I’m using fetchmail to keep a copy of all my Gmail stuff.
defaults mda "/usr/bin/procmail -d alex" fetchsizelimit 0 limit 0 poll pop.gmail.com protocol pop3 username "firstname.lastname@example.org" password "..." keep ssl
The reason for the mda lines up there is that I don’t have a working mail installation on this machine, I think. I haven’t touched this file in a long time.
Anyway, I’ve noticed this output:
fetchmail: Server certificate verification error: unable to get local issuer certificate fetchmail: Server certificate verification error: certificate not trusted 577 messages (451 seen) for email@example.com at pop.gmail.com (59586522 octets). skipping message firstname.lastname@example.org@gmail-pop.l.google.com:1 not flushed skipping message email@example.com@gmail-pop.l.google.com:2 not flushed skipping message firstname.lastname@example.org@gmail-pop.l.google.com:3 not flushed ... skipping message email@example.com@gmail-pop.l.google.com:449 not flushed skipping message firstname.lastname@example.org@gmail-pop.l.google.com:450 not flushed skipping message email@example.com@gmail-pop.l.google.com:451 not flushed reading message firstname.lastname@example.org@gmail-pop.l.google.com:452 of 577 (15255 octets) not flushed reading message email@example.com@gmail-pop.l.google.com:453 of 577 (3280 octets) not flushed reading message firstname.lastname@example.org@gmail-pop.l.google.com:454 of 577 (29028 octets) not flushed ... reading message email@example.com@gmail-pop.l.google.com:575 of 577 (4631 octets) not flushed reading message firstname.lastname@example.org@gmail-pop.l.google.com:576 of 577 (2284 octets) not flushed reading message email@example.com@gmail-pop.l.google.com:577 of 577 (47301 octets) not flushed
What are these 451 “seen” messages doing? Can I get rid of them? Have I downloaded these before? Rerunning fetchmail keeps telling me about the 451 seen messages and downloading a new set of mails. It’s weird.
Recently, Jason Morningstar was wondering on Google+ about characters having independent lives from their players. I guess I didn’t really understand what he wanted to get at. It did remind me of two things I’ve been doing in recent years, however.
When playing a Pendragon character, a high trait score (16 or more) will force players to roll in appropriate situations. And once they roll, the roll determines the character’s reaction. Sir Aliduke, for example, is so proud that in any given situation where pride or modesty are relevant, 80% of the time he’ll pick proud. My players come from a D&D background and they all adapted to this way of playing without complaining. Most felt it was a refreshing change of pace.
In addition to that, I enjoy the moment where I, as a player, realize that this particular character would never or always do something particular. I like the realization that the character is not just the player. As a player, I like a certain randomness at first. As things happen and my character reacts in insignificant ways, I take note. As play continues, I treat these fragments as prescriptions (not just descriptions). I’ll note “ORDER AND PROGRESS!”, for example, once my character shouted a vapid phrase in response to a crisis. And suddenly the character was discovered in play to be a buffoon that repeats vapid phrases and likes to shout them in critical situations. The important parts, I think, are not designing or building a character this way, and to write down early random moments as prescriptions.
I few years ago I wrote about this process thinking about “front-loading” character creation: Character Backgrounds.
I wrote this on Google+ and it grew and grew and now I think I should put it on my blog as well.
I’ve been using Vincent Baker’s The Seclusium of Orphone of the Three Visions to work on an upcoming adventure (which I haven’t finished, yet). Before buying it, I had heard that it was “organized into fairly poorly designed tables and lists and multiple choice locations that make the creation of these dungeons harder and slower than they need to be while not gaining a lot from being presented in that format” , the layout was “atrocious” and that almost all tables ended with “or another of your own creation” which was said to be “irritating”.  (A full quote is on the comment page.) Others just said “all I hoped it would be and more” and “super fucking cool” without exactly saying why.    Here’s why I think you might want to buy it.
