March 4 is “DM’s Day”. Time flies. My wallet, too. Remember 2006-11-09 Nostalgia for Rolplaying Games? “And since none of my former roleplaying friends play anymore, I just sit on my books and dream of days gone by.”
But things have changed!
I blame it all on GreyWulf. ;)
I’ve decided to see how much money I spent, and vowed to stop purchasing any new stuff. (Not including the stuff that’s in the pipeline, obviously…)
So check it out: RoleplayingBookshelf.
Today I also got two “watermarked” PDF files from Necromancer Games, and had to install Adobe’s Acrobat Reader in order to view them: Apple’s built-in Preview.app was unable to display them correctly. What a shame. I don’t trust Adobe, because their software looks like a dangerous multi-headed hydra with way too many features, probably auto-updating, no uninstall option, and messing with PDF handling all over the system.
A few days ago we went to see La Môme (2007). It was interesting, and the actress was very impressive, but as entertainment, it was too depressive. When she’s happy, she’s drunk and vulgar, and when she’s not, she’s falling appart due to excessive drinking. When she’s in love, her lover dies in an airplane crash. Ugh.
We saw Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001) today. The pictures were often great, but story and character development are a total nil. First they seem to be nice, then they’re evil, then they repent. The main character falls in love, but nobody knows why. I liked the angular faces, ship design, mask design, city design, sub design – I liked many things. But the story is lousy. Just compare it with Laputa: Castle in the Sky (1987).
Watch the Laputa movie instead.
Recently I had occasion to consider the kind of player I am, and the kind of DM I was playing with. I think ordering the following four terms in order of preference will help you figure out what to expect, or where you have to watch out.
While browsing the EN World forums, I happened upon a link to a blog post about social contracts for RPG groups. How strange. Then I started reading and realized how I’ve been taking many things for granted. Writing them down might allow me to reappraise them. So here goes – my notes as I read through that blog post.
I think I should at least mention the time-frame to my players. I’ve already asked them whether they’re Ok with trying an Adventure Path or mini campaigns. They are!
Another thing I should do is let my players know when I’m having tons of fun. I know that I’m always very happy when they let me know they’re having fun.
I like my campaign settings to be fluff-only. In my games, players rarely go off to fight the ones in power directly. That’s why I don’t need their stats. And really, why else would I need these stats? Campaign settings are supposed to inspire me when I work on my homebrew adventures.
So when JVisgaitis asked: Fluff only campaign settings?, I responded that I prefer fluff over crunch. Even though I like the Kitsunemori Campaign Setting, it is still very crunchy. The Echoes of Heaven campaign material has some very interesting properties:
Check out their Final Redoubt Philosophy page. I like it.
Something I noticed when printing out PDF files: My printer only prints single sided, so I’d love to print only even pages, reinsert them into the paper tray, and print only odd pages. In theory, it works.
In real life, however, printing the odd pages fails practically always. There will be some irregularity, with half a page being skipped, and the remaining pages being out of sync.
Is is this an electrostatic problem? What can I do to avoid this?
It drives me nuts nuts nuts nuts NUTS!!!
I’m really looking forward to playing a few Necromancer Games’ adventures and mini-campaigns. Since I’ve played the first one solo with Claudia running the party of six, I think I’ll try to build a Sunday group for these adventures. Next session is March 18. Wish me luck.
So, what’s the line-up?
I’m not sure in which order we’ll play the latter modules.
If you are a regular reader, you will have noted: No more Iraq ranting, no more USA bashing, no more looking at Iran’s fledgling democracy, no more accusing of Israel, no more support for Palestine. It’s over and out. Burnt out. I’m going down the drain like everybody else. A boorish ignoramus, cynical and bitter. It was no use. Think global and act local my ass. I’ve said it before, somewhere. Those who think local and act global have the power to bomb foreign nations they couldn’t even find on a map, and people who read the news are frustrated by the lack of any change. Anger alone will not change the world. But it hurts just the same. So I think I’ll think local and act local. There’s little use in reading the newspapers if all you can do is have it forced down your throat.
I guess I’m glad I don’t have any kids, or I’d feel compelled to fight for a better world for my kids. Since I have none, your kids can have it.
