Wednesday, December 30, 2009

And what did the Oracle say?

And what did the Oracle say to us?

"What you seek is beneath the hairy balls of the Blue Frog."

Damn! We found the frakkin blue frog. It was a great stone statue some ten feet tall.

There it was, wearing the strangest Haberdashery you ever did see, but what would one expect?

Well, I pulled on my great Uncles beard and thought about this.

Finally I strode right up to that frog and said "What, in the name of your ancestors, is under your hairy balls?"

One stone eye opened and looked at me. It worked it's mouth until it could speak: "It is the secret entry to the necro's tower, now go away you little twit."

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

After Christmas and still Talking

Sue and I are getting through a lot of soul searching about where we are going and what we can realistically get done.

We are having to break up our talks into hour long chunks, anything longer and we start veering off into worlds of fantasy, getting way off topic.

It is surprisingly hard work to craft long term reasonable goals and to work out the co-ordination we need to make it happen.

I feel truly blessed that Sue is able to deal with "touchy" subjects reasonably, however, both Sue and I have to watch a tendency to get defensive rather than constructive.

Are there any projects you folks out there would like to make sure we are looking at? Leave a comment, help us not to forget something important.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Enjoy, Celebrate and think well of your fellow man.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Silence it is.

I have just realized that I have many thoughts which should not be exposed to the world in general. Some days those are the only thoughts floating around in what I call my mind. Like today.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Snow, Talking, Planning, and a little more.

Well, we finally have some actual snow, maybe the grass will quit growing now. I disappointed the local shoveling kids by doing my own driveway and walk. I counted it as my first morning work out.

Starting Thursday Sue and I began looking back at last year and forward to next year. We have a good deal of organizational work to do. We have gotten better at coordinating our work, but we both need work in that area. We can look at our successes and, ummm, errors, and work out a better way. We get better at it every year.

We are also working out a DS production schedule. It is tricky because we have to carve out the art time way ahead so it fits into her commission schedule as well. We are looking over the card submissions from our players. Most of the years new cards will come from what you folks submitted to the DS Beta blog. The pickings are thin this year, but what can we do. In the next two weeks we will have the rough outlines of our years releases in place so we know how the time allocation works out.

We are also looking at doing a good number of the Deluxe cards in the new standard card sets. We will be looking them over and trying to divide them up, as best we can. We will need to add a few new cards into the mix to make 9 and 18 card sets that make sense.

We are thinking that with new cards we can do more mixing and matching as we release new sets. I am not sure how people will react to that, but this is all new for us, so we will be trying several different directions to see what works and what does not.

Pre-ordering upcoming standard card sets is going to need a system to maintain. I know what to do to make it work, but that will require new software. *sigh* Something new to remember how to use, and of course, it has changed just a little in the past 15 years. The theory is the same, but the tools have changed.

There are a number of projects we want to do and a number we have to do. The trick of balancing them will be fun to work out.

Strangely I am looking forward to some serious head banging with Sue over many issues. I am just glad that neither of us are terribly thin skinned, we work well together. She is just too cool!

OK, off to work, or play, or housework. We shall see.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Lovely Day, Just a dusting of Snow and all is a dirty white.

I went out this morning with Mocha and we pretended we were shoveling snow, but with an accumulation of an 1/8th of an inch it was just to do it.

North of here they got real snow. South, snow. East and West, snow. Even the snow stays away from Flint. It is, however, cold, so we did not miss everything. I guess it is time to put away the swim suits.

I am working on Blind Fighting rules for Crypt Crawl. They should also be useable in DS, although I will leave that for others to test. The players were just plain thrilled to be experimenting on these rules. OK, Little Harry was not so thrilled. He awoke in the Vat after his death. Luckily the other characters did grab his body with stuff on it as they ran from the scene. That means he keeps his stuff and they have a body to put in his second grave. The ceremonies were wonderful. Even Little Harry, there for his own burial, had a tear in his eye.

OK, shipping to do.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Morning Exercise, Routines and Depressions

I have spent most of the past week in a depression, you know, that feeling that nothing is going to work out. It tries to get you to sit on your butt, eat and do nothing. Which brings on the nothing works ending. I do not know why this is going on and I really do not care what causes it.

I have forced myself to get work done and move on. Still depressed. So, I have decided that this is the time to add an exercise routine at least twice a day. May as well have a reason for being depressed. As they say "The beatings will continue until moral improves."

Have a good Day!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

OK. I have been quiet.

I have been a bad boy. No blogs for a few days. I'll do better, really.

We are finally getting caught up with our set printer. The last sets got here late friday, so the backorders will ship Monday. I need to create an inventory system for these as there are some timing issues I need to work out. The easiest way will be to use the PayPal inventory function on line. The trick will be that whenever we have mail-orders or Con sales I will have to go on-line afterwards and adjust the inventory, that will be an extra step. If I kept the inventory in-house I would have to adjust that inventory every time there was an on-line sale, so there really is not a better way. Plus you would see on the on-line order that it was out-of-stock. I can even have the paypal system e-mail us when we get low. Now, I need to do a full inventory and get it done.

I got a lot of work done on Susan's new site using CSS etc. I got 150+ pages completed this week. A lot of time used up, but I am happy with how it is going. I am also redoing the art pictures to include keywords and all of that happy stuff. Once I get this done I can also use it as a crude way of checking our convention print books and keeping them up to date.

The big mission for our saturday off is going to be finding out about Shirataki noodles. Soluble fiber, no carbs or calories. We need a sample to try out. Interesting looking stuff. I'll let people know what we think about it, especially the taste, if anyone wants to know. These people sell the stuff, so they have to be eyed skeptically, but they do link to a good number of external studies.

Well, that is it for now.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Monday Morning The Vat was just fine. Reloaded.

We had a good Thanksgiving. Both of our families were dealt with without any violence. My family can be particularly difficult, but they were good.

With the ongoing changes in search engine tech it is time for me to begin recoding our websites with CSS and html 5 compatability. For years I have just been wedging stuff into the sites wherever I can make it go. The web maintenance end of this operation is really nearly a full time job in itself. I am going to start with the Art by SVC site. I am focusing on getting templates in place so I can build the site faster and be able to add to it with more ease. I also want to make our Google Ads, Stevia, Apple and PetSmart ads fit in better. We make very little from them but it does pay our webserver fees in the fall. Every little bit helps.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Susan's Black Friday Sale Experiment.

Dragon Storm Booster ten packs $125.00 each.

The Order Page is right here. Check it out.

Twelve different 5x7 unmatted prints at $6.00 each

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Good Morning! We started talking already.

Sue is relaxing, the foot rubs, breakfast in bed, forced exercise and more are having a positive effect. Mocha and Mac are assisting in their own ways. Mocha is taking Sue for walks and Mac is forcing Sue to sit by pinning her in a chair. It does not get any better than that.

We started talking about the publishing issues facing us. The only really firm thought we have is that some projects will have to be classified as "tinker" projects. That means giving them a very low priority and to avoid feeling bad if they do not get done. Good start. Next we need to create a full list of the projects and evaluate each.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Relax and Contemplate

We have finally exited the hectic, for us, nine months of the year. I am taking some time to pamper my Sue, and once she is relaxed we will take a look back at the past season and begin looking at what we can do in the coming 2010 season. The year has been a treat for us. Sure there were some rough spots, but that is what makes life interesting.

I have managed to do about half of what I wanted to in 2009. And even then I was too often forced to finish projects with more haste than would be prudent.

It seems to me that I am going to have to look over all of the projects and determine which to get done this next year and which we put off to 2011, or even later. We have an art business, game business, broadcast business, programming business and web business to look at. Each could easily consume all of our time. Sometimes by spreading ourselves over such a territory we do not meet our own standards, yet each has a place in paying the bills. If we drop one will we replace the lost income by refocusing our thinking? That is a tough question to answer.

Oddly, I am looking forward to the next year of work, even if we continue to be Jacks-of-all-trades.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sue is safe at home!

Mocha is dancing, Mac is singing and I am grinning! Night All!

Sunday Morning

Saturday at MWFF went good for Sue. She sounded both cheerful and tired last night. She is spending nights doing commissions and tagging on a couple of hours sleep, then back to the dealers room. I am hoping she can drive home tonight at the end of the Con. I want to see her.

I am continuing to build the resources for scenario and town building for the Go Time/Crypt Crawl system. I keep getting ideas as I work, so I have started on an article of when a GM really should and should not call for a contest roll. I know most of our GM's have this knowledge already, but some are confused by the question.

I am working on a new Con List page for next year. I will be adding it soon.

Mocha has just come up to let me know I need a walk...

Saturday, November 21, 2009

I can not help myself

Sometimes the Onion has an interesting take on life, and the world around us. So, here is a link:

Area Man Passionate Defender Of What He Imagines Constitution To Be

Good Morning! and a few other thoughts.

I heard from Sue late last night and she is happy with the responses of patrons at Midwest Furfest. It is going very well.

For myself I am finally beginning to enjoy this "lonely" time. It takes me a couple of days to adjust. I have done a lot of reading the last couple of days and it has brought me to think about writing a couple of articles.

One is on the handling of "clues" when running RPG games. I would argue that clues come in two flavors: necessary and luxury. Some clues are essential to the success of the party. These clues need to be delivered by the GM. That means that the characters must get the necessary clues by using their skills, no matter what the dice say. They need to be able to read the sign, or find the notes, or solve the puzzle. The luxury clues can be missed, they are not essential, just nice to have.

