atolnon: (Default)
( Sep. 28th, 2012 12:25 am)
I've been trying to work out a post about competency in role-playing games, but when I've sat down, I realized I had a few different issues come up, and by the time I felt like I was getting somewhere, I had to go somewhere else and do a thing. This pattern's repeated itself three or four times now in the last week. 

On one hand, I've been running WoD. I mean, not as much as I want, but still fairly often as things go. I'm planning on using the plot for NaNoWriMo, even. For what it's worth. Ahem. But I've had fairly good success managing my own expectations for competency in game using the Core and Second Sight. Those expectations are managed by the implications in the writing for what fluff there is (usually not related to mechanics players are going to be interacting with) and the mechanics in the text. 

One excellent example if how, when it was released, it was generally lauded but the stats for the beat cop were immediately torn to shreds. The reason why was obvious - the beat cop was built using an incredible amount of experience points off the starting character template. This kind of transparency is, for me, extremely important. The newer line of WoD books has been very consistent from what I've seen in this kind of regard. Part of this is how the characters are all built off exp right from the beginning, and none of these games with Bonus Points. The character creation game can still be rigged, but the discrepancy is smaller and can typically be managed using a few simple rules of thumb. 

Exalted 2.5 is much, much messier. I don't really think anyone's surprised to hear that, but character creation is all over the place. Backgrounds are very messy, with some being clear winners and others varying by campaign from absolutely wasted to absolutely game-breaking. Bonus Points muddy the issue by allowing players to buy rank 4 and 5 skills for a single point, in some instances, making extreme specialization a much better deal then diversification early on. Experience point expenditures are different for the same thing cross-splat. The reality of combat is pervasive, but which powers you should buy aren't always clear. Certain areas of expertise are oddly structured, so that being able to survive combat (which is fun, so tends to be prioritized) is extremely expensive, which leaves other interesting and fun powers largely off the table until much later, or at risk of accidentally being dissolved by the first attack they're unable to defend against. 

So, there are issues. That's part of the problem you run into with a system originally designed to partially mimic the deck building feel of collectible card games, and also runs into the problems about the concern of verisimilitude in setting and different expectations from different writers. I struggled with some of these concerns when writing and editing my own game, which I guess I've decided to leave titled Dream, until I figure out otherwise. 

It's a system that's incredibly stripped down, but the potential problem exists despite that, because as long as you put character creation options into the hands of players, the possibility of making a character 'wrong' is present. Getting into the details about all three of those things is obviously going to make a post really long by LJ standards, but that's what I've been wrestling with. I've certainly got notepad pages full of inane scribbles. I'd really like to get into even one of those tonight, but it's late and I'm probably busy again most of tomorrow. I guess I'm making a promise to myself to try to do it tomorrow, though, at least in part so that I can fully realize some of these design issues. 

That's not even to mention, really, that I feel that languages, crafts, and to a wider degree, styles of martial arts would be better served being merits like in newer versions of WoD and that the structure presented - in part - for Changeling is worth looking into for Exalted. Possibly, anyhow. A mash-up of inherent abilities based on splat, a flatter power curve between Exalt types, Charms, applicable Merits, Merits instead of Backgrounds, free Excellencies (if that structure is maintained) as inherent powers, ect, et al. Prioritization has been extremely difficult for me. I want to do everything all at once. I've been working incredibly hard to focus and actually accomplish one thing at a time, but sometimes I just have to check in and talk about what else I want. 
atolnon: (Default)
( Jun. 7th, 2010 09:44 am)
Productive weekend. The last entry of mine is pretty easy to just brush over, since it's just a bit of game prep I wrote up. I had one hiccup with the epilogue where I misinterpreted a bit of a PCs back story which changed the entire tenor of their resolution. Even though I worked to give each PC closure, the way it unraveled is that each one has a very character-specific angle to approach a second campaign with the same PCs. That's not where we're going, but the players seem amiable to a future Changeling event.

Bob Barker the Liche has become a reoccurring joke.
I was told the end of the dungeon was pretty successful, but it didn't have the accumulated weight of everything that came right before it, so I skipped some of the more melodramatic bits and kind of sped the end along. The PCs killed the Arachnid without too much trouble. That's a lesson - a few mooks would have really livened up the fight and I didn't play him as cannily as I could have, because spamming level 5 Contracts seems like a pretty cheap move. No PCs lost.

Bought replacement hair dye, a few new shirts, a light bulbs for a lava lamp. Went to a graduation party in Saturday, went out for coffee and took a walk on Friday, ran Sunday's game and had drinks with the group, then crashed. I'm a little tired today, but otherwise feel pretty good about this whole thing. That's really about it. I'm still really busy. I've gotten through another chapter of Dead Space and I've got a planned excursion for dinner tonight with a friend.

