electricpaladin: (Aleph Hack)
As some of you might know, I've been working - on and off - on a couple of hacks and drifts that should allow me to use the Storyteller System for a couple of other settings and styles, from Blue Rose to a dark sci-fi setting of my own invention. One of my goals has been to simplify the system, bringing it back to the basic permutations on page 134 of the World of Darkness corebook. I'd like there to be more supernatural advantages in my hacks that use these fundamental advantages than "special case" magic powers. This should have a dual benefit: the "special cases" will be rare and exciting, and the system will be significantly streamlined.

Anyway, to recap for you, the advantages are:
  • 9-Again: Reroll 9s for additional chances at   successes.
  • 8-Again: Reroll 8s for additional chances at successes.
  • Extra Success: Add successes (if you roll at least one).
  • Modifies Resistance: Reduce the dice penalty from a victim's Resistance stat (or other dice penalty), or, alternately, add to your own Resistance stat.
  • Rote Action: Reroll all failures for a chance at additional successes
  • Advanced Action: Roll twice, keep the best.
  • Extra Talent: Add a third trait to the Attribute + Skill pool (ie. Attribute A + Attribute B + Skill).

What I'd love from the White Wolfers in the crowd - or even just the mathematicians - is an idea of how mechanically effective these advantages are relative to each other.

I know that some of these advantages are situational, or have characteristic quirks. For example, I know that Extra Success has the quirk of being potentially very powerful, but only if the player can roll that crucial first success. I know that Modifies Resistance is situationally useful.

However, what I want to know is how the "basic" advantages stack up. 8-Again is better than 9-Again, but how do the "X-Again" rules measure up to Rote Action? Or Advanced Action? Are more dice (ie. Extra Talent) better than rerolls (X-Again, Rote, Advanced) or worse?

Thanks in advance for your help. I'm looking forward to interesting discussion.

electricpaladin: (Default)
Another interesting thing about Dreamwidth: as they are less well-known, they are not blocked by my school's firewalls. Booyah.

Anyway, here is my first post via Dreamwidth, and my first personal blogging post in some time. I feel under a lot of pressure to make this post "good" and "seminal," to define with grace and brilliance what this blog is going to be about.

That's why instead I'm going to post this RPGnet motivational poster I made about five years ago.

The Others

Sometimes, you just need to move on.

I'm not entirely sure what I want to do with a blog. Post about writing, gaming, and random geeky things on the internet? I do that already on the Burning Zeppelin Experience. Post about miniatures, wargaming, modding, and painting? I think I'm the only person in my immediate internet circle to be into that sort of thing. Post about how freaking slow and unreliable Audible downloads are? Tempting, but probably not a great idea.

So, I guess that leaves posting about my life. Hopefully I can elevate the format above "how was your quesadilla?" blogging, but I'm going to assume that if you're reading this, you're at least tangentially interested in what's going on with me, in a broader format than Facebook allows.

Which reminds me - if I want my friends to read this and be updated about my life, I should link to Facebook from it.

Anyway, the fact is that I miss the heyday of Livejournal. I miss reading my Friends page and seeing what my friends are up to, creatively presented in their own words, impregnated with their own personalities, intermixed with a liberal sprinkling of people I don't know personally but think are neat. Maybe there's nothing I could do to bring those days back, but I can post this, I can post about Dreamwidth on Facebook, and I can hope.

So, here goes nothing. This blog will be about me, for those who care to read it.

Also, is it just me or does Michele Bachman look less like she's dropping out of the race and more like she's promising to bite all those who oppose her?

There is definitely something bitey about that woman. I know that her dropping out of the race doesn't mean that she will stop spouting horrible hate-filled rhetoric, but at least it means that I won't have to hear about it - or look at her horrible bitey weasily face - nearly as frequently.

But enough about politics. What's been up with me?

The last - God, how long has it been? - the last period has had some ups and downs. Ups include my teaching career, which continues to be lots of fun. Abby is well, as well, and I'm still quite happy to be married to her. I've recently gotten into wargaming - I'm sure you've all noticed, after all the pictures I've posted - and while it's a hobby that's possibly even sillier than the rest of the ones I've already got, It's also a lot of fun. I really enjoy the artistry that goes into assembling, modifying, and painting my Tiny Plastic Spacemen, Tiny Plastic Lizardmen, Tiny Plastic Giant Robots, and Tiny Plastic Giant Monsters (TPSMs, TPLMs, TPGRs, and TPGMs, for short). Apparently, I'm even quite good at it, and getting better.

