selenite0: (GURPS everything)
Steve Jackson Games has released an update of GURPS Discworld for 4th Edition. It's also, alas, coming out at the same time as the Discworld series is concluding after PTerry's death.

There's a sub-sub-genre of RPG scenarios called "The Last X Adventure," intended to wrap up a campaign and/or blow up a setting. In honor of Terry Pratchett's memory, I present . . . The Last Discworld Adventure.


The well-dressed merchant snarled as the street vendor sidled up to him. "I don't want to hear your latest get-rich-quick scheme, Dibbler. I lost too much on them already."
"One word, guv'nor. Octoleum."

The dwarves of Klatchistan have delved greedily and deep. After finding gold and more gold, they found something new. A thick amber liquid, warm to the touch, which came out of the hole as if under strong pressure. They pumped it out to clear the way for more gold-digging and made a discovery. Pumps coated with the liquid would work without dwarves pumping them. When applied to elevator cables, those too would work without anyone's effort. The liquid would evaporate, but there was plenty more to apply.

A wizard brought in to analyze the substance named it "octoleum" and ran screaming. But the dwarves noticed no ill effects from using it. Experiments showed it could enable carts to move without horses and unmagical carpets to fly. Klatchians eagerly spent their gold for kegs of octoleum to do their work for them.

In game mechanics, octoleum will turn any TL3-4 machine into its TL7 equivalent. A cart performs as an automobile, a carpet as a Cessna, etc. An ounce of octoleum roughly equals a gallon of jet fuel, gasoline, diesel, or whatever fuel is needed. Steering must be supplied by a driver but the octoleum will start and stop as the driver/owner commands. A container of octoleum must be permanently fastened to the machine. When it runs empty the machine reverts to its original nature (carpet pilots should check the level often).

The players find out about the discovery through rumors or the arrival of an octoleum salesman in a horseless carriage. It is initially be used by the very rich and industrial efforts needing concentrated power. Shortly after a Klatchian dwarf with far too much gold will arrive and disrupt the local economy by buying up luxury goods. (Another impact could be additional funding for the dwarf terrorists from Raising Steam, if your players haven't had enough of that sort of thing from the news).

People all over will want to dig for octoleum themselves, as there's far more demand than Klatch can meet and transportation expenses are driving up the price. Arguments over who owns the rights to drill where can produce fights needing PCs to settle them, or inventive PCs could be hired to make a hole.

CMOT Dibber organizes an off-shore drilling effort off the coast of Ankh-Morpork, just far enough out to see to avoid legal complications. The Patrician will offer to hire the PCs as observers on the scene to ensure the city's interests are protected. In Lancre a few Ogg grandsons see a chance to make their fortune. If they do, they'll be paying for Nanny to buy an impressive mansion somewhere. Possibly in Ankh-Morpork, next door to a very old and dignified vampire family, if the GM wants to transport the Beverley Hillbillies to Discworld.

The impacts will be greater than Nanny and sixty descendants filling up a twenty-room mansion. Carts will fill the streets. Special speed-carriages will start racing each other down the avenues as the Watch try to catch them on foot. Suburbs will displace turnip farms. Pipelines will draw protests. Not to mention what happens when someone spills this stuff . . .

Actually, spills aren't dangerous if no one is watching . . . or if no one has any ideas about what should happen. Octoleum in the tank of a mill, cart, or carpet will obey the owner or driver. If it's lying loose anyone's suggestions will be obeyed. Which leads to little boys sabotaging tanks so they can watch cobblestones fling themselves about.

This should all be background as the PCs go through the regular campaign, unless they want to be part of the boom.

Unseen University is investing massive effort into understanding the stuff. All understanding of magic thinks a keg of the stuff should immediately induce an incursion from the Dungeon Dimensions. The deep reservoirs should have been swarming with the creatures. The High Energy Magic Lab sets up new buildings to tackle the problem in (because large amounts of octoleum can explode if someone wants it to). Wizard PCs will be recruited as part of the research team. Non-wizards could be lab assistants ("Wait until I'm behind the stone wall, then push this button.").

The greatest discovery is that octoleum contains living things, apparently the young of the Dungeon Dimension creatures. The fluid they swim is rotted creatures or possible worse products of the DD. And yet . . . no incursions. Ponder Stibbons concludes that the contents are actually repellent to the DD creatures, making octoleum perfectly safe to use.