Two weeks before I run another game, at least. Exalted's wrapped up for a few months while the ST gets the soft opening together for the bistro. There may be a Warcraft D&D campaign in the near future. That's kind of a blast from the past.
atolnon: (Default)
( Jun. 6th, 2010 03:39 pm)
Final Changeling today. We're going to do the endgame in the Hedge then the epilogue, which was initially just going to be its own game. The Arachnid is equally fine with destroying the interlopers or being destroyed. He's a stereotype villain who's fueled by spite. And I mean 'stereotype', in that as time had gone on for him, his existence became more and more centered around being a bad guy, of ruining and destroying for no reason but to do so, and to sell out fellow Changelings to inspire fear and to sustain himself with the beneficence of the Fae who tolerate him. 
Game into's here. )

That's the intro to the game. That's as creepy as I was able to make it. It pulls from a few nightmares I've had in the past.
I saved you from a week of pointless hand-wringing. Not one of those entries made it past the first few paragraphs, which is just as well. There's a certain element of stress in my life at this point, which I'm dealing with in my own way. I've had nightmares return, for ex, but to my considerable frustration, I can't remember them.

I dig those dreams if I can recall what they are later. Maybe I'm not a big fan of the terror I feel, but the experience can't be replicated in any other way. Anyway.

I have it on good authority that Abyssals is wrapped up in one game. After all my bitching, you'd think I'd be relieved, but the last two games showed how good we could have been. The ST is adamant. All games are planned on 5 stages and stage 5 is wrapped up. The Abyssals take their names back and are free of the Neverborn. Interestingly, we were chatting after the game about transition into Solars, since the PCs were obviously after some kind of redemption. The answer was in the negative, obviously, since we just didn't have the time. To paraphrase, "That was step one of something like 12.", but that's an oppertunity we didn't even have. The game is about something else. It is, ostensibly, about the Solars, even when we're playing someone else. The Abyssals are a footnote in the main plot.

It's weird to think that we're playing our own tertiary characters.

I'm thinking of detailing the Changeling game from the notes after this Sunday. Is this the kind of thing anyone is interested in at all? I can post what I generate somewhere for viewing, if so. Actually, same goes for my older Mage game.

Awakening, like I may have mentioned, is next on the agenda.
In previous games, I've gone for street level. Not too many supernaturals, a cast of maybe a dozen actors on a game plot that's surprisingly focused. This next one is based on several different inspirations - Persona, Mage : the Ascension, major releases from the Awakening line, and other stuff.

The city will be whole cloth, not a real location, so that I can divide it in to 5 chief wards based on Watchtowers, each maintained by one member of the Pentacle orders, designed with a goal of creating a mirror of Atlantis in the fallen world. Obviously something needs to go wrong. I enjoyed my Changeling game, but I've gotten my biggest thrill when I was allowed to get weird. The Hedge and the Goblin Market were a lot of fun. Run down areas were also neat in their own way, but these mages are trying to build a city on a supernal blueprint that's gone catastrophic. Hopefully it won't be a bust.

I didn't generate the information I hoped to on Brent's behalf, re: oaths and possible charms for NExalted. I'll see what I can do now that the game's chiefly in retrospect for now.
atolnon: (Default)
( May. 17th, 2010 11:08 pm)
I'm going to cop to being kind of tired. My hours switched and I'm working even earlier, which isn't a tragedy, or anything. Still have 10 hour Mondays where the primary woe is just that my day seems so short after I get back from work. It's a total of maybe 12 hours when you get right down to it, maybe as much as 12.5. I know others work a lot harder then me. Maybe I'm just lazy. I like to think of it as having different priorities.

Busy weekend. Productive. I got hit on, which is nice. I mean, that's good for the ego. It doesn't seem to be an unrelated incident, which continues to make me feel good about myself.

Changeling happened. It was a trip to the rumor monger in the Goblin Market and then the Hedge. I'm a mechanically lazy ST, but I went out of my way to detail the floor plan of the posh home of a side antagonist, when I should have worked on the main one. Still, I was told my portrayal of the atmosphere was creepy and, at one point 'kind of terrifying'. That really made me feel pretty good. It turns out that all of the players and some of the NPCs have 'assault suits'', where they actually change outfits. The players were backed up by two NPCs, and headed into the lair of the Arachnid, which seriously sounds like a D&D module.