However much fun it is, though, minis wargaming doesn't replace roleplaying. Real roleplaying, the kind I did in college, the kind where you tell deeply meaningful stories. I'm done feeling ashamed - I've been done for a while now - this is one of the major ways I express myself. It's also really hard to do when you're a grownup. I've posted about it before, and I'll probably post about it again. It's kind of up right now in my life, and it's been a major source of frustration.

There are some lights at the end of various tunnels. I've got a Dresden Files game going on - while it isn't quite a game of truth and beauty yet, it's certainly fun and I think it has the potential to become such. I've started developing more local friends (Friends! Dear friends!), which is good, because while I've got some awesome friendships already, I'm also pretty isolated and lonely.

In other news... well, I think that about covers it. If you read my blog you already know about my Summer from Hell, my mother basically disowning me, and my brother's continued douchebaggery. You probably also know that in addition to being wonderful and fun, teaching is probably the hardest thing I've ever done, and it continues to leave me exhausted.

So that's where I am: work is fun and work his hard, my creative life is full of new things I enjoy and all but empty of old things I love, I have more friends, and that front is continuing to improve, and my marriage is great, but unsurprisingly strained by all the things that are difficult in the rest of my life.

Watch this space for more blogging. Let's see if we can't keep in touch.
electricpaladin: (Default)
For Geist: the Sin Eaters.

Can anyone - off the top of your head - name a progressive, crippling, and invariably fatal disease that strikes in childhood and is not cystic fibrosis?

Re: Geist

Jul. 4th, 2009 03:47 pm
electricpaladin: (Default)
I have read the Geist quickstart, and it pleases me. I have some guesses and responses. If anyone out there has also read the Geist quickstart, I would love to hear your responses to my thoughts:
  • It looks like what we've got here is one important splat ("Threshold" - how you almost died) and one purely stylistic splat ("Archetype" - what you do with yourself).
  • Every Threshold gives you your Keys, which are the domains in which your magic powers fall. It looks like the Keys your splat provides are the only Keys you can start with. I don't know if you can ever acquire more.
  • You have your choice of Manifestations, which are how you channel your Keys. The Manifestation of Caul lets you channel your Keys through your body, for example, while the Manifestation of Marrionette lets you control things. Some powers let you haunt the area around you, with some benefits, which is awesome.
  • All Sin Eaters can freely see ghosts (there's a roll to stop seeing them), spend magic points to make even stupid ghosts smart enough to talk to, and spend magic points to interact with ghosts. Each Geist also has a Keystone, which is a magical thingy somehow tied to the life of your ghost half.
  • The final aspect of a Geist, the Geist itself, is basically the ghost from a ghost story.
Anyway, I am totally awesomed out by this game and cannot wait to own it.

That is all.
electricpaladin: (Default)
Does anyone know how easy it is to crush a trachea? Is it possible for someone thrashing against restraints (specifically, really, really poorly-applied BDSM restraints) to crush one's own trachea, or is that something that's going to require more force than a human being can generate?

electricpaladin: (Default)
Mage: the Awakening Path Quiz
Your Result: Obrimos

You're an Obrimos, a theurgist, awakened to the watchtower of the golden key, in the Aether realm, the home of angels. You hold mastery over the Forces and Prime arcanum.

Mage: the Awakening Path Quiz
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

I just wish there were some awesome Obrimos-appropriate imagery...

EDIT: Fine, fine, I'll do it myself.

electricpaladin: (Default)
I have another image issue. I'd like to shrink this:

down to 100x100 pixels so I can use it as an avatar on a play-by-post game. But I can't crop it, because then it would be a picture of the dude's nose.

Does anyone out there have the know-how, software, time and inclination to do this for me? Thanks in advance!
electricpaladin: (Default)
I wrote this one up a while ago, right before my computer stopped scanning altogether. Now that that problem is finally solved, it seems appropriate to throw it up. After all, Mage: the Awakening is one of my favorite games, up there with Mage: the Ascension, Changeling: the Dreaming, and Exalted.