I think that I need a way in the adventures I am working on to let the GM know which clues are necessary. I think that having a "Clue" section on the encounter form would give a place to point out the clues. I have just skipped over to my format for encounters and rooms and done some work on it. The sections of a Crypt Crawl/Go Time encounter sheet now look like this:

1. Quick Looks: (Things the players see without a contest.)

2. Hidden Sights: (Things the players note with a contest.)

3. The Story Here: (To help the GM role-play the encounter.)

4. Clues: (Information necessary for the players to acquire.)

5. Traps: (Natural dangers and set dangers that can hurt the characters.)

6. The Opposition: (The opposition is to be overcome by combat or role-playing.)

7. The Friendlies: (The potential friendlies involved.)

8. Obvious Treasure: (Right out in the open, no roll needed.)

9. Found Treasure: (Hidden treasures, roll needed to find.)

10. Special Treasures: (Treasures that have a special significance, such as Relics. Easy to find.)

Everything takes more time to do than one expects. Writing, in particular, may go easily or it may fight back. Sometimes I spend hours on a short work and other times it seems to flow. I am never sure when to "give up" and move on, returning to the pieces I am stuck on later.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday, Alone and Wondering

I have started going through my traditional morning wake up sequence, but it does not have that "something" that makes it enjoyable. It is all different when Sue is not here to drink coffee with me.

I tried moving the alarms from 8am to 7am. Life has started making 11 am a time to be moving. (I know, too early for humans to be moving rationally.) My first attempt saw me sleeping right through the alarms. My eyes came open at about 9:30. This may not be as easy as it seems.

As usual my mind in the morning is swimming with ideas of what to do and I am having trouble catching one of the ideas to focus on. I think I will start with a small Crypt Crawl idea. I really need to formalize the Terrible Two charts I have wandering around on scraps of paper. Then I will get the new Storm Howler artwork available as prints on Etsy.

I have not heard from Sue yet. I need more coffee. I will write more later.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Sue is safe at MWFF

I have heard from Sue. She has checked into the hotel. She will set up in the morning for the Con.

As for me, freedom has gone to my head and I have laid around all day. Ahh, well, maybe I will work yet tonight, but I think not.

Sue is on her way to Midwest FurFest!

Sue has just hit the road to travel to Midwest Furfest in Riverwoods Illinois. I have turned out most of the house lights, set the coffee maker to just one mug at a time, and I guess I am ready for this. I'll worry about her. I know she is perfectly capable, but the macho in me still worries, I can not help it.

It was interesting getting ready for this one. Sue's mother has needed some TLC and Sue has pitched in, while trying to get everything done for the Con. My mother needed help Tuesday and that took out most of the day for me. Despite all of the extra going's on I think she is ready, but it has been a long week for both of us.

With Sue on the road I am going party by getting caught up on a lot of work that needs to be done.

Now, I am going to get some more coffee, take a deep breath, and plan my days.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Monday Morning, clear, sharp day.

It looks like Sue and I have more laundry to dirty than I thought. Now that I have soap I have started a serious campaign to get caught up. I did four loads yesterday and I have a load in now. There is still at least one more to go. sheesh. I have developed the habit of washing dishes daily to a point where I am keeping up. Now I am trying to do it twice a day, just to make each quicker.

I ordered and got new socks for us. Two pairs of wonderful winter socks and six pairs of work socks. I also picked up four leg warmers. These babies are organic cotton socks and they feel sweet. I am going to order more of the winter socks now that we have put them on. For the winter we have set the house temperature to 57-58 degrees to cut the bills. We will need some warmth in the clothing.

I am doing better at keeping up with the Etsy art shop and the result is immediate. *sigh* I almost wish working on it did not create orders.

When it gets warm today I need to get outside and spray our ever present box elder beetles. I still need to get to the leaves in the yard. Did not do it yesterday. Most are at the road, but I need them well out in the street for the city pick-up. If I am too slow I will have to bag the rest.

Sue completed another painting yesterday, a commission, It looks good to me.

I have started keeping track of my calorie intake. Obviously I like good food way too much. I am actually doing the the tracking in a diary folder I set up in Yojimbo. That is where I am typing this. I have eating and herbs taken down the page from here. I will not inflict those on you. I am having my second mug of coffee without cream. Cream in coffee is 60 calories. Plus, the Ahab's Revenge tastes good without extras. The cream is a nice topper, but not essential. Yes, I use real heavy cream in the coffee, not half and half. Cream tastes better.

My job today will be to run support for Sue and to prep for the Con. I have much other work to do, but it is slipping into the weekend while Sue is gone.

Now I need to go rouse the pretty lady and get her going. She is having a hard time getting up this morning.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sunday, not a day of rest.

Sue has just left for her mothers. Her mother called and is stuck in bed. It is the back problem. Looks like her mother has a herniated disk. They are trying to decide what to do about it.

I have reset my phone until feb. My Virgin Mobile phone may be rather a poor tool, but it is on pay-as-you-go so it costs me $100.00 a year. I just don't use the phone much. My computer has mostly replaced a hand held phone for me. A Smartphone would get more use, but not as a phone. A good smartphone would take some pressure off of my computer, but the contract price is a problem. Maybe the answer is something like an ipod touch. I can see that Sue's phone is an asset in work and seeing empirical evidence of the business value is better than reading an opinion. I have a problem with the reviews on the iphone/touch. Most reviewers seem to be either apple haters who do not use the iphone, or apple lovers who can not see the flaws. The difficulty is sorting them out. Leo Laporte is an interesting one. He like the iphone, but wants better. He buys every iphone killer. Takes two days to learn it. Spends a week singing the new phones greatness, then returns to the iphone due to the new phones problems.

Looks like it will be a fractured day for me. Sue is being forced to "bounce" around today and it is goining to be a pain in the butt for her. I will need to run back-up for her. She has another painting to finish before Midwest Furfest. I am going to have to stick to simple work. I will not be able to become too engrossed in any project.

I just got the Shards of Honor Audiobook by Lois McMaster Bujold. The narrator is Grover Gardner. Just starting to listen to it. Since I will be bouncing to help Sue, I will have to listen to it a couple of times to actually "hear" it all. I find that it takes me several times listening to get most of a book. Even books I have heard a dozen times (Like the Rex Stout books) still have some surprises in them.

I have a good pile of work in front of me. I finally got out and acquired laundry soap. Dishes are calling. I also got new vaccum bags, so that job is up. I had new DS cards at PentaCon that are still not up on the web. The Crypt Crawl Village and adventures are still calling me. Sue needs inventory/printing done for Con. Etsy needs maintenence. Leaves need to be in the street for city pick-up. The subjects for podcasts keep swimming through my mind, I just do not know how to make the time for them.

I have started a journal/diary in the Yojimbo to try to watch my eating and health.

With just three cups of coffee in me, I think I need to attack the kitchen, make coffee and do dishes. I will see at the end of the day how much I can get done.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Saturday is here. No surprise in that.

Sue and I have already been talking about politics, the world, the future. No answers were forthcoming, but sometimes it helps just to talk.

Interesting articles on "flash" memory ideas. My interpretation is that Trauma causes the memories of the traumatic experience to be created using the emotional side of the mind. Those memories are powerful and persistent. They are also usually wrong in the details, or totally false, it is not the emotions job to be logical or reasonable. It would explain why accident viewers disagree on what they saw. This is also used by con men who take a piece of data out of context and shout it loud. They cause Trauma and false powerful memories.

I will not go into examples, but I will say that we need to look carefully at our own memories and rationally modify them with the actual facts. That means researching the original information rather than accepting the words of some strange "expert". Whenever people quote a second source I feel the need to actually look up the original quote to see what the original speaker was actually talking about. I expect people to mold their words to their own perspective, whether they mean to or not.

Friday, November 13, 2009

New Wolf art is on the way.

Sue has just turned over a new wolf painting she has completed to me for scanning and prep for printing. I am liking what I see here. Scanning and assembling large paintings is something that I set aside a good deal of time for. If everything goes well the job is done in an hour, but if it turns weird on me it can take several hours and be a whole day job. I just never know. This one will start as four scans.

Yesterday was one of those days. A bunch of trifling "stuff" kept coming up and I let it get under my skin. I always waste a lot of time once I become agitated. I need to learn better self control. Oh well, too busy learning other new tricks.

I did get a new Crypt Crawl RPG item sheet completed. This one has several items that are used with the animals I have been putting up on the blog. Now that I have all of the pieces ready I can go through and do the Beastmaster cards. (Thought pops into head. Excuse me, but I need bandages on the next sheet.) OK, back, bandages they will be on item sheet 2015.

I have found that once I have 12 or more programs running, on 8 different desktops, my portable starts to slow down visibly. I suppose the two screens and two printers do not help any. I usually end up adding programs as I work, like working on this and skipping to bandages. Right now I am at 14 programs running. I am wondering if I can set up an old machine with skype/canary/chat. I will need to look into that.

I have started slow cooking some chicken. Sue will make chicken soup tomorrow. Then we can have chicken meals sunday and monday.

Enough of this, on to other work.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The morning routine.

It is a good thing that I have a lot of coffee as I wake up. Since I am never sure what to post, I am going to do my morning routine. This is partially for you readers and partially to help me remember what I am supposed to do.

start e-mail, respond or act as necessary. (I immediately post card ideas for the DS blog from our e-mail links on the card submissions page, etc.).

Start Skype, check for messages, check open conversations for new comments. (My skype is markeharmon if you want to contact me that way.)

Open ichat for our internal communications and aim contacts (AIM is

start Netnewswire. This checks for blog updates. several game blogs, DS people I know who have revealed they have a blog. I also pick up the science channels and blog news. Sometimes I get bogged down here. (Did you know that some frogs can cross species breed? Neither did I. A little Dragon's Blood in them maybe?)

start ical calendar to see what is on the menu for today.

Start Canary, my simple Twitter app. Check local flint news. (My Twitter is markellisharmon)

start itunes a set it to pick up new podcasts.

start Awaken and set daily alarms.

Fire up Yojimbo, good program for holding snippets etc.

Check for on-line orders, print and pull them.

Log into Etsy to update and check for patron conversations. Did a renewal too.