With UU's admission that it's acceptable for general use even more effort goes into drilling for octoleum. Production increases, new uses are found, and an industrial revolution is spreading across the world.

Then the earthquakes start. Tiny ones at first, barely noticeable. Geological hobbyists are the only ones who see the trend. One will buttonhole the PCs to proclaim his findings. No one believes them until the quakes become large enough to shake things.

Everyone who's been displaced from their old positions of power and wealth by the octoleum boom promptly blames the quakes on the liquid. Everyone benefiting declares it a coincidence. The wizards have no idea, and request funding to investigate. PCs will be wanted to participate.

The quakes are distributed randomly, usually happening about a quarter of the way in from the Rim. If researchers can check for quakes under the oceans they'll find the distribution is quite even around the circle.

As the quakes keep worsening, someone decides to send the PCs to look at the underside of the Disc. One glance at the elephants reveals the problem. They're bleeding, as if sandpaper has been rubbed over their backs.

Octoleum was the lubricant that let the Disc spin atop the elephants. Now that its diminished, friction is building up. Each time the rock of the Disc hits an elephant the surface feels an earthquake . . . and an elephant feels pain.

The news is greeted with panic and disbelief. Some make an effort to stop all drilling, but there are octoleum wells all over the Discworld. Some are closed by mobs or armies but the fluid already pumped out has been used up.

Frantic plans are offered to solve the problem. Some hope the reservoirs would refill on their own if the drilling stops. Others try turning the Fifth Elephant deposits into synthetic lubricant to be pumped into the empty drill holes. The most desperate propose invading the Dungeon Dimensions to obtain replacement fluid for the reservoirs (and are greeted with "No Blood for Octoleum" signs).

The PCs will undoubtedly come up with an even more bizarre plan to save the Discworld. It will fail.

True terror will begin when a nasty quake breaks off a piece of the Rim and it falls into space, lost forever.

Captain Carrot then has a series of tasks for the PCs. First they need to find drillers and have them make a circle of holes around Ankh-Morpork and the nearest farms. Next they need to accumulate all the available octoleum, not just pumping more from the wells near Ankh-Morpork but importing kegs by bribery, theft, or force. If necessary he'll organize troops for the PCs to command. He also sets the Bricklayers and Glassblowers to building a glass dome over the city to just inside the drill holes. Magical PCs will be tasked to strengthen the dome so it will survive quakes.

Eventually one of the elephants can't take it any more and collapses, falling off the back of the Great A'Tuin. The rest follow in minutes. The Disc crashes down on the astroturtle's back and shatters.

Ankh-Morpork holds together. The bedrock splits along the line of the drill-holes, leaving the glass dome intact. The people inside have air to breath as they watch the rest of the world destroyed.

Captain Carrot, no longer of the Watch but Captain of the city-spaceship, sets out to find a new world for the city to land on. Perhaps another astroturtle is out there, or one of the fabled round worlds? Or Ankh-Morporkh may sail between the stars until it runs out of octoleum (cf. Blish's Cities in Space). The PCs will become Captain Carrot's away team.

RIP, PTerry
selenite0: (Battlesuit Karl)
Final edit: Sold to [ profile] woodwardiocom

Re-Edit: I'd put this on hold because of disaster but I'll be at the Ogre Launch Party if someone wants me to bring them along (10/14/13).

As I contemplate where the hell I'm going to put my copy of Ogre Designer's Edition, one thing has become obvious. I have a stack of Ogre Minis that have never been painted, never been played with, and are never going to be if they stay with me. So they should go to a better home.

Sparing non-Ogre players from wall of pictures )
selenite0: (Battlesuit Karl)
HeatDeath posted this on the SJG boards:
Ad Astra Games' "Attack Vector Tactical", an extremely detailed 3d spaceship combat board game (Picture Car Wars in 3 dimensions, only more complex) has an awesome ramming rule that totally solves these problems.

The problem isn't whether ramming is possible: nav computers make it trivial for anything to ram anything. And the problem isn't how much damage a ram does: ramming should usually destroy both units. But if you give the player unlimited power to order rams, it breaks most games.

