# Diary

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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.

# 2015-09-03 How to add a new Character Sheet to Halberds n’ Helmets

My Character Sheet Generator is also a very general tool to parametrize SVG sheets. I use it as part of my Campaign Wiki. For my Greyheim campaign I generated a bunch of characters and most of the time, my players just pick one of them. No rolling of dice and purchasing of equipment before you can get started. If you click on any of the characters listed, it will take you to a page that integrates an SVG graphic.

Let’s take Aurora as an example. If you look at the raw data, you’ll see the parameters used:

name: Aurora
str: 9
dex: 16
con: 13
int: 9
wis: 11
cha: 7
level: 1
...

This gets translated into an URL for the image: https://campaignwiki.org/halberdsnhelmets/en?name=Aurora;str=9;dex=16;con=13;int=9;wis=11;cha=7;level=1;... You can bookmark this URL and that’s your character sheet.

This is what it will look like:

If you want to edit the parameters, that’s easy to do. The SVG contains a link at the bottom. Or you can simply add /link to the URL: https://campaignwiki.org/halberdsnhelmets/link/en?name=Aurora;str=9;dex=16;con=13;int=9;wis=11;cha=7;level=1;... Edit the parameters, submit, and update your bookmark.

You can provide your own character sheet. One of the parameters you provide is the URL to the character sheet. Here are some examples:

1. You need a SVG document like some of the above; use Inkscape to create such documents
2. The SVG document needs text fields identified by id attributes; we’ll be using those as parameters
3. You also need the fonts available as web fonts unless you rely on standard fonts
4. Your SVG file needs to have the appropriate style information in order to use those fonts
5. If you want to print the document, you probably also need the font installed on your computer

If you want to create an SVG character sheet by hand, you can read the W3C Recommendation and the Jenkov Tutorials. Documents created using Inkscape are usually quite bloated. I still prefer using Inkscape.

Let’s look at this id business. Consider the default character sheet. We’ll be using the “name” parameter. Look at the source code of the document (cmd u on my laptop using Firefox) and search for id="name". You’ll find the following:

    <text
sodipodi:linespacing="100%"
id="name"
y="-11.724363"
x="178.12579"
style="font-size:24px;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;font-weight:300;font-stretch:normal;text-align:start;line-height:100%;letter-spacing:0px;word-spacing:0px;writing-mode:lr-tb;text-anchor:start;fill:#000000;fill-opacity:1;stroke:none;font-family:Purisa;-inkscape-font-specification:Purisa Light"
xml:space="preserve"
inkscape:label="#text3505"><tspan
id="tspan3507"
y="-11.724363"
x="178.12579"
sodipodi:role="line">_________</tspan></text>

This is a lot of bloat. This would be enough, I guess:

    <text
id="name"
y="-11.724363"
x="178.12579"
style="font-size:24px;font-family:Purisa"/>

When our URL now contains name=Aurora, the text element with the id “name” will contain the value “Aurora”.

You can actually use the Character Sheet Generator to show you what the ids are:

Multi-line fields such as “abilities” or “property” are simply text elements with at least two lines of text, two tspan elements.

My guess is that what you’d actually prefer is to convert an existing character sheet PDF. Let’s take the One Seven Design character sheet for Stars Without Number. You need a build of Inkscape with Poppler. If you’re using Homebrew on a Mac:

alex@Megabombus:~brew info inkscape homebrew/x11/inkscape: stable 0.91 (bottled), HEAD A professional vector graphics editor https://inkscape.org/ /usr/local/Cellar/inkscape/HEAD (983 files, 120M) * Built from source with: --with-poppler From: https://github.com/homebrew/homebrew-x11/blob/master/inkscape.rb ==> Dependencies Build: boost-build ✔, intltool ✔, pkg-config ✔ Required: bdw-gc ✔, boost ✔, cairomm ✔, gettext ✔, glibmm ✔, gsl ✔, gtkmm ✔, hicolor-icon-theme ✔, little-cms ✔, pango ✔, popt ✔ Optional: poppler ✔ ==> Options --with-poppler Build with poppler support --HEAD Install HEAD version So, now we’re set. We have Inkscape. It has Poppler support. This will allow you to open PDF files using Inkscape. You’ll have to pick one page: Let’s say you picked the Warrior page. Load it into Inkscape. This is what it looks like: Use Ctrl-Shift-T for text styles and pick a nice font and size and set it as the default. I used Noticia Text which I downloaded from Google Fonts. Click or double-click on an element such as the letter “E” in “NAME” in order to select it. Switch to the text tool using F8 and create a text field where you want the name to appear. Put some text into the text field – I like to use a bunch of underscores: “___”. You can remove these at the end by editing the SVG file in a text editor. If you remove them now, Inkscape will delete the empty text field. Also, once you have removed the text content, you shouldn’t edit these files using Inkscape. That’s why I like those underscores. In this example, I’m going to write “Alex” into the text field. Basically, that’ll be the default value if you don’t provide a name parameter. Use F1 to switch back to selecting objects. This allows you to move the text around. I like to use the arrow keys at this point. Use Ctrl-Shift-O for object properties and set the id to the parameter name you want (i.e. “name”) and delete the label (we have no use for it). If you want, you can take a look at the XML of the text element you just created using Ctrl-Shift-X. Repeat as necessary. This is tedious job. I’ve done it for three fields. This is the SWN Warrior SVG using three default values: And here’s the same file with three parameters set: You can debug it using /show in the URL: Now all we need to do is add the remaining fields and do it for all the character sheets… Add Comment # 2015-08-28 Games on Demand an der OerliCon Ich habe den Flyer angepast. Diese Spiele haben sich bewährt und bleiben im Programm: ## Lady Blackbird Charakterorientiert mit sehr wenig Regeln. Die Regeln befinden sich auf dem Charak- terblatt. Vom Setting her klar Steampunk und Space Opera. Die Regeln selber sind eine Mischung einer Reihe von Ideen der Independent Szene der letzten Jahre: Spieler bekommen Erfahrungspunkte für selbst bestimmte Themen wie bei Solar System, Hilfswürfel und W6 Pool gibt es wie bei Mouse Guard, Eigenschaften funktionieren wie Aspekte bei Fate, es gibt keine Talente, eine Startsituation, und los. Extrem einfach für Einsteiger und faszinierend für alle, welche sich für Regeln abseits von Das Schwarze Auge, D&D und Pathfinder interessieren. ## Mountain Witch Sehr einfache Regeln, die mit einem W6 pro Spieler auskommen. Die Mission: ein paar Ronin versuchen, den Hexenmeister vom Fuji zu töten. Die Regeln erlauben es, sich gegenseitig zu helfen – aber von einem Verrat kann man noch mehr profitieren. Der Hexenmeister ist an Zwietracht interessiert. Das Vertrauen, welches man den anderen Spielercharakteren entgegenbringt, wird zur wichtigsten Eigenschaft im Spiel. Die Spiele endeten bisher immer in einem blutigen Spieler-gegen-Spieler Showdown. Englische (eigentlich braucht man nur die Charakterblätter) ## In A Wicked Age Auffällig ist das gemeinsame Erschaffen von Szenario und Charakteren, inspiriert von einem Orakel – ein paar zufälligen Stichworten zum gewählten Thema. Erst nachdem wir beschlossen haben, welche Personen all dabei sind, wählen die Spieler ihre Charaktere. Der Spielleiter spielt den Rest. Jeder Spieler setzt sich zwei Ziele, der Spielleiter gibt den Nichtspielercharakteren ebenfalls je ein Ziel. Idealerweise widersprechen sich all diese Ziele. Das führte bis jetzt immer zu einem klassischen Spieler-gegen-Spieler Abend. Die Regeln sind sehr einfach: Zwei bis vier Würfel, das höchste Ergebnis gewinnt. Englisch Deutsch (nur Charakterbögen und Orakel) ## Isotope Dieses post-apokalyptische Spiel ist von Apocalypse Now und Gamma World inspiriert. Menschen, Mutanten, Wilde – wir erforschen eine neu entdeckte Städte der Altvorderen. Es geht um den Spass an der Post-Apocalypse, die seltsamen Mutationen und die unverständliche Technik. Typisch ist das 2W6 Würfelsystem, welches bei jedem Wurf drei Ausgänge kennt: 2–6 ist ein Misserfolg, 7–9 ist mit Nachteil gelungen, 10+ ist ein Erfolg. Der Spielleiter würfelt nicht. Englisch (durchklicken zur Patreon Seite) Diese Spiele sind neu! ## Laser und Gefühle Science Fiction mit Kirk und Spock. Jeder Charakter hat nur einen Wert zwischen 2 und 5. Dieser Wert gibt an, wie stark der Charakter von seinen Gefühlen oder von seinem Verstand geleitet wird. Gewürfelt wird mit einem W6. Um etwas mit Laser zu erreichen, muss man unter seinem Wert würfeln; um etwas mit Gefühlen zu erreichen, muss man darüber würfeln. Würfelt man genau seinen Wert, gibt es Laser-Gefühle! Die gesamten Regeln passen auf eine Seite inklusive einer kleinen Spielleiterhilfe. ## World of Dungeons Ein falscher Retroklon von Dungeon World, welches auf Apocalypse World basiert. Es wird mit 2w6 gewürfelt. 