeit bei den Goldfunkenfeen und die fürchterliche Spinnenkönigin Geralschta.

Das ganze haben wir im Zug gespielt als wir zwei Mal je eine Stunde Zeit hatten.

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2007-05-07 Encumbrance

I like Delta’s rules for encumbrance based on stones, where 1 st. = 14 lb. (Then again, I really hate carrying capacity limits in Oblivion.)

Right now we’re not using encumbrance at all. So let’s see. The following gives your base carrying capacity. To this, you can add your STR bonus.

Movement st.Half 20Normal 10Double 5Run (× 4)0

And here’s how much stuff weights:

Stuff st.Plate 5Chain 3Leather 2Shield 1Heavy Weapon 1Light Weapon 150 coins 1Backpack etc.1

Heavy weapons include polearms and bludgeoning weapons; light weapons include any other weapon that isn’t small (dagger, sling).

Let’s take an existing character from one of my games: Kyoshi has STR 16, has metal armor giving him AC +7 or more qualifying as “Plate” (5 st.); he carries a katana, a wakizashi, and a yumi (1 st.), a flail (1 st.), a shield (1 st.), between 150 and 300 coins (2 st.), and an extra suit of plate armor he found (5 st.). Total: 15 st. His carrying capacity is 13 st. Thus, he has to move at half speed. As soon as he drops the extra plate armor, he’s back to normal again. He can’t run in his armor, but he can move at double speed wearing his armor and carrying his katana, wakizashi, yumi, and backpack (8 st. total).

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2007-05-08 Real Keys

Fuck It We were talking about my GTalk status message (“Generate Java using PL/SQL”) and the Fuck-It key…

Marco
I have one of those on my keyboard
Alex
Awesome. I wonder: Why doesn’t the Break key give me a break, and why doesn’t the Home key take me home…
Marco
I press the Escape key a lot to no avail.
Alex
Yeah. Control seems to have little effect, too.

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2007-05-08 del.icio.us EULA

I reinstalled my two favorite Firefox extensions today – AdBlock and del.icio.us Bookmarks. And I noticed that del.icio.us Bookmarks requires me to agree to an EULA. Gaaaah! :(

Some of the del.icio.us crapology:

“Delicious may change this Software License by posting a new version without notice to you. Use of the Delicious Software after such change constitutes acceptance of such changes.” – Preamble. Sounds like a license to rip me off any time, any place, any minute real soon now.
“YOU MAY NOT decompile, reverse engineer, disassemble, modify, rent, lease, loan, distribute, or create derivative works (as defined by the U.S. Copyright Act) or improvements (as defined by U.S. patent law) from the Delicious Software or any portion thereof.” – 1 b (ii) What happened to FreeSoftware?
“YOU MAY NOT use the Delicious Software to operate nuclear facilities, life support, or other mission critical application where human life or property may be at stake. You understand that the Delicious Software is not designed for such purposes and that its failure in such cases could lead to death, personal injury, or severe property or environmental damage for which Delicious is not responsible.” – 1 b (iv) Thanks for the warning.

Then I got tired of reading it and just clicked Next.

How long until I can’t buy a hammer unless I sign a declaration of non-violent intent? Can I no longer use hammers to build and operate nuclear facilities?

The manufacturers cannot regulate that, because the hammer is a material good and not so-called “Intellectual Property”. But what corporations are doing using EULAs clearly shows what they would like to do.

Then again, prohibiting the use of tools for the operation of nuclear facilities might actually be a good idea…

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EULAs. I love ‘em :) It’s impossible to tell the difference between the ones that are serious and the parodies. I guess it doesn’t matter either, really. EULAs only exist in the software world, and I hope they soon die the death that they deserve.

As you say, a hammer is just a hammer. Software is a hammer too. It’s just what you hit with it that’s different :)

greywulf 2007-05-08 15:00 UTC


I remember a post of yours pointing to something nuclear as well. Searching for EULA on your blog finds Idiotic Software License Of The Day with “You agree that you will not use these products for … the development, manufacture or production of missiles, or nuclear, chemical or biological weapons.”

I guess you did agree to that, didn’t you? :)

AlexSchroeder 2007-05-08 19:51 UTC


Hi Alex,

We are currently running GooDiff to monitor terms of services from various providers. The service is still in beta… but we hope that we can rise awareness about those bloody legal document.

– adulau 2007-05-08 20:20 UTC


Hm, interesting idea! I guess I could subscribe to some RSS feeds of the legal documents that affect me.