There's been some stuff that I seriously haven't expected these last few days, and I guess I'll go meditate under a waterfall about them. Until then, I want to continue my song-related character naming conventions with my Sidereal's prospective name, Age of Innocence. Previous characters include my Abyssal Son of a Silent Age and my Solar, Killroy. Other group characters include the Solar Eight Line Poem, the potential Abyssal, The Man Who Sold the World, the Abyssal Blood From Heaven (from Pennies from Heaven), and the Abyssal Frozen King of Pain (from King of Pain).
I kind of expected a busy weekend and I didn't get one, to my relief. Unlike last Sunday, this one wasn't a terrible explosion of juniper-flavored booze, which makes sitting through work so much easier. The whole weekend was good. Soul Caliber 4 on Saturday, Changeling on Sunday. Friday night, we were playing Rock Band and got busted by the cops. Again. Seems the drumming is too much for our rowdy downstairs neighbors, so instead of just coming up here and asking up to keep it down, we get the 5-0 instead.

So we watch Venture Bros. instead. I turn to my chums and say "I think we should have Soul Caliber 4 here." Like say, to makeup for no longer being able to play Rock Band at the late hour of 10 PM on a Friday night. The next day, I nipped out to buy a copy, and came back with that and Little Big Planet, both for 20 bucks a pop.

The last time I played  Soul Caliber, I lived in Seattle with a roommate who regularly schooled me. I didn't care. I fucking love Soul Caliber so much. When I am done playing, the other game is fucking Sword Barbie, which I play with total and concentrated abandon.  I care about the tint of yellow on the armor and the brightness of the lacquer because I am a giant nerd. I can also play as Darth Vader, which makes me yearn for a variant of the game, ala Masters of Teras Kasai*.

Sunday didn't bring anything really weird to the table. It was the game with the first real, pitched fight where the PCs, despite not being 'combat characters' didn't have a whit of trouble dispatching four NPCs that were just re-skinned Gangbangers from the core book. I learned that complaints about 'gun nibble' are ridiculous and fist fights take a very long  time to wrap up. The PCs drove on down to Carbondale to deal with a second radio tower, this time protected by goons with guns and were able to bring it down pretty adroitly. Interesting side effect which you may like to hear - Sam, the PI and part-time Thunderbird shot an ensorceralled guard with his pump-action shotgun for 5 damage, which I ruled caused him to drop his gun and clutch his side. It's a pretty serious wound for someone who's not a hardened killer.

Killing someone on Changeling business is a Clairity issue, and while the rest of the group were all for Sam dealing with the thugs from the get-go, Sam was nervous after they accidently caught people in the blast of the last radio tower. Caught with someone who might very well bleed out due to shotgun blast, after suduing the guards (no deaths), they marched them away from the explosion and dropped them off near to the hospital. That's 4 witnesses. I'm not sure if that'll bite them later, but I was able to work in all the hooks for next game.

I've developed a habit of pacing the thing like a TV show, down to phrasing descriptions of scenes as if people were watching. I blame Brent for starting that. We're even joking about 'next season'.

* Which I own, actually.
No Exalted today. One of our players is going to see a Springsteen concert, so there's going to be a distinct lack of necrotic essence-fueled personal drama tonight. Frank, our ST, has come to insist that the game is going to end in a tower of destruction instead of peter out in a series of inter-group scuffles though, so maybe I trust that. I'm saying it's possible. We're good friends but his running style and ideas of games have never matched mine, exactly. This game is going pretty roughly, but it does persist, so anything could happen. The ST tends to set up a McGuffin we're supposed to interact with in the proscribed way, and gives us two choices. Generally, we don't have much choice; the situations we're faced with are beyond anything our characters have the power to work with. 

It can be chalked up to being kind of powered-down in fights, being pit against characters far more potent then us, and given few resources or time to work with. There are other small issues that crop up that interest me. For example, Lookshy has been in a few conflicts with the Deathlords and destroys their forces without any trouble every time. This sits oddly with me, but it's the tone the game has. Even small towns have historically been able to hand us our asses.

I really don't know. We were given a choice early on; redemption or loyalist. Most of us went redemption, so now I just follow the redemption plot hooks until the game's over. The end.

Changeling is being run this week. The motley consists of 3 Spring Courtiers and one unaffiliated. Sunday was the night I got really hammered and went sideways, but the game was lucid. For me, anyhow. The characters had been following a path strongly, picking up a plot thread and running with it relentlessly, making my game planning easy as far as that went. I set up the beginning, which was a gun drop from the Summer Court to assist in equipping the motley with tools needed to go against whoever was directing the moles. As of the game before last, they were planning on knocking down the other radio towers and rooting out the remaining corruption, inquisitor style.

This is not something that happened.