James Raggi said that the layout worked very well in the physical book, i.e. a two page layout. I tried reading the PDF on my tablet using the “two pages, with cover page” setting and it worked very well. The columns flowing across pages didn’t bother me. The tables also had enough options such that “or another option of your own devising” didn’t bother me.
Unfortunately working through the Seclusium doesn’t provide you with material on the level of an old school dungeon crawl. There are no maps, no stats for monsters, no ready spell books to find. If those are concerns for you, I think you’ll be happy to find lots of maps to start with at Paratime Design Cartography. Thank you, Tim Hartin. As for monsters, I’m sure you’ll be able to use any monster manual or creature generator such as James Raggi’s The Random Esoteric Creature Generator. Personally, I stick to the monster manuals. Finally, spellbooks. If you need some non-standard spells, I’ll suggest Theorems & Thaumaturgy by Gavin Norman. Having all the scrolls be from a dedicated strange and new school of magic works for me. I don’t think I’ll require magic users to switch class to use them. After all, I use the restrictive interpretation of the B/X spellbook rule: Magic users and elves may only know or master as many spells as their spells/day.
That leaves the question of prep efficiency with The Seclusium of Orphone of the Three Visions.
I agree, reading the tables and rolling or picking entries, writing down the results, then rolling on further tables takes a long time. I entered my endeavor with some notion of what I wanted, so perhaps that helped. You only roll for the parts you’re missing. Even then, it’s slow. You’ll discover that there is a keeper of the pantry and buttery still around. Later, there’s table for mundane people in the seclusium, ouside of the seclusium, magical entities, and so on. It takes a lot of rolling and leafing around if you want to do it by the book. How much better would a huge “all in one” table be with type, job, attributes as columns notes – roll once and use the entire row or roll multiple times and combine. That would have been faster to use. Is that how Vornheim does it?
The Seclusium of Orphone of the Three Visions doesn’t work like that. It’s more of a workbook, helping you think it through, methodically. Do you care about the looks of the wizard? The eyes? Did you consider the outhouses? The people who worked there? The guests? Prisoners? What about magical entities? How about geographical features? Portals? Artifacts? Did you consider any drawbacks they might have? Does your seclusium contain an inner sanctum reserved for the wizard? How is it protected? And so on. It’s slow reading because it works like a checklist. Did you think of this? And this? How about this? And if your inner voice says “hm, didn’t think of that, but this could be cool…” then the book goes on to provide you with a table of 12 or 20 things to use.
Yes, not all of the things might seem immediately useful. I don’t really care about the eyes of the wizard nor the quality of their vestments, nor for their hairdo. Then again, perhaps I should. Perhaps it will change the way it all plays out. It pushes me to places I haven’t been before.
I don’t know about you, but here’s something I’ve hardly ever mentioned. There is a moment of shyness in my imagining. A fear of being an idiot. Of repeating myself. Of mundane and boring encounters, of cheap shots. This fear is fed by improvisation at the table. Sometimes I need something quick and I don’t mind and I spew forth NPC names and corridors and magic effects and I love it. Later, I’ll wonder whether these things are not all pale shadows of the same ol’ Alex game that I’ve been running ever since I learned about roleplaying games. Am I repeating myself? This is why I like to use material by other people. It pushes me to places I wouldn’t have thought of. Even if the ideas presented by other people are mundane and boring, they’re different from my own mundane and boring.
Here’s another thing: I prep “just in time” and therefore it’s always possible that the players venture into territory I didn’t prepare. There will be no random encounter tables for this region, no lairs, … and I improvise quickly. But perhaps I’ll improvise something level appropriate? Something everybody expected. Something boring. Again, using other people’s products provides a sort of external reality to my fantasy world. If The Seclusium of Orphone of the Three Visions says that most of the wizards have access to other worlds, then I feel good about it. On my own, my suppressed id can’t express itself. It’s all tempered by years of “traditional” fantasy. I’ll read up on the gate spell and on permanency and I’ll bog myself down. I’ll forget about the free form rituals and pacts that take are unconstrained by the rules. This is where a book only slightly constrained by the rules (Lamentations of the Flame Princess) shines. It pushes me and tells me “it’s OK.”