I must confess, however, that the prospects of having to face more and more of all this legal crap is very discouraging. Nobody likes to do this. I’ll give you an example. It says somewhere: “Diese Nutzungsbedingungen unterliegen den gesetzlichen Bestimmungen des US-Bundesstaates Kalifornien, dabei finden die Regelungen des internationalen Privatrechts sowie die Regelungen, die an Ihrem Aufenthaltsort gelten, keine Anwendung. Jegliche Anspruche, Rechtsstreite oder Verfahren, die in Verbindung mit diesem Service entstehen, werden ausschliesslich im Santa Clara County, Kalifornien, USA, verhandelt und Sie erkennen die Gerichtsbarkeit dieser Gerichte an.” [1] Basically they are saying that international law and my local laws are null and void and that I will accept the jurisdiction of Santa Clara County, California.

But I’d never want to do that. After all, California has the Three strikes law; something I consider to be barbarous.

And yet, I’m sure I’m using their service somewhere.

It’s very similar to copyright intruding into our everyday life. Globalization compounds so-called “intellectual property” legal problems in unprecedented ways, and I think a real solution to this problem would be to exempt individuals from much of this legal burden.

The reasons are simple: The goods and services we are talking about are immaterial, and thus governed by a plethora of tiny little licenses, all alike, instead of ordinary sales law. This results in a vast complication of legal matters. The nature of the Internet allows us to obtain licenses for the use of goods and services from all over the world, resulting in a lunatic mix of many tiny little licenses, all alike, from a myriad of different jurisdictions.

It’s crazy! It’s unnatural. We should get rid of it.

GooDiff helps navigate the byzantine labyrinth, but I’m still hoping for somebody to tear it down in the first place.

AlexSchroeder 2007-05-09 09:45 UTC

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2007-05-09 No more 2nd hand CDs

JanneJalkanen comments on an ArsTechnica post saying that several states in the USA have made it harder for shops to sell 2nd hand CDs. [1] [2]

That reminds of another few interesting blog posts of his: Loyalty Day? [3] [4] Another illegal number [5] Internet radio in the US is dead [6] This one also mentioned by MichaelOlson [7] .

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Yet again, the stupid RIAA pushes people into the arms of the internet if they want classic music tracks on their ipods.

Oh, what a shame :)

Let me see….. have my fingerprints taken and be treated like a crook, of snarf music from the comfort of my own home. Tricky choice, that.

greywulf 2007-05-09 11:20 UTC


I think that piracy is the answer. In order to add my own rhetorical spin to the entire debate, I’ll call myself a privateer! “In peacetime, it is a form of legal piracy.” [1]

AlexSchroeder 2007-05-09 12:20 UTC


Aaaaarrrrr!! :)

greywulf 2007-05-11 10:50 UTC

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2007-05-11 PDF Printing Madness

Copyright, copywrong, who can tell… Here’s what I found in a thread on EN World: If the PDF looks official, they won’t print it, for fear of being sued. [1]

It all started out with JVisgaitis (author and publishers of the impressive Denizens of Avadnu) saying:

So I had my girlfriend take a couple of PDFs that I bought to Staples and they refused to print them. They said they need a written document from the publisher which states that they can be printed. [2]

Other people chimed in:

I’ve had a Staples (in SoCal) refuse to print copies of a PDF that I authored/owned. [3]
Errmm.. this may be a daft question. What do they print? It doesn’t actually sound like they have a printing business. Are you sure they actually print stuff? :D [4]
The store manager showed me the policy. It specifically stated that they would not print “any copyrighted material”. Not “any copyrighted material unless you own the copyright”, but “any copyrighted material”. [5]

Here in Switzerland there’s a specific copyright exemption: You are allowed to copy material for your own use (URG Art. 19) The copyright holders are still entitled to remuneration (URG Art. 20). To this effect we have a copyright collective (“Verwertungsgesellschaft”) that receives a bit of money for every page copied to be redistributed to the copyright holders. (Usually they waste about half this money for their own administration, but that’s a different point entirely.)

Don’t these exist in the USA? Or are only copying machines part of the deal, not printers? Clearly the print shops don’t want to be part of a crime, but I’m surprised that they set up a policy that essentially assumes that their customer-wannabes are criminals. I must assume that this is a result of the punitive damages they are afraid of: If these are very high, erring on the side of paranoia is a rational decision.

Clearly, the law should be amended: Printing should be treated like copying, and thus remuneration happens as you pay for the service via the copyright collective. Your printed copy is legal, whether the PDF copy was licensed or not.

What would a privateer do? Buy a printer and print at home.

The alternative is for PDF products to look as unprofessional and ugly as your average software specification. I bet print shops would print you hundreds of copies of those documents, neither knowing nor caring about copyright. But since roleplaying PDF books are nice and shiny, you must have stolen them…

Unfortunately, the legal lure of the USA is so strong, and our own heads so muddled, I won’t be surprised at all if a few years down the line we’re going to be in similar trouble.