AVT's [frankly brilliant] solution is to require the player ordering a ram to stand up at the table and make the actual speech the ship captain would make, convincing his bridge crew that the situation is indeed suicidally desperate, and that ramming is the only honorable and feasible course of action. Everyone around the table votes, and the ram succeeds on a majority vote. Bonus points if someone actually tears up.

If the vote fails, the bridge crew throw the captain in the brig and the unit is removed from play.
I've been tempted by AVT just as an orbital mechanics professional to look at how they model the physicals. Now I'm tempted to buy it just to honor this rule. Still wouldn't have anyone to play it with though.
selenite0: (Battlesuit Karl)
Steve Jackson is running a Kickstarter for the "Designer's Edition" of Ogre. I'm an Ogre fan from way back. I still have the counters from one of the $2.95 Microgames, even if the rules and map have vanished over the years. GEV was my favorite of the series--once infantry could fight from cover and make overruns I was hooked. I even sold Pyramid magazine an article with more rules and scenarios, naturally titled "Poor Bloody Infantry". So I'm in on the Kickstarter for a copy of the game. It's running wild. They'd originally wanted $20k to support printing and distributing (and to enable pre-orders). Now it's coming up on half-a-million dollars and Evil Stevie is frantically trying to come up with stretch goals to justify having this pile of money dumped on him. He's got some nice ones too, including a Tom Smith album of Ogre theme music. Which just got unlocked.

So I'm trying to get a boardgaming friend to make time to actually playtest some of the new scenarios. And I've signed up for Board Game Geek Con this year (made easier by the November drill being moved to a different weekend). And I'm coming up with an idea for the scenario contest.
selenite0: (GURPS everything)
It's been 4.5 years since I've GMed a tabletop role-playing game. The skills haven't completely atrophied though. I applied some of them today running a command post exercise for my battalion. One of the exercise inputs was a Facebook rumor that the derailed tanker car of chlorine gas was actually a tank of ethanol, with the whole evacuation an excuse to keep people from getting at the 'shine. Alas, they went into rumor control mode before I could justify sending in a pickup truck loaded with some empty 55-gallon drums and a welding rig.


Oct. 23rd, 2010 05:37 pm
selenite0: (tanking dragon)
The Warcraft folks announced how big the Big Bad of the new expansion is. I responded with a wisecrack. [ profile] amiyuy was amused enough to make an icon of it.

I like it. :D
selenite0: (awful green thing)
Munchkin Booty, that is. We've just gotten the pirate card game and want to break it in. Everyone's invited to come by our place this Saturday at 1pm for that and other games.
selenite0: (Firefly logo/ship)
I'm starting a play-by-post Firefly game on the Steve Jackson Games board. If you're interested, come up with a character and introduce yourself to other potential crew members in the in-character thread. If you have any questions on the game please post them to the out-of-character thread.
selenite0: (awful green thing)
And boards, and maybe a game or two that mix them.

Game day at my place this Saturday, 1/9, kicking off at noon. Come on by if you'd like to play.
selenite0: (Firefly logo/ship)
Fencon is this weekend and I'll be there. Haven't scheduled any gaming sessions, but if anyone's interested let me know and we can probably find some time for a game. For folks who haven't run with me before, this would be a Firefly RPG with GURPS Lite rules. I've got pre-generated characters and a bunch of scenarios ready to go.
selenite0: (worse if life is fair)
Our goal was for this to be a quiet weekend at home, getting a bit of extra housework done before [ profile] celticdragonfly has some downtime so we can relax afterwards. We actually got a little of that done . . .

The fun part of the weekend was having Tom come over for gaming. Probably did more talking than gaming, and Maggie was in as many games as any of the adults. She roped me and [ profile] celticdragonfly into the American Girl game. Not a bad game for kid stuff, you actually had to make some resource decisions instead of mindlessly rolling and moving. Tom introduced her and [ profile] fordprfct to Zooloretto while I grilled dinner. Afterwards we had a round of Race for the Galaxy for the guys, where I proved that getting the right cards in the right order greatly reduces the amount of skill you need to win.