The Game: Mage: the Awakening
Publisher: White Wolf
Familiarity: High. It sure as hell better be.

Mage: the Awakening is a very straightforward and tight modern occult horror game. You play someone who has awakened to the secret of the Supernal Realms, the higher world whose themes and patterns influence this, Fallen World.

How did the World Fall? Funny story, that. You see, back in the day, a bunch of mages decided it would be nifty to reach the Supernal Realms bodily, rather than just through vision quests. So they built a spiritual tower. Other mages tried to stop them, believing that it was wrong and mistrusting what their fellows would do once they had the power to stick their hands into the workings of reality and mess with things.

Well, the good guys lost. The Celestial Ladder broke, trapping the arrogant mages and the humble ones who chased them up the Ladder on the far side. Now the world is separated from its soul by an Abyss of madness and ruled by the Exarchs, the now-godlike arrogant mages who remain in the Supernal Realms. Fortunately, the other mages became the equally godlike Oracles and created five watchtowers in five of the Supernal Realms. Following the light of those Watchtowers, humans can still awaken to magic.

Mage: the Awakening is about being a person with power in a world full of madness and conspiracies. It’s part Mage: the Ascension, part Changeling: the Dreaming, part The Matrix, and part… well, it’s part a lot of things. I think you get the point.

My Will Be Done )

In retrospect, there is one thing I'd change about this character (well, two actually, only the other was so dumb I fixed it already). The rotes Ephemeral Armor and Second Sight are both a little too easy for him to cast off the top of his head. It isn't worth it for him to have rotes for them, and the points would be better spent elsewhere. The other thing was that I originally had two points in Mind, not Matter, so David could "convince" recalcitrant spirits, but I have since realized that you don't need Mind to mind control spirits, Spirit does it just fine. One of the quirks of Awakening - like Ascension before it - is that humans and other animals are made of multiple Arcana Mind for the mind, Life for the Body, and Death for the soul (for humans), but most other things - spirits, ghosts - are made of only one Arcana. Weird, but there you have it.

And that’s it. Mage: the Awakening. I’m very fond of this character, possibly the most fond of any so far. I’d like to play him one day.
electricpaladin: (Default)
It sure has been a while since I posted one of these. Let’s just say it’s good to be back.

The Game: Desolation
The Publisher: Greymalkin Designs (www.greymalkindesigns.com)
Familiarity: Medium. I read the book cover-to-cover on the way home from GenCon ’08, but I haven’t played with it, yet.

The premise of Desolation is quite simple. Take that most classic of fantasy tropes – the cataclysm that wrecked the world – and give it a little spin. Instead of happening generations ago, the disaster happened eighteen months ago. Every character in the game remembers what the world used to be like and is still mourning it, but they still have lots of work to do.

The game has its flaws. It falls into some of the most damning tropes of fantasy without a backwards glance – rather typical fantasy races, for example, and the conflation of ‘race’ and nationality – but in my mind, the genius of the primary premise carries the game.

Another fun note: the game doesn’t actually tell you what the world is like after the cataclysm – the Night of Fire, as it’s called. The world before the Night of Fire is detailed exhaustively, but the book only presents bare and easy to ignore suggestions of what the world is like now. Golden.

High Fantasy, Brought Low )

And that’s it. I’m ready to play in the world of Desolation, one of the few fantasy games on the market today that isn't a heartbreaker, and one I fondly look forward to playing with!


Nov. 7th, 2008 07:38 am
electricpaladin: (Default)
Last night I dreamed...

That I was a night caste solar exalt (this was inherent in the dream - dream knowledge - not discerned from the events of the dream) investigating some place and having no luck. So, to help me loosen up, my Sidereal sent in our unexalted warrior sidekick to have a fun duel with me. We fought back and forth with long, thin two-handed swords and decided, to spice things up, to bet some portion of the lands I stood to inherit when I married the princess. I'm not sure what I stood to gain if I won the match.

And then I woke up.
electricpaladin: (Sons of Ether)
Since my Local Werewolfometer came in at a solid zero (see my last post), I'm going to try this again. This time I'll be better, harder, faster, larger, and more specific.