During this process I get Sue here coffee, make breakfast, get herbs in us.

(Herbs are a side effect of being uninsured. As self employed our last estimate for a decent plan was $14,400.00 per year. It has not gone down.)

Do a few minutes of work out. Making time for this is difficult, I skip it way too often.

Walk Mocha. She needs a short trip outside in the morning. Check her food, water and emergency pee pads. (She uses the pads occasionally if we don't respond properly. It is all our fault, of course.) Then I take a few minutes and explain to Mocha everything she needs to get done during the day. While she may not be very efficient with her assignments, she provides a great excuse for why "stuff" did not get done.

Finally I open MarsEdit and write a pithy blog post on one, or more, blogs, which is what I am doing now. And, I am doing it now to avoid doing the dishes *sigh* I doubt that is going to work, I can not make excuses forever. Besides, Sue likes to cook in a clean kitchen. I clean it and she cooks in it. Good deal really. Ahhh, I need more coffee, that will buy me a couple more minutes.

Pulled orders, need to pack them. Sipping coffee. A moment to relax.

It has now been four hours since starting today. Dishes are still staring at me. I see that the garbage needs dealing with and that I am out of vacuum bags.

For the rest of my day I have a shopping trip to do and I want to spend a good amount of time working on the Whispering Village for Crypt Crawl. I still have a lot of web updates for DS, so I will "break" by doing some of that. Now I will post this and get to work. Time for a second work out stint.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Home Again, Home Again

We are safe and sound back in the Secret Clanhold. The quiet hallways and rooms seem, somehow, almost dangerous. Hopefully the Pylos Agents lost our scent and went off to Disney World. That should take care of them.

Taking today off, obviously the mind has not arrived back yet.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sunday Morning at PentaCon

Here we are, Sunday morning and I am considering the effects of keeping the same body for all of these years. *sigh* I think the new one is still on backorder.

The responses to Crypt Crawl have been good, so I need to complete the next several pieces of the game. Converting our experiences, notes, cards, memos and audio into a useable form is taking a good amount of time. The strange part of this is that I am enjoying working on a new game and world. I want to start by completing the Crypt Crawl Animal types so I can do the Beastmaster Expertise. Mounts, rodents, crocodiles, fish, snakes, birds, spiders, squids, sharks, insect, scorpions, crabs and ants should do just fine. The monstrous forms of these would be in the Horrors or Spawn listings.

I also need to formalize our Terrible Two charts. We are using a 1 to six by 1-6 format, giving 36 equal possibilities for each chart. We are working on a general chart and optional charts for attacking, defending, skill use and initiative Terrible Twos.

OK, my mind is swimming just a little too much. Need to eat breakfast and pack.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Friday at Pentacon, A day at the Convention

We arrived at PentaCon at about 1PM. Gaming had started at 9AM so there was a good number of people at the Con when we arrived. People were friendly and it was good to see familiar faces. Sometimes when working in solitaire in the hidden Clanhold makes me forget why I do all this work. Seeing our people makes me remember. Our patrons were good to us today, much cash was collected.

The air in the convention center is not having much of a negative effect on me, so I will be running Crypt Crawl at 2-5pm and 7:30 to 10:30. I plan on running for about an hour and a quarter, take a break and do another hour and a quarter on the session. It will run up the characters to, probably third circle.

Several people here at the con have already played in the Crypt. As usual I will forget most of the comments from people at the show. I am hoping they will follow up with e-mails from the Crypt site about there experiences in the Crypt.

The card sets are going well, but people are still having trouble adapting to them. Several times people have picked up 3-4 Deluxe Wizard or Valarian cards. I have had to point out it would be a better deal for them if they got the standard sets instead.

Right now it is 5 AM, I awoke and now I think I will go get some sleep.

Friday, November 6, 2009

just a quick note on PentaCon

As usual, I am slow getting going, but we should be on the road in 30 minutes.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Wake up procedure engaged

Morning stream of thought: Heat shoulder, stiff this morning, make coffee, walk dog, get coffee to Sue, check weight (yay! finally dropping!), check e-mail (looks like a junk this morning.),

check blogs (Yes, I have an RSS reader, and I check the DS peoples blogs and ours, Hi Pixiejorge, and others! I see you! I just don't respond much, but I am interested.). OK, need more coffee, NOW! Vibrator for shoulder, still stiff, got to be careful with it - card cutting rough on joints.

Sip coffee, second mug black. Good quality coffee. I am cutting down on my cream in coffee.

Considering todays work. Not going to be able to cut many cards, so no sense in printing a lot. Packing for Con, Sue wants some prints, maybe I can get to some of the web work I have missed. Need a DS blog update. I got another Crypt Crawl monster up last night. I am writing them up a little more complete based on what people want in the Monster Parade.

I would love to work on CC dungeon and village, but I am going to bet against that. I need pages for all of the new cards. I think that is 12 write-ups. Since we are doing the Wizard Set I should get something up on the 20 wizard cards. That would be 32 pages of writing... I don't think so.

Time to shut down this station and move to the primary work station.

I am never sure what to do in a blog, but here it is.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Shoulder says it is time to call it a day.

Printing, laminating, typing, cutting and cornering has proceeded through out the day. The arthritis in my right shoulder has begun firing shooting pains as it moves. I am thinking that that is the end of the work day. I could go further, but tomorrow would then be a true pain.

I do have the new releases from October printed. Plus we have new sets 5, 9, and 10. We also have three new Spirit Walker cards.

Not as much new as I would like for DS, but there you go.

What we will also have is a couple of Crypt Crawl rules books, 40 demo characters, some character sheets and a chance to see what people think. I will also have all the pdf's on a CD for people to load them to there computers.

Well, see you in the morning.

Today's schedule is, well, goofed up

I am getting a good start here, but I am, as always, behind. I will have new DS cards and sets at PentaCon, but the restock is not going to happen. I'm afraid that the time to put up the Crypt Crawl beta has already worn me down, so I am not going to push. Life is too much fun to bury my head in work and miss what rally counts.

Had a fun game last night. Yeah, that is right, I played several hours of Crypt and did not work. Experimenting with some politics along with the normal smashing and bashing. The group found a Horror trapping a farm family. They, of course, stepped in and saved them. The family was in general poor condition. They talked and found out these people were tenent farmers on the local lords land. They get "survival" level food and goods, and that is all. Two of the players befriended and healed the farmers. Then one of the characters hired the farmers to look for herb ingrediants, paying in gold. They made friends, the word will spread.

Today I have to go shopping for PentaCon food, cut and corner cards, put prices on the card sets and stare at the wall and think. I have a long piece I am working on for the Crypt Blog, (What is Table Top Role Playing?) but it is taking time, not a simple question. I think I will work on starting animals for the crypt and put that up on the blog. I also need to do the web for the new deluxe cards and the Rogue card set.

OK, time to take this machine out of the bedroom, stop staring at the pretty Sue and get to my work station.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Working and thinking, what a time.

I have spent my morning shopping, laminating, shipping orders, and catching up on e-mails.

In the background here I have a piece playing about the coming Google Wave and wondering how this could be used to run a game.

This thought has been in my mind since I read that there is a whole community of gamers that play on the internet using different communication methods involving chats and sms. I don't know how that works, yet. I would like to know more. It seems like their are a lot of game groups out there that play different and I wonder if there is something available that I should be adding.

Well, back to work.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Monday Morning, not the song I want to hear.

OK, it is Monday Morning a way too early. Having gotten the Crypt Crawl Beta up I would really like to bury my tired head in a pillow for a few more hours and then get caught up on housework. Maybe listen to an audio book, maybe watch a couple of Babylon 5 episodes. I see that there is a Battle Star Movie - The Plan available. I wonder if it is any good. I liked the show, but I am not sure.

Anyway, I need to get DS cards/web done. Sue has sent me some artwork for cards I have not even looked at. I wonder what cards we will have by Friday? It will be interesting to see. Based on web orders the Universal Blood Surge is going to be very popular.

I am only going to make a few Deluxe Cards of the new cards in the sets. We will do them, but I really expect people to want the sets.

I think I will start with a web search and write up what I need to put up for pages. At least it will get me a handle on what I need to do for the web. Then a check of the art Sue has done that I need to make into cards. While I am doing the second I can begin printing cards that are ready.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

November 1st, Crypt Crawl goes up!

The Beta is public! You can find the downloads for the new RPG right here!

I had hoped to get more GM material done before today, but that just did not work out today. I have roughs of what I have, but they are not ready to put up.

The next couple of days will be focused on the new DS items and printing, so Crypt Crawl work time will become much shorter.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Friday, and what a start it is.

I got up, started the chicken slow cooking, took care of the dog, got Sue her morning coffee, emptied the water barrel and started to assemble my morning work set-up. Then *bang* pain in the back/shoulder. Stopped me cold. After half an hour on the vibration seat, it is moving again. On the up side, Sue has started making Sausage and eggs for breakfast, yum.

I did not get as much done on Crypt Crawl as I wanted. After the last couple of days my mind bogged down. I got pics of the dog, the new DS cards and started the mechanical work on getting the new DS card pages on the web.

Sooo, today, Crypt Crawl Monsters. I have a layout for the stats that will allow me to do cut and paste for the mundane enemies in encounters and adventures. I am probably going to be behind on the first adventure and the first village for the Beta release. I will get the monsters done today. Think the adventure and village will take about a day each to finish, and I'm not working Halloween. I am just not sure which to get up and finish Sunday. Maybe I can get both, but do not put any money on it.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Well now, looks like another day ahead

No matter what a day is about to bring, I am always glad to be seeing it.

Sitting here in the morning, cat watching the birds, dreaming of dinner. Sue to my left, her computer working for her. Rex Stout playing in the background. Coffee and smokes to my right. My weight slowly dropping. Yes, bring on the day. The morning is top notch.

