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Twenty Questions:D&D, new from Hasbro

May. 7th, 2010 | 05:55 pm
location: The Point
mood: nostalgicnostalgic
music: "Pyretta Blaze". from OCTOBER RUST, by Type O Negative

Ganked from... no, wait, let's set it to music...

"I got it from wombat_socho,
who got it from deathquaker,
who got it from..."

[Thank you, Mr. Lehrer]


1. Who are you?
A man who loves good Maryland Crab Soup. Mmmmmm... too bad I'm on a low sodium diet these days.

2. Is Dungeons and Dragons the first role playing game you ever played?
Yes. It was introduced to me by wombat_socho. It's all his fault.

3. What year was it when you first played a role playing game? (D&D or other?)
1977.

4. How old were you when you first played an RPG?
17.

5. What is the name, race and class of the first D&D character you ever played?
George, Human, Fighter. This was during wombat_socho's first excursion as GM. Poor George died, and was replaced by George II.

6. Do you still actively play the first role playing game you ever played? (or any of its newer versions?)
Until just recently, yes. The GM for the group I play with wanted to try something else in the d20 line for a while, so we're off fighting Sky Pirates tomorrow... but D&D fantasy RPGing is offline for the moment, breaking a more or less continuous 32 years of D&D play.

7. What is your favorite D&D campaign setting?
I must assume that the questioner means "published setting", so I'll answer that question first. Although playing through a couple of the D&D computer games got me interested in some of the Forgotten Realms lore, the published setting that I have liked most is WotC's EBERRON. Unfortunately, the GM for that group got busy with other things, and the campaign is suspended until she becomes un-busy.

8. What other D&D campaign settings have you played in?
And now, the other answer to question 7... most of the campaigns that I have played in have not been set in a published campaign setting. Most of them have been in GM-created worlds - some very extensively developed, with maps that the players only saw a tiny portion of during the lives of those campaigns. Of these campaigns, the ones I have enjoyed most have been those in which role-play got equal time with the bludgeoning. stabbing, etc.

9. What other role playing games have you played?
Gamma World (briefly). Traveller (extensively - some of my favorite war stories are Traveller stories). Privateers and Gentleman (the RPG for every Hornblower fan, or any other of the extant series of books about Napoleonic-era naval adventure). Champions (some day I'll have my revenge on the GM for deciding to go back to D&D exclusively). 1st Ed. Twilight:2000 (which I enjoyed greatly, as it allowed my to play three very different characters before the campaign ended). Call of Cthulhu (although I have never actually used CoC game mechanics, as my campaign was hybridized with TW:2000 for my Nightfall:2020 campaign). JAMES BOND 007 (where I got to play the agent who was going insane, and would eventually have become a villain - by GM request, no less). Deadlands (once - I still owe Tad a thwack to the head for asking if I wanted to play in a campaign a friend of his was going to run, which ran just once). d20 Future (which, while it is rooted in the mechanics of 3rd Ed. D&D, is substantially different from D&D... you couldn't drop characters from a non-D&D d20 game into D&D, or vice versa, for various good reasons).

If you count chatting in character in a MMORPG, City of Heroes. You never know when you'll bump into a role-player online.

I may have forgotten one or two, but - I've forgotten.

10. Are you actively playing in any other games right now?
Just the d20 Future campaign. I'd like to be playing my Champions character again, because I loved the background work on that character. I'd enjoy playing my Privateers and Gentlemen character again, because it's good to be brilliant in that game system, even if you're hampered by having the social skills of a wild boar. Depending on my circumstances, I might enjoy playing any of the above games again, or learning a new system.

11. What other RPGs would you like to try that you have not had the chance or time to play?
I'd have to count Deadlands here, too, having only played the one time. I was fascinated by the idea of In Nomine. Others - there are too many to remember...

12. Have you ever played a gender-bender? (M player/F character or F player/M character)
Yes. My experience was that it's better to stick to your own gender unless you're playing with strong roleplayers who won't find it difficult to interact with you as an opposite gender character. My principal female character ended up just being a man who was, in some theoretical sense, female. I had better results playing female NPCs as GM; since they are supporting characters and don't get lots of screen time, they can be painted in a few strokes, and players find it easier to interact with a cross-gender GM when the NPCs are integral to their own internal story.

