Diary

Welcome! :-)

This is both a wiki (a website editable by all) and a blog (an online diary about the stuff Alex Schroeder 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.

2019-09-14 Capitalism

I’m enjoying the read of Digital Socialism? by Evgeny Morozov. In criticizing books that try to tell us what is going to replace capitalism, he tells us more about capitalism. And I really should find a good summary of Capital by Karl Marx because even though I haven’t read much I see how it always comes up again. If only it weren’t that dense. Or me not as dense, perhaps. I’ll make another effort. And Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations, too.

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2019-09-10 Spider magic

I finished another spellcaster for my Spellcasters project: Iauniel. Spiders, webs, that kind of thing.

I know, nothing special or revolutionary to see: just good old Vancian magic, spells in the range of 1–5, i.e. for spellcasters in the range of levels 1–10. 🧝🏻‍♀️🧝🏼‍♂️🧙‍♀️🧙🏼‍♂️

And I wrote a little script that extracts all the spell descriptions and puts it into a separate document.

There’s some cleaning up I need to do: resolve duplicates, rename those that share the same name but aren’t actually duplicates, and figure out what to do about duplicates in the first place: replace them with new and original spells?

But first, I need to finish the spellbooks!

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2019-09-02 Photography

If you’re interested in pictures, You can always follow my photography tag on the Fediverse.

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2019-09-02 Bandcamp

I’ve bought a second discography on Bandcamp. Anything you’d like to recommend? I’m looking for happy/sad music. I have have enough sad music to make me really sad. I guess I’d like to have some sad Fado. But other than that, I’m looking for music that I can listen to in the background, while programming, or while cooking or doing the dishes...

I recently bought:

  • The Doubleclicks – geeky funny music about love and role-playing games that makes me laugh
  • melodium – blips and bloops and happy-sad electronic music for work

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Comments on 2019-09-02 Bandcamp

If you like The Doubleclicks, you might enjoy Jonathan Coulton or Garfunkel & Oates.

jalanhenning 2019-09-05 02:31 UTC


Thank you for the suggestions!

– Alex Schroeder 2019-09-05 21:30 UTC

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2019-08-30 Dark Mode

If you’re a regular reader of this site, and you prefer “dark mode” in your browser, you you should be getting a “dark” theme, now. I hope it works. Let me know if anything looks weird.

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2019-08-29 Warp Spellcaster

I wrote up the spells for another spellcaster in my Spellcasters project. As you know I use the strict interpretation of the magic system: the spells per day are also the spells you have in your repertoire. Magic users and elves cannot learn more than these spells. Exchanging one spell for another takes weeks of research and retraining and usually only happens as characters gain a level.

Furthermore, new spells cannot be learned from scrolls or spellbooks: you need a teacher to learn new spells. Thus, every high level magic user and elf in the setting is automatically a sort of one person school of magic. Therefore, I always need a bunch of high-level magic users and elves to run my games. These are the patrons for my player elves and magic users. Here are the new spells they can learn, and hopefully that also creates some adventure seeds at the same time.

Anyway, this magic user is all about mutations, growing stuff, cloning himself, stuff like that. A bit of a vivimancer, a bit of an evil cleric, a bit of what little I know about Warhammer: Korokoro.

When I picked his name, I did not know about the Koro phenomenon. Now I keep wondering: is this a missed opportunity, or should I simply rename the poor guy?

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2019-08-29 How to Mastodon again

I wrote 2017-11-16 How to Mastodon. These days I’m not so sure it’s still good. Instead, I see Joyeuse Noëlle’s An Increasingly Less-Brief Guide to Mastodon getting recommended a lot.

First, before doing anything, set a picture on your profile and write at least one, preferably four posts that tell us something about yourself, about what to expect. The reason being that if you follow somebody, they are notified and might look at your profile in turn – and maybe they will follow you back. But I’m not following a faceless and silent avatar. It’s too creepy.

Let me think of the things that seem non-obvious to me.