I want to play Werewolf: the Forsaken. I'll run in a pinch. I know that I haven't got the time to commit to a weekly face-to-face game, and probably neither do you. Also, nobody in my actual area seems interested in the game.

While I've never had too much success with this medium before, I'd like to try to organize an online game. Chat is probably too hard to arrange, and I've already got a chat game (in theory). Instead, I'd like to attempt the elusive play by post game.

If you are within the range of my words and you're interested in giving this a shot (especially if you're inspired to run, but like I said - I'm flexible - plus, I know how the world works; the one who attempts to gather the game usually ends up running), drop me a comment. Let's see what we can put together.

A few notes:

1. I'd rather have a game that actually happens. Therefore, I'm not looking for much of a commitment. Players need commit to posting at least once or twice per two days. And probably nobody should post more than once to twice per day, so that those people who post the minimum won't get too far behind.

2. I'm looking to produce game and character concepts that will work well in a slower than normal paced Werewolf game. It's not that the characters need to spend a lot of time alone, it's that the time they are alone should be interesting enough to carry the game.

3. Because Werewolf is an intense and evocative game, this could be a great opportunity to flex those writing muscles. We're going to have to replace fast paced, edge-of-the-seat narration with awesome writing to keep it interesting.

4. What interests me about Werewolf are the themes of ignorance, brutality, urban and rural decay, mad nihilistic spiritualism, the difficulty in creating a balanced life, and loyalty and dysfunction in groups. I want a game about characters who don't know much about the crazy supernatural world around them and have to figure it out, or more often, just do something without ever knowing what it was they were dealing with. I want a game that's just a little bit gory. I want a game with strongly evocative set-pieces, urban or rural, full of decay and dissolution - a human world falling apart, slowly reclaimed by the primal and the terrifying. I want characters for whom being a werewolf is about freedom and power... and also about horror, about both enjoying and dealing with being what they are. I want a pack that is hopelessly enmeshed, passionately loyal and passionately fucked up.

. . .

If this interests you, drop me a comment. Let's make some magic.

EDIT: and, if you're feeling shy, you can email me at electricpaladin AT yahoo DOT com.
electricpaladin: (Default)
I blame [livejournal.com profile] wyrm_chris, but I really, really want to play Werewolf: the Forsaken. Or run. That would be ok, I guess. It's not all [livejournal.com profile] wyrm_chris's fault. I also just finished one novel about werwolves (that incidentally felt very Forsaken) and am in the midst of another. But I blame him anyway. It's fun.

I want to play Werewolf. I want characters to run in the woods and in the streets. I want the hunt. I want characters to be monsters fighting worse monsters. I want brutal politics and duels of honor. I want a game full of blood and broken bones. I want characters who have to beat up their friends to calm them down. I want an atmosphere of paranoia and ignorance, a World of Darkness full of crazy stuff that none of the characters know nearly enough about - and I want them to have to deal with it, more often than not never knowing for sure what it was they did. I want a game full of magic that is something you deal with, something you live with because you don't have a choice.

I want to play in a pack that is loyal, faithful, unbreakable, and completely screwed up. I want a pack totem with an ambiguous agenda. I want a pack territory full of complicated problems that lack easy solutions.

I want to play something dark, hungry, and angry. I want hope to be rare and precious.

I want to play Werewolf: the Forsaken.

Right the hell now.

Gee, thanks [livejournal.com profile] wyrm_chris.

. . .

Not saying anything can come of it immediately, [livejournal.com profile] ladypimpernel and I are terribly busy - but what is the Werewolf interest in my vicinity?
electricpaladin: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] ladypimpernel and I had a great weekend. The highlight was probably babysitting the twins. Abby's cousin Brad and his wife Jennifer have recently produced a pair of adorable twin girls named Isabelle (Izzy) and Callista (Callie). Abby and I volunteered to give Brad and Jen the night off.

We arrived, settled in, and played with the babies while Brad and Jen got ready for their date. Then Brad bought us takeout (Indian pizza - the best food ever), put the babies to sleep, and left. All we had to do was hang out near the baby monitor, eat Indian pizza, and do what we would have done anyway - namely, sit around playing Exalted.