Anyway, The Seclusium of Orphone of the Three Visions works for me. It’s a workbook, not a generator to be used at the table. It helps if you are slow and methodical like I am but would like to be pushed like I’d like to be pushed.
Addendum: 2013-08-19 Skills Inspired By Apocalypse World, where I talk about the house rules presented in the appendix. 2013-08-21 Moldvay Dungeon Stocking vs. Seclusium, where I talk about the procedure being extremely slow, unfortunately. A review on Save vs. Total Party Kill, a review of the magic item creation rules on Necropraxis, opinionated review by by Bryce Lynch.
Jeff Rients was looking for magic swords named after rock ‘n’ roll songs, “preferably metal.”
Looking at my most played titles on last.fm, I don’t see any heavy metal songs. We’ll see what we can do anyway.
; High Lonesome: Sword +1/+3 fighting alone; if you do fight alone, a dirge starts playing softly as soon as you draw the blade.
; The 59 Sound: Glowing sword +1; once the sword is drawn, every damage roll of 5 or 9 increases the energy level of the sword; once the energy level reaches 10, a huge flash of light erupts from the blade and thunder rolls across the landscape; everybody within 60 ft. including the wielder needs to save vs. paralysis or drop unconscious for one turn. The energy level drops back to zero when sheathed or when not used in combat for one turn.
; Meet Me By The River's Edge: Sword +1/+3 vs. former loved ones; allows wielder of unsheathed sword to walk on water while fighting; allows wielder to draw a line or a circle in the water causing a wall of water to rise: save vs. dragon breath or take 1d6 damage and be stunned for one round (the line extends for 100ft if a line is drawn).
The energy level of 10 needs some play testing, I think. Should the energy level drop after a flash or should those that don’t fail their save be able to pick up the glowing sword and continue blasting? What about the envious sword “vs. formed loved ones” – I’m sure that doesn’t happen too often in a game.
For a while we had a biweekly game of one-shots going where we usually played some indie games that Lior brought. (Campaign:MontagInZürich.) Then I grew tired of it and felt like perhaps we needed a long-term campaign. Harald started running his Campaign:Karameikos for us. Weeks have passed and slowly I’m recovering from my indie burnout. I'm looking for new games!
I basically stopped caring after Apocalypse World and Fiasco came out. I remember a session of How We Came To Live Here and Monster Hearts. People had started talking about Dungeon World. I remember hearing about the Napoleonic role-playing games Duty & Honor and Beat To Quarters.
Things I’m currently interested in:
What else should I be looking at?
I don’t think that I need more dungeon explaration games on my list since I’m happy with classic D&D as it is. Thus, no Dungeon World variants, no Torchbearer.
Yesterday I wanted to google for a cartoon in order to show it to my wife. I joked that the keywords would probably get me on a watch list. My wife said I was a fool to use those search terms. Did I need to “prove” myself by googing those terms? When I said that if I stopped looking for information using those terms, I was already accepting that the police state is real. She said, thanks for making it harder for me, should I want to visit the United States again.
Needless to say, the argument was a bit longer and a perfect Saturday was ruined with a late night discussion about the current state of the
world surveillance society.
Recommended reading: Restoring Trust in Government and the Internet by Bruce Schneier.
I’ve done a few changes. Let’s see whether it works out.
I think the Wiki + Blog combo still works. I’m just trying to make it less weird.
Source code for your config file, if you’re an Oddmuse user. The source code below also includes my Google +1 setup (Oddmuse:Google Plus One Module) because my code needs to avoid the situation where a page shows two +1 buttons. As for comments within journals, I use Oddmuse:Dynamic Comments Extension.
I’m considering the move of my web space to Switzerland. Any recommendations?
I’ve had the following recommendations:
Currently 1.00 CHF is about 1.07 USD, apparently.