I had laid out a few sidequests. Just, you know, stuff based of what the characters had did and said offhand. The PI got a call from a card he handed out. The musician got calls back on his band fliers. Ect, et al. The characters took the night to follow up on those leads, while a PC and NPC took the oppertunity to hang out and ended up doing tequila shots before drunk dailing available (and unavailable) PCs and NPCs. One thing lead to another, and before long, seduction checks were being rolled on the table and everyone woke up with a tequila headache the next day.

I mean, this is the Spring Court for you, I guess. Everything's right on track then it falls off the rails with a rediculous party. I pretty much wrapped the game up after that. I'm running on Sunday, but it's probably the least likely opening for a game that I've run in quite a while.
atolnon: (Default)
( Mar. 29th, 2010 10:00 am)
I'm a little light-headed. No breakfast, early day, and coffee's the combination that enforces that. I bought breakfast for mornings to improve my eating habits, but I only had 15 minutes to get ready today, so it's a miracle that I'm even shaved and clean for work.

Man, there's a phrase that inspires confidence, I'm sure.

It's been kind of an interesting week for me. My PS3 is ordered and should find its way to my doorstop probably tomorrow. It's a 120 GB slim model, which means it's not backwards compatible, to my frustration. I'm in possession of a PS2 though, so aside from being irritating to have to use two machines when the hardware and software both exists to do it in one, my gaming shouldn't expect to find itself curtailed. My friends are excited about Rock Band. I'm excited about resuming Dead Space.

Abyssals is still going smoothly, but the game has reverted to something that is very close to our traditional model of play just for the moment. Our ST intentionally throws divisive moments at us then wonders why games become bogged down in in-character discussions, and at the end of this mini-arc, he said to expect it again. That's not really all that fun, so it's my hope that there's a clear option to stay working together.

Changeling had to be called a little early, on account of having to restructure the adventure. Neither the PCs nor the NPCs really knew what to expect, and a decisive collaberation between a friendly NPC and the players gave both sides a little breathing room. The priveteers haven't revealed themselves yet, and have decided to stay their hand to wait for a safer time. The court has been thrown into confusion by the PCs who first revealed a fake mole then rescued him. The game ended with the motley somewhere near Columbia, MO. standing in front of an unmarked radio tower and detecting an aggressive, industrial type hedge present locked somewhere inside at 3:30 AM.

Yesterday's dinner was fantastic, incidently. The weather turned nice later on in the day, and I'd bought sausages and steaks, so there was grilling and broccoli salad. After the game, wine and talking about dressing as the 9 Ringwraiths for next October's Archon.
atolnon: (Default)
( Feb. 24th, 2010 12:11 pm)
Week's been crummy so far. Mandatory overtime Monday, tire blow-out Tuesday, and now I hope to god it's not something like windstorm Wednesday or some other kind awful, alliterative afternoon. Meeting's tomorrow. I don't know what kind of thing is expected from me at a meeting like this, except that I have specific prospects for studies that need to be narrowed and I want to know the professor's opinions on the programs available at the university.

Actually, that sounds really reasonable. So instead of being nervous, I guess I'm just excited, and I'll leave nervous for later.

The first Changeling game went well but went short, too. Frank's playing a Bluecap - a miner or kobold who wants to distance himself from his kith by going into law. He's enthusiastic and hopeful, and if it weren't for the Thunderbird, it probably wouldn't be a game at all, in the way you normally experience WoD. And geeze, now that I think about that, I think that'd be a fantastic game too. The other player's the Thunderbird, actually. They couldn't be more different, and are definietly atypical examples of the Spring Court.

The interesting thing for me is noticing how different thing could have gone if they had just had different outlooks. Now the story is really coming along, so I'll run the next session on Sunday again, hopefully with new additions to the group. We've been looking for brand new players, as well. If we get the second group up and running, then the first and second session will likely be merged depending on the time and energy level of us all. I don't know how interested people are in the actual game, so I'll hold off on actual plays for now. 

atolnon: (Default)
( Feb. 17th, 2010 02:41 pm)
Long post is long. It's broken up by things you might be interested in.

Re : School. )

Whining about ST style. )

Alchemicals is out per Holden, on (as hls, ). It's not being carried on Amazon yet, those bastards.
Ink Monkies is also live, per at
That could be a neat resource.
atolnon: (Default)
( Feb. 16th, 2010 11:53 am)
I came back from work in a wicked bad mood due to a combination of back/head aches and the news of mandatory overtime, which at least indicates that I'll get a boost to my paycheck. Overtime's been available for the last several weeks and if I wanted it, I would have taken it. Presumably, I am not the only one that feels this way, because now it isn't voluntary anymore or, at least, the number of people I've overheard talking about working 50 hour weeks is either non-representative or not enough to swing are heavy call volume. In the light of day, when I'm feeling moderately less like I've been stuffed in a sack and beaten, I don't feel so cross about it.