13. What is your favorite class to play?
(D&D character class, one presumes...) I have no favorites. I play whatever interests me at the time, or try to fill a niche that the party needs filled. I probably have more fighters and clerics in my theoretical list of characters than most other classes, but I have played most of the 1st Edition classes. 3rd Ed. characters have all been converted from earlier versions (ah, campaign longevity - the basis for a lot of the good humor in THE ORDER OF THE STICK).

14. Have you ever been a DM, GM, or ST?
Yes. D&D for about 7 years, on an almost weekly basis... my hybridized Call of Cthulhu campaign for 3 or so years, but only monthly. A little Traveller.

15. Do you prefer running the game, or playing in it?
I find that I prefer play, partly because running a decent campaign is enormously time-consuming, and failing to do it right because I don't have enough time makes me unhappy.

16. Do you prefer small (solo-3), medium (4-6), or large groups (7+) when playing?
No preference. Each game is different, and each session is different. Some times you need to solo, some times you need a mob. I have to say that 3rd Ed. D&D groups shouldn't be more than medium-sized; combat time expands at a greater than linear rate as you add players.

17. Do you hack/slash/plunder, or do you actually attempt role playing?
I much prefer a campaign which allots reasonable time to role-play; I can play computer games to beat things up.

18. Have you ever created a character that you felt was almost an extension of yourself?
No, except in the sense that they allow me to explore different ideas. After all, how many of us are evil, or heroes or cowards? I've found that I prefer to play characters who are not me... which leads to question 19.

19. Escapist much?
Definitely. RPGing (and LARPing) allow a vicarious experience similar to that for which I read. As I said above, I prefer to play characters who differ substantially in personality, background, and ability; that's partly for simple escapist reasons.

20. What class would you want to be if you (the real you ;)) were a D&D character?
Some NPC class, obviously. I've never been the physical type, so the fighter classes are out; lack of religious conviction leaves out clerical possibilities; crime has to pay in 10 or more figures left of the decimal point to be worth the risks, so no thieving; somehow I don't see myself as a wizard. Too many god-damned house calls.
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Report from Fort Zinderneuf

Feb. 11th, 2010 | 03:25 am
location: Fort Zinderneuf
mood: coldcold
music: Bolero (Ravel)

Third snowfall in less than three weeks. We haven't had to eat the dogs, yet. The enemy have been utterly and completely demoralized by the vast amounts of snow. No attacks since the second snow, and I suspect that they have withdrawn in search of warmer climes, which they must reach before their mounts give out. Heaven knows, we're barely holding on ourselves. Who could have predicted such prodigious snowfall - or any snowfall at all - here in the Sahara?

Meanwhile, there seems to be some friction between three of the men - specifically, between two of them and one of the others. Must get to the bottom of this, as Legion regulations deal quite harshly with discipline problems.
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Whatever happened to...

Jan. 3rd, 2010 | 04:51 pm
location: Crushed Under the Sideways Eight
mood: thoughtfulthoughtful
music: MEXICAN RADIO, by Wall of Voodoo

Had an interesting discussion at Ann & Steve's semi-annual gaming day on the 1st. The topic was the dearth of TSFL LARPs during the last few years. [Comments apply to the mid-Atlantic region].

Mike (Young) has run LULLABY OF BROADWAY and LOB2:ALL THAT JAZZ more or less back to back (which is to say, very close together for full weekend, choose-your-own-character [from a large pool] LARPs), and intends to follow them up with LOB3:INTO THE WOODS next year. Have any other TSFL LARPs run in the last 2.5 years? How many are being worked on now by their respective creators, and what point have they reached in the creative process? Having the advantage of a predefined audience, Mike already has most of his players lined up for LOB3, and will be getting his writing groove on according to his schedule. Only one other TSFL LARP was known to be on the drawing board by people involved in our discussion, and the group responsible has not yet begun to beat the drum (i.e., has announced no date, no venue, and no theme).

(edit - the Research Dept. reminds me that THE ISLAND ran during the last two years...]