Recently I was writing about The Seclusium of Orphone of the Three Visions and forgot to mention the house rules appendix at the very end. On those two pages, Vincent Baker introduces his favorite form of perception test—essentially a skill system.✎
When you size a situation up, roll 2d6 and add your Wisdom modifier. On a 10+, ask me three questions. On a 7–9, ask two. On a 3–6, ask one: ✎
- Who’s in control here?✎
- What’s my best approach?✎
- What’s my best exit?✎
- How could I assert my own dominance?✎
- How could I disarm the situation?✎
- If the situation proceeds unaltered, what will happen?✎
On a 2 or less, you stand gawping.✎
You can ask more, or questions of your own devising, if you’re willing and able to stand musing while the situation unfolds. If you have a positive Wisdom modifier, you can also ask one question without rolling, and roll only if you decide to ask further. ✎
This write-up follows the famous Apocalypse World approach that has been used for a gazillion indie games. They all offer a number of “basic moves” (skills) which anybody may use and a number of moves from “your playbook” (your class-specific skill list). You roll 2d6 and add a modifier. 10+ is a success, 7–9 is a lesser success, everything else is a failure. The ones I am concerned with come with a list of possible results and players pick one or more from the list depending on their degree of success.✎
Here’s an example basic move from Apocalypse World. As you can see, the list of possible results only comes into effect on a lesser success. It’s a way to suggest possible partial successes—a list of possible compromises, if you will:✎
When you go aggro on someone, roll+hard. On a 10+, they have to choose: force your hand and suck it up, or cave and do what you want. On a 7–9, they can instead choose 1: ✎
I like it very much! I like how we can agree on a list of possible results and depending on how successful we are, one or more of these results can be picked by the player. It takes automatically forces people to compromise and if the moves are well written, they will often involve difficult choices.✎
Unfortunately I still don’t like skill systems.✎
However, there still is a decent amount of rolling the six sided die in my game in order to find traps and secret doors or to attempt funky things I personally find implausible. Perhaps it would be cool to have a number of these lists of possible results and giving players the option to choose?✎
If you want to disarm a known trap, roll 2d6+Dex bonus. Pick three results on a 10+, pick one result on a 7–9. Unless you choose to avoid it, the trap will be triggered and the referee will check for wandering monsters.✎
- you are quick and avoid the wandering monster (if any)✎
- you disarm it (allowing anybody to bypass the trap)✎
- you arm it (useful after having disarmed and bypassed the trap)✎
- you extract the poison needle or gas-filled glass bottle (if available)✎
- you know who built this (kobolds, dwarves, elves, humans)✎
- you know how old this is (when it was built, when it was armed) ✎
Perhaps I’m reinventing Dungeon World? Apparently that’s a D&D variant built using the Apocalypse World “engine”. In fact, the InDesign source files are on GitHub and look like readable HTML. For those that already own Apocalypse World, check out the Dungeon World Hack.✎
The trap disabling equivalent in Dungeon World is this:✎
When you pick locks or pockets or disable traps, roll+DEX. • On a 10+, you do it, no problem. • On a 7–9, you still do it, but the GM will offer you two options between suspicion, danger, or cost. ✎
The above example seems less specific than what I would like. Perhaps I just started out with the wrong example?✎
The skill system introduced in the house rule appendix from The Seclusium of Orphone of the Three Visions is the most interesting skill system I have found because of the compromises it suggests for lesser successes. I’m not sure that’s enough to make me add it to my own game. It’s enough to make me consider playing a game of Apocalypse World or one of its variants (“hacks”).✎
I got my first encrypted email in years. I use GnuPG.
This is stupid. #fail
Sad story from the distant past: In 2005 my old keys appeared not to work when I tried sending email to a friend. When we don’t use these tools every now and then, we won’t be able to use them when it’s required of us.