2–6 ist ein Fehlschlag, 7–9 ist mit Kompromiss erfolgreich, 10–11 ist ein Erfolg, 12 ist ein kritischer Erfolg. Der Spielleiter würfelt nicht. Die Regeln passen auf zwei Seiten. Englisch Marienburg Advanced World of Dungeons (Weiterentwicklung von Norbert G. Matausch) – eine deutsche Version ist in Arbeit Diese Spiele fallen aus dem Programm raus. ## Western City Auch wieder sehr einfache Regeln, welche mit einem W6 pro Spieler auskommen. Auch hier wird gemeinsam ein Problem geschaffen, die Charaktere aufgestellt und typische Western-Szenen ausgewählt. Erst am Ende wählen die Spieler ihre Charaktere. Zwischen den Szenen können die Spieler allerdings mit Punkten bieten, um die übrigen Nicht- Spieler-Charaktere zu übernehmen. Da die Situation gemeinsam geschaffen wurde und die anderen Charaktere von Mitspielern geleitet werden, gibt es keinen Bedarf für einen Spielleiter. Western City ist ein spielleiterloses System! Charakterkonflikte werden mit dem Würfel entschieden, Spielerkonflikte durch dieses Bieten mit Punkten. ## Der Geist Mesopotamiens Diese einfache Fate Variante ist auf griechische und persische Heldentaten zugeschnitten. Seltsame + und – Würfel werden verwendet um Zahlen zwischen -4 und 4 zu generieren. Beim Einsatz von Schicksalspunkten kann man Aspekte (Stichwörter zum Charakter) verwenden, um einen Bonus von +2 zu erhalten oder um die Würfel erneut zu werfen. So entwickelt sich die Geschichte automatisch in der Richtung der Aspekte. ## Labyrinth Lord Klassisches D&D aus den 80er Jahren. Elfen, Zwerge und Halblinge sind eigene Klassen. Es geht hinab in eine mythische Unterwelt, in der die Regeln der Vernunft nicht mehr gelten. Schätze bergen ist das Ziel des Abends. Wer mit Monstern kämpft, ist selber schuld. Tags: Add Comment # 2015-08-27 Settlements for Random Maps I’ve been looking for map symbols and have added them to my favorite Text Mapper library, the Gnomeylands. These icons are based on the icons by Gregory B. MacKenzie. New settlement icons: thorp, village, town, large-town, city. And some religious buildings: shrine, law, chaos. Text Mapper also includes a random wilderness generator using Erin D. Smale’s algorithm (Part 1 for the terrain, Part 2 for the encounters). Currently I’m only supporting major encounters 1 to 3: settlements, fortresses and religious orders. Please note that these will be rare. Not every random map will contain one of these. I also added agriculture. If a settlement is built on a plains hex, that hex is colored like soil or light soil. If the settlement is not built on a plains hex, or if it is a large town or a city, then a neighboring plains hex will be changed to soil or light soil colored fields. Also note the black & white random map option… À propos random maps: A few days ago I added this random maps feature. It allows you to keep reloading the page until you like what you see. You can always save the result as a .svg file and keep editing it using Inkscape. If you want to tweak it online, however, you need the actual map data. It’s available from the page source. At the end of the SVG, you will find the map data in a comment like this one: <!-- Source 0101 light-grey grass 0102 light-grey grass 0103 green forest ... 2318 green forest include https://alexschroeder.ch/contrib/gnomeyland.txt --> You can copy and paste the map data (without the <!-- and -->) into the Text Mapper text area, submit, go back and make change to it until you’re happy with the result. Tags: Add Comment # 2015-08-27 Luna Sandals Review by Benjamin Baugh About two months ago, I read Born to Run, bought Luna Sandals and switched to running with these sandals almost exclusively. I kept wanting to write about my impressions, but then I discovered that Benjamin Baugh had bought the same sandals at about the same time, had written all the words I wanted to say, and when I asked him, he said I could just repost them. The sandal we’re talking about is the Luna Mono. ## First run mini-review of Luno Mono running sandals Benjamin Baugh writes on Google+: In my little vaguebook post yesterday about my new sandals, I said I’d talk about how they handled after my run today. The conditions were about as good as you’d hope for a test – the most technical trail I had easy access to (lots of roots and rocks, gravel, mud, ups and downs), in first the sweaty Georgia heat, and then in a proper thunderstorm. Plus, about a quarter mile on pavement. Generally, these sandals performed brilliantly. In fact, the only real issue was getting them adjusted just right. I’ve not worn this style of sandal before, so I wasn’t sure exactly how to dial in the fit. I got left perfect, and the sandal hugged my foot, didn’t slip at all, and by the end I didn’t even notice I had it on anymore. Right was trickier, and while I got it satisfactorily snug, it isn’t sitting as well as the left. I think it’s something to do with the heel strap adjustment. Righty likes to roll a little, and I step off with a twisting motion on the ball of my foot. This eats into shoes on pavement, and on these sandals tended to rotate my foot out of alignment with the shot, so my heel came over the edge on the inside, and my pinkie toe on the outside. I played around with tightness and cinching the tech strap very snug, but that only made it worse. I got the best results by taking the tech strap off entirely. At some point, I just decided good enough and got to the running. I only did three miles, between time crunch and fiddling with the sandal adjustment, but they were a very good three miles. No blistering, hot spots, or chafing anywhere, despite expecting a few where my feet were rubbed in unaccustomed places. They’re also incredibly light. Even lighter than the Lems I wear casually (and run in more than I should), about the same weight as my old homemade all-leather guillies. The grip was excellent, and I didn’t get any slips even on a muddy bank with pine straw. I also didn’t hook the shoe on anything, which is something I do pretty often. Running with open-top sandals was wonderful though. At one point, to test how they felt when soaking wet I stepped into the lake, and then set off running again. It made my feet delightfully cool, but didn’t affect the fit of the sandals or how they wore at all. I could see wading and fishing in these sandals, and then hiking back afterwards no problem. These are thicker than what I’m used to running in, but that’s actually looking like it’ll be a boon. I’m still too fat, though I’ve started to lean up really well with the daily runs and no crap diet, and my feet would ache pretty badly after runs in really thin shoes, especially as I’ve started to up the intensity recently. With these, the extra padding was just enough, while not dulling my sense of the ground under me. Gravel was no problem, but I could still feel the surface, and how it shifted. On pavement, they provided just enough spring to make it feel more like I was running on packed dirt instead of asphalt, which is just want I wanted. In terms of keeping rocks and crap out, I had no problem. I actually have a worse time keeping things out of my lace up shoes, A shake of my foot dislodged the one little piece of gravel and the acorn that got under them. My earlier assessment that these are well made holds up, I think. No signs of distress at any of the potential failure points in the design. I’ll