The babies were ridiculously cute. They're almost a year old, at the sit up and pay attention to the world, loves loud noises, smiles and laughs stage. They were very easy to please (even Izzy, who's the grumpy baby). All I had to do was snap two nesting plastic hemispheres together to form a sphere with a plastic cup inside so that shaking it made an unholy racket, and they were in heaven. When I invented the Power Spoon (sliding a smaller plastic sphere onto a large wooden spoon the twins like to chew on) I was probably voted best babysitter ever. Or would have been, if the babies understood democracy.

The upshot of the experience? I want to design a roleplaying game that uses babies as the randomizer. Just sit around with your gamer friends, a couple of babies, and see what happens. The concept needs work, clearly.

. . .

Question One

What is the story behind your online handle/LJ username?

Question Two

What was your strangest childhood fear?

Question Three

Well, on Friday I asked you what you expected from the debates, so now I'll ask the next logical question: if you saw them, what did you think of them?
electricpaladin: (Default)
Here is the good news I alluded to on Monday:

You know what's better than getting your first freelance contract?

Getting your second freelance contract.

As of today, I am officially contracted to produce a whole mess of words for Greymalkin Press's Desolation. I just faxed in my Non-Disclosure Agreement (ah, NDAs... you guys are going to hear about that so much more often in the future!), so I can't tell you much about it, except that it's going to be full of awesome nifty.

I think my next Create-a-Character Post (it's been on hold on account of a crappy scanner) had better be about Desolation. Let me see if I can get my scanner going.

So. New job, new contract, new story idea... life is pretty good.
electricpaladin: (Default)
So, since I finally just sent in my first drafts, it's probably time to stop being paranoid that somehow telling everyone about it is going to make this go away. I mean, I got permission to broadcast this ages ago.

I was recently contracted by White Wolf to contribute to one of their upcoming supplements.

I know, I know; a lot of you know this already.

Anyway, it's been a really awesome experience. There are people! Giving me money! For writing! It's beyond belief! And how did it happen? Being in the right place at the right time, with the right girlfriend (who wouldn't let me get away with being too scared to pursue the opportunity - thank you [livejournal.com profile] ladypimpernel), and a writing sample that was liked.

After this, there might be more drafts, but I'm already quite pleased. I'm proud of what I wrote. It isn't perfect, but it's decent - and most importantly, it's on time. I'm getting the feeling that this just might be the start of something awesome.
electricpaladin: (Default)
The Game: Houses of the Blooded
Publisher: Wicked Dead Brewing Company
Familiarity: Low, but growing. I’m probably going to run a one-shot of this one, soon.

Houses of the Blooded is about playing one of the ven, a beautiful and passionate people who existed in the time between the fall of the sorcerer kings and the rise of Atlantis. For a while, they ruled the world. Then, they vanished, setting the stage for the rise of the early human nations.

The Ven are passionate, obsessed with dichotomies. They don’t have crushes, they have Romance. They don’t have enemies, they have Revenge. The ven are everything I want out of a roleplaying game: passionate, interesting people doing really stupid things for the sake of their desires, ideals, and ambitions, getting into trouble… and then having to get out of it. Or dying of it. Houses of the Blooded, after all, is a game about tragedies.

Ambition, Lust, Revenge )

So, what do you all think? This is my first attempt at a Houses of the Blooded character, and while I like to think I got it all right, I know I probably didn’t.

I want to say that making this character was remarkably easy and fun. Something about the Aspects really helps a character jump out and bite. And the random part was a lot more fun than I expected. I may sit around with the charts and a d6 and see what comes out.

*Sigh* I really like this game. If only someone else around me did, too. Even Abby isn’t fond of it.

Up next… I don’t want to use all my new games up right away, so I think I’ll do Mage: the Awakening. Got an idea and everything.
electricpaladin: (Default)
The Game: Promethean: the Created
Publisher: White Wolf
Familiarity: Moderate-high. I’ve read every book released, made a couple of characters for my personal enjoyment, and planned a one-on-one game that never got off the ground. I want to run and play this game only marginally less than I want to breathe, but I’m not sure if it’s ever going to happen.

Promethean: the Created is without a doubt the most beautiful roleplaying game I have ever seen. It’s not the best, it’s not the most flexible, and it’s certainly not the most playable, but it is beautiful.