Had an organic buffalo roast yesterday. Sue made up some gravy, used a bed of bread and butter. Unbelievably good.

Last night we finished up 25 Crypt Crawl pages of history, background, religion and monster making. I just need to hear back that the files work for my reliable testers.

Today I edit the monster codification and information. After that comes the specific monsters and a good useable layout for the stats. While I'm doing that I can work on putting together the first Crypt Crawl for the beta GM's.

Looking good for the launch, but it sure does use a lot of time.

OK, time to get Sue and I more coffee and a ginger swirlee.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Long days followed by short nights.

That is what life is this week. Long work days with short respites for sleep. Boy am I going to fall down once we get past the Crypt Crawl Beta release and PentaCon.

Right now I am polishing up all the pages for the "Make Your Own Monster" section of the rules. The idea is to create worksheets and guidelines for GM's to be able to bring in their favorite Demons, races etc. into their games. Crypt Crawl is designed to be open and let the GM's see how it works. Starting with this as a concept has allowed us to design the system to be open, and it will be easier to make your own adventures.

I have the first adventure roughed out and now I just need to edit it and get it into PDF form for play. I am keeping my fingers crossed that I will get this finished today, we will see.

Assembly of Susan's Religious Pantheon should also occur as soon as possible. She is upstairs editing the pieces of the world background as I type this.

I should be creating pages for the new DS Rogue cards, but that will have to wait until we get this Beta out there.

We had a great game last night. The new Demon gave the characters fits trying to chase it down. By the time they ran him out of Power who had trapped whom became a reasonable question.

Monday, October 26, 2009

I love Pain. Pain says I am Alive!

There you go. Just a little morning philosophy.

I am making good progress in setting up the Crypt Crawl game, and so far I am happy with the output. This is a lot of material to digest in a short period. I appreciate the help of the testers. I am asking for a lot from them, and they are responding.

This morning I have the dishes and laundry working. I have an idea for changing my office layout. I can always use more efficiency, and a work out. More CC editing on menu. I have the Monster stats in shape to do the adventures. So I need to clean up a couple of dungeons. I can also do a few very short random outdoor encounters. I think I will start with them to get the encounter format cleaned up.

All right, long enough on here. Time to work.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Ah, Saturday is here!

Dishes, scrub hall, wash clothes, basically catch up on cleaning. More CC Beta card sheets completed and posted for testing. May try to sneak some in today.

Tomorrow I will try to assemble the pieces of the rules. They are done, they just need assembly and tweaking. I will do a separate FAQ PDF. That way as people ask questions I can add to the FAQ and do a new version from time to time.

Trying to think out best communication to use for our gamers. Must research doing a Crypt Crawl Newsletter.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I am Pampering Sue.

Most of my time right now is being spent pampering the exhausted Sue. Baths, foot rubs, home made pizza (she liked it!), home made donuts (They are getting better) and whatever else I can think of.

I am carefully going over each sheet of cards for Crypt Crawl, getting the words right and having them checked. The second batch is up and should be working.

We have a Crypt Crawl blog for announcing specific Crypt Crawl news. You can visit the Crypt Crawl blog here. I will also continue to mention what I am doing with Crypt Crawl here and on Twitter, although the Twitter followers I am getting are almost all art fans. *sigh*

Monday, October 19, 2009

Sue is Home

Sue is here. I am going to go pamper her now.

Heliot speaks. Words from an Elder Dragon.

Heliot, old, grey and cranky was overheard bemoaning the Universes fate. "I can always tell a world the Blackwind Dragons visited. Orcs, everywhere, Orcs. How could they do such a thing?"

Monday, Sue is due back today!

I talked to Sue last night. The Con went very well. She will try for a table there again next year. She is tired and I plan on treating her well when she gets back.

It took me all day sunday to get the new pages done for the new card sets. The Tigrean Werecat character set page is here. and the GM feature set is here. The biggest problem with the sets is how to let people know what cards are in the sets. I think these new pages will make it clear what is in the set. The character set should be here tomorrow and the GM set should be a week away.

For Crypt Crawl I put together some more common monsters this morning. I am up to 41 common monsters so far. I need to create some common animals for using in villages and farms. I have the basic villagers done and lots of undead. Brain eating is popular among zombies, but others find it to be a problem. Zombie Bears, nasty, brains taste like honey, just ask them.

I also need to make progress on getting more DS cards into sets. Rogue and Wizard are up next. I also need to make pages for all the sets like the new set pages. It will go faster now that I have a template I like.

I have some deep thinking to do on life style. I have run out of milk and eggs. It is about a mile to a decent store and two miles to a good store. The question is, do I start getting off my butt and walk to the store, or wait for Sue and the car. It is really a question that we all face in small ways. Now that I am in front of such a simple question I am seeing all the issues behind the question. Health, exercise, and world view. Why does the mind ask all these questions, and how do you shut it up? Of course, I have a perfect excuse, I am too busy to consider either the issues or take the time it would take to walk to the store.

Well, breakfast is over, time to walk a dog.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sunday morning and the cat has given me back my lap

I woke up to a call from Sue. She was getting ready for the opening of the dealers room. The con is going well. She has done a pile of commissions at the show and is getting tired. Sleep is for the weak and Sue is not weak.

After the call I sat down to get some coffee in me. I got me three big cups of coffee and sat down to wake up. Mocha jumped into my lap and decided that I should sit and pet a cat for a while, so I did.

Yesterday (Saturday) I did the layouts for the DS Feature set. Our new Standard card sets have to be re-laid out on new sheets so I have to get them all copied, edited (the layout change is causing some shifts I do not like), and positioned on the new sheet. As long as I am in there I am tweaking the cards to try to get larger type on the card text. Anyway, last night I sent out the sheet for printing. Now I need to consider what sheet to do next. I have two in mind. Several people have asked for the Wizardry cards in a set plus I should build the sheet for the Rogue cards. The problem with the Rogue sheet getting done is that the artist has been really busy and I do not know if she can get it done right now.

Better. I just got me two more big mugs of coffee. I am having some trouble prioritizing my jobs. I think I need to start with doing the web pages for the new Standard sets. The starter set (5) should be in my hands this week. We put in some new potions in the set. They will come in very useful in giving a counter to some of the new upcoming Features, like the progressive poison. The whole progressive poison concept in DS has to be squeezed in because we did not make room for it in the original design. With Crypt Crawl we are building it right into the system. Hindsight works good.

It took me about an hour and a quarter for me to make pizza yesterday. I found a good recipe for a single crust. It took a lot longer to bake the pizza than the recipe said. I will need to figure out the specifics, then I will have a good recipe. I am thinking that if Sue can give me an hours notice tomorrow I will make a chicken pizza for her arrival home Monday night.

OK, I'm off to work. I think I had best start with the web pages for the new sets.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Evening is here, the mind is slipping away.

I heard from Sue. The first day at FurFright was good. She will be up most of the night doing commissions.

I suppose that means I have to keep working, but the mind is slipping away from me, so I need a break first. Those layout numbers and letters are starting to have serious switching problems.

I am up to 33 monsters laid out from the notes here on Crypt Crawl. I am planning on having about 60 in the first Parade of Monsters. The actual Demons and Horrors will have Individual stats and they will be included in the modules at first. I guess the monster parade can be considered the "regular" monsters.

I have heard that I should be careful about using the word Zombie. I am told that "Life Impaired" is the PC phrase for Zombies and that something will stop in to eat my brains later. Hah! Fooled them, I gots no brains left! They are too late.

Second Session

Having taken a nap, eating a small late lunch and walking and feeding of the pets, I am ready for a second session of work.

I heard from Sue this morning. The dealers room at FurFright had just opened and she was girding herself for the day. I missed getting her that first cup of coffee this morning.

I have finished the standard "civilians" as monsters. That will help with the final layouts for the villages, shops and other fun encounters. I go a few of the web pages done. Dodging has had a lot of questions so I got a special Dodge FAQ done for the rules. It seems like these writing pieces take me forever, even though each is quite small. Oh well.

In this second session I need to start writing up the different Zombie types. We have a lot of different brain eaters wandering the world. I need to start finalizing the Item sheets and get them ready for the big upload, along with the pages for these sheets. We are going to have a nice long list of items. I am wondering about doing and publishing some of these early. Many of them would work as is for DS and could be done as Universal RPG item cards, even with the Crypt Crawl stats on them.

Well, back to work for me, I will sip down this coffee and compose my mind.

24 hours without my Sue

I am up and moving. Dog and cat walked, fed and talked to. Spoke with Sue last night. She is at the FurFright Hotel and doing fine. The drive was straight forward.

My cookies turned out really good, but I think they are too sweet. At 150 calories each I ate a pile and froze half for when Sue gets home. I need to look into some changes in the recipe, maybe some milk instead of a cup of butter, and more cinamon. I will work on it.

Continued work on the Crypt Crawl RPG game. I have opened a Blog for the new game. This is a link to it and on the Crypt Crawl Page the Crypt Crawl Updates link leads to the blog. I have also started filing in some of the specific sheet pages on the download page. What is added are Info Links. These pages talk about the specific sheets. I need to have these in place for the grand November 1st uploading.

Next up I will be going to our in house wiki and updating some of the FAQ's. These will be poured into a pdf for the downloads.

More later.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Sue is on her way to FurFright.

OK, I am here at home, alone, ready for some partying. Oh, wait, she took the car. Oh, well, I'll just. But wait some more, I like partying with Sue... what is the sense of a party without Sue?

I guess I will get some Crypt Crawl work done, in fact, I just finished laying out the first 20 monsters for the Crypt Crawl Monster Parade One.

I also started some chicken in the slow cooker. I am having sandwiches and more with chicken. I have a hankering for cookies. Can't work now, time to bake!

Monday, October 12, 2009

More done, more enjoyed.