post an update when I have fifty miles or so on them. So to sum, fantastic sandals, worked as-advertised on many different surfaces very well, comfortable, fun to run in, but with some unexpected complexity in getting them to fit right. ## Updated review of Luna Sandals Mono Benjamin Baugh writes on Google+: I bought a pair of these a couple of months ago, and did a basic comments/thoughts post on them after running in them a couple of times, and said I’d post more when I had some miles on them. I’m waiting for a system here at work to rebuild, so I thought I’d go ahead and do that now. My overall impression with 100+ miles on them is positive. The Mono is Luna’s all-purpose all-terrain sandal – not optimized for road or trail, but providing crossover utility. I hate having lots of different special-purpose shoes, so this was the obvious pick for me. As to how it performed, I have to rate it excellent. The footbed is extremely grippy both on top and underneath. When I got the fit figured out (more on that later), there’s no slipping when they are wet, and they grab the ground better than any shoe I’ve worn. There’s modest wear on the forefoot where I habitually wear down my shoes fastest, but nothing too bad. I have not been gentle on them, and they show no signs of coming apart – the workmanship is great on these. They’re just as sturdy as promised. There are a few thread-ends poking out of areas that have reinforcement sewn on, but nothing coming undone. As my running is primarily on trails, with a mix of root, dirt, rock, sand, mud, pine straw and leaves, and similar surfaces I’ve found them excellent on everything I’ve tried them on. I have not run on serious sharp rock, but have run on granite gravel without any issue. Only once or twice have I stepped on something that caused me actual pain through the footbed, despite it being dense but fairly soft material. I’ve run in them exclusively since getting them, and use them as my only footwear outside of work, including a recent roadtrip and vacation to Houston. When I get the fit dialed in properly, they perform brilliantly, but there lies my issue with these sandals. They’re hard to get fitted, and they’re hard to keep fitted. There are four points of adjustment, and being unfamiliar with how a huaraches type sandal was supposed to fit, I had to mess with it for a month before I got the basics figured out. The side-strap that connects to the one running from the toes can slide up and down the toe strap, as well as tighten. It needs to be a finger’s width from the end of the reinforced slider patch to fit snugly on me. The straps that feed through the footbed need to be adjusted to tighten the heel strap considerably, or it slides off my heel all the time, which is irritating in the grocery store, and intensely aggravating on a run. All well and good… except these adjustments don’t stay put. I have to tweak the adjustments every time I put them on, else they tend to fall off. This is actually more of an issue with walking around daily stuff than running though. I notice much worse slipping when I’m walking casually than when I’m running. The heel strap is elasticized in this model sandal, and I think that’s where the issue with maintaining a good fit arises. It introduces flex and give in the straps, and that becomes slack that works it way into the system where only tension keeps things in place. The sliding strap always slips forward, the heel strap always gets looser. The Monos come standard with an item that used to be sold separately – a removable ‘tech strap’ which you can see in the pic – the second strap close to my ankle that holds up the heel strap like sandal suspenders. With all the other fits dialed in, and this attached, it solves the heel strap slip issue perfectly, but I think it’s inclusion as a standard item indicates that Luna is aware of the slipping fit issue. I’m not sure if the elastic heel strap adds anything to the comfort or fit of these sandals. I think in future, I’d not buy a sandal with that. While not perfect, the Monos have proven quite good – they’re certainly a pleasure to run in. I don’t think Luna has the design for an all-terrain all-day sandal nailed down quite yet, but they’re really close with this one. The footbed is certainly there, as is the look. Getting the fit and adjustment system working better and not slipping so much, and providing a bit more guidance on how to go about getting them dialed in would certainly push these from good to excellent . So, even with their flaws, would I recommend these? Yes I would, even as they currently are. If you are looking for a minimal light-weight running sandal that can wear everyday as casual footwear, that can handle paved surfaces and technical trails, then these are a winner despite the learning curve and slipping adjustment. Thank you, Benjamin Baugh, for letting me copy your words so I didn’t have to write anything. I’ll just add that my sandals didn’t come with the tech strap you mentioned, and I do tweak them on every run after maybe half an hour. Oh well. They’re still my favorite way to run because in the last few years my feet have started to complain about my shoes. Small toe feels crushed, big toe feels bent sideways… The sandals are much better than any of my other shoes, running (Asics) or not (Scarpa). Tags: Comments on 2015-08-27 Luna Sandals Review by Benjamin Baugh I have a pair of Lunas as well and they’re wonderful even if you’re not running. I tend to fiddle with the straps, but I also notice how my feet are different on different days and the Lunas allow complete adjustment. The main reason I am not wearing them more often is that I strive for better toe protection while on the bicycle (and I don’t do any running – maybe I should take up my long morning walks again). Harald 2015-08-28 11:02 UTC How are your toes in danger when riding a bike? – AlexSchroeder 2015-08-28 13:04 UTC I use bike as my primary transportation, and I don’t think that I will feel comfortable in these things too. There is a common belief that you can’t go fast on a bike, but speeds up to 100 km/h are not rare at all, especially downhill. Think about falling on 40 km/h, for example. It’s not fast, but it is enough to keep you rolling for quite some distance… In this situation you don’t want some part of your body to break, rub away or fall off accidentally. Toes and fingers are the first candidates for that adventure. Also, if you are