  • search is often limited to hashtags in public posts on your server only!
  • thus, use hashtags every now and then so other people can find your posts
  • you can also search for accounts from other servers: search for kensanata to find my various accounts and click on the “person plus” icon in order to follow me
  • sometimes clicking on an account from another server shows you that they have written posts but don’t show any of the posts: that’s because the posts haven’t been downloaded to your server, yet – if you follow them, their posts will get downloaded, eventually
  • clicking on the avatar of a profile takes you to their profile on their server: now you can see their public posts but since you are on their server, you need to log in again before interacting (i.e. before favoring or boosting posts, or before following accounts)
  • Home is for the posts of people you follow
  • Notifications is for posts that mention you or people favoring (liking) or boosting (sharing) your posts
  • Local is for posts from people on the same server as you
  • Federated is for posts on the same server as you, even if written by people not on your server: mostly posts from people somebody on your server is already following
  • clicking on a post shows you all it’s ancestors (no branches) and all its descendants (including all the branches); check out this image: what I’m trying to say is that you will see all the posts in blue

Image 1 for 2017-01-05 Mermaid

  • if you want to see all the replies, scroll to the top and click the original post: you are once again shown all it’s ancestors (none, you’re at the top) and all its descendants (all the replies)

Once you created an account, you can log into that account using different applications. These can be apps on your phone, or they can be other websites. Here are two:

These might offer a more pleasing experience, depending on your needs. I like Mastodon as it is.

I was a TweetDeck user. If you like the multi-column layout, check “Enable advanced web interface” in your settings. It used to be default.

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Comments on 2019-08-29 How to Mastodon again

This is what I have found by myself.

A lot of these points make “living” on a smaller server a bit lonely, since you have less people to “directly” follow, you see less people, you can see less content based on hashtag search.

If that is what you are looking for, then it is an advantage, of course 😀

Peter Kotrčka 2019-08-30 04:29 UTC


Yeah, the reason I picked Octodon Social at first was because it was big and I didn’t want an instance focused on white men programming.

But Tabletop Social is small and make some think the RPG scene is small. But who knows.

– Alex Schroeder 2019-08-30 09:48 UTC

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2019-08-28 Social Media

Where to find me online:

  • @kensanata is my general Mastodon account 🐝
  • @kensanata is my RPG Mastodon account 🧞‍♂️
  • @kensanata is my long form RPG Diaspora account
  • you are reading this on my blog, of course 🥳

I’m also on Discord, occasionally.

If you have a RPG blog, please send me an email and let me add it to one of the RPG Planets I run. For exposure! 😅

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Comments on 2019-08-28 Social Media

I just set up an account. Didn’t you have a post about how to use Mastadon? It’s a little confusing.

Michael Julius 2019-08-28 10:24 UTC


I did write 2017-11-16 How to Mastodon. These days I’m not so sure it’s still good. Instead, I see Joyeuse Noëlle’s An Increasingly Less-Brief Guide to Mastodon getting recommended a lot.

– Alex Schroeder 2019-08-28 10:56 UTC


Once you created an account, you can log into that account using different clients.

These might offer a more pleasing experience, depending on your needs. I like Mastodon as it is but I was also a TweetDeck user.

– Alex Schroeder 2019-08-28 10:58 UTC


I think these days new accounts come with the “Enable advanced web interface” setting unchecked, so you get the single column layout. Let me think of the things that seem non-obvious to me:

  • search is often limited to hashtags in public posts on your server only!
  • thus, use hashtags every now and then so other people can find your posts
  • you can also search for accounts from other server: search for kensanata to find my various accounts and click on the “person plus” icon in order to follow me
  • sometimes clicking on an account from another server shows you that they have written posts but don’t show any of them: that’s because they haven’t been downloaded to your server, yet – if you follow them, their posts will get downloaded
  • clicking on the avatar on their profile takes you to their profile on their server: now you can see their public posts but since you are on their server, you can no longer favor their posts nor follow them unless you log in again
  • Home is for the posts of people you follow
  • Notifications is for posts that mention you or people favoring (liking) or boosting (sharing) your posts
  • Local is for posts from people on the same server as you
  • Federated is for posts on the same server as you, even if written by people not on your server: mostly posts from people somebody on your server is already following
  • clicking on a post shows you all it’s ancestors (no branches) and all its descendants (including all the branches)

Image 1 for 2017-01-05 Mermaid

– Alex Schroeder 2019-08-28 11:43 UTC


I’m going to copy this to a new page. This advice isn’t is bad!

– Alex Schroeder 2019-08-29 06:10 UTC

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2019-08-28 How about 2d6

Hah, watching Secrets of Blackmoor has made me think about using 2d6 again.

On the one hand, I’m as fascinated as @lskh is by all the 2d6 mechanics surrounding me, from Traveller to Powered by the Apocalypse rules, and like a siren it’s calling me. And I remember older rules, too. I remember the very first such game I met was Fenris 2d6, and Pits & Perils. I remember being a bit disappointed when I realized that Pits & Perils was so simplistic even though I had read an enthusiastic review on Save vs. Total Party Kill.