The economy, of course, is not conducive to expensive hobbies (and full weekend LARPs are expensive, both to their players and their producers); still, people make exceptions to indulge in hobbies which grab and hold their imaginations. Campaign LARPs have continued throughout the last decade in spite of economic considerations. It was suggested in conversation that campaign LARPing is necessarily destructive to TSFL LARPing, because people who are committed to a campaign are putting their energy and money into running and participating in those campaigns. A campaign LARP might have events 4 or more times in a year, and travel and lodging costs for each weekend are similar to the cost of attending as many standalone LARPs. There may be some synergistic savings on some costumes and props, which might be used multiple times for the same campaign, but still the overall expense is going to be similar to attending multiple TSFL LARPs. Campaign LARPers might understandably hesitate to produce or even play in standalone events, because pockets are not infinitely deep.

It has also been suggested that the "life happens" factor has caused some people who had been active in LARPing to step away. It is certainly true that priorities can change with the passage of time and the occurrence of any of a number of signature events (becoming parents, for instance). Whether or not those priorities will once again include LARPing cannot be known until they do.

Also mentioned was the Personality problem. Not everyone gets along well together. Feelings can run from mild dislike up to open hostility (the latter usually starting as dislike and proceeding to hostility because of some specific event). It was suggested that some people may had drifted a little away because of problems with this or that person. Given that the LARP community is a maze of interconnections, it is possible that some LARP people currently feel disconnected because a sizable number of their points of contact currently converge near someone that they personally are uncomfortable around.


Of course, there are new people coming to LARP every year, but one can't necessarily expect newer LARPers to step right up and start producing events. There are exceptions, of course, but sometimes people need a catalyst to get started. They may need the right partner or partners, friends who can provide complementary skills and talents, someone to brainstorm with, someone to share the work with, and someone to provide emotional and other support throughout the process of producing a TSFL LARP. They may need a spark - something that galvanizes them, fills them with a vision and purpose to achieve some specific end.


No conclusions were reached during this discussion - among other things, time ran out - but it was of interest, and I thought it might be to some of you, as well.
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The Solstice

Dec. 22nd, 2009 | 04:44 am
location: Electric Skillet
mood: melancholymelancholy
music: "I Love the Night", from SPECTRES, by Blue Oyster Cult

Sadly, the winter solstice is upon us, and the days will begin to lengthen again.

I know that most of you will be happy about this, and I forgive you.

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Tea Lust

Dec. 3rd, 2009 | 05:22 pm
location: Wall
mood: pleasedpleased
music: Clocks - Coldplay, Rhythms del Mundo Cuba

While passing through the neighborhood of Darkovercon (which I did not have a chance to visit - I just sat outside of the hotel for 90 seconds while waiting for someone to join us in the van), I was introduced to:

http://www.baltcoffee.com/catalog/


Coffee lovers may also find something of interest therein, but I was pleasantly surprised to walk into a store which devoted two of its walls to products derived from camellia sinensis, as well as the usual smattering of herbal infusions which are NOT tea (bah and humbug to people who think they are).

Now I know where to find new and interesting decaffeinated teas, including a Darjeeling blend which I will have to acquire and taste.


Those who do not drink tea and cannot understand what I'm on about may, as the man said, simply go to hell.
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The Thanksgiving Memo

Nov. 27th, 2009 | 03:49 pm
location: Arkham, MA
mood: satisfiedsatisfied
music: Concerto for Violin and Nightgaunt, by Eric Zann

Recently, a friend asked (on FaceBook, a terrible monster which consumes time like snack cakes) what constituted a traditional Thanksgiving meal. I had this to say about that:


A traditional Thanksgiving meal was one in which our house was crowded with relatives from both sides of the family. Before my mother's illness, it was not unusual for us to have 25 to 30* people at dinner, which was usually served at 3-4 PM. I didn't escape the "kids table" until I was 16, and then mostly because Mom was too ill for us to have the usual mob over that year.

[* added comment - this included Thanksgiving at most of our relatives homes - I had a lot of aunts and uncles on my mother's side, and 2 aunts on the other side]


[I go on to mention gustatory specifics...]
Turkey, my father's stuffing (which was and remains the definitive turkey stuffing), mashed potatoes, green beans (I started to keep mine out of the cooking process after I found that I preferred them raw), cranberry sauce (which I never cared for, and still don't), corn on the cob, biscuits or rolls, and my (paternal) grandmother's cole slaw, which she would patiently prepare herself, chopping a couple of cabbages and grating pounds of carrots, and then patiently using a rolling pin to crush the vegetables as she gradually sprinkled the rest of the ingredients into the mix.