Saturday and then Sunday evening I spent with my Sue. Fun. Sunday night we watched a couple of old Farscape episodes. The best part was doing it with Sue. Well plotted show. I wonder what it would take to run an rpg campaign with the fun and wonder of some of these shows. The closest I have come so far is podcasting.

I have actually finished the web site layout for Crypt Crawl. It will probably still have a few tweeks, but the format is there. You can look over the place by using this link.

At this time there are about 240 player cards for Crypt Crawl. The original DS had 270 cards, but they were both GM and player cards. So, at 240 rpg player cards we are closing in on as many player cards as DS and Kanchaka combined. It should be a good start.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Sleepy me.

I am not sure why I am sleeping so much, but I am feeling better, just tired. *sigh* Such is life.

Had a lot of fun Tuesday night running the Crypt Crawl game. The holes in the game are closing up nicely. We are working on the presentation and wrap up for the rules. Among those thoughts is finding memorable name for important rules features.

The Terrible Two's. Not good to roll a "2" on 2d6. You are stunned, surprised, or just bemused. You will use your actions to "Recover", then you are back to normal.

Streaks. Rolling a 10, 11, or 12 is good. You are on a streak. You will roll another 2d6 and add it to the result. Oh, 10, 11, 12 again? Keep the streak going! An initiative roll of 29 really happens. 50 plus damage in a swing? yup. A defense roll of 34, sure, why not.

The Defensive part of combat has changed in Crypt Crawl. Every time you get physically hit you get a 2d6 Defense Roll. No set number. A Terrible Two equals no (zero) defense... Armor has to be Activated by using an Action. If you have an Active Armor number, it is added to the 2d6 roll... If you use an Action to Parry you get to add the Parry adding the Parry Values of your equipment.

And finally, the third pic from our last game.


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Hmmm, no wonder I have been feeling out of it.

I appear to be trying to turn this chilly, damp, drizzly weather into a lung infection. Getting congestion etc. I have been taking nutmeg for the past few hours and it has the congestion on the run.

My mind has been going over this weeks Crypt Crawl game with a smile. Our outdoor tabletop adventuring worked just fine. The players finished off Mordig's Labyrinth and killed the demon, earning them a Demon Heart Gem. You don't really gain anything from the Gem, but it is a good trophy. Now I need to write up the entire adventure so I can post it on November first with the Beta release.

I just finished the first draft of the next dungeon. I am also drafting a series of "bad guys" to release for the GM. I am going to put each one on an individual page so a notebook can be made. In the adventures and encounters I can put in just the stats for the bad guys, knowing the full work-up is available to the GM. It is even easier to create monsters in Crypt Crawl than it is in DS. I have written up the point guidelines for monster creation and those will go up with the Beta. It will help the GM to create unique monsters of their own.

Well, today I will be slowly working on several projects, including putting up the three new DS cards. I am thinking I will carve out some cuddle time with Sue while I'm at it. Hey, feeling poorly has to have some benefits!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Bread and donuts, let the baking start

I tried making fried donuts on saturday. They turned out OK, but they need work.

Sunday I made bread while working on the web page. I have to be sure that I have an alarm set to keep track of the bread as it, and I, work. It turned out better than the week before. I have started tweeking the recipe. I added a bit of ground flax and changed the rise times. Once I get it working to my satisfaction I will add pics and recipe.

Monday and Tuesday are Crypt Crawl days for me. It is coming along nicely. There will be about 200 player cards available. The religious background for the world is also going to be ready, at least in an outline form. We can add minor and local Deities as they are met. I am making serious notes on the scenarios and adventures we are now running so we will have something to run up with the beta.

I am not at peak efficiency today, last night we had some thunder and lightning, it kept Mocha on edge and, well, she did not want to be up alone... So my sleep got shortened. Oh well, she is a good dog, so I will live with it.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sunday, and another week begins

It has been an interesting week. I am getting a good deal of "behind the scenes" work done here at the secret clanhold. A good deal of work has to be done to get the Crypt Crawl website up and ready. I think I'm about to learn a few things about sub-domains.

I fired up one of the older computers this morning to increase my insanity and the first thing that come up is a message that says, in essence, "hey buddy, there is a server here that wants to know who the heck I am. Do you want me set up to work with the server?" In less than five minutes it was set for internal e-mail, chat, blogging and house wiki. It is amazing how far server software has come since I was an "administrator" last.

Sometimes I feel like I never left college. The degrees I have don't seem to be worth the powder to blow them up in todays environment.

Sue and I are getting to spend a bit more time together with the use of the server, and I like that!

Well, bread is calling me, so I have to take a baking break. I'm reasonably happy with where I am on the bread. I will be fine tuning the mix as I go along. Maybe in a month I'll have it worked out to my satisfaction.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

It Works! but I have halted.

It took a lot of hours to get the beta adventure, cards and rules far enough along to get a fair test started. By the time I got done writing up the post game notes last night I had finished my 40 hour week of work. When I awoke this morning my mind froze up solid.

Sooo, the dishes are done, I tore apart the davenport, washed it inside and out, reassembled it, and the bread just came out of the oven. Ohh, we finally have a new oven, I can bake again.

At the end of last week I installed our server software and got it running. The wiki's blogs, internal chats, etc are already helping Sue and I work on mutual writing projects. My writing tends to be more like spoken word and that is a different science than writing. However, it is giving Sue a core that she is able to rapidly rewrite into something better.

Anyway, maybe I will go make some donuts, all my thinking is done.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Monday Morning and Just Starting

I rolled out of bed at 8:10 AM this morning. Five hours later I have finished my house cleaning and morning home work.

My work plans for today is to get the Beta Crypt Crawl as close to ready to play as possible. I have most of the cards printed. I have to work on the items and cut and sort them all. By tomorrow night I also need to have a written adventure as well. When we post the Beta we will need scenarios, and a starter village, for the GM's to work with. We want to try avoid making the GM's guess what we mean. The only way to do that is to have scenarios, towns, monsters, mythology and history ready in a basic form. We can fill in details as we develop the system.

What it amounts to is that Sue and I are spending almost all of our efforts on her art business, web work, house work, podcasting and Crypt Crawl. We are relying on the community to feed us DS ideas to pass on.

Well, back to Crypt Crawl... This evening I have two hours scheduled for podcasting.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Day Off Tomorrow

I'm looking forward to Saturday off. I am revising the Crypt Crawls 200+ cards for final a Alpha run. I have to have all of them revised, printed, and cut for our basic group by Tuesday. Why did I start this?

I am also able to make reasonable basic rules based on the cards as they come along. Things like Character Creation rules etc. I am also working on the initial village cast members etc. for the GM.

One of the flaws in our DS releases was not enough background and scenarios. Using a simpler system we will be able to make GM accessories/adventures much more often.

Well, back to it.

Oh, I'm setting up our in house server as well. Entertaining is learning all the server administrative functions.

Back to it now.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Labor Day Preparation

Tomorrow, as some people know, is labor day in the US. The history of this day is a little odd. Politics being what they are, Labor Day and the international May day celebrations both sprung from the killing of US workers by police and military in Chicago. Wikipedia has covers the details here, for those who want to peer into our history for a moment.

Saturday Sue and I went out to see my mother. She is somewhat depressed by the death of my aunt (91 yrs old), so she needed a visit. Mom is still getting around and seems determined to stay mobile. She is staying up on politics and becoming more certain that "they" are lying to her. I am glad to see that at 87 she can still recognize propaganda. It gives me hope for us all.

Well, I got distracted, I just spent an hour looking at how to videos for planting vegtables. I think I need to learn, or remember, a lot of old information. The web is an amazing tool. I am glad to be in this tech world. Just plain fun.

Tomorrow (monday) we head out and buy a new stove, the old one's spirit is gone. *sigh* it is always something. We should be able to hit a good labor day sale or two. We are looking for a small stove, there are just two of us. I'm looking forward to doing some baking in a reliable oven.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Just a little difficult to get restarted

My excuse for slowly getting back to work is this irritating lung infection / congestion that is just hanging on. I am pretty much back to speed, but the work start up is coming slow.

What I have managed to do is keep the kitchen cleaning habits I developed this summer going forward. I really think Sue is in a better mood when the kitchen is cleaned each morning. I also think my life is mighty fine when Sue is in a good mood. I have made the whole cleaning, breakfast, dog car, and Raising of the Sue, into a two and a half hour ritual in the mornings. It even includes four big cups of strong coffee for myself. That covers my day from 7 am to 9:30 am.

What I can't decide is if I should try to add a regularly scheduled deed from 9:30 to 10, like working on learning to garden again, or if I should try scheduling work periods later in the day. I know that between the Dragon Storm, Crypt Crawl, Art web work, Web Design jobs, Shipping, manufacturing, blogging, podcasting and whatever else I have my fingers in, I miss too many necessary details. I need to somehow keep track of each of the tasks in a way that helps me catch everything and yet does not consume too much time itself.

Sue and I are investigating the wonders of the computer calendar, and I think there are some possibilities in here. The tasks, events, notes and to-do functions combined as a unit have serious possibilities.

As usual my thoughts are skipping around in my mind, jumping in and out of my subconscious in a rather random fashion. Maybe if I divide the house and yard into a series of five "zones" and schedule one of them for an hour of work each day. That may make it possible to maintain a larger area around the home. How in the world does a traditional "housewife" do it? While I am trying to work this out , Sue is making most of our meals and maintaining the bathroom. We do our shopping as a team. I do laundry on the weekends. Yet we are always behind. *sigh*

All right, enough of this, my schedule says I am working on a podcast, so I better get a move on.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Back to work and trying to keep up

Well, we are back to work. After two weeks of just doing almost nothing it is a strain trying to get back into the swing of things.