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2007-05-13 Harold und Gethrame

immer noch 4. Mai

Eralions Schloss war von Orks befreit (2007-04-22 Eralion’s Keep). Nur in den Kellergewölben des einen Turmes gab es gemäss Galdar noch einen mächtigen Untoten. Nachdem einer nach dem anderen einen Schwächeanfall erlitten hatte, flüchtete die Gruppe und verschloss die Falltüre wieder mit den Silbernägeln.

(Der Untote hatte übrigens gemäss Buch noch ein paar Zaubererstufen und war gemäss 3.0 Regeln in 90% der Fälle bei Fackellicht unsichtbar.)

Zurück in Fairhill waren Baran, Arlen und Shandril hoch erfreut, als sie vom Sieg über die Orks erfuhren. Arlen beschloss, ein Fest zu schmeissen!

Shandril war bei weitem nicht so erfreut: Der Untote war ein Problem! Nachdem sie die Gruppe ausgefragt hatte, erklärte sie, dass es sehr wohl körperlose Untote gäbe. Diese seien selbst mit magischen Waffen nur schwierig zu treffen, und mit normalen Waffen überhaupt nicht. Trotzdem war klar, dass sie hoffte, die Gruppe würde sich der Sache annehmen. In weiser Voraussicht beschloss die Gruppe allerdings, dass sie noch nicht stark genug seien.

Shandril hatte ursprünglich ihr Schwert dem kräftigsten Kämpfer der Gruppe gegeben. Krel hatte versprochen, das Schwert zurückzubringen, in der Zwischenzeit das Schwert aber an Belflin weitergegeben. Belflin wiederum hat das Schwert an Auroleva weitergegeben (eine elfische Druidin), worauf Auroleva eine unglaubliche Vision von Freya hat, die ihr anbot, einer ihrer Kleriker zu werden!

(Leider hatte ich bis hier einen erstaunlichen Fehler gemacht: Bis jetzt war ich davon ausgegangen, dass Shandrils Schwert ein Kurzschwert sei. Erst jetzt, als Auroleva sich für eine zweite Karriere als Kleriker entschied, wurde mir klar, dass es sich um ein Langschwert handeln musste, denn Langschwert und Langbogen waren Freyas favorisierte Waffen!)

Am Nachmittag verzogen sich Bero und Corian und studierten Eralions Tagebuch. Sie fanden heraus, dass Eralion vor fast neunzig Jahren eine Frau namens Gethrame liebte, und wie diese Frau von Shandril mit einem Fluch geblendet und aus Fairhill vertrieben worden war. Eralion war von dieser Ungerechtigkeit erschüttert und verstand nicht, wie St. Cuthbert so etwas geschehen lassen konnte. Nach und nach wurden seine Einträge hochnäsiger und wütender. Eralion verliess Fairhill und baute sich sein Schloss, und als Gethrame zu ihm fand, erschuf er ihr einen Zauberstab, der ihr das Sehen erlaubte (“egal welch’ Preis und Folg’ es nach sich zieht”). Doch die Beziehung war nicht zu retten: Ihr Gerede und ihre Kritik gingen ihm mit der Zeit auf die Nerven, sie zeigte zu wenig Dankbarkeit, und er trennte sich von ihr.

Bero und Corian mischten sich am Abend unters Volk, stellten ein paar Fragen nach Gethrame, aber konnten nichts in Erfahrung bringen. Nach einiger Zeit wurden sie jedoch von Herl angesprochen, einem Halbelfen, der ihnen dann abseits des Festes erzählte, dass er schon vor neunzig Jahren in Gethrame verliebt war, doch diese hatte Eralion vorgezogen. Erst als sie von Eralion verstossen worden war, hatte er Gelegenheit, etwas für sie zu tun. Ohne sich ihr zu zeigen, lenkte er sie zu einer kleinen Höhle, wo sie sich einrichten konnte, und beschützte sie fortan. Doch in den letzten Tagen sei sie nicht mehr aus ihrer Höhle gekommen und man hörte allerlei verzweifeltes Jammern. Nun machte er sich Sorgen und wollte wissen, ob die Gruppe und ihre Taten in Eralions Schloss wohl etwas damit zu tun haben konnten.

Neugierig beschlossen Bero und Corian, sich bald einmal von Herl zu Gethrame führen zu lassen.

Wir hatten übrigens beschlossen, uns von den Doppelbesetzungen zu trennen. Die Gruppe trennte sich von Galdar, Phelps und Krel. Galdar blieb in Fairhill und beschloss, den Schrein in Fairhill auszubauen, und hoffte, dass er früher oder später auch die Kapelle in Eralions Schloss würde wieder herstellen können. Phelps und Krel lernten einen Händler kennen, der noch ein paar Haudegen zum Schutz seiner Waren auf dem Weg nach Bard’s Gate suchte. Genug der Untoten!

So verging der Festabend…

5. Mai

Langsam kehrte auch die Stärke zurück. Jede Nacht heilte ein weiterer Stärkepunkt. Shandril konnte leider nur zwei Lesser Restoration zaubern, aber es war genug um Belflin von seiner Stärke 6 wieder hochzupäppeln.

