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2012-04-05 Krank

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Der dritte Tag mit über 38°C – langsam nervt es. So viele Filme kann ich gar nicht schauen! Claudia ist ebenfalls krank. Unser einziger Trost, ist dass wir soviel Zeit zusammen verbringen können. Aber gesund in die Osterferien wäre schon deutlich besser gewesen!

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Comments on 2012-04-05 Krank

Ich nehme an, das Fieber ist vorbei. Was war es? Eine normale Grippe oder etwas Unangenehmeres? Ich hoffe, ihr beide seid wieder gesund!!!

– HELMUT 2012-04-09 18:38 UTC



AlexSchroeder
So langsam geht es wieder. Im Moment vor allem noch heiser und verschnupft – man traut sich kaum, den Kopf hinzulegen, schon steigt der Innendruck. War wohl ein typischer grippaler Infekt. Die echte Grippe hat ja kaum jemand, glücklicherweise. Somit waren auch die vier freien Osterfeiertage optimal mit Schleim und Schweiss erfüllt, eine richtige Arbeitgebergrippe!

AlexSchroeder 2012-04-09 19:47 UTC

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2012-04-11 One Page Dungeon Contest Status

The One Page Dungeon Contest 2012 has been chugging along quietly for a few weeks now. Time for an update!

We have a very big pool of judges this year: ten judges! I was surprised to see how quickly the pool filled up. I feel more comfortable with more judges because that allows some of us to drop out without putting the contest in jeopardy.

We have seventeen sponsors and thirty nine prizes assuming I did not miscount. I’d love to reach out to more small publishers – is there an “industry forum” where all the small publishers go and hang out?

We have received thirty eight submissions. There are still prizes to win! :)

I find the result very impressive because last year we had 37 submissions two days before the deadline and this year we have reached the same number of submissions with more than two weeks left to go.

From what I have seen online, it would seem that people might decide not to submit an entry because of the following two reasons:

  1. they see a blog post or two with a fabulous entry and feel like they cannot compete
  2. or they feel like the license being required of them goes too far

Here’s why you should submit an entry anyway:

If your entry isn’t as awesome as another entry, please remember that judges will not just look at the visual aspects. Yes, some entries are picked for the quality of their map, or the quality of their layout, fonts, or whatever makes an entry look good. But there are other criteria as well!

Plus, we try to spread prizes around. We want to capture all the aspects of what makes good adventures. Maybe there is an awesome traditional dungeon, but is there a good pirate entry? A good zombie entry? A good tactical encounter? A good NPC? A good relationship map? There are many ways to win.

And finally, I keep returning to something I said back in 2009:

Should I aspire to write as the pros? I don’t think that would be time well spent. The One Page Dungeon Contest gives me the opportunity to compare my work with ordinary DMs from all over the world. I can learn from the successes and failures from others. That’s why I hope that the contest submissions will remain a crazy mix of things. […] I want to compare my entry with authors in my league.

If you feel your dungeon doesn’t look as polished as some of the very polished dungeons out there (they exist, I admit it) – at least you’ll make me happy! I like to see what other people produce when they’re not polishing it for weeks. I want this contest to be for the Do It Yourself crowd. :)

As for the license, here’s what I wrote on the first FAQ:

Do I retain full control over my submission?

(This is of course not legal advice. If you need legal advice, you need to ask a lawyer.)

You remain the author and owner of your One Page Dungeon Contest submission. Nobody can claim to have written your submission, nobody can prevent you from building on it, republishing it elsewhere, using whatever license you want, for money or for free.

What you cannot do, however, is revoke the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike license—other people are free to build on your submission, republish it elsewhere, for money or for free. They cannot change the license, and they cannot remove your name from the work, but in all other respects, they are free to continue using your submission even if you have taken it elsewhere, changed it it, built upon it, etc.

Here’s an example: You are writing a megadungeon and submit a sublevel to the contest: the crypt of the vampire El Dente. Anybody else can make a copy of El Dente’s crypt and publish it, as long as they keep your name on it and as long as they are using the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike license. They might even sell it for a buck even if anybody who has it can make copies for free. At the same time, you can continue making changes to the crypt and incorporate it into your megadungeon. Maybe you added Arrian the Heretic to the crypt. Arrian wasn’t in the original submission and therefore he’s not covered by the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike license. Nobody else may take Arrian and copy him. Nor can they copy, change or distribute your megadungeon unless you give them license to do it. All they have to work with is your original submission.

In the end, you’re free to do with your submission whatever you want. Others are free to do almost anything with your submission, except for removing your name (“Attribution”) or changing the license (“Share Alike”). All can build upon it, expand it into a megadungeon, and sell it for money. But only you will be able to use a different license.

I hope this illustrates that publishing something using the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike license should not be a problem for most people.

And finally I started about thirty threads on public forums and noticed a handful more, countless blog posts, a handful of which I suggested to the authors but most of which were written by contestants – thank you very much!! :D ok – an incredible hundred and fifty two likes on the Facebook Page and hundred and one +1 on the Google+ Page (and ninety two circles). By contrast, I don’t see any Twitter posts tagged #1pdc.