As I considered my setup, I decided I might want to upgrade my GnuPG 1.4.9 installation. Building it myself… it requires libassuan, libksba, the GNU Portable Threads Library, iconv, and libgpg-error. Starting all the jobs and realizing that iconv doesn’t install. Fuuuuuu!
As the backup is being made, I discover an old revocation certificate for the damn key without a passphrase. And it works!
On the key servers:
gpg: suche nach "kensanata" auf hkp-Server keys.gnupg.net (1) Alex Schroeder <firstname.lastname@example.org> Alex Schroeder <email@example.com> Alex Schroeder <firstname.lastname@example.org> Alex Schroeder <email@example.com> 1024 bit DSA key 89D0FBCC, erzeugt: 2006-06-26 (widerrufen) (2) Alex Schroeder <firstname.lastname@example.org> Alex Schroeder <email@example.com> Alex Schroeder <firstname.lastname@example.org> 1024 bit DSA key 353AEFEF, erzeugt: 2002-07-10 (3) Alex Schroeder (Kensanata) <email@example.com> 1024 bit DSA key 23AAC850, erzeugt: 2001-04-12
pub 1024D/353AEFEF 2002-07-10 [verfällt: 2015-08-20] uid Alex Schroeder <firstname.lastname@example.org> uid Alex Schroeder <email@example.com> uid Alex Schroeder <firstname.lastname@example.org> uid [jpeg image of size 5665] sub 4096R/363A61EE 2013-08-20 [verfällt: 2015-08-20] pub 1024D/89D0FBCC 2006-06-26 [widerrufen: 2006-06-26] uid Alex Schroeder <email@example.com> uid Alex Schroeder <firstname.lastname@example.org> uid Alex Schroeder <email@example.com> uid Alex Schroeder <firstname.lastname@example.org> pub 1024D/23AAC850 2001-04-12 [verfallen: 2002-04-12] uid Alex Schroeder (Kensanata) <email@example.com>
353AEFEF and 363A61EE are the ones to use.
I had recently commented on The Seclusium of Orphone of the Three Visions, noting:
It’s a workbook, not a generator to be used at the table. It helps if you are slow and methodical like I am but would like to be pushed like I’d like to be pushed.
Some days have passed and here’s what happened. I knew an elven ruin was to contain a seclusium and and started working on one, using The Seclusium of Orphone of the Three Visions as my workbook, naming my seclusium the same, but not using the most fleshed out seclusium in the book of the same name. I was starting from scratch. I wrote a lot of stuff. Then I started sketching a map. Or was it? It’s more of a doodle, I guess. And I wrote notes, I read the book, I rolled some dice, walked away, came back, did it again, did it again. It was slow.
Finally I decided that drawing a detailed map was going to be a major pain and started writing about the non-player characters still present. I ended up with interesting characters, but I was starting to grow suspicious. It had taken me an awful lot of time. And I started to feel that these dense scribbles would require a rewrite in order to be usable at the table. Too much of this text wasn’t going to be useful or was going to obscure the important bits.
I guess some people might say that writing about these characters can be seen as “familiarizing myself” with the characters, getting to know them better, being able to play them better.
I decided that it was taking too long and switched to one of the semi-prepared seclusiums. I wondered: would I be saving time? I knew that some of the things were going to need rearrangement on the page, some things needed to be highlighted, so I tried keeping my notes more organized.
Soon, however, I started wondering about a map. Should I just draw a flow chart? Or simply have a list of locations and allowing player to move at will between the various sections—much like I use my hex maps. Move at will between locations, distance is proportional to the number of potential random encounters. I decided I was going for a few details on some larger index cards. I was tempted to draw more details, doing it the old school way. I tried to counter this by drawing sloppily. And no take backs, no pencil. Use the pen.
I wasn’t happy. I left it lying around for another day or two. Game day was coming up. And I had nothing.
In the two hours before the upcoming session, between preparing dinner, talking to my wife and munching, I decided to just pull out one of the maps by Paratime Design Cartography. I don’t always like the maps, some are too simple, some are awesome and intimidatingly complex for an hour of stocking, but I finally settled on half of Dungeon Map 80 which you should find on page 4 of the Dungeon Map gallery.