Just a little cross.

Frank and The J-Man wanted to go out of Monday margaritas at Los Tres Amigos, so that's what we did. Normally two pitchers should be enough, but they had us stop by a gas station on the way back to pick up additional beers and I woke up to a mountain of bottles covering every visible surface. Actually, I woke up several times due to our downstairs neighbors deciding to fight at terrible hours for the second night in a row. On Sunday, they fought from 10 PM until 3 AM, and yesterday they decided to switch it up and fight from 5:30 AM until 9  AM, waking me up every half an hour or so when the pitch changed in what I am chairitably referring to as a debate.

Consequently, I do not feel great this Tuesday.

I agreed to run my first Changeling session this Sunday for Group Wormtongue, and after that the session should be available for everyone. Running games makes me nervous, but I'm going to try to keep this one tight, with an easily identifiable arc that we can cap off. As I've mentioned before, I've had ok luck with my WoD games and less with the more sprawling and high-powered Exalted, so I'll just cross my fingers and hope it's not too bad.

I've been trying to set up appointments with professors, but it's not going well. I'll try to contact by phone again, but if this trend keeps up, I'll have to take a day off to stop by and hope I can bug them during office hours. That's life. I think that some of my time off has cycled back over because the process is actually different in the St Louis location from the Seattle one, which means I might even get paid for it.
atolnon: (Default)
( Feb. 10th, 2010 02:40 pm)
Yesterday went pretty well. I'm trying to narrow my academic focus a bit, and I'm trying to get an appointment with a professor whose classes I really got a lot out of a few years ago. He was also my adviser at the time, so he's probably the best one to talk to. I haven't gotten a response yet, though.
I finally wrote my Abyssal ficlet, which was really short, but I was finally happy with it. It sounds like I'm running my Changeling game for two groups instead of just one, and that's going to be really intense, so I'm nervous about that. The entirety of the second group seems to have accounts and post here, so hey there. When Viski said she'd found people to play, I mentioned that they set a high bar so I guess we'll see how I do.

I've had a lot of discussions about Exalted lately with my roommate and ST. He generally does a good job as ST, but I think my preoccupation with rules frustrates him and I can't convince him of mechanical problems of any book he looks at. There's literally almost no swaying him there. It's a huge frustration for a guy like me, who spends a lot of time with mechanics since Brantai and I spent a long time hashing out mechanical systems with a eye towards theme, balance, and playability. I'm nowhere close to perfect, but if I had to, I could build a resume based on work I've done, and I'm bummed that I get kind of blown off. It's not like I'm making these issues up. It's typically dismissed as just the opinion of people on the internet, so I just have to let it go.

My uncle sent me a manuscript to work on and today is likewise a great day to get into the details of the first Changeling game, so that's in the cards. Thursday is Abyssals (which is a lot of fun, my complaining aside), and Friday I need to be out of the house. I've drafted Viski and another friend to help me keep the time occupied, but that means that tonight is the last day before Saturday I have to get any meaningful work accomplished.

Lately I've purchsed two shirts, and I'm wondering what people think : is one, it'll take a while to come in. I like the idea of this group, but this is the only shirt I found that wasn't too busy. is the other, left over from the days of MacHall. I love the art on some of the merchandise, but you can tell that Ian is an artist first and doesn't really have a lot of experience with clothing design, since a lot of the art is just something kind of cool on a t-shirt. This is still something I've wanted for a while though, and it's the last chance coupled with my dramatically approaching need for new clothing.

I need a look that diverges from just t-shirts and jackets, but it's coming slowly.
atolnon: (Default)
( Feb. 7th, 2010 02:34 pm)
Sunday isn't even really begun, and I've really only been up for a few hours but I've still managed to go grocery shopping and put a bit of laundry in. Saturday was kind of cool because I got my banking stuff back, got to hang out with Vi a touch, watched Ringu 2 for the first time, as well as getting a small amount of frisbee in late in the day. It's all terribly miscellaneous, I know.

I started writing the Abyssal fic, and I was only a little happy with my first attempt. It's a little overwrought, which might fit Abyssals in kind of a baroque, overwrought way, but my character's very minimalist and so should the fiction be. I should be able to finish it up tonight and probably benefit from the bonus experience points it brings me, as well. As a bit of departure from the standard MO, I will not be awarding any bonus points for stories in the Changling game, which the players seem to be ok with. I'm going to be statting some of the NPCs up tonight, especially the old spook PC mentor.

All Playstation gaming is on indefinite hiatus until I can fix it. It won't read disks. I hope you weren't really interested in my analysis of Dead Space, or anything. I've not been getting way too in-depth here on the journal, but I'm a little bummed that I can't continue. We'll see how things come along. I might plug in the PS2 for a while and give those games a chance.