Anyway, this is where we are. A little less than three weeks left to go.

Good luck! :)

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2012-04-16 Last.fm

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Not much change, I guess.

New:

  • The Gaslight Anthem ok rock
  • Eels ok somehow I rediscovered them at last; I can’t remember listening to a lot of U2, but old favorites are hard to replace in the top charts
  • Shinozuka Group ok I have used the Vagrant Story soundtrack for D&D – that’s the only reason they are up here!

Old:

  • Powderfinger sucks got replaced by The Gaslight Anthem
  • Transglobal Underground sucks I’ve listened to much less World Music in the recent past
  • Elvis sucks we still love Elvis but we are rarely in the mood that asks for Elvis specifically

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2012-04-25 One Page Dungeon Contest Deadline Approaching Fast

The deadline for the One Page Dungeon Contest 2012 is approaching fast! Only one more weekend to go, if you’re that kind of person. :)

“Conan, tell me. What is best about this contest?”

  • Every adventure is short. Reading it will take little time. Preparing it will take little time.
  • Many of the entries are ideal dungeons, sub-levels or demi-planes to add to your existing campaign. Specially if you’re running a just-in-time sandbox and need to improvise because the players are heading in unanticipated directions.
  • The entries are fun to read because they give you an idea of the wide variety of approaches to adventure design out there.
  • Some of the entries might be very close to what you yourself would be doing. It’s good to be in such company and see what the gamerati are doing all over the globe.
  • Some of the entries make ideal one-shots. Bring some pre-generated characters and a bunch of one page dungeons to the next convention. It works! I have done it, too.

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Comments on 2012-04-25 One Page Dungeon Contest Deadline Approaching Fast

Sixty submissions! :D ok

AlexSchroeder 2012-04-26 10:02 UTC

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2012-04-25 Podcast Appearance

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A while ago I read a comment by Wilhelm on my blog. A bit later I saw a comment by Wilhelm on Google+. A few weeks ago I saw a call for gamers from across the globe on his blog. I left a comment and soon enough I made an appearance on one of his English podcast episodes.

“We discuss the Swiss gaming scene, old school gaming, indie games and building gaming communities.” – Avsnitt 14 / Episode 6 – Alex from Switzerland

Check it out if you want to hear my German accent. ;)

Some links for stuff we mentioned:

Games mentioned: Labyrinth Lord, Swords & Wizardry, M20, Solar System RPG, Western City, FATE, Spirit of the Century, Der Geist Mesopotamiens, Mountain Witch, Kagematsu, Montsegur 1244, Poison’d, Fiasco, Burning Wheel, Zombie Cinema.

OerliCon is the local RPG convention. Spielerzentrale is the old site to find new players. Rollenspiel in Zürich is the Facebook page I created.

What I did not mention is the One Page Dungeon Contest. Gaah! :)

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Comments on 2012-04-25 Podcast Appearance


lior
I’ve just listened to the podcast. First of all: I think your accent is negligible.

There were several moments in the interview I really wanted to jump in with an alternative view. For example on “Pirates”, where it was interesting for me as a GM to see that you players were desperately looking for “XP”. And you chose to find that in the “I have sinned” list which led you to do ever new horrible things… That was weird.

Sometimes I feel like there is so much more we could be discussing after play. Even though I try to take my time for that, it never feels enough. sigh.

lior 2012-04-26 07:47 UTC



AlexSchroeder
Feel free to leave comments here or on Wilhelm’s blog and we can continue the conversation. :)

AlexSchroeder 2012-04-26 07:57 UTC



Telecanter
Great to hear your thoughts. I’m not an indie gamer but like to think I’m open to cool innovations wherever they come from. I’ve been surprised how old school D&D, often mocked for its simplicity, actually incorporates lots of different types of play and keeps things interesting. So, while I’m happy these indie designers are creating new things, I’m more likely to want to port their cool ideas back to D&D than play their games themselves.

Telecanter 2012-04-27 01:56 UTC



AlexSchroeder
I just listened to Canon Puncture 127: Jadeclaw GM Tips which was full of interesting ideas that one of the hosts had lifted from indie games and applied to his current, traditional game.

AlexSchroeder 2012-04-27 23:12 UTC



greywulf
Excellent podcast, Alex and Wilhelm, and thanks for the mention.

Alex, I hope this is the first of many podcasts you will taken part in. You have a natural talent for it :)

greywulf 2012-04-29 16:07 UTC

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2012-04-26 OGL vs CC BY SA

Recently, Mark posted something interesting on Facebook:

Forget about a “big tent” when what you really need to unite the fractured D&D community is a solid foundation and a big house with lots of rooms, something the OGL is ideally suited to help accomplish. – Mark CMG on Facebook

I’m not happy with the Open Gaming License (OGL). What frustrates me the most are greedy publishers who declare everything important to be Product Identity.