Maggie'd been feeling a bit off through the day and was feverish by evening, so we punted on church. She was hot enough we decided to have her seen, so I took her to the "Minute Clinic" at the local CVS. The nurse discussed various possibilities, then took her temperature, and said "She needs to be worked up." Okay. A new ER not connected to a hospital had opened up nearby so we headed over. The "FirstChoiceER" folks are efficient. Only one form to fill out, and I was still working on it when the doctor came in to see her. Symptoms matched influenza so they did a nose swab. Results came back positive for H1N1. Oink. So Maggie is on Tamiflu and the rest of the family is getting a prophylactic dose of the same. Jamie can still go to school unless he has symptoms.

I'm happy with the First Choice folks. The paper work guys were efficient, the nurse was gentle with Maggie doing an unpleasant task, and the doctor discussed possibilities and what he'd be able to find out from tests instead of pretending omniscience. Good facility, too. Nice mural for the kid room though Maggie was too wiped out to appreciate it. Now part of this is that it's a new outfit so there weren't many other people clogging up the system. But they are clearly trying to do a good job rather than go through the motions.
selenite0: (home is people)
Last Saturday Tom and Sarah came over with their three daughters. This was supposed to be a fun gaming day for the adults but I think the kids enjoyed it the most. They were bouncing around constantly all day. Linda, [ profile] fordprfct's mom, added to the commotion by coming by and giving out a bunch of new toys. The pinwheels were very popular.

All the adults gathered around for a game of Monty Python Fluxx. Turns out Linda had never watched MP so we avoided the singing and accent rules to be fair.

Next we played Tom's Race For the Galaxy. I'd been reading about that on BGG and it sounded interesting. The learning curve is a bit steep at first. I spent a lot of time staring at the icon chart. I eventually worked out a decent strategy but by then it was too late. It's a game where you have to play the cards you're dealt rather than pick a strategy and go get the cards to implement it. I really enjoyed it--the mechanics work well with the theme and it's the kind of building game I enjoy. Hopefully we can do a lot more of it.

Power Grid is another game I'd heard about on BGG. It's one of the classic "Eurogames." Fun, but not going to be one of my favorites. It did give our new kitchen table a good work-out between the board and all the card lay-outs. It ran long enough to overlap dinner, and making room for spaghetti on the table made things really interesting.

After dinner we mostly chattered about plans for future WoW raids until it was past time to put the kids to bed. Lots of fun all around. As was the gaming day we had in January with Tom and the girls. We'll have to have the next one sooner this time.

Gaming Day

Mar. 12th, 2009 01:09 am
selenite0: (awful green thing)
Y'all are invited over to our place for a gaming day a week from Saturday, 3/21/09. This is in honor of [ profile] fordprfct's latest successful circuit of the Sun, so there there will be desserty-stuff and probably singing at some point.

Please bring any games you'd like to introduce us to. We'll be kicking off at 11am. There will be food and drinks, so please comment so we know how many people to expect.
selenite0: (Karl with beard and hat)
So what have I been up to since Fencon? Playing WoW. Lots. There was this new expansion, arriving just as I reached the end of the existing content that had been built over the previous four years. It's good, too. Very fun game. But it sucks up lots of time and energy that could go into blog posts.

I turned 42 last month. This didn't come with the Answer, but I'm not asking many big questions these days. I'm happy with my life. Sure, I've got complaints and worries but overall this is where I want to be--married to a wonderful woman with great kids. That's what matters. The rest is minor.


The minor stuff can still be fun. I've sold three more RPG articles to JTAS. They're write-ups of the scenarios I've been running at conventions, converted from Firefly to Traveller (GT:IW). They haven't impressed the readership--average or below ratings and no comments. This is a big contrast to my first article, "Terran Consuls," which was being praised months later as a reason to subscribe to the webzine. I'm a bit amused by the contrast. The consuls piece was a minor bit of worldbuilding (worldshimming?) and I hadn't playtested it, nor has anyone ever used it in a game as far as I know. Meanwhile the characters and scenarios have worked quite well and entertained dozens of people.

At this point I'm just happy to get the material published. I'd originally written them intending to sell it as a mini-campaign supplement. This went through a few different forms. Now I'm breaking it up as separate articles. [ profile] celticdragonfly nicknamed the project the "monkey." I'm glad I'm finally getting it off my back.