Goskan und Bero fanden am frühen Morgen übrigens Arlens Tochter Sirya in ihrem Zimmer. Sie wollte mit ihnen aufbrechen und Abenteurer werden! Als Arlen vorbeikam, um der Gruppe den Schlüssel für das Ehrenhaus zu übergeben, und seine Tochter vorfand, die in ihrem Vorhaben auch noch von Goskan unterstützt wurde, wäre es fast zu einem Eklat gekommen. Zum Glück haben Corians und Belflins Skepsis dann dazu geführt, dass Sirya beleidigt abgedüst ist. Vielleicht nimmt sie sich ja Corians Tipp zu Herzen, zuerst einmal unter Baran in der Stadtwache etwas Erfahrung zu sammeln.

Die Gruppe suchte Herl im Fass & Kübel auf und liess sich den Weg zu Gethrame zeigen. Sie wohnte in einer kleinen Höhle in den Hügeln nördlich von Eralions Schloss.

Es folgte eine längere Diskussion mit Gethrame, wobei die Gruppe erfuhr, dass Shandril ebenfalls eine Affäre mit Eralion hatte. Der Grund für den Fluch und die Blindheit war allerdings nicht so ganz klar: Gethrame hatte anscheinend ihren magischen Wasserspiegel verwendet, um Shandril bei ihren geheimen Freya-Ritualen nachzuspionieren. Es waren wohl schwierige Zeiten und beide Frauen waren an Eralion interessiert.

Der Grund für Gethrames Wehklagen war ihr fehlender Zauberstab. Ohne Eralions Stab war sie wieder so blind wie zuvor! Als Gegenleistung für ihre Geschichte hatte die Gruppe Gethrame versprochen, den Stab wieder zu finden. Anscheinend war dieser von einer Gruppe von Rattenmenschen geklaut worden.

Ich begann, Zufallsbegegnungen nach der DMG auszuspielen: Jede Stunde gab es eine 8% Chance, etwas zu treffen. Ich habe einen zwölfseitigen Würfel verwendet. Bei einer 1 passierte etwas. Die normale Geschwindigkeit ist drei Meilen pro Stunde, zwei Meilen pro Stunde mit Zwerg. Im Wald ohne Weg wird dies auf eine Meile pro Stunde halbiert. Das gibt dem Waldläufer auch genug Zeit zum Spuren lesen; dessen Maximalgeschwindigkeit liegt nämlich bei 1½ Meilen pro Stunde. (Siehe Kommentar.)

Der Waldläufer konnte pro erfolgreichem Survival check der Spur für eine Stunde lang folgen. DC war 10 + 14 (vor zwei Wochen) - 2 (weicher Boden) = 22. Ab dann stieg der DC jeden zweiten Tag um 1 an. Also habe ich Stunde um Stunde abgezählt, und 1d12 gewürfelt. Bei einer 1 gab es eine Zufallsbegegnung. Dann hat Belflin seinen Survival check gemacht, um zu schauen, ob die Gruppe eine Meile vorwärts gemacht hat. Das Nest der Rattenmenschen lag 12 Meilen entfernt vom Startpunkt.

Am Abend traf die Gruppe auf ein Lager von Banditen – und deren Anführer war derselbe Harold, den sie schon vor ein paar Tagen getroffen hatte, als er und seine Männer versuchten, die Pferde der Gruppe zu stehlen! Es gab einen spannenden Kampf, doch schlussendlich konnte Harold mit einem seiner Kumpanen fliehen.

Die Gruppe beschliesst, in der Räuberhöhle zu nächtigen. In der Nacht werden sie von vier Stirges überfallen, können den engen Zugang der Räuberhöhle aber problemlos verteidigen.

6. Mai

Weiter geht es durch den fast undurchdringlichen Wald. Jede Stunde wird gewürfelt, und am Abend wird wieder ein Lager aufgeschlagen. Keine Begegnungen! :)

7. Mai

Die Gruppe trifft auf 10 Gnolle, und macht einen taktischen Rückzug.

8. Mai

Am frühen Morgen wird die Gruppe von weiteren sieben Stirges überfallen. Diesmal bietet keine Höhle Schutz, und so werden einige Gruppenmitglieder deutlich geschwächt.

Am Nachmittag trifft die Gruppe auf einen einsamen Gnoll, den sie erbarmungslos niedermachen.