I am keeping up with the basic housekeeping I started a while back. The kitchen is getting daily maintenance. You know, dishes done, garbage dealt with, counters etc. Getting this done, plus rousting and feeding Sue and Mocha. Walking the dog fits in here too, but in my groggy morning state I do make errors, and Sue reacts badly to the leash... but Mocha likes breakfast in bed... Anyway, the process takes 2.5 hours in the morning. The clean kitchen routine is helping Sue to get to work and it is worth it.

The second home routine I am establishing is to do laundry on saturday off. I am not sure this is a good way to do this. We travel a lot and once a week on laundry may not work out well. I may have to try to schedule laundry twice a week to cover the "on the road weeks". Maybe add it to the wednesday schedule.

In addition I am using the computers calendar to start scheduling so I get to everything, or at least don't forget anything. Today, tuesday, is aimed a working on the Crypt Crawl game with a long game in the evening.

I did routine maintenance on my portable and discovered the hard drive is showing signs of weakness. With all the data on it I decided to buy a new bigger Hard Drive. A 500 GB one is on the way. The current one is 320 GB and mostly full. I then checked the old portable and the Hard Drive in it is showing serious flaws in seek and temperature control. That baby is about gone. I am going to take the hurting drive and put it in the back-up machine, giving it a big boost in size (now a bad 120 GB, going to a weak 320 GB). It should be fine in the back-up computer.

OK, I'm going to close this out. I am running behind today, *sigh*, I am not sure this scheduling concept will work. My reliability is questionable.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Home and Staying there!

I spent Tuesday and Wednesday just staring at the walls. They seemed to have a life of there own. The movement of the shadow spirits had me entranced. It is, I'm afraid it is a symptom of not quite being one with our physical world, and exhaustion.

So, at 11pm wednesday night I started moving furniture. This drives Sue crazy so she has her fingers in her ears and is saying "la la la" and a few other choice words. I can't blame her, but it relaxes me. Now, where to put the couch...

Work is stacking up, oh well, I'll get to it. I have some creative dreaming to do.

I have a new office set up completed, I like it. This should work. I think I'll move on to some other tests of the space.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Every Action in the game must be accompanied by using an Action.

During any game designed by Susan a Gamemaster is constantly called on to interpret the results of player actions. They use experience, common sense and their understanding of what the chaotic universe is doing currently. Sometimes the GM rulings seem to go contrary to what the player expects. Because this multi-universe is chaotic, even actions performed yesterday may be different today. Susan's rules design creates a multitude of possibilities for every action. To help the players sort through the ever changing universe, we have created an official in-game appeal system for the new games.

- In Game Player Appeal Process -

The player may expend one of her characters actions to perform a rules appeal. The player will state their case as to why they think something different should happen. If other players want to join the appeal and talk, they will also need to expend an Action. The GM will listen to the speeches carefully. At the conclusion of the commentary the GM will thoughtfully consider the players words. The GM will either agree with the player and change the ruling, or they will not. Once the GM has made a second ruling the appeal process is over and the game continues. The appeal is over.

Gamemasters have a tough time in rules discussions during the game. They are usually basing their rulings on factors the characters, and their players, do not know about. To reveal these secrets at the wrong time may well do the game more injustice than justice. For the players part they should be aware that Susan's multi-verse does not have firm laws in place. That means that identical actions are not meant to have identical results all of the time. Your characters are well aware of the anarchy of the universe. The characters are not surprised by the universes mutability, even if the players are.

Obviously this new rule is designed to try to segment rules discussions from the game proper. All Activities in the game require an Action to perform, so we are classifying questioning the universes operation as an activity. If the GM decides in the players favor she may even give back the Action, it all depends on the players attitude.

Commentary: As with all the new rules this one needs a good rewrite. The idea is to keep rules questions from disrupting the game.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Just Try It. A Basic DS RPG concept

When we first published DS way back in 1996 Susan had some basic concepts built into the game. We made some assumptions about how they would be handled by players and GM's. That assumption led us to fail to clearly elaborate some of those concepts.

Now that the modified 2d6 game system is on the horizon we have an opportunity to delve deeper into some of those concepts. As I was doing dishes this morning my mind began mulling over one such concept. We did not present it strongly enough in the original game. We are going to add a new Guideline to the new games. It is the "Just Try It" concept. There are slight variations here from the DS rules, they represent the Tweaking of the rules that hindsight has provided.

In Susan's concept of the multi-verse the characters are special creatures. Within these characters is the ability to conceive of, and perform, amazing actions, along with, of course, the mundane actions. To allow for this Susan created the 2d6 contest roll where the player rolls 2d6 and adds their bonuses to the roll. This becomes their contest number. The Gamemaster rolls 2d6 for the universe and adds it's bonuses. That becomes the universes contest roll. The higher number is successful. If there is a tie, the GM (Universe) wins the roll.

The question I want to approach in this piece is what a character can actually try to do. We have cards that represent many skills, spells abilities and more, in our crpg systems. When one of these is activated the player is going to get a bonus to their contest roll. That is pretty simple to assimilate. What becomes more complex is when a player wants to perform an action for which they do not have a card. These actions can be anything from climbing a cliff, riding a horse, or singing a bawdy song to distract the listeners. Basically anything the players creativity can think up. How do we make a contest roll for this?

To try to do this will use the standard contest roll. The player will roll 2d6, and, since they have no bonus, add zero to the roll. That will be there contest roll. The complexity in the contest roll comes in the gamemasters end of the roll.

The gamemaster is rolling for the universe, or at least a piece of it, such as the horse, listening crowd or the cliff. The GM will have to think quickly and determine the universes bonus. If the action is an easy one, such as climbing a steep stairway up the cliff, the GM may give the universe a negative bonus, making the action easy. She could even decide that the universe has a -12 bonus and the character succeeds. At the other extreme the GM may look at the action and determine that it is darned difficult. Riding an unbroken wild horse is going to be tough. The GM may, in this case, determine that the universes bonus is as +8. A very tough endeavor, but possible.

The Gamemaster has further decisions to make. How long does the action take? What may be the result of the action? What happens if the player rolls a "2" and has a bad failure? The GM also needs to consider if the 10, 11, 12 success rules apply to this situation. These decisions are done based on factors that the players are unaware of, and may never discover. Due to this confusion, and secrecy, players will sometimes want to protest, not knowing that there are special factors at work.

In the new guidelines the player may invoke an Appeal by expending one of the players actions to make an Appeal. I will cover this in a separate posting. For the moment all I will say is that if something uses game time, it is an action, and the GM's decision after the appeal is final, even if the GM says "You failed, your character, and you, do not understand why".

Now we come to the question of how far all of this may be taken. Throwing reality out of the window allows players to liven the game with their fertile imaginations. What if a peasant character wants to sing a complete opera she once heard? How about casting a teleport spell she once saw a wizard cast? Leaping over a 30 foot ravine? Repairing a war-bots eletronics? All of these may be tried by anyone, however, the difficulty should be extreme. We want role-playing to open the creativity, not limit it. It is all about having fun.

All right, now that I have perplexed my readers, that is all for today, I really should be cleaning house and prepping for GenCon, but this was in my mind. Someday I, or some volunteer, will try to compose this in an understandable commentary. Comments welcomed.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Surviving rather ok, as is sometimes done.

I am nearing the end of the Bronchitis, and I must say I picked a heck of a day to do so. The heat is interesting, but the way it is combined with humidity has brought the intrigue to a fevered pitch. Which basically means that I worked for a couple of hours and then I laid down to close my eyes for a few minutes. After the minutes stretched into several hours I am awake again.

I have assembled our orders to ship tommorrow. I have been slow in getting them prepped, but with GenCon coming this week it is necessary to get them on the way.

During this illness I have done little except for picking away at the new game. Tim suggested I rework the layout sheets to have nine cards, because our new printer works in 9 card multiples. Seems like a good idea, and I need to tweak all of the cards after the last couple of games.

My mind has just wandered away and I must chase it down...

Monday, August 3, 2009

Back from StormCon

Such luck. Great convention, but all I got was this bronchitis to show for it. I slid down to the docs office and he muttered sagely that I have bronchitis, and if I take some mystical pills it will go away. I am on the pills. One makes me hotter, one makes me colder and one muddles the world.

I ran Crypt Crawl RPG friday night. The mechanics are coming along fine. I need to put a little pizzaz in the background, clean up a few more questions and we will finally reach a stable beta version.

People seemed to have a good time at the Con. I always like StormCon. It is full of people I like and people who are Supporting and encouraging Sue and myself.

Well, I think I'll go lay back down...

Friday, July 17, 2009

All Right, All Right, I will Post!

I am still keeping up the kitchen cleaning routines. This is not as easy as it sounds. I tried adding regular excercise, but that failed... I have been able to expand the cleaning to vacuuming the floors and cleaning up some "piles" of "valuable" collections. In general the house is improving.

Not sure what I did, but the spinach I planted is dying. I just planted some more to try again. The Oregano, Basil, and Green Peppers are looking good. The scallions are having some trouble, but I think I kept them too wet. I also tried planting some peas to work that out. Not having done any gardening for forty years certainly has taken a toll.

Now, on to some Crypt Crawl updates.

We are starting the game with the idea that card points will cost more as the character gains experience. We also need a way to increase the characters Actions as they play. You will notice that a character (the Tigrean in the previous post) has just two actions. Starting characters gain their First Echelon card immediately, and it grants one additional Action, giving them three to start with. The Echelon card also tells how much role-playing experience it costs to buy a card point. We started really low. The characters should get to the second Echelon in the first game.


The trick here is that a character buys to 25 Card points at 10 each, then they take the second Echelon Card for further purchases.

Now, I better get to work writing the next two new DS shaman card commentaries. After that I need to bathe a dog, go buy some bricks and print bards.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Living is not as easy as one might assume.

I have maintained my housework/organization for another day. I had a moment of weakness and almost skipped it, but where would that leave me? So, in response I have added a short excercise routine to the schedule, now that will show me...