Turns out I was missing pieces of my futon all along and my dad just found 'em. I have a bed in my future, and I'm pleased out of proportion to the reward, to be sure.

I've been taking a little time to pen down my last few years in summary. It's actually ending up being pretty extensive on paper, leading me to realize that my life has been substantially more complicated then I had at first really assumed.
I am, oh so tentatively, putting parts together for my Changling campaign set around St. Louis. I like how my last game went, a Mage game centered around East St. Louis and its devastating history. It's a game that could have gone better, but is still probably my high-water mark as an ST. Some of my initial goals were basically unrelated. It's taking place in the near future, probably the Spring of 2010 as the area sees flooding similar to 1993.
The themes are shaping up to be paranoia in a sweltering, humid environment along with the competing drives between the desire for a mundane life versus being pulled into a life of the supernatural by a combination of curiosity, need, and the desire to act on the behalf of others. Also features spys, privateers, number stations, and local areas of interest.

I'm pretty deep into the research phase at this point.
atolnon: (Default)
( Jan. 26th, 2010 02:45 pm)
Frank asked me what the odds of me running Changeling where. I assumed they were 100%, given enough time.
baronsamedi introduced me to numbers stations in a roundabout way, first through, then through LJ itself. He may be disappointed to realize that, more then any other game, it provided me with inspiration for Mage: the Awakening, but it doesn't have to be that way. Instead, I'm readjusting my focus. I can easily map to a Changeling headspace. makes me think of nothing except the sweet, sweet Abyss, ala Mage. Clicking those is up to you. They pressed several of my creepy buttons at once, so it's up to you. There's no shock or surprise. Nothing terrible happens. If you don't like it, you can close the browser, and they probably won't follow you out.

My apartment is coming together well. Futon is still broke. As soon as the dumpster is emptied, I can get rid of a lot of childhood stuff that I was never really a big fan of, but were gifts. I was hard to shop for as a kid, too.
atolnon: (Default)
( Jan. 20th, 2010 03:19 pm)
I wanted to write something after I've had so many new friend requests from the thread, but the only thing worth noting from yesterday is that I drank a good amount of gin & tonic, then went to bed after watching Snatch and finally introducing my roommate to Cowboy Bebop like I've been threatening to do for so long. Also, a bit of Dead Space. It's not terribly original, but it's a whole lot of fun, and I'm really enjoying it.

Aaaanyway. Brantai asked how I was handling some problems with the Changeling mechanics re: upcoming game. If you're new, then you may not realize that our irritation regarding Contracts is profound. I think you could follow the Changeling tag to run into one of those rants, if it suits you. The difficulty of making the character I wanted to play for the venue stopped me from going to the Cam games, actually, since the character was totally non-feasable.
There's also the 'no technology' rule that seems to keep cropping up. The Gentry don't do computers, I guess, and there arn't any Contracts that work with technology in any real way. In some respects, I understand this, but mostly it just aggrivates me. I can't imagine why the Gentry wouldn't have been as interested in technology and how it defines us as we are. It just seems like such a rich vein to tap, but no dice. This isn't really accurate, but it feels like a nagging remnant of the 'science is banal' that turned me off of Changeling : the Dreaming.

Despite that, it's not really an issue for this particular group. I  mean, it's either a non-issue in that the players take the power set at face value or the players disagree with my particular stance. Which is just fine for me as an ST, because it stops it from being a problem at the table.

So, in conclusion, if you're new - welcome. This is the part where I'm bored at work in between calls and read your stuff.
atolnon: (Default)
( Jan. 18th, 2010 11:21 am)
It's still winter, but I feel a little spoiled with weather between 30 and 45 lately. It spent over a week being so cold, it froze any available moisture on my body between my apartment and my car, so at this point it practically feels like spring. I'm no fan of the winter months but I'll
 take what I can get, thanks.

Over here, there's a lot I keep saying I'll do, and I'm running a little behind. Saturday was supposed to be a big day for that, and I ended up going out a little last-moment to meet friends I hadn't seen regularly and together since high school. I ended up getting home around 2 AM, and going to bed at about 3 after a bit of a conversation with a friend who's been having a hard time.

Today, the plan looks to be swinging by my dads pretty quickly to drop off some of his stuff and try to fill my car with crap I should have brought over some time ago. I still have shelves and a futon over there that I'm derelict in re-acquiring, and it's frustrating because I just haven't had the opportunity yet. Once I get the futon, at least, I feel like my apartment room is going to really come together. Maybe I'll even take some pictures.