A more successful project was making a train table for Jamie. We've had wooden train track playsets around for years. Having a box full of various track segments is fun for anyone who wants to build lots of different layouts, but they haven't been used that much. Our kids don't want to design a transit system, they want to run the trains around. So they're always thrilled when they find a play area with a glued-down train set for them to play with. Building some loops and having them come apart as the trains go by isn't as much fun.

We had an old coffee table that wasn't being used much. I painted it green with some help from Jamie (he didn't ask why--he just had fun brushing it on). Then I took our pile of track, some special pieces from [ profile] maggieallen, and some connectors I picked up at a local toy store, and started coming up with a layout that fit on the table and be fun to play with. Turns out we had almost enough curved track to recreate the Olympic logo but it wouldn't fit. The fourth design worked. Used all the space on the table, had the turntable in the center to focus attention, and provided another five junctions where the trains could switch directions. Had to take a hacksaw to one piece, and there's a couple of loose ends the trains can run off of, but it works. Had it done with just enough time for the glue to dry before Christmas morning. I finished off two rolls of wrapping paper covering it up.

We made it the last present, hiding it in the garage until the kids were done with their others. Then [ profile] fordprfct and I carried it in and we turned Jamie loose on it. Very, very happy boy. Only problem was getting his big sister to back off and not take over the game.


One thing that's improved my quality of life in the past year is a CPAP machine. I got it just over a year ago as a sleep apnea treatment. When I sleep I put on a mask that blows pressurized air into my nose and mouth. That way any time the pipe would be too blocked to inhale the extra pressure lets me take a breath. So I'm not having little suffocation episodes in the middle of the night and can get a solid night's sleep.

Now I'm a lot less likely to fall asleep in the middle of a meeting or a party. There's also less snoring. That's what we were hoping for. What I wasn't expecting was that I'm more awake overall. I used to need a jolt of caffeine every morning to get me going, and picked a commuting route that required minimal decisions. Now I have almost no caffeine in me at all (I'm drinking fruit juice instead of Coke) and switched to a shorter commute.


I've been having a blast playing the new World of Warcraft expansion. They made a beautiful play area, have good stories, and gave us interesting things to do. Okay, you're still killing assorted baddies by the score, but there's more variety mixed in with that. I'm been through almost all the content at this point. Did the various Northrend quests, tanked my way through all of Naxxramas, tanked Sartharion with one drake up, and got to phase three of the Malygos fight. I've got a very well-geared warrior, mostly because the RNG seems to love him. It's not that I win with great rolls, it's that the gear I could use drops when there's nobody else around wanting it. At this point I've gotten all the raiding I want. I'd like to keep going with one group to keep my skills and connections up but I don't want to do four nights a week.

I've seen complaints about Naxx being too easy for the end game, especially compared to Karazhan. I don't think it's the instance that's been made too easy. It's the power level of the PCs relative to the monsters they're facing that's changed. If we had to go to Naxxramas carefully marking and crowd-controlling every pull it'd take a lot longer to get through it.

What's changed is the boost in the power level for tanks. I love it as a tank--I get to blast whole groups and zip around in a fight if I need to grab something. It's a huge difference from how I tanked before the expansion. If I'd gone into Kara the first time grabbing and holding groups we'd've rolled through. I don't think the Naxx boss fights are easier than the Kara ones, they're mostly harder in terms of the player skill you need to hold things together, but they're easier and faster to get to, so you have more time and energy to deal with them.

I think that power boost is what created the current tank glut. It's more fun to play a tank now, certainly for warriors and paladins. Druids haven't gotten as big a boost but they're still more powerful than they were pre-expansion from what I've seen. So anyone who'd ever played a tank is spending time on that toon enjoying the power. It's also easier for a tank to do solo or pvp fighting than it used to be. So we're not losing tanks to burnout, we're getting back some who'd switched to other roles, and there's less work required to get your tank the money/mats/rep you need to raid. So now I'll sign up for a raid and notice half of the first eight signing up are tanks, and my favorite tank blogger posts "You should take some time off and let someone else have a turn tanking."

Hopefully Blizzard will figure how to make healing that much fun in the next expansion, or sooner.
selenite0: (home is people)
Yes, it's over a week since the con. It was a busy week.

We didn't get to see as much of Fencon as we'd hoped. Having to replace our minivan on short notice knocked a big hole in the budget. So we couldn't have hotel rooms which kept us away from the late night filking. But we made it out every day of the con even if we weren't there for as long as we'd like.