I got some good work done today, but I got distracted by the Crypt Crawl revisions and I worked on that too. It is really getting simple, at least in the mechanics. The characters role-playing experience will be used by the players to grow the type of character they want. We are relying primarily on Ace card choices to differentiate characters rather than a long string of characteristics.

Well, let me show you what I'm talking about:

WARNING! Secrets being reveled!


That is correct, just four stats left. If you want to be a Brawn fighter, then you will just have to spend the role-playing points to do it. Same goes for Ranged and Finesse fighting.

The Raw character has two actions per combat round. Experience will increase that. Most everything in the world, except for pesky demons and a few big monsters, will have just two actions. As soon as the character gets three actions they get good.

Oh yea, each character starts with nine lives. In Crypt Crawl the characters start dead and use a life, or two, to be brought back to life to fight your killers.

The "Cc" in the bottom corner tells you this is a Crypt Crawl card.

OK, that is all for today. Absorb it, consider it. If I'm real lucky I will be able to demo at StormCon, but do not bet on it.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Good Morning World!

Yesterday we took the day off. We did little besides do grocery shopping, spend time together and talk about many light and dark subjects.

Somewhere in here Sue and I are starting to dance around some central subjects that we need to resolve. Fortunately, these are not relationship problems. That is one area we have always talked about, and I have to say, that is working fine. There are, naturally, some rough moments, but we can deal with those.

What we have to do is too look at the aspects of our life that float around us in a haze and never really come into focus. They are always in the "I have to do something about that" list.

To be able to even grapple with these issues we need to become more organized. I have started by the simple step of keeping the dishes done, garbage maintained and kitchen generally clean. That may not seem like an organization issue, but it is. We have a tendency to push everything aside and do a task, ignoring everything else. Both Sue and I do this. By keeping one spot organized and tidy I am finding keeping related "things" organized is easier. It has made it so I can conduct my food consumption in a more considered way.

*short break here, music plays* OK, I have coffee and sent Sue a note on a thought that whirled through my brain.

The second home duty I have started work on is the laundry. We have enough clothes to go a while and in the past I have done laundry when we ran out of clothes to wear. That resulted in piles of dirty clothes appearing in truly weird places. Best not to talk about that too much, the imagination runs wild. I am now doing the laundry on a regular basis, keeping it to one or two loads at a time and putting them away. I am already finding it easier to locate stuff I need in the house as I work. It it not as likely to be buried by clutter.

I am going to continue to spend time in organizing from the bottom up in the vague hope that it will make me somehow more methodical while not limiting creativity. The hope is that the improved comfort may actually stimulate creativity.

Wandering off to a new subject...

I have ignored the new Crypt Crawl game design for a few weeks here. We had just discussed a series of tweaks that mean needing all new cards etc. when I ran into Origins and Anthrocon. I opened the files last night and found that while I had been away from them my mind had done a good deal of sorting and editing on the job. In a couple of hours I had remade the Characters, Echelon cards, and the basic Expertise Ace cards. I also got a good start on the Items. The next couple of weeks heading into StormCon are going to be hectic, so I am not sure when I will be able to carve out time to get back to Crypt Crawl, but I will.

OK, enough, I have Travels of Kit pages to work on, New DS card pages to write and create and more, but I should be done with the housework for today!

Watch the Twitter feed for what I get done.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Six hours? Is that it?

It looks like my body is limiting me to about six hours of work and then it just shuts down. No thoughts escape. The world becomes a blank.

I have been starting my day with two to three hours of home tasks. Get Sue her coffee, make breakfast, do the dishes, a spot of yard work, including tending the compost and the plants on the porch. After that it is noon and I get to work. E-mails, writing, shipping, and web maintenance takes up most of the six hours, and then it is brain lock.

I am sitting here absolutely certain that I had a list of things to do, but now are coming to the fore. oh well, I guess I'll study the podcast performance arts. Maybe I can learn by osmosis, although it may be better to call it learning by "sound propagation".

Getting back on track here

I am coming to the conclusaion that life is too important to spend all of it running from project to project. I am taking this week slow. Time to smell the flowers, stare at the sky and consider the trials and tribulations of humanity.

That means I am working some, but basically I am enjoying the things I have.

Hmmm, my mind has gone blank, so I am off to stare some more.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Conventions, work, friends and fun

It is friday night at Anthrocon in Pittsburgh. The crowds here are lively, excited and bigger than last year. Sue is busy doing commissions right now. They are big here. She has a good number of works to complete. I've bumped into a series of DS players. Maybe we can arrange for some games here next year.

Origins went well last week. There were a lot of DS players in attendence and Russ and the Guild folks did a great job of handling the games. We could not ask for a better group of players. You guys make it worth going through all the trials to try to keep up.

We have run out of sets two and three. It looks like the new sets will be a success. I'm going to put together a couple of GM sets before StormCon. I don't expect those to sell as well, so I won't print many.

The stress of two big cons on two weekends is showing, Sue and I are both getting a little edgy. I guess there will have to be extra cuddling next week to compensate.

Well, I have more printing to do for the morning, so I will go now.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

All day Packing

I have spent from 8AM trying to find and pack everything we need for Origins. Sheeesh, I'm finally nearing the end.

I will be bringing the card cutting equipment with. I have a number of laminated sheets that need finishing. We are also nringing our art printing set up.

All-in-All, this should be both a lot of work and a chance to talk to old friends.

See you at Origins, or AnthroCon the next week.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Basil and Oregano are Transplanted

I am working on relearning some old farming skills. I have lettuce, spinach, onions, oregano, basil and flowers planted in pots on the porch. The peppers are just poking their noses up through the ground, so I guess I have them too. When we ate dinner Sue used some of the oregano and basil in the omelets. Really good food. I keep thinking I need to learn to grow some food, especially right after a trip to the store.

I am working on getting the new card web pages up for people to read. It is going slow because I am trying to get them printed as I get the description up on the web. I am getting rather creative with the card write ups, it keeps me from getting bored.

I have several projects that I should be getting done, but I have also learned that I need to have a portion of real life and porno time too.

We have continued to play the new rules. We are going to try adding an extra step in the ranged weapons that will be a "to hit" roll. Just like in DS the Ranged Weapons just feel to over powering. The basic idea is a 2d6+COR roll versus 2d6+Evasion. You only get the Evasion part if you actually try to evade, otherwise it is a +0. It needs testing, but we will see.

I also designed a sweet mathematical system for converting role-playing points earned into card points. It works perfectly. Unfortunately it is just too convoluted and people are having trouble following my wonderful method. So, my play testers told me how it should work. *sigh* They are right...

Anyway, we are making good progress, and it is really fun. I just wish we had a lot more time to work on it. We have to get the basics working so we can publish an alpha version to the web for everyone.

The Cons, Origins and AnthroCon are going to cut out about three weeks from our play testing. I dream of having a version for StormCon, but I doubt it. Maybe just enough to get people a taste of the game. One must have dreams.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


That means we soaked here and the print sheets for the cards can't be worked on today. Probably just as well, the printer has started yelling about "order Cartridges". *sigh* normal behavior.

On the positive side I can get to work on more of the card pages for the web.

Sue, Mocha and I are busy as a werewolf at a wakana convention. With the heat rising I have had to abandon my winter room. It is a "hot" room upstairs and I spent most of yesterday cleaning moving and expanding the network to handle the changes. It all went well, so I am pretty much ready to work.

OK, off to order Ink.

Friday, June 5, 2009

I have lost my mind. If you see it, e-mail it back to me.

My biggest problem right now is that my mind spits out more random thoughts than I can type, speak, or even make notes on. It is like an RSS feed where all I get are the titles and snippet of the commentary.

I have solved the education system by integrating it into a localized setting with parental and professional access. It also provides neighborhood emergency employment, local broadband WiMax internet and a community center. Nothing to it, now if I could just find the rest of the article in my brain.

Several commentaries float through my mind on the stupidity of how the corporatist economic system has nearly destroyed capitalism in our country. I am amazed that people can't see the difference between our current socialized corporatism and the free capitalism that build our nation. But then again, I am not inundated with their constant advertising on Fox, CNN, MSNBC, ABC and other so called media news outlets. Let the brainwashing continue.

What ever happened to the idea that some features of society needed to be public and others private? The idea was that a society decided what were essential services, and provided those. Everything else (the luxuries) were left in the hands of the capitalists. We decided that having a Highway system was an essential service and made a great one. Now our government is selling it cheap, secretly and piecemeal. When did we, as a society, discuss that? Ah, forget it, nobody even notices all these changes, I am probably the only one who misses the old USA.

Who says I am paranoid? Who says I am opinionated? Well, OK, you are right. Maybe I am the last true conservative, who knows. Conservative Frauds abound, and people are listening to them all the way to Fascism. Oh, well, I am probably too late, democracy, capitalism, compassion and free thinking are obviously outmoded concepts. Maybe they have just been so corrupted through successful propaganda scams that they are unrecognizable.

Thats it, enough ranting, it is late here.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Cool Sounds of Summer

Sue and I have both bought Swamp Coolers from Air and Water, Inc. and we have had a really good impression of these people. We have a pair of New Air machines that we are using instead of Air Conditioners. They don't give one that dry throat feeling.

Anyway, I got an e-mail from them with the terms of a contest. Usually I just ignore these things, but I really can recommend Air and Water. The last machine we got arrived broken and we had no trouble returning it and getting a good one. Sometimes you get the best view of a company when something goes wrong. They responded quickly and replaced the machine.

Part of the contest was to find three songs with "Air" or "Water" in the title and do a blog posting, so here goes:

Candle on the Water by Helen Reddy
Walk on Water by Neil Diamond
Hold Back the Water by Bachman-Turner Overdrive

I went through the artists that I listen to and finding Air or Water in a title is not as easy as you might think.