I started with a list of random encounters. This was supposed to be a temple to the god of the dead and the diseased, Nergal, lord of the Underworld. The temple itself was being run by wererats keen on poisoning wells and spreading lycanthropy. I used my pen to add more steps, add mud and pools. It was fun doing this.
Then I pulled out Moldvay Basic Dungeon Stocking table (Michael Curtis at one point discussed its genius) and had my wife roll like crazy. As she called out “Empty! No treasure. Monster! Treasure!” I scribbled like crazy.
As you can see, I still had two specials, three monsters and three traps to provide, but I felt ready to rock and roll!
The irony of preparing for a session is that players don’t do what you expect them to do. They don’t even do what we agreed upon doing by email a few days ago.
I was going to find out whether my premonitions were correct. And they were! The wall of scribbled text was impossible to read—I basically limited myself to the map doodle and whatever I had written on it. The non-player characters came up but I could have characterized them with four words each and it would have worked just as well.
I end up agreeing with the quick review written by Zak S. Going forward, I will “raid it more than use it.” Maybe it makes good material for the special rooms indicated by the Moldvay dungeon stocking procedure.
(Damn, scanning and cropping all these images took way too long!)
I couldn’t find a blog post translating Moldvay’s dungeon stocking table into a single table. I’m sure I saw it somewhere. That would have helped us. (Edit: I guess I was remembering this discussion of the OD&D restocking procedure by Sham.)✎
Let’s do it ourselves, then. Writing out all the results:✎
1 2 3 4 5 6 1 M$ M$ M$ M M M 2 M$ M$ M$ M M M 3 T$ T$ T T T T 4 S S S S S S 5 E$ E E E E E 6 E$ E E E E E✎
|#||Contents and Treasure✎|
|6||Monster and treasure ✎|
|2||Trap and unguarded treasure ✎|
|2||Unguarded Treasure ✎|
Transforming this into a d36 table:✎
|d36||Contents and Treasure ✎|
|1–6||Monster and treasure ✎|
|13–14||Trap and unguarded treasure ✎|
|25–26||Unguarded Treasure ✎|
Or divide it by two to get a d18 table:✎
|d18||Contents and Treasure ✎|
|1–3||Monster and treasure ✎|
|7||Trap and unguarded treasure ✎|
|13||Unguarded Treasure ✎|
Too bad there is no such d18. We should change that to a d20 table. Let’s see if we can do it using Labyrinth Lord.✎
We just multiply the percentages from the table:✎
|Contents||With Treasure||No Treasure ✎|
We could simplify the above by rounding to increments of 5% and translating this to a d20, reusing the order from the d18 table:✎
|d20||Contents and Treasure ✎|
|1–3||Monster and treasure ✎|
|7||Trap and unguarded treasure ✎|
|15||Unguarded Treasure ✎|
It’s very close to Moldvay, I’d say. And it’s probably less confusing. I can’t count the times I got confused by the Moldvay tables. ✎
Reordering it for excitement, I guess:✎
|d20||Contents and Treasure ✎|
|6||Unguarded treasure ✎|
|7||Trap and unguarded treasure ✎|
|13–15||Monster and treasure ✎|
I need to stick this into my campaign book.✎
Remember Ode to Black Dougal and his series “B/X is my Favorite”? I linked to all the articles in my Ode to Ode to Black Dougal. Today I stumbled upon an old series on Greywulf’s site. I was reading on Rob Conley’s blog how his players had One Thousand Four Hundred and Fifty Orcs Slain and how he had used AD&D’s 1st ed. Battlesystem to do it. I googled for it and found Greywulf’s series talking about the War Machine rules. And then I started reading the entire series.