Also, I mentioned that I might want to run a Changeling game in passing, leading to an almost immediate purchase of the core book from Frank. The group became major enthusiasts almost as soon as the game was out, and the new favorite of at least one Wormtongue player. So I need to plan a story and finish up my Abyssal fic; those are my two activities for my spare time that I'm a bit obligated to perform. After that, there are a few logistical issues that really need to be hammered out. When you put all those things together, you get a busy week.

I ran an idea by Vi re: the intro to the Changeling game I wanted to work with, but everyone's seemed a little meh on it, so it's back to the drawing board. 

Edit : And Frank's already writing stories for his character.
atolnon: (Default)
( Jul. 23rd, 2008 01:08 am)
I got an e-mail from the barrista/office admin job, so I'll give 'em a call tomorrow morning and set up my interview appointment. The first one was phone-based, so this is basically my second/in-person one. As long as I do well, things are promising. I'd really like this position, since it looks like a real, honest living wage, which is something that I'd punt a baby to get. Anyhow.

I put together the Gristlegrinder that'd been floating around in my head for a while, and have no idea if I plan on using him or not. A character really sort of came together for him, and a combination of Merits and Skills really set him up for me mechanically. Contracts were straight-forward. Stone 3, Fleeting Court or Hearth 2. Hearth for general purpose, Fleeting for Glamor. I did a mechanical experiment for Wintermute the Manikin, but I tend to keep in mind that Artifice is really not a high priority for that character, and remembered seeing a Metal or Steelskin thing somewhere, even though I'm not really sure. In any case, Artifice is kind of in character, so I'm not sweating that.

Truth is Wintermute is a 'broken' character compared to the more attempt-at-self-realization kind of guy the red cap I was thinking of. The Manikin is a device who'd rediscover parts of its humanity. The red cap is someone who'd be running away from it at the start. So. But I think it'd work. The shut-in? Honestly, I stopped trying. That was never really fully realized and I just want to play other concepts way more.

Outlining some more Mage stuff today just because it was a slow day. How hard to other people work on one-shots? I really don't know. I did a short list of bios for characters that were referenced in my prep material. So far there are eight people, without the lists of some of the 1917 murder victims, abyssal spirits, and the original architect of the house. This is stuff that'd never be found out by players without severe tangents. I think I'll hand out the info like DVDs have extras. Want to know who that hanging spirit was? Well, now you know! Really, I'm just doing this shit for fun now, though. Brent and Frank already gave my prep write a thumbs up, so I'm not as gun shy as I was. The new stuff is a lot better, so the old stuff might actually go through a re-write process. I'm such a nerd. ^_^;
.... I want to like you, but if you keep this up, we'll never be friends. I want you to know that. I keep trying, it's just...these Contracts. They're destroying this relationship.

Ok, first of all, it's cold up here. I kind of want that to sink in, because I'm pretty sure it's roasting in the midwest right now. I don't really have much trouble with heat, but I don't miss temperatures so hot it just makes you want to sit around until evening. Brent and Val have this mini-AC unit which they hardly ever have to turn on, but even when they do, they turn it on for temperatures that we'd of just opened up the windows and turned the fan on for my Dad's house. So that's something.

Over here, besides looking for gainful employment and maybe combing Craigslist for roomies or something*, I've been combining my notes and working on gaming stuff. I spent about an hour looking into ghost rules for NWoD and finding them pretty good. I doubt we'll ever see a Wraith expansion for NWoD, but I'll try to deal.** I also spent, like, four fucking hours with the Changeling books again trying to puzzle out the mechanics to embody my character concepts for the Cam with Brent.

My disinterest for Contracts has found itself transformed into outright ire. What's up with that? One - I don't like their format. They're a bunch of individual paths, none of which simply scale up in scope, but offer a multitude of different abilities at scaling xp costs. So, if the only power I want is ***, then I have to buy * and ** before I can get it, nevermind that those are likely to actually be useless to me if I don't have the relevant Skill. The answer is to buy that skill up, but if it doesn't make a lot of sense to the concept, something's got to give. And either way, it kind of creates a cascading xp requirement that I like on one hand but the inefficiency of it I dislike on the other.

In addition, many contracts are a two-dicepool where one of those pools is Wyrd. Wyrd is just one pool because it goes up to ten, but it's the power stat, so it's hands down the most expensive ability on the list. Because you're not rolling dice, you're really forced to buy it up high if you want certain abilities to get past one success, which I feel is a real issue. OTOH, once it's up there, someone with a high Wyrd is really versitile in terms on Contracts, but it really favors high XP characters more then usual. At least in Mage, a focused younger Mage who picks his Rotes well is still going to be able to compete (or aid) the big boys with high Gnosis. So, that's thematic, it can go either way, I guess. You can either be mostly mundane and rely more on your skills and low-impact Contracts (Hearth is great for this) or just up your Wyrd and go batshit.