I wanted to set up a wiki for fan generated content based on Necromancer Games’ book Bard’s Gate. To my surprise, I found the exact wording of the license precluded the reuse of anything important. That’s when I realized that the OGL can be cool, but it often isn’t. Unfortunately, the D&D 3.5 SRD came with the OGL and that’s why we are stuck with it.

No wonder the Bard’s Gate fan site promised in the book never materialized. The lock down certainly worked. The book has basically disappeared from our memory. I still have an archive of the wiki I started back then. Maybe I’ll get to use it in ninety years. Right.

Another example of how things are needlessly complicated by the OGL: The wiki Campaign:Monsters collects monsters for old school games. Making sure that the right OGL is linked is a major pain compared my fantasy alternative where the license says: “chapters bla bla and bla as well as all the magic items and feats are are in the public domain”.

When I wanted to import the Tome of Horrors with Swords & Wizardry stats into the Monsters wiki, I realized that I would basically have to rewrite all the monster descriptions because nothing but the name and the stat block were Open Content. Disappointing, again.

Unfortunately, the Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (CC BY SA) alternative could be used to the same effect: requiring the listing of all the previous authors. The only thing that we would save is a page of legalese.

What I want is a viral license that “infects” the other parts of the works. No derivatives where all the new stuff is proprietary. I guess if you argued that importing monsters from a CC BY SA source into your book constitutes an adaptation and not a collection, then the CC BY SA does in fact “infect” your entire derived work.

This is a different trade-off. Perhaps no company would have jumped on the band-wagon back in the days of D&D 3.0. These days, however, as a consumer that is active online, that acts as an independent publisher like most of us do and wants to distribute derivative works in campaign wikis, blog posts, PDF documents, etc. – these days I find the CC BY SA license or the public domain to be much preferable to the OGL.

For a different perspective, check out Stuart Robertson’s Why I'm Not Using the OGL.

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Comments on 2012-04-26 OGL vs CC BY SA


Crose87420
I’ve always thought the OGL easy to work with, it has allowed me to create derivitive works done by others and still protect the things I’ve created myself, plus there is literally a lifetimes worth of material that the OGL created based on the 3.x rules.

I checked my Tome of Horrors and it states on page 449 that monster descriptions are open game content. (I’ve been hoping to use the Tome for my own material) About the only headache is listing each monster taken from the Tome in the OGL of the content created.

Crose87420 2012-04-26 12:43 UTC



AlexSchroeder
It’s true that page 669 (“Legal Appendix”) of the Swords & Wizardry edition of the Tome of Horrors Complete says:

Designation of Open Game Content: […] including monster names, stats, and description

But below it also says:

Designation of Product Identity: […] proper names, personality, descriptions

When I mentioned this on the Necromancer Games forum, Matt Finch felt the designation of Product Identity took precedence over the designation of Open Game Content:

My opinion only, but I think it is the definition of Product Identity which trumps. The definition of Open Game Content includes: ““Open Game Content” means the game mechanic and includes the methods, procedures, processes and routines to the extent such content does not embody the Product Identity…”
I think the way it’s worded means that if you’ve got a specific designation of Product Identity, then whatever your definition of Open Game Content is, it’s still limited by the way that Product Identity was defined, rather than the other way around.
– Matt Finch (thread)

He’s referring to this part of the OGL:

Definitions: […] “Open Game Content” […] to the extent that such content does not embody the Product Identity […] “Product Identity” […] clearly identified as Product Identity by the owner of the Product Identity, and which specifically excludes the Open Game Content

As for the use of the OGL: I’m sure some uses are made much easier than they used to be in earlier days. My problem is exactly the use of derivative works: they mix the Open Content available to all and protect the things they created themselves (or do so at least partially). It makes it harder for me to distinguish what I can take as soon as I’m looking at works other than the main System Reference Document.

I’d like it better if those that benefit from the Open Content available were to give back as well.

I’d love to import the S&W ed. Tome of Horrors monsters into the wiki. I had practically everything ready to go before getting this reply. I was frustrated, and I still am.

AlexSchroeder 2012-04-26 22:05 UTC

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2012-04 Book Club

What: Life Is Elsewhere by Milan Kundera

When: 18 April, 19:30 – RSVP on Meetup (optional ;))

Where: Bistro Lochergut (tram 2+3 ‘Lochergut’)

Book description (Amazon): The author initially intended to call this novel The Lyrical Age. The lyrical age, according to Kundera, is youth, and this novel, above all, is an epic of adolescence; an ironic epic that tenderly erodes sacrosanct values: childhood, motherhood, revolution, and even poetry. Jaromil is in fact a poet. His mother made him a poet and accompanies him (figuratively) to his love bed and (literally) to his deathbed. A ridiculous and touching character, horrifying and totally innocent (“innocence with its bloody smile”!), Jaromil is at the same time a true poet. He’s no creep, he’s Rimbaud. Rimbaud entrapped by the communist revolution, entrapped in a sombre farce.

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