About Me

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Seattle, Washington, United States
I'm an old time roleplayer who became a soldier who became a veteran who became a developer who became a dba who became a manager who never gave up his dream of a better world. Even if I have to create it myself.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Annual Review

Well, here we are, surviving 2012 despite the best efforts of prophecies, wars, raging lunatics, other lunatics that aren't politicians, and all the other things good stories are made of.

I started this blog at the end of January 2012 and now the year is over. It's not quite the end of a blogger's year but it still seems like a good time to look back. This is my 131st post for the year, far more than I thought would happen as I tentatively started out.

My most-read post this year was Unwritten Contracts of Gaming, primarily because a fellow blogger tossed it up on reddit. Thanks Shorty!

Also in the top 10 this year was another of my meta-rants, this one on Rule 00 - Don't be a Dick. I'm partial to that one as it was an early post, written in my second week, and I got to philosophize.

My most surprising entrant to the top 10 for 2012 was the playtest report, A Princess, a Dwarf, and a Gnome walk into a Mansion...  I didn't know so many folks were interested. The most commented-on post was Virtual Playtest, although that's just because Etoh kept rambling on about something or the other.

My least popular post this year? Mr. Blue's Tavern Chili. C'mon folks, you know you want a bowl.

The most common search term finding my blog this year was aurumvorax, so that's a fair indication you should use one in your next adventure. Next on the list were virgins and unicorns, so use those, too. What an adventure those three would make.

Finally, a shout out to my fellow bloggers who gave me lots of referral hits this year: Gothridge Manor, Dreams of Mythic Fantasy, and Dungeon Fantastic. You guys rock.

Here's hoping everyone has a New Year filled with fantastic adventures.

photo credit: balt-arts via photopin cc

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Concerns of ancient commoners

While too much anachronism takes away from a game, in small amounts it can add a splash of flavor and aid in suspension of disbelief. It's easy to think about basic survival needs as being the most important to an ancient commoner, but if we assume they had food, water, and shelter, what would be next on the list? What does the commoner NPC have concern over?

Maslow's hierarchy tells us that after physiological needs, next comes safety, then love (or belonging), then esteem, and finally self-actualization.

That's great but it doesn't help a lot in practical gaming exercise.

So instead of 20th century psychology, let's look at more direct sources - religious texts. Religions are designed to appeal to the basic needs of contemporary commoners, so by looking at what they cover, we can infer quite a bit.

Let's look long ago - around 35 centuries in the past - at the Book of the Dead.

See? This exactly proves my point!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Hobbitssessess

I got Legos for Christmas.

My Precious!

This is a great set with lots of little detail, very fun to put together if you like Legos. And if you don't like Legos, please stop kidding yourself and go buy a box of them. I also got a smaller set with Gollum on a boat with the One Ring in some rocks - from the Riddle scene.

Next, Santa gave me and BabyBat some nerf guns with glow in the dark ammunition so you can pretty much imagine how the place looked after a few hours of that.

And, of course, what's Xmas without some cuff links? But not just any cuff links.

The Final Frontier!
Yep, we do Christmas in style. Anyone else have a good Xmas out there?

Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Class Design: Diablo 3 vs Torchlight 2

So I've played Torchlight 2 and Diablo 3 both, like I'm sure many folks out there have. I don't want to get too much into an argument about which one is better - however, I do want to talk about the differences in classes from a game design perspective.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Hobbiton is not on my bucket list

That's right, I've already made the sacred pilgrimage to the holy hobbit lands of New Zealand.  You may or may not have realized that Hobbiton is a real place, located on the north island of New Zealand, not far from Auckland.

BabyBat and I went there a little over a year ago, but at the time we had to sign NDAs that prohibited us from posting the images online.  That NDA has since been lifted.  So here we are!

Bag End's famous door

Monday, December 17, 2012

Cinematic Encounters I'd like to have played in a Tabletop RPG

Go ninja Go ninja Go!
photo credit: Lawrence Whittemore via photopin cc

I spent some time thinking about the cinematic scenes that most stood out, in my experience, as scenes I would love to have played out with fresh dice and well-worn paper.  So, this list focuses on small unit or personal combats only (not awesome big war scenes like in Return of the King).  Also by and large these are just the first things that came to mind, so I might have missed some great ones.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Design Good, Design Bad

With many creative endeavors, sometimes it is good to let a few ideas simmer for a while, and reduce them into a more tasty substance.

Phoenix RPG has a lot of great things going for it so far, and the simmer time has helped me isolate those things that work well, from the things that probably definitely need more work.

Here are some of my high-level notes so far.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Resolving Interference

Well, my day job has been preventing me from working on my gaming and blogging.  So, I am doing what any sane person would do.

I quit that day job.

Now I can spend lots of time playing with my toys.

photo credit: Brother O'Mara via photopin cc

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