In Promethean you play a monster made out of a corpse by another monster, a sort of self-perpetuating Frankenstein situation. Your goal is to achieve humanity through a long process of trial and error and alchemical transformation. Promethean is about life: learning to grow, accept, and love. And in the end, your character becomes a human being, loses all his magical powers and special abilities, and gets to embark on the most magical journey of all: being a human being. In a setting dominated by monsters and weirdos (hell, a hobby dominated by monsters and weirdos), Promethean is about the beauty of being a person.

The Sum of His Parts )

So… what next? Any requests?
electricpaladin: (Default)
I own...

Four roleplaying games that start with the letter A
Two roleplaying games that start with the letter B
Five roleplaying games that start with the letter C
Nine roleplaying games that start with the letter D
Four roleplaying games that start with the letter E
Three roleplaying games that start with the letter F
One roleplaying game that starts with the letter G
Three roleplaying games that start with the letter H
Two roleplaying games that start with the letter I
Two roleplaying games that start with the letter L
Three roleplaying games that start with the letter M
One roleplaying game that starts with the letter N
One roleplaying game that starts with the letter O
One roleplaying game that starts with the letter P
Five roleplaying games that start with the letter S
Two roleplaying games that start with the letter T
One roleplaying game that starts with the letter U
Three roleplaying games that start with the letter V
Three roleplaying games that start with the letter W

And no roleplaying games that begin with the letters J, K, Q, R, X, Y, or Z.

This post brought to you by the letters R, P, and G and the number 55.
electricpaladin: (Default)
Fucking temping. I cannot wait until I’m not doing this anymore.

I’m not going to unload the entire story on you all (not that I’m not tempted to), but let’s just say that getting the wrong address, forgetting my cell phone at home (today of all days), and having a rep who refuses to acknowledge the possibility that she screwed up is a lousy combination.


Anyway, I’m going to seek some catharsis by making a character. Today is Werewolf: the Forsaken. Werewolf is good for catharsis.

The Game: Werewolf: the Forsaken
Publisher: White Wolf
Familiarity: Medium. I’ve read the corebook and many of the supplements cover to cover, run a game, and played in a (frankly lackluster) one-shot at GenCon.

So, what is Werewolf: the Forsaken?

Simply put, it’s a game about savagery and spirituality. You play a werewolf, a half-spirit, half-flesh member of an ancestral subculture hiding within modern human society. Your mandate is to police the border between the spirit world and the human world, trying to keep humans from abusing spirits and spirits from abusing humans. Your enemies include powerful spirits with an interest in abusing the human world, humans with an interest in abusing the spirit world, your own kin – werewolves called the Pure who have abandoned their role as spirit cops in favor of trying to remake the world as a primordial paradise – and all sorts of other weirdness.

I think Forsaken compares favorably to Apocalypse. Don’t get me wrong, Apocalypse was a great game, but Forsaken is darker, grittier, and more complex in all the right ways.

We Are Forsaken )

I feel better.
electricpaladin: (Default)
A brief Mark update before the character.

Life has been looking up lately. I made a little money doing an odd job at a local bookstore and made a connection that might result in another afternoon of work from time to time. It's no job, but it's nice not to be broke. I have a few interviews and assorted worthwhile conversations lined up for later this week and next week, and I just found out that the Landmark Education administrative assistant position open, after all, and I think I stand a chance of getting it.

. . .

The Game: Hunter: the Vigil
The Publisher: White Wolf
Familiarity: Low. I haven’t even quite finished reading the thing yet.

Hunter: the Reckoning was one of those games I never liked, except for when I did. It had some fun ideas – being one of those people who really sees the World of Darkness for what it is, and fighting back – but it was hindered and diluted by the abundance of supernatural powers that made the Hunters little different from the monsters and an over reliance on the functional groups structure.

Hunter: the Vigil is everything Hunter: the Reckoning should have been, and more. On one level, it’s just a guide for playing ever so slightly extraordinary humans lighting a torch for the good and crossing swords against evil. On further levels, it can be about how like-minded heroes band together against the darkness, or even get tangled up in conspiracies, secrets, and the machinations of monsters, both human and supernatural.

Man, I like this game already.

A Storytelling Game of Light and Shadows )

Next up, Mage: the Awakening!
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