9. Mai

Kurz bevor die Gruppe endlich ihr Ziel erreicht, trifft sie gegen 11:00 auf eine Gruppe der Rattenmenschen…

XP (alle Spieler sind Stufe 1 oder 2):

  • Sieben Banditen: 7 × CR ½ – 1050 XP
  • Harold in die Flucht geschlagen: CR 4 – 1350 XP
  • 4 + 6 Stirges (eine war einfach satt und flog davon): 10 × CR ½ – 1500 XP
  • Gnoll: 1 × CR 1 – 300 XP
  • Mutiger Schutz des Sorcerers: 25 XP für Goskan
  • Durchlesen der Bücher: 10 XP für Bero und Corian
  • Interessante Diskussion mit Arlen und seiner Tochter: 10 XP für Goskan, Bero, Corian und Belflin

Total: 4200 / 5 = 840 pro Person.

Auroleva
1621 + 840 = 2461
Belflin
1845 + 840 + 10 = 2695
Bero
750 + 840 + 10 + 10= 1610 ← steigt eine Stufe!
Corian
1810 + 840 + 10 + 10 = 2670
Goskan
775 + 840 + 25 + 10 = 1650 ← steigt eine Stufe!

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Comments on 2007-05-13 Harold und Gethrame

I guess these comments are for my fragmented roleplaying conversation with GreyWulf. At least two of my players have already asked about you. :)

Ordinary movement of a party including a dwarf is 2 miles per hour. Through trackless forest, this is reduced to 1 mile per hour. The ranger is an elf and can move through trackless forest at half his speed of 3 miles per hour, ie. at 1½ miles per hour. Tracking also reduces your movement rate to half your movement speed. Is this cumulative? Rereading the rules it would seem that these two are independent of each other: Thus the party moves at one mile per hour because of the dwarf, and not at ¾ miles per hour due to the tracking elf.

I’m still not sure whether I should do XP “by the book”. The DMG says that you should not hand out both XP for defeating monsters & traps and story awards. In fact, if you give out story awards, the DMG recommends you hand out less XP for defeating monsters & traps.

Being stingy:

  • I like the low-level game. Players advancing slowly fits my preconceptions.
  • Many things are their own reward: Treasure, connections, riddle-solving, skill use.

Divorcing XP from defeating:

  • As soon as players get the idea that defeating = killing and that they should be merciless, the idea breaks down. How to handle foes that run to fight another day? I guess once they’re fully healed, each defeat counts towards XP. Same challenge, same XP.
  • Symbolic awards might make more of an impression than just saying “I liked how you played last session.”

I’m not sure I played stirges correctly. Here’s what I did.

  1. Stirge moves into target’s square, provoking an attack of opportunity.
  2. They attack with their melee +7 touch attack. If they hit, they attach.
  3. Later, the victim can try to do an opposed grapple check to get rid of the stirge. The stirge has a grapple attack of +1.
  4. Others can try to hit the stirge (AC 12 since they loose their DEX bonus) with a weapon at -4. I think that this -4 was the wrong thing to do. There’s no penalty for using melee weapons against grappling foes. They loose their DEX bonus and that’s it. It’s not the same thing as firing a ranged weapon into melee.
  5. Next round, if the stirges are still attached, they will drain 1d4 CON. If they haven’t drained 4 CON, they remain attached until they have.
  6. Next round they will do a retreat.

AlexSchroeder 2007-05-13 23:56 UTC


Remember that when you have a difference of opinion with the DMG, you’re right, not the book :) I tend to disagree with the DMG a lot; the advice that is gives is a good low-baseline for inexperienced DMs, but they learn pretty quickly that some of that advice is meant to be broken as soon as you get a real feel for the game.

I’d suggest that elves don’t half their movement through forests. It just doesn’t match my concept of elves at all - if there’s any race which can move without hindrance through forests, it’s them. They’d just take the 1/2 speed penalty for tracking. So, they’d move at 1.5mph. As parties move at the speed of the slowest member (the dwarf), that’s 1mph. And the elf would grumble all the way :)

I’ve always given story awards, awards for good-roleplaying and XP for defeating monsters. While it’s not clear in the DMG, the numbers are all based upon 9 encounters being needed to reach each level. More if easy encounters, fewer if harder. Why they didn’t just make it a round 10, I’ll never know :)

So, I work on the ideas that it is ten, and make sure that the players get 2 or 3 encounter awards per session. For example, if they’re all 2nd level, they need another 2,000 XP to reach 3rd. That’s 10 lots of 200 XP. So long at they get between 400 and 600 XP in a session, the numbers work out jut fine. I don’t use the chart from the DMG at all - it’s a nasty throwback to the chart-heavy cross-referencing days of AD&D, and shouldn’t be there at all. If the players kill a couple of kobolds in a terrific, memorable battle I’ll award more than if they slaughter an ogre in a single round. The important thing about Experience Points is the Experience part. If it’s a memorable experience, they get more. Doesn’t matter whether it’s a battle or a role-played conversation at all :)

If you go “by the book”, killing critters accounts for 80-90% of the XP. That’s right as per the rules, but wrong in my mind. But hey, that’s just me :)

Oh, and stirges are nasty. You’re right about not needing that -4 for attacking in melee, but it’s not needed - a flock of stirges can surprise (therefore, no attack of opporunity) a party, latch on and cause no end of panic - which attracts more monsters. I had an evil Druid in one adventurer who had an Awakened Stirge Rogue as a friend; that caused more trouble than the Druid himself! Sneak attack + CON drain is just plain evil.

greywulf 2007-05-14 10:45 UTC


I guess I still feel like I’m learning the game as it was written. Once I’m past that stage, I’ll convert all my games over to subjective Fudge. >D

My poor players, harr harr.