Let’s start with just the facts, ma’am. The D&D Rules Cyclopedia is a 300-page hardback book released in 1991 that collated the vast majority of the Classic D&D rules from the Basic, Expert, Companion and Master rules (and other supplements) into one single tome. Unlike 3rd Edition’s Rules Compendium, the Rules Cyclopedia contained everything you need to play – and when I say everything, I mean….. everything. From complete character generation for all levels of play from 1st to 36th (and beyond) to monster stat blocks, a complete game world (with colour hex maps) and more, the Rules Cyclopedia has the lot.
Basically, if it’s in D&D, it’s in this book. Want a Druid class? Paladins? Wandering Monster Tables? Planar Travel? Castle building? Seige combat? Naval combat? Manscorpions? Treasure tables? To get the equivalent content in 3rd Edition D&D you’d need all three Core Books and many other supplements to boot. By my reckoning, to equal the Rules Cyclopedia’s $24.95 value, you’d need to invest well over $200 in any other edition to even come close. Oh, and that $24.95 was the cover price back in 1991. Now, you can get all that goodness for around five bucks as a PDF from RPGNow. What’s not to love?
Anyway, here’s what Greywulf wrote:
Hehe, I just read my old review again.
Until now I kept saying that Rob Conley’s Points of Light (4 settings, 42 letter-sized pages, reviewed on Dragonsfoot) and Points of Light 2 (4 settings, 59 letter-sized pages, also reviewed on Dragonsfoot) were the perfect hexcrawl products. The size was right. That’s about 25 A5 pages per setting. Thus, Qelong is about twice the size of a Rob Conley setting. If you want to get a feel for the Rob Conley settings, take a look at the Southland PDF. It’s available for free.
How does Qelong compare to the top hexcrawl? Here’s what I think.
Both provide a handful of pages of background, history, the major factions, how to integrate it into your campaign. The usual stuff, but short. I like short. I also like to know what the author intended to convey with the setting so that I can read the rest with the right mind set. I like to know whether it’s “hellish southeast Asia” (Qelong) or “embattled forces struggling to establish a home” (The Golden Shore, in Points of Light 2).
One thing I noticed was that the Qelong introduction referred to more faction details: “Myrmidons deranged and misdirected chew through the land, laying eggs in the river dwellers to hatch out more warriors. (See p.28 or [sic] details on the myrmidons.)” The effect was that while I was reading the introduction, I already eagerly leafed through the book, looking up details. It introduced me to the factions and made curious for more. Well done.
The Qelong introduction also has a table of 50 rumors and lets each character start with a random rumor; spending a handful of coins will let players roll again. I like it.
The Qelong introduction also features elaborate disease and magic poisoning rules that require purify food and drink, cure disease and remove curse spells. I think it’s very atmospheric but I’m not sure how well these poisoning rules work in play. We don’t keep track of rations, how will we keep track of poison levels?
Both Points of Light and Qelong describe geographic features. These are entire areas instead of single hexes with a specific description. In Points of Light most of these areas have one paragraph each, which is short. Qelong has more. It starts with a bold paragraph that could be read aloud or just provide the “in game” view. This is followed by another paragraph of background information that you don’t need at the table but which helps the referee understand what’s going on. And then there’s what I love: each geographic feature comes with a bullet list of suggested encounters.
In addition to that, Qelong has a different random encounter table for each hex type. This is excellent.
Qelong also comes with its own monster section to describe the various new creatures. This is also excellent.
Qelong comes with a table of names (family names, female and male first names). Very useful if you’re providing us with a new culture.
Quelong also comes with a small list of new ships and including required crew, sailing miles/day, rowing miles/day, cargo (tons) and ship hit points—these must be the shp mentioned in the encounter with the sunken tree in the list above. I like it.
Is there anything Qelong doesn’t come with?
Both Points of Light and Qelong come with a list of locations. In /Points of Light/, these are sorted by hex coordinates: “1604 Unicorn Pool”. There are a fair number of them. Southland, for example, comes with 38 hex descriptions. Each one consists of one to five paragraphs, many settlements come with a little overview map (to be copied and handed out to your players, perhaps?). Characters only have class and level indicated: “Lord Mayor Thomes White (Ftr3)”, monsters just have their hit dice noted: “Clak and Frull, hill giant (9HD) brothers”, and in Points of Light 2 they have some D&D 4E descriptors as well: “rust monsters (level 5 controller)”.