And always pumpkin pie. We'd usually have a fruit pie (apple, or sometimes cherry or peach) for the mutants who didn't follow the Gourd, but always pumpkin pie, which was also my father's domain.


Additional food as needed or offered by those who came to eat with us. Sometimes a ham, and if so for some reason it was usually accompanied by sweet potato in one form or another. Green bean casserole, cornbread,

[and here I suffered a failure while writing on FB - I somehow lost part of a sentence when posting there, and I can't remember what I wrote...]


Oh - also gherkins and bread-and-butter pickles.

Thinking back on it, it amazes me that none of us exploded after dinner.
[FB quote ends here]


This year I went to my younger brother's house. The meal was simple - turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, green bean casserole (which his ex-wife Robin brought over), and rolls, with pumpkin and apple pie for dessert (and Cool Whip for the pumpkin pie). I have numerous reasons for wanting to beat Tom with a stick, but he turned out a fine meal, including a good recreation of Dad's stuffing (which apparently involved a phone call and live discussion of the matter at hand with the Master himself). Credit should also be given to Tom's daughter, who undoubtedly did a lot of the heavy lifting (he is currently wheelchair bound, and thus unlikely to have placed the turkey in the oven or to have removed it therefrom).


Overall, it was a good day. The beatings will have to commence some other time, but that is another story.
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Not only can you NOT go home again, you shouldn't shop there

Nov. 12th, 2009 | 04:06 am
location: Le oubliette
mood: aggravatedaggravated
music: The Black Widow, by Alice Cooper

Memory can be a dangerous thing. Sometimes what you remember makes you assume dangerous things.

Long story short - leaving the shopping center at Randolph Road and Rockville Pike (which contains a Giant Food, among assorted other stores), I turned onto Randolph and stopped at the Pike, waiting for a light change so I could cross over to Montrose Road and head toward 270.

Some time in the last 8 years (i.e., after I stopped being a resident of Rockville), that intersection had at least one significant change made to it. It is now legal to turn left onto the Pike from Montrose Road. This was not true when I lived there. When I saw green light, I reflexively started forward and crossed the Pike, because Mr. Memory said "There can't be any opposing traffic". I was most concerned with checking left and right for cross-traffic, which doesn't always stop when it should; one second or so of time spent actually checking the light pattern would have kept me from making this error.

Fortunately for me and other motorists, there was in fact no opposing traffic, and no accident. Unfortunately for me, a Rockville police officer was behind me, and although he understood how I had made the mistake he was required to cite me for running the red light.

Moral of story: You can easily make bad mistakes while driving in places that you think you "know". Look anyway. Live longer. Be happier.

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crash

Oct. 20th, 2009 | 10:55 am
location: Motel Hell
mood: aggravatedaggravated
music: Einsturzende Neubaten

HD problems with my machine, still unresolved.

So you're mostly safe from my pompous pontificating, Tourette's-like blathering, and of course my scathing wit.

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Reading List

Oct. 3rd, 2009 | 04:36 am
location: Innsmouth
music: Toccata and Fugue in D Minor

Hallowe'en approaches.

Add a book to the "Books to be read for Hallowe'en" list:

GHOSTS AND MORE GHOSTS, by Robert Arthur
A NIGHT IN THE LONESOME OCTOBER, Roger Zelazny (from theimp79)
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Homeless again

Aug. 29th, 2009 | 06:48 pm
mood: depresseddepressed

It's taken almost 30 years, but I am once again sans home. I've done my duty for my remaining roommate in assisting him in finding an affordable room to move into, not terribly far from here as it happen, but as I remain unemployed I can't sign a lease - if only because it would be irresponsible - on a room in the same house. My various belongings will be going into a climate controlled storage space - by bulk most of my belongings are paper goods (books, etc.), plus bookshelves, a TV stand and TV, bed and dresser... but I am placing a variety of older furniture out on the curb for trash collection. Several chairs and a couch, none in good repair, some of which I had hoped to have repaired and refurbished, and a small oval dining room table which I had at no cost... all to go, because I can't afford to rent an infinitely large storage "cube".

Then I'll have to see where I can stay, which has to be someplace which has internet access so I have the basic facility required to search for employment. Which search has been so very rewarding for so long.

"Good times, noodle salad".

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