AlexSchroeder 2007-05-14 13:30 UTC

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2007-05-14 Lost City of Barakus Lost

On March 1, I ordered The Lost City of Barakus by Necromancer Games from Caiman via Amazon or AbeBooks – I can’t remember. It turns out that the book is “still not available”. I wonder what that means. Did they sell short positions of the book? Or is it out of print? I might have to cancel my order when I’m back from my holidays.

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Comments on 2007-05-14 Lost City of Barakus Lost

Oh well, I checked again on Ebay and finally decided to hit my FavoriteKey and download it. Bought it for USD 17.47. Yikes! That’s pretty expensive. In fact, that’s my most expensive PDF book at the moment. Check out my RoleplayingBookshelf.

AlexSchroeder 2007-06-15 13:33 UTC

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2007-05-15 Red Hand of Doom Japanese Style

I think I’ll be creating a Red Hand of Doom + Kitsunemori mix adventure for my Monday campaign… It’s going to be a bit more difficult to change all the names or people and towns, and change all the weapons and armor, and so on. At least the bad guys don’t need changing because they’re from Some Other Place™ and get to wear the kinds of armor they like.

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2007-05-17 Off to Rio de Janeiro

Yep, on Thursday morning I’ll be off to Rio de Janeiro with Claudia in order to see my dad for 10 days. Take good care of my websites and remember that both the EmacsWikiAdministrators and the CommunityWikiAdministrators have the admin password allowing them to lock down the site should things get out of hand.

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Comments on 2007-05-17 Off to Rio de Janeiro

Vacation time again ? Some people have all the luck … Have a good trip though. Lots of pictures.

AlokSingh 2007-05-15 06:47 UTC


Thanks. :)

I don’t think we’ll be taking lots of pictures because crime is so bad in Rio we do not dare to openly carry a camera. My dad has tons of pictures, though:

http://www.emacswiki.org/helmut/static/

AlexSchroeder 2007-05-15 08:25 UTC


Wow. Have a great time, both. Agree with you about taking shots in high-crime areas. It’s more important to be safe that sorry.

greywulf 2007-05-15 10:11 UTC


yo, gute Reise!

MattisManzel 2007-05-16 16:14 UTC


Wünsche euch ne tolle reise .. und weise einsichten :-) Alles liebe, mama

– mom 2007-05-16 18:59 UTC


kannst du mir sage, was der blödsinn ;-) soll mit “eine zahl zwischen 1 und 10 angeben, damit die seite gespeichert wird”? Versteh ich wieder mal nicht den witz von der sache :-(?

– mom 2007-05-16 19:02 UTC


Das ist ein Test um herauszufinden, ob du ein Spam Programm oder wirklich meine Mutter bist. :)

AlexSchroeder 2007-05-16 19:03 UTC


bin ich froh zu wissen, dass ich kein spam bin :-) :-) :-)

– mom 2007-05-17 15:00 UTC

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2007-05-19 Hiking in Rio

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Comments on 2007-05-19 Hiking in Rio

Is that the view from Sugarloaf mountain ?

AlokSingh 2007-05-21 11:05 UTC

Hehe, not really… This is a tiny hill at one end of a small lagoon (“Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas”) behind Leblon and Ipanema, in walking distance from my father’s place.

I added some pictures with the view from Sugarloaf Mountain (“Pão de Açucar”) to my Flickr account today… :)

AlexSchroeder

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2007-05-20 Rain

Bad weather. Handicraft market (“Hippie Market”) in the morning and the Rio Sul mall in the evening.

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2007-05-21 Corcovado

Hiking up the Corcovado where the famous statue of Christ the Redeemer stands. It was a nice and steep climb! The current fad is for one tourist to lie on his back and for the other to imitated Jesus by spreading his arms, and thus catching both tourist #2 and Christ the Redeemer with the same gesture on a single picture. Usually Jesus looks grim and tourist #2 wears an exaggerated grin.

I wonder what the tourists are trying to tell their loved ones when they show these pictures. “Look, mom. I behave like a misanthrope, but I can spread my arms like Jesus!”

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Comments on 2007-05-21 Corcovado

I’m very glad to see that you two are well - even in Brazil!! Enjoy the rest of it!

– Unbekannt 2007-05-26 14:00 UTC


Bonnes vacances Alex. cool holidays! next time you and Claudia in Paris.