deft enough, your contact with ground will probably start with one of your feet. It is a bit rough, so having a shoe that sits steadily on your foot is what you want. – AlexDaniel 2015-08-29 00:22 UTC “Don’t fall” is a good alternative to normal shoes, some might say. However, I’ve been using a bike almost every day when I went outside for more than 3 years, including winter (-20°C felt a little bit too much though). I’d say that the most important thing is to be prepared for everything. – AlexDaniel 2015-08-29 00:32 UTC The times I was injured riding a bike are few – and I always wore shoes, so who knows. I had a brake lever jammed into my breast, I’ve had scrapes on my shins and hips. When riding the bike with sandals I’ve had the short but uncomfortable feeling of touching the ground while making a tight turn and it would pull the sole down and around. Luckily my reflexes protected my toes. I guess I never really considered my toes to be in a particularly dangerous position. I must add that I only ride the bike for entertainment, almost never for my commute. That might also color my experience. I don’t like riding the bike in town, for example. – Alex Schroeder 2015-08-29 07:59 UTC Add Comment # 2015-08-24 Russian Maps Oh my god the rabbit hole of old Russian maps… I was looking at the Gnomeyland icons by Gregory B. MacKenzie – as one does! – thinking of adding a few icons. So then I start looking for old Russian map symbols. I’m looking at an old article on trees and forests. But how to find more examples? I’m not interested in just trees and forests! So, next stop is Old Maps Online and searching for Leningrad. After all, wouldn’t the rich old Russians be mostly interested in maps of the areas they already knew? That’s the 1% for you… OK, found something! So, who’s this Matthäus Seutter dude? Sounds German. And he has a Wikipedia page. I love the Internet. Look at all those extra links! I love the sound of “Digitalisierte Ausgabe”. So now I’m clicking on one: Transylvaniae, Moldaviae, Walachiae, Bulgariae nova et accurata Delineatio, Magnam Partem Hodierni Theatri Bellici ob oculos ponens / opera et fumtibus Matthaei Seutteri, ... Who doesn’t want old maps of Transylvania!? Too bad the resolution isn’t too good. But wait! I also love the sound of View item at National Library of France! This is awesome because you can really zoom in! OK. Now I just have to create those damn icons. Or fix myself some lunch. What I want to do is implement Erin D. Smale’s Hex-based Campaign Design (Part 2): encounters. The first step will be to add more settlements to my Gnomeyland library for Text Mapper. Click that Random map link to get a random terrain using his process described in Part 1. The map Historia Imperii Romano-Germanici has little pictures galore, including little camps instead of towns. Tags: Comments on 2015-08-24 Russian Maps Meanwhile in Russia they are just about to ban Wikipedia. Maybe once they ban the whole Internet, these old maps will become useful… – AlexDaniel 2015-08-24 14:30 UTC Hell is other people. Ugh! – Alex Schroeder 2015-08-24 16:00 UTC So, Wikipedia was blocked for a few hours in Russia. Then they changed their mind, Wikipedia is not blacklisted anymore. But here is an interesting note. The difference between commercial and non-commercial organizations has never been as obvious. GitHub bent over and stopped displaying some of its content to Russian IPs. Reddit bent over as well, same thing, some content is not displayed for Russian IPs. And Wikipedia? Well, their answer can be summarized by this picture: Block your own anus, Roskomnadzor. Way to go. – AlexDaniel 2015-08-25 14:05 UTC The situation in Russia, in the Ukraine, and all the other former Republics of the Soviet Union make me dread the coming years. I’m just hoping that nobody does something really stupid. For now, we’ll just note that the US wants to send F22 fighters to Europe. [1] – Alex Schroeder 2015-08-25 19:26 UTC Add Comment # 2015-08-20 Ryuutama Ryuutama is one of the unplayed games on my disk which I really need to take a longer look at. The first thing I like about it is the positive background. The art, the colors, the premise (traveling and exploring) – I want to know more. Zak S. wrote an excellent post on his blog regarding the role of violence in role-playing games. Violence in games is important because violence is important outside of games. It’s all around us. There’s systemic violence, there’s physical violence, there’s psychological violence, there’s fear of violence. Role-playing games give us agency in the face of violence, and that’s important. Natalie also wrote an excellent post about death. Not many things have value if you die, even if some people would like to tell you that there are in fact values worth laying down your life for. I’m not so sure and I sure as hell am happy that I’ve never been asked to do it. Anyway, Zak Smith. Violence. Natalie. Death. Important things. At the same time, the Burning Wheel family of games or the Apocalypse World family of games have us roll dice for things other than combat. A duel of wits, a play book with other moves, all of these things make me wonder whether we can make non-violent things interesting and tense moments at the table. So, Ryuutama: can travel and exploration be tense and interesting without dungeons and dragons? Further reading: And what prompted all of this: Tags: Add Comment # 2015-08-17 Lange Kampagnen Fördern “Hier war doch die Höhle, wo Bartolomeus von Riesenkrabben gefressen wurde!” “Stimmt, und dort hinten ist der Tempel des Lichts wo Varna der Dieb versteinert wurde, haha!” Gestern sagte ich, lange Kampagnen sagen mir zu. Wie kann man das fördern? • An langen Kampagnen ist cool, dass man die wichtigen Nicht-Spieler Charaktere mit der Zeit kennt und dass die Spieler Charaktere mit der Zeit zu wichtigen Persönlichkeiten werden. Das kann man auch haben, ohne jahrelang die ewig gleichen Gesichter zu spielen. Neue Kampagnen werden einfach in der gleichen Region gestartet. Die geliebten und gehassten Nicht-Spieler Charaktere sind immer noch da und die alten Spieler Charaktere vorheriger Kampagnen haben sich dazu gesellt. Mit den Jahren gibt das einen dichten Teppich von Beziehungen. In meinen Kampagnen mache ich das dann noch so, dass meine Startregionen kaum hoch-stufige Nicht-Spieler Charaktere haben. Die Spieler müssen einen Kleriker so weit spielen, dass er oder sie Tote wieder erwecken kann und