I think I’ve gone full circle: Learning to code, learning about FreeSoftware, engaging in the perpetual struggle for less Copyright and less Patents, for FreeCulture, eventually trying to change things in preparation for the WSIS, slowly realizing how futile it was, how I would have to dedicate a life to it, turning away from active Emacs development, being swamped with Spam, no longer reading the EmacsNewsgroups, no longer reading the EmacsMailingLists, working less on Oddmuse, no more excitement for SocialSoftware, reading more Books and finally starting to play roleplaying games (RPG) again. Back to homo ludens.
Goodbuy cruel world. I’m back to cultiver notre jardin (Candide).
My first issue of Dungeon magazine arrived today! :D
Some of my sites have been hosted on EggplantFarms, eg. CommunityWiki. Unfortunately, that server has a read-only filesystem for several days, which basically disables all my wikis.
Today I came back from a few days in the mountains and noticed several pieces of comment spam on my site. I just realized that they were all made from IP numbers belonging to an ISP in the Ukraine. I don’t need to add these pages to QuestionsRequired – I just need to add them to BannedHosts.
Spam is such a sad thing.
At the moment we’re but two in all of Europe, I think. 
I also had to experiment with the location field a bit (ended up using “Zurich, Switzerland”). Note that German speaking gamers are probably best found via Spielerzentrale.
Stuff I bought today:
Some days, Comics just beat everything else.
Claudia runs Corian, Galdar, and Phelps, three pregenerated characters (PDF) for the (revised) Wizard’s Amulet available from Necromancer Games’ Free Stuff page. She had run six of them through the Wizard’s Amulet a few weeks ago and liked it. (Personally, I did not like it. The first encounter looks very much like a filler, and the second encounter has a magic user, animated undead, and thugs with ranged weapons. I was afraid to run it on anything but “easy”.)
Her friend runs the two pregenerated characters Belflin and Krel, and a character we created today – the druid Auroleva. Creating the character took quite some time, but I was surprised to find that the two enjoyed character creation very much. :ok:
On their way to Fairhill, Phelps managed to spot the three orcs hiding behind a rock on the hillside to their left and the party hid just in time. They waited behind trees and rocks for several rounds, and the orcs kept shooting and shouting insults such as “Cabbage heads! Pumpkin seeds!” Then the players decide to shoot back. Auroleva uses her short bow, and Corian sends two magic missiles, doing max damage in both rounds and slaying two of the orcs.
The third orc turns to run with Belflin and Krel hot in pursuit. Belflin knows how to track the orc and Krel speaks orcish. They see the orc disappear in the forest, follow him to a little stream, and see him taking cover. Belflin tries to sneak up on him, but at the last moment he steps on some dried leaves. The orc whips around, raises his axe and snarls: “Prepare to die, dirty elf!” But Belflin just ducks, moves in, and smacks him with the flat side of his longsword across the head. Yay for non-lethal damage! The orc collapses.
As Krel interrogates the orc, the players learn the location of the keep, they learn that Tavik is looking for something in the ruined keep, and that Kren and his orcs are planning to attack Fairhill soon. During the interrogation, the captured orc tried to convince Krel to join their cause and get rid of the rotten elf, begged for mercy, and offered to join them.
Next session, we’ll see what to do with the prisoner.
Clicking on the images will take you to the corresponding Flickr page. I added comments to the Flickr pages trying to explain what I liked about these pictures. I’m not sure it’s worth discussing it: If it doesn’t work for a visitor, what’s the point in explaining an obviously failing idea? Note that I rarely think of these things as I take a picture. Perhaps reflecting on the process of choosing pictures I like, I can improve my composition skill, aiming for the effects I appreciate the most.
Ptolus: City By The Spire by Monte Cook arrived today. Imp’s Shop has done an outstanding job in getting the books to me with free shipping & handling. It’s not yet available on amazon.de; there’s a 2nd hand copy available from Amazon Marketplace @ €183,52 (instead of the €120,00 I paid). And guess what. The book’s from the UK. Amazing. Perhaps I should get into the resale market.
The book looks impressive, and it’s heavy. They should classify it as a weapon.
You can also buy it as a 800 page PDF. Deadly!
I also bought a printed copy of the Player’s Guide, because I prefer reading stuff on paper, and because printing things myself results in bad production values (black and white, no glossy paper, time wasted printing, time wasted trying to print two-sided, and so on).