Still, if you don't have the XP to buy Contracts and Wyrd, you're looking at a prolonged period of time where you don't really actually do anything. Have fun being scenery again.

In addition, I was considering that I might not have the XP chops to pull off my first, favored character concept, so I decided to go with something low-key. Kind of an agrophobe who came out fairly rarely (which would explain if I didn't come to game often) who didn't need to be that powerful, but was a bit of an information broker and blackmarketeer who assisted his private eye partner. Autumn Court gets a neat Mantle that adds dice to Occult pulls/rolls revolving around Contracts. I don't like many of the Contracts, actually (I chalk this up to being a gaming curmudgeon a bit and decided to just roll with it), and figured I'd just take what I was given and look through the book to find out what Contracts had a fair number of Occult in the die pools.

Good God. Almost friggin' none. I need Summer 4 to get some, or 5's in the other seasonal courts. The only one that's going to apply to me, at least at first, is Autumn, which means I can summon a hailstorm. Which is neither in character nor of any goddamn interest to me at all. I had to have Brent look into the Summer Court book to find alternate Seasonal court Contracts before I found something thematic and Occult related in their Autumn alt.

Summer isn't vetted for play yet. OK. Great. So, I'm basically just going Fleeting Autumn 3, Hearth 2, Mantle 4, and just buying skills and merits, it looks like, on this one guys. What are the rules for mortal thaumaturgy in Changeling, because that's what I want.

Actually, here's what I'd of wanted over their power setup. Exalted style charmlists where the powers are tied to a concept and have pre-requisites but are paid for modularly because they're often unrelated. Problem - high XP characters are just going to buy record numbers of modular charms because they don't scale in XP. Not a problem in Exalted. Might be a problem in Cam Changeling because XP totals are so amazingly high.

Suggestion 2: Use Vampire magics as a template. Buy the Contract stat up from 1-5, but have powers purchased seperate, rated from 1-5, giving one power of the appropriate level to the character every time they increase the rank of their contract, but allow additional thematic powers to be purchased for a modular cost. This is my favorite suggestion because every time you want to come up with a new goddamn power, you don't have to make up four more just to justify creating a new contract, and you wouldn't feel obligated to add a whole new Contract list in every published splat. OTOH, it's a limited run that's already way, way past production, so it's not like these suggestions are useful now. They're just where I would have taken it. I just think this is, by far, the more elegant way to go. It also stops characters from having a bunch of grab-bag Contracts. You've just got the Corebook, plus a few others, so you can give the nod or stop seperate powers from being allowed into the Cam as they're released instead of having to ok or axe a whole Contract list.

Also, there arn't a lot of ass-beating Contracts. I guess this is on purpose, but I'd of liked a few more obviously helpful contracts for combat. I keep seeing all these, "Let's beat the Gentry's ass if they show back up again." in the books, but shit. They're better off just paying Mages or Vampires to do their ass-beating for them. Changeling gonna get his ass kicked.

*If you want to move up, now's a good time. I'm housetrained and I like doing laundry and dishes.
** Probably no Kindred of the East expansion either. That was a cultural artifact of when it appeared, no doubt.
atolnon: (Default)
( Jul. 21st, 2008 01:21 pm)
I love laundry day. I'm not even kidding. I'm supposed to be scheduled pretty soon for a few interviews, and the Borders interview is tomorrow, so I figured I'd clean all my clothing and stuff and just do some stuff I'd been thinking about. First of all, I'm trying to do my Changeling writeup, which is harder then I'd like. I've wanted to do Wintermute for a long time and to be honest, I might be able to just write up a character for it, but Brent never used is private eye concept, so I said I'd put some work into my agoraphobic occultist/technologist. And you know, I like Changeling, but it's missing something for me, and I think it's located in the Contracts department. I've got some really minor quibbles about kiths and shit, but Contracts just don't seem to do it for me.

Plus, I keep seeing this reference into Autumn Court occultists, but they don't really seem to be more magicky then any of the other groups, so. Anyhow.

I'm starting to look for an apartment, and I'm interested in living in Seattle as opposed to the outlying cities like Redmond or someplace like Issaquah. These places, there's nothing wrong with them. But I did want to move to Seattle, so. Only one of the jobs I'm applying for right now can make that happen though, and even though it looks promising, I'm keeping my fingers crossed. I'd like something like 24k, because that fits my estimates of what I'll need better then anything else. No matter what the case is, though, I'm probably looking at a studio apartment unless I can get a roommate.  


atolnon: (Default)


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