ab dann kann man auch in zukünftigen Kampagnen Tote erwecken lassen. Und auch das nur, wenn der Charakter sich am Ende der Kampagne zur Ruhe gesetzt hat und einen Tempel führt. Ansonsten muss man den berühmten Heiler eben in einem Dungeon suchen, um seine Kameraden wieder zum Leben zu erwecken. Übel! • Regeln dürfen sich durchaus im Laufe der Zeit ändern. Die gleichbleibenden Regeln sind kein Vorteil von langen Kampagnen. In den Wilderlands of High Fantasy habe ich mit D&D 3.5 begonnen, mit Solar System eine zweite Kampagne geleitet und dann etwas weiter südlich zwei Labyrinth Lord Kampagnen gestartet. Das funktioniert problemlos. • An langen Kampagnen ist problematisch, dass es kaum möglich scheint, die gleichen Spieler über die Jahre zusammen zu halten. Heiraten, Kinder kriegen, Scheiden, schwere Krankheiten, Umziehen, Arbeitswechsel, sportliche Ambitionen, neue Hobbies – das Leben ist nicht einfach. Ich verfolge verschiedene Ansätze, um damit umzugehen. • Ich ziehe jede Kampagne so auf, dass wechselnde Spieler kein Problem sind. Es gibt immer vier bis sieben Plots, die wir gerade weiter verfolgen können, so dass die Kampagne nicht in sich zusammenfällt, wenn ein zentraler Spieler aussteigt. Oder, falls wir nicht in einer Sandbox spielen, gibt es ein klares Kampagnenziel, welches sowohl den Ausstieg einzelner Spieler als auch den total party kill überdauern kann. • Ich versuche immer genug Spieler zu haben, so das kurzfristige Ausfälle kein Problem mehr sind. Das Spiel findet statt, wenn mindestens drei Spieler dabei sind (das ist meine persönliche Präferenz), insgesamt gibt es aber sechs bis acht Spieler. Wenn alle spielen, wird es halt eng. Wenn die Spieler sehr regelmässig kommen, gibt es nur sechs Personen auf der Mailingliste. Wenn die Spieler sehr unregelmässig kommen, gibt es acht oder gar neun Personen auf der Mailingliste. • Ich bemühe mich immer um neue Spieler, sobald bestehende Spieler immer häufiger fehlen und frage nach ein paar Monaten auch mal nach. Ich probiere klar zu kommunizieren, dass es kein Problem ist, aus der Kampagne auszusteigen oder länger zu pausieren. • Jeder so freigewordene Platz wird so schnell wie möglich wieder gefüllt. Im Moment verwende ich hierfür gerne Facebook, also die Pen & Paper Schweiz Facebook Gruppe oder meine Rollenspiel (RPG) Zürich Facebook Seite. • Ich mache kein Theater, wenn an einem Spielabend Charaktere fehlen. Die Charaktere abwesender Spieler sind einfach weg. Meistens braucht es hierfür keine Erklärung. Manchmal verwenden wir einen Satz, um einen abstrusen, haarsträubenden und lächerlichen Grund für die Abwesenheit zu finden. Das sind halt “Regiefehler” im Film. Kamera schwenkt nach links, Kamera schwenkt nach rechts, und plötzlich ist der Kleriker weg. Egal, weiter, wie wenn nichts gewesen wäre. • Werden grosse Schätze gefunden, werden diese unter den Charakteren der anwesenden Spieler aufgeteilt. Das ist die Belohnung im Spiel für das regelmässige Mitspielen. Ich glaube immer noch, dass diese intermittierende Verstärkung süchtig macht. • Wechselnde Spieler bieten einen Vorteil, den ich erst im Lauf der Zeit zu schätzen gelernt habe: Im Laufe der Kampagne entsteht eine oraler Geschichte. Die neuen Spieler verstehen nicht, warum bestimmte Lokalitäten und Personen eine besondere Bedeutung haben, fragen nach und erhalten von den Tischnachbarn eine Erklärung über frühere Helden und Bösewichte, dumme Sprüche und tragische Fehlentscheide, und insgesamt führt das zu einer mythischen Überhöhung des bisher gewesenen. Wer ein neues Genre oder wirklich ganz andere Systeme ausprobieren will, hat muss natürlich zu anderen Mitteln greifen. Wer also zwischendurch etwas Diaspora oder The Regiment: Colonial Marines spielen will (siehe The Regiment, No, ALIENS Powered by the Apocalypse) spielen will, der muss dann eine zweite Kampagne aufmachen. Spelljammer ist halt nicht gleich Traveller. Tags: Comments on 2015-08-17 Lange Kampagnen Fördern Aus der Seele, kann ich nur sagen. Die Rundmaileinladung der offenen Runde habe ich erst neu und nur passiv erlebt (als Empfänger - Harald hat deine Spielrundenorganisation nach Berlin mitgebracht), als Organisator noch nicht. Ich fürchte mich ein bisschen davor, Leuten, die ich eingeladen habe, abzusagen, weil es zu viele Zusagen gibt. Alle bisherigen langen Kampagnen hatten eine festen Stamm von 5 Leuten (+1-2 Gäste, die aktuell im #RPGaDAY2015 beschriebene Kampagne) bis max. 8 Leuten (Dragonlance, ebenfalls gerade erwähnt), und die Regel war stets, dass wir spielen, wenn max. 1 Spieler fehlt (bei DL max. 2). Da es sich in beiden Fällen um “reisende” Kampagnen handelte, konnte man fehlende Charaktere schlecht irgendwo einquartieren (bleibt krank im Hauptquartier zurück, wie es in der Greyhawk-Kampagne mit rotierenden DMs gemacht wurde, deren Ende ich noch miterlebte, als ich zu meiner ersten AD&D-Runde stieß). Aber da es sich um feste Freundeskreise handelte, war es oft sowieso so, dass ein Anlass zum Fehlen gleich die halbe Truppe betraf (Geburtstage, usw.). Dirk R. 2015-08-17 11:10 UTC Haha, das Problem hatte ich noch nie. Ich hatte mal ein Mail geschrieben, dass wir das ausdiskutieren müssten, falls mehr als sechs Leute spielen wollen. Das einzige Mal, als dann mehr Leute kamen, sind zwei gekommen, die sich nicht angemeldet hatten. Lange Gesichter, aber eben, mit acht Spielern geht es zur Not auch. Kommt natürlich auch auf die Ansprüche der Spieler an. Meine persönliche Vorlieben gehen natürlich Richtung kurz und bündig, nicht zu viel und nicht zu lang reden, und so weiter. Wer natürlich das Charakterrollenspiel liebt und gerne zehn Minuten am Stück mit der Spielleitung redet, der langweilt jetzt nicht zwei Kollegen sondern deren sieben. – Alex Schroeder 2015-08-17 12:39 UTC Add Comment # 2015-08-16 Wooden Keyboards I used an Kinesis Ergo Elan when I had RSI but then I realized that switching keyboards didn’t help me where as working less did. For a while I also tried to use a FingerWorkds TouchStream keyboard, but my finger tips still hurt. So now I just use the cheapo keyboards at work and my laptop’s keyboard at home. Recently, however, I was interested in two wooden base keyboards because I wanted something new. Not sure whether I’ll be using them at all, to be honest. A vanity thing I guess. 1. I joined the kickstarter for keyboard.io 2. I queued up for a pre-assembled Atreus Both cost around300 + ca. $20 shipping + an estimated$40 tax and service charge, I guess. Yikes!