Friday evening we came out with the kids so we could show them off to [ profile] joyeuse13, [ profile] abovenyquist, and Z and vice versa. It was nice seeing our friends again. Z is extremely cute. The kids were also happy to see [ profile] kd5mdk and [ profile] jazz007 who we hadn't seen in months. Our kids were quite well behaved. Naturally they were attracted to the video room since it was showing a Disney production. I wouldn't've expected Willy Ley's Man in Space to hold their attention but Jamie loved it. Possibly he'll grow up wanting to fly rocketships just like his father. But I'll try to convince him to do something he can earn a living at.

When I stuck my head in the gaming room I was immediately asked "Are you running a game?" Nope, not this year, though I did at the previous three Fencons. Didn't want to spend all my time chained to the table this year. Probably will next year though--it's good to be appreciated.

Saturday morning we left the kids with their sitter, the wonderful Lee Ann. After breakfast we dropped off the results of the library purge--nine boxes of books, mostly SF paperbacks. I taped "Homeless Books, Please Help" signs to each of the boxes and put them under the freebie table. Instant feeding frenzy. A polite one, mind you. But the books went away quickly. By Sunday afternoon only a couple of dozen were left which went into the charity donation bin.

The best part of the con was getting to see friends. We haven't been able to make many ORAC meetings lately with the kids so I got to see that crowd again. Didn't get to chat much, of course, since they were all busy running the con (and doing a great job). I saw [ profile] tyledra again after far too long since the last time. I ran into [ profile] jenna_thorn, possibly for the first time. It was definitely the first time I got to meet [ profile] sappersgt. I'd been reading LJ since his previous deployment without knowing him in person, though I'd gamed with [ profile] soldiergrrrl before. We talked about getting up a game of Ogre but never wound up in the same place again.

Not GMing doesn't mean I wasn't gaming at all. A first time player bailed out of a game of a Railroad Tycoon game halfway through so I took his place. The position was as bad as you'd expect but I improved it enough to enjoy myself, going from 6th to 4th place. After that [ profile] bonafidelis lured me into a Munchkin game.

The filk Guest of Honor was Three Weird Sisters. I'd seen them before at GaFilk and two of their CDs live in my car so this was the big event of the day for me. There was a bit of trouble getting started. I miss the Tyras but I suspect some other people were missing them a lot more right then. It was a great concert. The new song from Mal Reynold's POV gave me goosebumps from scalp to shin. Afterwards I got to introduce myself to [ profile] weirdsister so now she has a face to go with those comments.

[ profile] joyeuse13 and [ profile] abovenyquist hosted a pizza party in their room for their friends. Z was being very cute and enjoying the attention. Lots of fun chatting, but I snuck out to hang with friends in the gaming room again. Didn't stay for the open filking, sigh. Having to drive home means you can't stay up until you're so tired you're falling out of the chair.

Sunday we went to the House MD presentation. Writer Doris Egan did a live commentary on the episode "House vs. God." She had some lovely behind-the-scenes bits, including how she won an argument with one of the medical consultants by finding current research on cancer-attacking viruses. Okay, House may not be science fiction, but SF fans love it. It's the only show out there which shows the scientific method in action--collect data, form a hypothesis, test it, look at the new data.

We had more filk from the GoHs, this time performing separately as Birds of a Feather (Teresa and Mary) and the Suttons (Brenda with her husband Bill). The latter thrilled [ profile] celticdragonfly with "Women With Drums." Maybe Laura should bring her doumbek to next year's con.

While saying goodbye to [ profile] joyeuse13 and [ profile] abovenyquist I got to meet [ profile] arthurthedented, another person I'd only known through LJ. It's good to have the real life connection. Hopefully next year we'll be able to have hotel rooms and see even more of everybody.

Daily Life

Oct. 1st, 2008 11:24 am
selenite0: (Default)
Tarrant County called me for jury duty yesterday. Went pretty efficiently. Los Angeles should send someone out to take notes. It was a civil case so voir dire dug into whether people had dealt with renting heavy construction equipment and firing subordinates. I didn't get picked but I think that's because they had more people than they needed rather than bouncing me for cause. The guys who knew something about the industry were all excluded, though.