ChristopheDucamp 2007-05-26 16:10 UTC


Thanks! :)

AlexSchroeder 2007-05-27 19:38 UTC

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2007-05-22 Niterói

Went to see this funky modern art museum built by Oscar Niemeyer in Niterói and on to the beach in Itacoatiara, where it was cold and windy, so we walked up the Costão until Claudia wanted to turn back because of her fear of heights.

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2007-05-23 Tijuca

Tried to walk up to Bico do Papagaio, but it rained too much, so we gave up and returned home. Spent the rest of the day indoors. Spent the next day indoors, too. Sad. :(

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2007-05-25 Tijuca

Hiked to Pedra Bonita, looked across to Pedra da Gávea, drove to Donna Marta.

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2007-05-26 Ipanema

The last day the sun came out at last and we spent a few hours at the beach.

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2007-05-28 Viva Piñata

Today I bought Viva Piñata for the Xbox 360 and Okami for the PS2.

I played Viva Piñata together with Claudia for hours! It was great fun.

I was surprised that the game is not quite as easy to control as the squeaky voices and funny menus would want to make you believe.

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2007-05-29 Photo Blogging

I think my recent treatment of our holidays in Rio de Janeiro 2007 are pointing the way: Posting some pictures and adding a few comments works better than blogging diary-style. Remember how my blog posts for India fizzled in 2005? → India 2005.

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Comments on 2007-05-29 Photo Blogging

The photos look great too :)

GreyWulf 2007-05-29 10:49 UTC

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2007-05-30 Archivierungspflicht für Wikis und Blogs in Deutschland

Wie erstaundlich: Im Verordnungsentwurf müssen jede Menge Dinge archiviert und der Deutschen Nationalbibliothek zugänglich gemacht werden.

Als Beispiel hierfür dienen in der Entwurfsbegründung öffentliche Weblogs. Ute Schwens, die Direktorin der Deutschen Nationalbibliothek spricht darüber hinaus auch von “Formen, die originär dem Web entsprungen sind”, wie etwa Wikis und gegebenenfalls Foren. Der Archivierungsauftrag beschränkt sich nicht auf Texte, sondern umfasst teilweise auch Bilder und Töne. [1]

Ich muss mich mal erkundigen, was andere Wiki Entwickler davon halten. Grundsätzlich finde ich den Gedanken nicht schlecht, und selber gebe ich mir ja alle Mühe, Archive meiner Websites zum Download anzubieten.

Gründe, die dafür sprechen:

  1. Warum soll etwas wie das Internet Archive nicht eine staatliche Aufgabe sein, die von der Nationalbibliothek wahrgenommen wird? Es gibt keinen Grund, die Nationalbibliothek abzuschaffen.
  2. Ich bin froh, dass alle Zeitungen auf Mikrofilm archiviert wurden, so dass Historiker das Material zur Verfügung haben, und ich schlussendlich interessante Geschichtsbücher zu lesen bekomme. Unsere kulturellen Artefakte müssen archiviert werden. Und wenn diese nicht mehr gedruckt werden, dann müssen sie halt runtergeladen werden.

Die Aufgabe ist schwierig, aber nicht unmöglich. Beispielsweise müsste man eine Lösung à la Google Sitemap oder Robot Exclusion Protokoll finden, damit der Bot der Nationalbibliothek das Web selbstständig abgrasen kann.

Selbst wenn die Nationalbibliothek sich nicht um die technischen Details kümmern könnte, wäre ich froh, der Staat würde die Aufgabe übernehmen. Dann kann der Staat nämlich etwas Geld in die Hand nehmen und den Auftrag an das Internet Archive weiterleiten. So würde das Internet Archive wenigstens auf eine solide finanzielle Basis gestellt.

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2007-05-30 Dungeons and Dragons 3.5

I stumbled upon Monte Cook‘s Review of D&D 3.5 – the review is several years old now, obviously.

I some things I found interesting:

Miniatures Criticism
Yes, I do think the current rules encourage the use of miniatures, and I don’t particularly like it. I’ll have to think of ways of subtly switching away from “tactical D&D”. Then again, I do have more than one rule lover in two of my three gaming groups.
Feats & Spells
Ability enhancing spells used to last for hours and that made much more sense in terms of playability. I’m not sure whether that means that in an ordinary group all the fighters get Bull’s Strength cast on them once per day, always. Perhaps that’s ok. Trade magic user spell slots for raw fighting power during the day. I also don’t like the feats that give you a +2 on two skills. Seems like a waste. But what do I know…
The Concept of Mastery
This is the idea that “an avid fan of the game is going to really delve into the rules to understand how they work. We actually designed 3.0 with mastery in mind. For example, we created subsystems that worked like other systems, so that if you knew how one worked, you’d find the other one easier to understand.”