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I’d say “get foot pedals”. As weird as it sounds, but I see no reason for that not to work.

Here is my fight with RSI: (please note that I started it before I actually got RSI, I knew that it would happen one day)

• Switched to Dvorak keyboard layout
• Created my own keyboard layout that moves everything under my fingertips (it is based on dvorak, everything besides letters is moved). No more shitty motions to reach Backspace, Enter, Escape, Arrow keys and even the numbers row.
• Got Japanese keyboard with small spacebar and some additional buttons for thumbs. Changed my layout according to that.
• Increased sensitivity on my trackpoint. At some point RSI finally arrived, but I localized the main cause to be too low sensitivity on my trackpoint. Now my cursor jumps insanely (it basically moves over some pixels per each step), but at least my right hand is getting better. I should probably learn to use mouse with both hands.
• Switched to spacemacs. Still I don’t feel really confident with it, but my hands really like one-key actions instead of what emacs offers by default.

And some things I did now, but I’m still waiting for these things to arrive:

• Bought a vertical mouse. When I feel pain my body is inclined to move my hand from the keyboard into exactly that position. So it totally makes sense for me to use that kind of a mouse, my hand just wants it so bad.
• Bought some pedals. Search for “usb hid

My expenses so far:

• Shitty Japanese keyboard for my X200. It was 16.33€ but I was refunded because the plastic is shitty and it wears away. It is still functional though. So that’s 0€.
• Two usb pedals for 9€ each. I rarely use the table so whether it is going to help me or not is unknown (but it looks like you do, so that’s why it might work for you). That’s 18€ for now but I will probably get more. There is a high chance that I will build more myself.
• Vertical wireless mouse for about 9€.

Everything else is just reconfiguration which has no cost but takes some time. Rewiring your brain takes much more time though.

At this point my right hand is getting better, but I’ve noticed that it is very sensitive to all other activities besides typing. Handwriting, slicing some meat, using any tools – all this starts the pain immediately. But typing is OK, which means that what I’m doing is actually working.

– AlexDaniel 2015-08-22 15:31 UTC

This is going to be interesting. Let’s hope it all works out for you!

I think fixing “all other activities besides typing” is also a worthy goal.

My interest in keyboards these days is no longer driven by my fear of pain, and that’s great. I might give Dvorak a try.

– Alex Schroeder 2015-08-22 20:56 UTC

Well, it depends. I’d say that it is a bit too late.

There are so many other things that you can improve without too much of the effort. For example: move arrows, home&end, backspace, delete and enter to altgr+key level. Get a foot pedal and use it as altgr. Relearning a couple of keys is not hard, just pick ones that cause most of the trouble (like the ones I suggested, they are located a bit too far). Foot pedal should feel natural as well.