I also received The Vault of Larin Karr by W.D.B. Kenower from Necromancer Games. Cool. This product might actually see some use before we’re getting to Ptolus, as I have in mind to connect it with my current CrucibleOfFreya campaign, including the Tomb of Abysthor by Clark Peterson and Bill Webb. We’ll see.
Perhaps I should move my Sunday group to Ptolus, and let my Wednesday group play the dungeon crawls? They like combat. (Remember my simple RPG classification scheme: Rank combat, riddles, and interaction according to preference.) And I found a page on the web describing Tomb of Abysthor as follows:
The adventure has several components: riddles, combat, mystery, combat, intrigue, and, of course, combat. 
Vor ein paar Tagen habe ich mir wieder ein paar Comics im Analph geholt. Courtney Crumrin und die Gilde der Geheimnisse von Ted Naifeh (auf Deutsch bei Eidolon), ist wie gewohnt interessant gezeichnet und einzelne Elemente der Geschichte auch wirklich klasse: Tommy aus der Mergelgrube, die Frösche aus Hermia’s Mund, und so weiter. Ab und zu hat es Momente, wo ich den Verdacht habe, dass sie nur für Jugendliche eingefügt wurden: “Dann merkt ihr ganz genau, was eine Crumrin kann.”
Es ist auf alle Fälle immer wieder ein seltsames Gefühl, Comics, die ursprünglich auf Englisch erschienen sind, auf Deutsch zu lesen.
So wie die Elfenwelt Comics (Elfquest) beim Carlsen Verlag. Ich habe mal angefangen, die deutschen Comics zu kaufen, weil der Seitenpreis sehr ähnlich ist wie der Seitenpreis der englischen Sammelbänder: Elfquest Archives Volume 1 (DC Archive Editions) (Gebundene Ausgabe) kostet €49.99 für 216 Seiten, und der dritte Comic Band auf Deutsch kostet €10 für 66 Seiten (und 10 / 66 × 216 = €33). Dann kaufe ich die Comics Claudia zuliebe auf Deutsch.
Die Elfen sehen immer wieder wie aus einer Hippie Phantasie entsprungen aus.
Nur leider sind von den ersten 10 Bändern Band 2 und 4 schon nicht mehr lieferbar. Wie ärgerlich. Ich glaube ich habe mich hier auf ein Himmelfahrtskommando eingelassen. Auch die Wikipedia Seite konnte mir nicht klar machen, was ich denn nun genau kaufen muss, damit ich alle Geschichten in der richtigen Reihenfolge lesen kann.$
Soll ich schon auf Sammelbänder ausweichen?
We saw Sinbad (2003) on DVD, and liked it. Better story than Atlantis (2001). I’m not sure I really like the obvious computer animations such as the fly-throughs, the water-effects on the sirens, and so on. Similar to many other movies, the bad guys are the most formidable. Eris FTW.
Recommended if you like animations.
I rarely write about Emacs. Hello Planet Emacs! X|
So, is there anything new in my .emacs?
psvnis subtly different from
pcvsfor CVS. I can’t be bothered to investigate, though.
That’s it. Not much happening in terms of Emacs. It just is…
I found that my Gaim on Windows crashes, when I try to add another account. I’m stuck with GTalk. I’m using 2.0.0beta6. Maybe I should downgrade to 1.5.0.
Now that I’ve downgraded, I was able to get GTalk, AIM, and ICQ up. When I try to connect with the MSN account however, Gaim crashes.
I very much like the sexual subtext that is hidden behind layers of time and cultural barriers, poems, and allusions. It is almost unfortunate that I ended up with the abridged Edward Seidensticker version. Via the Wikipedia The Tale of Genji page, I found a complete copy of the Seidensticker translation online. Oh well. I prefer paper to monitors, so I’ll stick to the abridged version for now.
Maybe I should check out the illustrated travel-guide to the book before going to Japan coming autumn. (No, we have not made any preparations at all, yet.)
Update: I just ordered the unabridged translation by Royall Tyler, together with some more Elfquest comics.
I’m listening to two Podcasts:
Ok, I admit it. I’ve been reading The Order of the Stick over the course of several days now. A comic about a D&D party with knowledge of the rules and mixing adventure and meta all the time.
I’ve reached episode 179 and I still like it. Scary how often I recognize our own gaming group in it.