So today I am doing a blog about Swamp Coolers and I do not feel bad about it at all. I do recommend that you take a good look at the Air and Water people for a Swamp Cooler.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Ongoing work

I have had to spend a few days completing outside work so I have been remiss in posting. Most of the outside work is done on the quiet, therefore no mentioning specifics is allowed.

I have found a typing training program and I am spending a few minutes a day working on it. I guess I'm never too old to learn a few new skills.

I have also added some porch gardening to the schedule. I have Onions, Oregano, Basil, Spinach, Peppers, lettuce and Marigolds going, or in process. Just a single tray or a few pots of each. I have a lot to learn, so I am growing just a little of each. Sue wants Peas and I will plant a tray of them later this week.

Tonight is Playtest time. I am, of course, not ready...

Now I need to cut some cards I have printed and then get the Valarian cards ready to send off a new set of cards to print.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Finally clearing the head here.

I am finally starting to be able to think things through.

Am making an attempt to get everything in hand. I started by listing the Projects I am dealing with on a regular basis. There are 12 easily definable over all projects. I have started breaking out the tasks, or sub projects, within each. Dragon Storm is a single project. So far within it I have found 10 sub-projects, each of which have tasks attached to them. It looks like in DS I have about 40 ongoing tasks to complete.

The only problem with trying to get a handle on what needs to be done is seeing it in real life can be depressing.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Getting a Start

I am just about finished paying the penalty for our road trip. The headache has moved down to just painful, so I have begun working. As soon as the throbbing starts I will quit.

Sue is back in full swing, so I feel like a turd, but what can you do. I did get an interesting photo of Mac and Mocha helping me get better.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Just a quick note

I developed a wonderful headache Sunday afternoon at MarCon and so far it has resisted all attempts to Banish it. I need a bigger card... It is finally starting to subside, so I am hoping to get back to serious work tomorrow.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Thinking too much, or maybe too little.

As we work on the new game system I find myself resenting all the other work I have to get done. *sigh*

We are really developing a series of concepts and designs all at one time. Having started with a set of goals and concepts we are starting to comprehend the job we are doing. It is actually a series of projects that are entwined, many of which will be directly usable in DS and many that need conversion.

The end result is we need to be certain we have them all in a condition to work and be understandable before we release the beta system for everyone to use.

First, we finally have a way to print cards at a reasonable price, making the project possible. So we are on it.

Second, we wanted to attend to a couple of issues that have developed in DS. The Cast Pointing system needs work to make it easier and more clear. Something we can print for everyone to use. The new pointing is working, but it will be sometime before we can be sure.

The capacity system has been doubled to make more room for "stuff".

The combat system is being cleaned up to make the game run smoother and faster. After several weeks of playing our people have come to the conclusion that the Action only and more regulated rounds are better, faster and more fun that DS's wide open way. The tricky part is they had to play for several games to be able to get over the DS way and give the new system a fair chance. I am not sure how to replicate this time in a public beta. Right now I am talking about it and hoping that people will be ready to give it a fair shake.

Third, we are changing the Actions/Independents system. and I covered that in the previous post.

Fourth, We are changing the card usage. I have not mentioned this yet, I don't want too much shock out there at one time. This is another one that is taking time for players to adjust to, but as we progress we are finding people liking it. We have virtually no Anchors in the game. Everything is on Aces, and you can only play one Ace at a time. One Action, One card or activity.

Fifth, moving into new territory and expanding the background. The different worlds are in the same universe as Grandilar. The Pylos are having trouble on many worlds and in the Astral World. It is the fault of the Astral Backlash from Deathday and those damned Blackwind Dragons. You know, the clan that got chased off Grandilar some 2,000 years ago by the other Dragon Clans for experimenting with banned magics. It is also why the Pylos did not follow up on the Deathday victory. It set off serious storm problems in the Astral world and has made everything tougher for them. We have had this built into DS for a long time. We have a whole series of stories, concepts and ideas on this, but we have never assembled them into a complete write up. This turns out to be a big job by itself and has to be complete before the new stuff comes out. Some of this will be revealed first in the podcasts.

Sixth, we have a new system for Dungeon crawls. Mapping, Ambiance, Decor, treasure and creatures. This is designed to accommodate random encounters and set encounters in a more linear way. Working really good for GM's. The system works outdoors, astrally and spirit world as well, but we are focusing on the Dungeon version first, so we have one complete. This is actually a Universal set up and will work for almost any RPG. It will also allow for easier scenario publication, something that is difficult now in DS. This is what is behind the card submission request for Labyrinth Ambiance card ideas. I want as much variety as possible. There will be more requests for ideas like that will be appearing as we go along.

The end result is that the overall system is much better integrated than DS was. At the same time I am terribly excited by the project, but it is going to take a long time to get it all working smoothly, and release it for testing on the web. If we put out an incomplete version too soon, it won't get a fair shake.

For now, I need to get back to the con prep work.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Play test and more

Despite the fact that I am way behind, we are putting in the playtest time on the new game. The kinks are slowly being worked out of the system.

Now that we know for sure the new system works I can start letting out a few details on the new game. I want to get your brains prepped for something different, yet strangely the same.

The combats are running very quickly, although there are some hitches caused by being used to the DS ways. The changes are small, but sometimes the old thinking tries to jump in. The rounds are much more defined and there is very little you can do as a reaction when it is not your turn. After playing for a few weeks everyone thinks this is better, much less confusing once you get your head out of your DS, so to speak. The primary way we achieved this was to eliminate Independent Actions. We now have only Actions. In DS you have Actions, Movement and Independents. In this game we have Actions. You want to move, use an Action, You want to attack, use an Action, You want to Parry, use an Action. Out of Actions? Try cursing... As your experience rises, your number of Actions rise. Most creatures of the world have two Actions, the characters are special and start with three Actions.

One other change is that everyone now gets an Armor roll in Defense. So Armor is 2d6+DEF and is subtracted from the Damage roll. The hitch is that if you roll a "2" on the 2d6, your Armor fails entirely and it becomes a zero. If you roll a "12" in Defense, you bounce all damage. They missed you. In attacking a "2" also misses. When attacking if you roll a "12", you keep the 12 and roll again, adding 2d6 more damage. This has already made a difference. No matter how lowly an attacker is, you always have to worry. We are making it a Rigid Point, nothing saves you from a "2" or "12". No tricks allowed, you have to take it. This also means that basic Armor is now "0".

OK, cards are calling me, and that should be food for thought.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Weee, Another day completed!

We got the Art special orders covered and shipped out today, actually we have one more 16x20 to ship, I just finished the mat for it. So, there is that then.

I have the sponsored cards done for delivery this weekend, but I still have to create our in-house press sheets to get them done for MarCon. In the meantime I have discovered, as I pull orders, that we have sold out of the new April Releases and I have only a handful of March cards left. When sales are slow, I complain, when stuff sells, I complain. I must like complaining...

I should be getting through Sue's print books as well. This weekend at ComicCon we will be driving back home at night. I'm going to try to set sheets up at the Con and then try to get some printing done in the evenings. I should be able to make a good stabb at catching up that way. I do think our card stock, and even print stock, will be running a little thin at these Cons. Oh well, such is life.

I do plan on having a good time at the Cons.

I am slowly getting the card pages written up and posted. I want to do those before the cards get out there. Trouble is it takes me an hour or two to write each page. I figurted at the rate I write I should be able to do a 100 pages of a book a year in rough draft. A full book would take me years to complete. I better get back to podcasting.

Well, enough of this, I have cuddling to do.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Mother Driving and a Good Game.

I took my Mother in for her check-up. Her new at home Dialysis is doing well. At 84 she is handling everything with good humor and efficiently. She should be around for a good while longer. Actually, she is the youngest of her generation in my families. Her sister is 90. My Uncle on the other side is 91 (and he has been declared dead once already) and my aunt is 92. All in all a long lived cranky bunch of relatives.

At about 5 PM we assembled for another session of the new game. It is working extremely well in the basic version. I am ever so slowly righting the rules as we play. I really want to sit down and get it out now, but that is unreasonable. We are playing now with nothing but Universal cards. These are the cards which will be the foundation of all the further campaigns. Each world will then have its own specialty cards added to that campaign world.

I am going to start explaining some of the mechanics as I go along here. It will help me organize them in my head and get people prepared for the differences between DS and the new game.

Initially we do not have any shape shifter characters in this game. Dragon Storm has covered that aspect well and there is no sense in duplicating that work. So far we have eight races, but I think we will wind up with about eighteen choices. Each race has some type of special ability, but we are not going to create additional racial cards. A simple distinction should be enough to make the game fun for everyone and allow people to play the variations.

We have eliminated Anchor cards and Boons from the game. Everything is run on Aces. As you gain Role-Playing Points (Experience) you gain card points. At certain points you earn a new "Circle" (Level) based on the ideas in the DS Lifeline cards. That is the only way you gain Stats. It is also the only way you gain additional Actions. Therefore how many "things" you can do in a round are tied directly to your prior experience. Everyone agrees that this works well, but the guidelines will have to be carefully written as the process is unlike DS and thus causes some early confusion at each new "Circle".

In general everything in the world starts with two Actions. i.e. they can do two "things". The characters in this first campaign (We are calling it the Genesis campaign) start with three actions. They can do three "things". We do not have Independent Actions in the new game. Everything takes an Action to perform it. Every Ace takes an Action to activate the card. The card tells you when it may be played.

The characters come from Dead spirits and have had new bodies grown for them (Using technology from the Blackwind Dragons). They get nine lives total, so we have resurrection in this game.

For right now I am going to post this and set down to carefully right up the Circle Guidelines and then turn it over to the alpha players next week. I should be creating pages for the new cards, but if I do not carve out the time for the new game it will never get done. So, something looses.