It is a thing that you can get used to in a couple of days.

Dvorak will take several years to get you to the same speed.

I was typing for about ≈8 years when I switched to Dvorak. Which basically means that getting to the same level will take me 8 years or less, which is not too bad. Hopefully less. And indeed, it took more than a year of dvorak-only typing to start noticing that I’m probably as efficient as I was (and did I mention that it was my third attempt to switch that actually worked?). Still not there in terms of typing speed, I think, but pretty damn close.

“Hopefully less” could also mean “probably more”. If you learned to type when you was a kid, then probably nothing will beat that ever. And I was really damn young when I started typing. I think that people should be aware of trouble that will be continuously there during the switch. Given that the switch will take at least a year, then yeah, it is pretty hard. Bloody keyboard layouts and poor design decisions.

– AlexDaniel 2015-08-22 22:27 UTC

Bilingual writing is an additional issue. I want to write English and Swiss German. I can more or less switch between US American, German, and Swiss German layouts, with some intermittent swearing. We’ll see.

– Alex Schroeder 2015-08-23 12:46 UTC

Huh? You have several layouts? I don’t think that you need that. Have you tried ‘de(us)’ layout? It is basically all standard us keys with altgr-ed German letters – no need to have several layouts. That’s what I used for a long time to type Estonian letters.

In GNU/Linux, you can use this to try it out:

setxkbmap 'de(us)'

Now that you mentioned German, it reminded me of neo layout. Which is also available in any GNU/Linux distro, it is ‘de(neo)’.

– AlexDaniel 2015-08-23 18:52 UTC

I think the reason this all started was unfree Apple software. I bought a German external keyboard for my iPad 1. There, language determines both keyboard layout and spell-checking and auto-correct. Which is why I had to get used to US American and German layouts. No big deal! Those layouts are not too different. Y/Z, the position of single and double quotes, the position of + = ? and * – and you’re basically done.

– Alex Schroeder 2015-08-24 05:38 UTC

# 2015-08-16 Lange Kampagnen

Ingo fragte auf G+ nach unserer längsten Kampagne und schreibt auf seinem Blog mehr dazu.

Meine längste Kampagne läuft immer noch. Start war 2010-09-16 – also bald fünf Jahre, alle zwei Wochen für etwa 3h, grob geschätzt also 5 Jahre × 21 Wochen (es gibt immer wieder mal Ausfälle) × 3 Stunden = ein wenig über dreihundert Stunden. Ich mag lange Kampagnen. Wenn Spiele nur einen Spielabend lang sind, oder auch eine handvoll Spielabende, dann mache ich so etwas nur, um ein neues System kennen zu lernen. Wie spielt sich Burning Wheel? Machen wir mal sechs Abende. Wie spielt sich Apocalypse World? Machen wir mal einen Abend. Oder zwei. Aber wenn die Neugierde dann befriedigt ist, lassen wir es wieder sein, denn eigentlich will ich nur mehrjährige Kampagnen spielen und leiten.

Fortsetzung: Lange Kampagnen Fördern.

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Mit der Präferenz längerer Kampagnen und den (tendenziell von geringerem Nährwert empfundenen) One-Shots bin ich ja sowas von bei dir…

Dirk R. 2015-08-16 12:36 UTC

– Alex Schroeder 2015-08-17 08:05 UTC

# 2015-08-15 Rules in Use

For a while now I’ve noticed a strange fact:

• Shields Shall be Splintered! is not being used. People will quickly turn to our Death and Dismemberment table and forget about the shields. I like this change. One of the rules that should go.
• I don’t think we’ve ever used my d30 list of random hirelings in the past. Recently, a player sent me an email and said he wanted to spend those 10gp in order to attract 1d6 potential hirelings. The way I’ve run this is that it works once per session, so every session, the party can hire 1d6 hirelings. Should I have allowed every player character to hire 1d6 hirelings? If so, why limit the number of hirelings in the first place, there might as well be infinitely many. I think I’m going to stick to this rule. I’ll have to check that table of d30 potential hirelings, though. This list needs to be adapted to the campaign!
• The only special weapon rule I’ve used is the two-handed sword allowing you to counter-attack all enemies with a single die roll. If two troglodytes attacked you, you can roll your attack and if it hits, those two troglodytes will be hit. This seems to be the simplest implementation of “all within range” and faster (and more useful) than “keep attacking if your last attack killed a creature” (also known as cleave). I’m still amenable to using cleave instead.

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Alex, just to let you know that I’ve donated you a square over at One Thousand Voices. You’re now a part of an interactive artwork And yes, the site is powered by OddMuse. I’m going to put that little fact in the About page which will be written later today.

Let me know if you want your square to be a different color - right now it’s oddmuse yellow

All the best,

GreyWulf 2006-01-20 09:59 UTC

Heh, cool! The art project rings a bell somewhere. I wonder whether I stumbled across it on your site or elsewhere. Must have been quite some time ago.

AlexSchroeder 2006-01-21 00:29 UTC

– PierreGaston 2006-01-21 07:01 UTC

Right on spot! Thanks, Pierre.

AlexSchroeder 2006-01-21 10:20 UTC

Absolutely! It’s such a great idea I wanted to create my own. Bet it’s the first one created in OddMuse though

GreyWulf 2006-01-22 21:27 UTC

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