In Qelong, which is about twice the size of a single Points of Light setting, there are only ten encounter areas. Each has two to five paragraphs, some come with extra information about important non-player characters or unique monsters. If characters or monsters are described in more detail, any treasure they have is also listed. I like the detailed Qelong encounter areas and even if there are only ten of them, I think it works out because Qelong, unlike the Points of Light settings, has an optional end to it.
Wow! I really must recommend Qelong. I agree with Zak’s review: “So yeah, Qelong is fucking good and stuff.”
The only thing I would have liked is no watermark on each page. Points of Light also has it, but it’s lighter. The Qelong watermark is dense in the bottom quarter of the page and slows me down when reading it. That’s the sum total of all non-badass points I have. :ok:
star: :star: :star: :star: :star: [/center]
I have yet to add it to my running campaigns and I have no idea of how to do it. It would seem like a major break from current events.
Today I installed HttpFox, an extension for Firefox which tells me which resources have been requested, what the responses where and so on. I noticed that I got a request for safebrowsing.clients.google.com. Hm. I checked Google Safe Browsing and wondered. I decided to deactivate it. Visit about:config and search for safebrowsing*enabled and set them all to false.
What do you think—overreaction? I didn’t find it on the EFF site. I wonder why.
(Meine Spieler müssen weg schauen! )
Dungeon für die 3. Stufe, falls viele Gefolgsleute mitgenommen werden. Fairerweise sollte die Gruppe versilberte oder magische Waffen dabei haben. Vorbereitung des Spielleiters: Im Raum 22 gibt es Aufzeichnungen über geplante Brunnenvergiftungen in unschuldigen Dörfern aus der Umgebung.
Bei der Karte handelt es sich um den unteren Teil der Dungeon Karte 80 welche man auf Seite 4 der Dungeon Map gallery von Paratime Design Cartography finden kann. Diese Karte ist von Tim Hartin mit Anpassungen von mir, Alex Schröder, und untersteht der CC-BY-NC-SA 2.5 Canada License. Die Monster stammen aus Labyrinth Lord und dem Advanced Edition Companion, entsprechend gilt für die Monster die OGL. Die Monster gelten als “Open Content”. Was weder Karte noch Monster ist, habe ich geschrieben und darf ohne Einschränkungen weiter verwendet werden.
Monster: Jedes Verlassen eines Raumes, jede längere Aktion (Suchen, Lauschen), jede laute Aktion (Türen aufbrechen, Fallen auslösen, Kampf) hat eine ⅙ Chance, Monster herbei zu rufen.
In der Raumbeschreibung steht der Pfeil → für “weitere Untersuchungen zeigen…”
What: Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee
When: 21 August, 19:30 – RSVP on Meetup (optional ;))
Where: Bistro Lochergut (tram 2+3 ‘Lochergut’)
I happened to read this book recently and very much enjoyed the story, the style and the complexity of South Africa as a nation. Later learnt that the author won a Nobel prize for literature.
Description by Amazon: After years teaching Romantic poetry at the Technical University of Cape Town, David Lurie, middle-aged and twice divorced, has an impulsive affair with a student. The affair sours; he is denounced and summoned before a committee of inquiry. Willing to admit his guilt, but refusing to yield to pressure to repent publicly, he resigns and retreats to his daughter Lucy’s isolated smallholding.
For a time, his daughter’s influence and the natural rhythms of the farm promise to harmonise his discordant life. But the balance of power in the country is shifting. He and Lucy become victims of a savage and disturbing attack which brings into relief all the faultlines in their relationship.
First suggested: May 2013 (Richie)
Supporter(s): Richie, Nela, Adrian, Nicole, Patty, Ruby