I probably was a decent fit for the case but it looked like the kind of messy he said/she said no-angels-here squabble that would make for ugly decisions. So the other jurors can be thankful to be spared my proposal to cut the baby in half and adjourn.


Charging my day away from work to "JD" makes it sound like I was playing hooky and maybe breaking windows or hotwiring a car.


We have a new minivan. Katherine the Grape blew a head gasket. Given the other issues it didn't make sense to repair her. So we did some research and settled on the Honda Odyssey. Thus [ profile] fordprfct and I wound up at David McDavid Honda trying to buy a 2008 EXL version. We soon discovered that the reason DMH offers lower prices on the cars than other dealers is that they're not, in fact, a car dealership. The cars are loss leaders intended to get people to buy upgrades, maintenance contracts, insurance coverages, and other nifty high-margin treats. We didn't want them. This lack of want had to be explained to multiple people. Repeatedly. Including threats to walk and the phrase "Other people sell this car too." The insistance on using my own credit union to finance it, and the resulting two day wait for the check, went to the general manager. The binding arbitration screw-over was alas corporate policy, so we had to suck that up if we wanted to buy new instead of used. I'd recommend David McDavid Honda only to the strong-willed.


The Library Purge is producing many boxes of books. Possibly we'll leave them by the freebie table for a few hours then take them over to the donation room, since they'd overrun the book exchange party at [ profile] fencon.


I'm hitting a bit of "done" feeling with World of Warcraft, at least on my main character. His gear is in good shape. I've achieved all of the reputation goals I want. I would like to do some more of the 25-man raids but that's more to see the content than for gearing up. The gear I've got will last a while in the expansion anyway. At this point I'm done with doing dailies solo. The only exception is the Brewfest event, I haven't done those dailies enough to get bored with them. I want to down Nightbane. I'm happy to help out other people through quests and instances. But until the expansion I think I want to spend more game time on my alts.

Daily Life

Jul. 31st, 2008 01:36 pm
selenite0: (Default)
Playtest is in progress for GURPS Spaceships volumes 3 and 4. Unfortunately life's busy enough that I had to bail out from being part of the playtest this time. Sigh. I received playtest credit for the first two (and there's even a small text box in #2 that I wrote most of) but there's too much else going on for me to do any real testing. Part of it is that I've gotten away from hexgrid gaming and serious number crunching for RPGs over the years. Ten years ago I would've been all over this.


A few days ago the kids were playing band, using the living room couch as a stage. Maggie said, "Jamie falls down so he should be the drummer." Dunno where she got that from. We make bagpiper jokes in this household.


I've been pretty happy with the local Pep Boys auto repair shop. Usually. Sunday I took the van in for maintenance, inspection, and brake work. They reported it was ready Monday afternoon. When I picked it up Tuesday the service mentioned "You might need a jump." Tried to start it. Battery was stone dead. I pointed out that this was the same battery that was just fine when they drove it from the parking lot to the bay and did the 40 point inspection. I got a free battery. I'm just boggled that the guy thought I'd drive off in a vehicle with a dead battery in the first place.


My SCA armor is at Pennsic War. It's not mine any more. I passed it on to Louis, who I met at one of [ profile] mostuff's parties. He's a student of Brian Price and needed some SCA-legal gear to join him at the war (they'd been doing historical styles). He came over to pick it up and we hauled the deeply-buried duffle bag out of the garage. I was surprised by how little rust there was, given that I haven't done anything with it in years. So Louis now has a set of half-plate, a light shield, and a pell. This is a Good Thing. It's a shame to have all that stuff sitting around unused, and if I had the time, energy, and motivation for heavy fighting I'd be putting it into something else.

I still feel a bit wistful about it.


I'm not into enforcing gender roles on my kids. But when I see a 30x50 rug with a pirate map on it, then, yeah, my son gets a present from the hardware store.
selenite0: (Karl with beard and hat)
I re-read a few old Heinleins recently. I suddenly understand why he may have thought Starship Troopers wouldn't get much reaction for it's political content. Most of the juveniles don't have much politics but Space Cadet is about joining the enforcement arm of a world government. This leads to a conversation between Our Hero and one of the academy instructors going roughly like this:

"Sir, when I was on home leave my mom got upset about how the Patrol could nuke our country."