But when I look at Dave Arneson’s table of old friends and his daughter in Secrets of Blackmoor, having fun, exploring dungeons, and just using just 2d6… It obviously works!

And I see that Norbert Matausch has been thinking about the same things, lately. To get a feel for his games, perhaps it makes sense to read Sophie’s review of Tatzelwurm, one of his 2d6 games. I first noticed his interested in 2d6 games when I read John Harper’s World of Dungeons, followed by Streets of Marienburg by unknown authors, and finally Norbert Matausch’s Advanced World of Dungeons. He took his old blog down, so you’ll have to do a little searching online to find the PDFs. Looking at his new blog, I see quite a few posts talking about the things I’m fascinated by right now:

Pre-D&D: How Dave, Gary, Phil and the original grognards played talks about people disliking Chainmail because it lacked hit-points and thus characters died whenever they were hit. There’s more about this in the Secrets of Blackmoor movie, actually. Anyway, the article tries to collect the actual rules used and continues with an example combat. A few days later, there is a second attempt at writing down the rules, Older School: Pre-D&D, 2nd edition, and finally How the Grognards really played, 3rd edition. Wonderful!

Ahhh... and yet here I am, writing spells and spellbooks. 😆​

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Comments on 2019-08-28 How about 2d6

At the moment I’m fascinated by Advanced Fighting Fantasy, which also uses 2d6, which is still very light on rules. Also, Troika!, which is Planescape without superheroes using (basically) a modified version of AFF.

Ynas Midgard 2019-08-29 00:25 UTC


You did convince me to buy Troika! which also happens to be the Deal of the Day at DriveThru RPG.

– Alex Schroeder 2019-08-29 05:54 UTC


Also enjoying this list of quotes: Play worlds, not rules: Juggling ideas for stone age rpg sessions.

– Alex Schroeder 2019-08-29 06:28 UTC


Was thinking of combining Troika! with Hill Cantons setting/adventures. Seems like it’d be a good fit.

I also think World of Dungeons would go great with the Magic system replaced with that of Wonder & Wickedness.

Starmonkey 2019-08-30 08:36 UTC


I need to think about what I want from a 2d6 system. I don’t actually want to recreate a complex system and I feel like all my RPG experience is pulling me that way. So now I think I need to play, maybe start with as little as possible, and then decide where to take it based on what happens at the table. Which then makes me think I need the right players for it as well.

– Alex Schroeder 2019-08-30 09:52 UTC


Once I read through this, Troika immediately came to mind. It’s basically the system that this is describing. And Troika is just amazing generally...

– Ian Schlom 2019-08-30 20:20 UTC


Regarding the idea of going back to Arneson... wheee! I was reading The Arnesonian Dungeon by Justin Alexander and found comments by Dan Boggs and a link to his blog, Hidden in Shadows. And I’m thinking, nope, Arneson isn’t just rolling 2d6 and figuring it out as he goes. It’s a complicated, confusing, malleable machine in his head, ever changing, and so now I’m suspecting that a simple roll high on 2d6 might result in a very boring game indeed. There needs to be much more in the background, in the setting, in the internal workings of the world to make those die rolls interesting.

– Alex Schroeder 2019-08-30 22:21 UTC

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2019-08-27 Secrets of Blackmoor

I just saw the movie Secrets of Blackmoor. It was entertaining and worth the fistful of dollars I paid. 👍

I love the idea that I’m still going to be playing roleplaying games when I’m old. I guess that’s the main take-away I have for anybody thinking about watching the movie. It’s old people talking about the hobby, the transition from wargaming to role playing games. It’s also a slow movie. There are repetitions. They tell you how they played, how they still play. It’s lovely. Then again, as I grow older I’m starting to appreciate the slower cuts, the slower talking. 😅

It felt a bit like reading Playing at the World again but now with pretty pictures. As an aside, I also recommend the book author’s blog of the same name.

Anyway, the movie was OK, I liked it! It makes me want to play simple 2d6 based games again.

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Comments on 2019-08-27 Secrets of Blackmoor

Though I’m not quite there yet, I’m assuming that retirement will be my full speed second golden age of D&D.

Michael Julius 2019-08-27 17:11 UTC


👍 Let’s hope I have enough like-minded friends when the time comes!

– Alex Schroeder 2019-08-27 17:26 UTC


Apparently part 2 will be about the actual campaigns: “Arneson’s Blackmoor, John Sniders space campaign, Minstf Dungeon, Barker’s Tékumel.”

– Alex Schroeder 2019-08-29 12:21 UTC

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