That reminds me of the package of adventures I’ll be getting soon. It will include some Rappan Athuk by Necromancer Games stuff. And guess what I found on Flickr?

Rappan Athuk: Because some times players need to be punished

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Comments on 2007-05-30 Dungeons and Dragons 3.5

Heh. It’s a frighteningly accurate depiction of Rappan Athuk too. It’s quite a meat grinder of a dungeon - I’ve had one adventuring party lose over half their number at the entrance; they didn’t even make it into the dungeon :) After that they healed up, re-quipped and stormed the place.

Only to exit, seriously wounded several hours later. Heh.

It’s definitely not a dungeon for the faint hearted gamer, that’s for sure.

The package is now ready to be posted :)

GreyWulf 2007-05-30 08:48 UTC


Re: Monte’s review.

One thing I agree with Monte about more than anything else is the switch made to weapon sizes. That was a huge step backwards and did more (in my game, at aleast) to derail the change to 3.5 than anything else. The whole idea of the DM generating treasure that “just happens” to be sized for the Halfling character in the team stretched credibility too much. So, we ditched the whole weapon size thing and just said that Small characters could use Light weapons without penalty (so a halfling with a shortsword does 1d6 damage, as nature intended). Heavier weapons needed two hands (so, no Gnome Fighters with Longswords and shields) and two-handed weapons could only be wielded with a STR of 16 or greater.

That simplified things greatly and gave Small characters all the rationale they needed to stick with (sensible) lighter weapons. A Halfling that can wield a Greatsword should be the stuff of legend, methinks. Hence the STR requirement.

As regards his other points, 3.5 is slightly better set of rules than 3.0, mainly because of the improved character gains dues to levelling. I’m looking forward to the day that it’s closer to d20 Modern where characters get something neat each level (a feat, talent or whatever), but 3.5e is almost there. The changes to spell duration didn’t affect my group too much - in fact, we hadn’t even noticed it until it was pointed out on one of the forums - and took the wholescale change to being a miniatures-based set of rules as just something to be expected. Then ditched ‘em :) Miniatures are bad for the game, but good for the profit margin margin, it seems.

Feat-wise, I quite like the feats which give +2 to two skills. I know this puts me in a minority here, but anything which encourages out-of-combat role-playing and characterization has to be a good thing. Far and away too many feats are combat focused IMHO. I’d rather have players with a character who’s got Alertness and Negotiator than yet another Power Attack + Cleave monkey any day!

GreyWulf 2007-05-30 09:48 UTC


I think I’ll ditch small characters instead! Seriously, what are halflings and gnomes doing out there adventuring. :)

I’ll take another look at your houserule when a small character joins the party.

I think the problem with D&D in terms of usability is that it affords combat & miniatures because there are lots of rules & spells & monsters dealing with them. Players and dungeon masters are nudged along these lines. I find it takes a conscious effort to play a different game. I liked that about M20.

I think I’m going to like Star Wars Saga… I need more players and less work so I can play four times a week!

AlexSchroeder 2007-05-30 12:41 UTC


I need more players and less work so I can play four times a week!

Lol! Don’t we all :)

I’m on the fence about the Saga Edition, and will wait until it’s in my hands before voicing an opinion. I doubt it’ll be a purchase though. From what I see they’ve changed some things that weren’t broken in the first place (skills and saves, mainly) while folding in a few neat ideas (fewer classes and using the talent tree idea from d20 Modern). If it’s supposed to improve Star Wars gaming, I’m not sure it’s a success as I reckon the current edition of the rules is brilliant for that already.

As a preview of 4th Edition D&D I’m even less inspired. Why not just release it and be done? Or, even better, release a playtest pdf of the proposed rules changes and let the gamers themselves decide what’s good and what isn’t. Peer review would make for a better product than just relying on their own particular brand of play in the WoTC offices.

GreyWulf 2007-06-01 09:56 UTC


Well, I don’t have d20 Modern and I’m interested in simplified semi-official d20 rules. I’m also more interested in buying a Star Wars game rather than a generic Modern game. Thus, I’m interested in Star Wars Saga.

Furthermore, I think that Star Wars Saga is not so much a preview of what is to come for 4th ed. as an option of what you can do with the d20 rules. As far as I am concerned, I’m hoping we won’t see a 4th ed. in a long time. I just recently bought all that 3.5 material!

Oh, and public betas are a good thing, of course. Release early and often before it goes to the printer. Maybe now that they’ve learnt to accept PDF without DRM, they might consider it…

Perhaps I should just get all the current Star Wars stuff on Ebay and Amazon Marketplace, if all I want to do is play Star Wars. I’m sure those will swamp the market real soon now.

All this talking makes me realize I still have an unopened Xbox game on my shelf: Star Wars – Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords (KOTOR II). [1]

AlexSchroeder 2007-06-01 16:01 UTC

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