"Well, son, to keep the peace the Patrol has to smack down any country that acts up. That's why we insist on you swearing loyalty to the Patrol instead of your country."

"Yessir, but that means I might have to drop on a nuke on my home town someday. I'm not sure if I could do that, sir."

"No worries, if your ship is ordered to nuke your home town the captain will have you confined to quarters."

"Oh, that's all right then."

Kinda puts restricting voting rights in perspective, doesn't it? The first thing our hero saw arriving at the Patrol was "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" From the rest of the book the answer seems to be "no one," which historically has led to bad ends. The origin of the Patrol is described in the short story "Solution Unsatisfactory" and I still agree with the title.


Had my first World PvP honor kill last night. A level 70 belf paladin was attacking the inn in Honor Hold and I took my level 65 warrior to help whack him. Didn't do much damage, but a friendly tree kept me alive and eventually the belf ran out of mana and took off running. I didn't maneuver well enough to stay with him so I was watching him run out the gate with a pack of NPC guards following, too far behind to attack him. Eventually he'd get far enough away the guards would give up and he'd be home free. Then the game decided I was "out of combat" since X seconds had gone by without him trying to hit me or vice versa. Charge. Hamstring. And the guards finished him off.

Note that this wasn't my first World PvP kill. But the guy who rezzed right next to me while I was torch tossing in Exodar doesn't count. He was 15 levels below me. Hopefully he's learned to not suddenly appear next to skulls.


My MS paper on the history of the NPOESS program got yet another piece of fan mail. This reporter is working on "bungling in federal contracting" and wants to chat about NPOESS as an example. Thanks, not interested in destroying my career. I'd be tempted if I thought I'd be able to get across how the problems are built in from the beginning by government constraints. Looking at his prior work I suspect he's already written a story about evil businessmen stealing from the government and just wants some quotes to support his conclusions.


Another fun Warcraft moment. I was on defense in Alterac Valley. We were getting stomped. After one attack on the general I was left the only player alive in the bunker. Four+ horde 70s came in. Charging them was instant death for me, but they didn't want me interfering as they killed the general (which would automatically win the battle). So they started shooting and dotting me. "Ah, it's just a 65, we'll kill him with the dots and then take the general." I just had to stand there and take it, plinking them with my crossbow (no visible effect). While that's going on the victory screen popped up: "Alliance Wins". I stalled them enough for the Alliance offense to get to their general first. I had a huge laugh.


Had an ER visit on Saturday night after splashing boiling water on myself. 2nd degree burn on the belly, nothing critical, but very annoying. [ profile] celticdragonfly's been taking good care of me. A big part of the annoyance is that I'd just gotten started exercising again after dealing with another problem. It's always something. I also felt bad about making the whole family miss church but after driving me back home at 3am Laura needed sleep and I wasn't up to driving.


Jamie's getting better at talking. He's starting up actual conversations. Usually this is a way to avoid going to bed or potty-time or something, but hey, it's progress.
selenite0: (Default)
Last week we were watching Buffy: the Vampire Slayer. It ended with the dramatic reveal that SPOILER was a god.
Me: "Oh, we know how to deal with that. Nail him to a stick."
[ profile] celticdragonfly: "Nah, that only works for three days."
Our handbasket is marked "Express".


The Veggietales Pirates movie is good, the quality I expect from them. Probably too scary for some of the under-5 crowd. Jamie watched it from my lap and turned away during the scary bits.


One of my favorite RPG settings is Transhuman Space, a hard-SF look at what the human race will be a century from now. A poster on complained he didn't like it because it lacked "focus", ie, the set assumption that characters in a game will engage in one mission. (D&D: Kill monsters and take their stuff, CoC: investigate mysteries and go mad from the answers). I replied, "GURPS strives for realism, and reality is notably lacking in focus."


I ran into the lovely [ profile] awamiba at Chikfila while giving the kids some play time. She knew who I was because she recognized the kids. Someday I need to get the church nametag saying "Maggie's Daddy." Not a bad way to be known.


I picked up this year's batch of Girl Scout cookies from a co-worker. Turns out he won't be doing it again. That's a prohibited activity here at Lockheed. Why we can hardly imagine.


selenite0: (Default)

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