Nuadha's Tale

Ignorance can be tolerated, where reason is left free to combat it. -Thomas Jefferson

Wednesday, July 31, 2002

Heaven or Hell?
According to this article in CNN a Texas man shot another man in an argument on which of them was going to Heaven. Here's my take: If you're arguing that you deserve to go to Heaven and your first thought is to grab a shotgun, you just lost the argument.
(Via Pagan Prattle)

Bloggers in the Washinton Post
Howard Kurtz, one of the few columnists I regularly read, talks about bloggers here.

I heard on NPR this morning that a Connecticut school district has started a policy this year that holds parents responsible for their end of a child's education. Since there has been so much focus on grading teachers on how well their students learn, this school district will start grading parents on things like making sure that students attend school and involvement with school activities (such as parent/teacher conferences). I'm glad to hear this. Society can't just keep making teachers the scapegoats when parents and the community are just as responsible for a child's education.

Tuesday, July 30, 2002

As I was in the midst of carnage
I saw beside me an arm,
On each several finger of the fingers
A ring of red gold like blood

Its heroic proportions, its vast size,
Alas! for him from whom the limb was severed!
Its beauty, its length and its span,
Ruddy and beautiful were the nails.

A sleeve of glossy silk,
And a golden tunic sleeve,
Was around its whole length
Up to the corselet.

I lift it up, it was no small effort,
The hand, both flesh and blood;
I hear it with me, terrible was the distance,
To Druim Ibar of the estuaries.

The Hand of Nuada that I found there,
The High King of the Tuatha De Danaan,
It was seven year in my bird's abode:
There,O Fintan is my story for you!

- A bird to Fintan in an Irish Poem reprinted in The Encyclopedia of Celtic Wisdom

Now I know where that arm went to. Pesky bird.

Farscape test

What Farscape Character are you?

Monday, July 29, 2002

Oh mighty web-test, please tell me. What kind of writer am I?

I am a POET

I know that rhyming isnt everything, and I use my talent to explore my mind's deepest and often the most eccentric corners, instead of focusing on the bad like so many angsty teenagers. Oh, and girls (as well as femmy guys) really go for my poetry...

Lucid Sci-Fi Dreams
For the last several Sundays I have been making sure to wake up early to watch Fantasy Island. They're playing the 1998 remake (with Malcolm McDowell) on the Sci-Fi channel and I'm hooked on the show. It has all the quirkiness of the original show but with a much darker edge. I checked and they only made 13 episodes of the new series and I've sadly already seen about half of them.

C and I went to see Goldmember Saturday. It had its funny moments, but I didn't think it was as funny as either of the first two Austin Powers movies.

Friday, July 26, 2002

A long time ago I read an article on GMing that suggested starting out and ending each game with a piece of music or something that becomes a ritual that tells the players that "the game has begun." I tried it out for the first time with the Vurt/Cyberpunk/Masterbook game I ran. I started each game out by either playing or quoting the first track from Billy Idol's album, Cyberpunk which I will now quote to the best of my memory.

The future has imploded in to the present with no nuclear war. The new battlefields are people's minds and souls. The Corporations are the new government. Computer-generated worlds are the new frontier. Although we say all information should be free, it is not. Information is power and currency in the virtual world that we inhabit. Welcome to the future....cyberpunk.

I would end each Vurt adventure with a snippet of a radio program that exists in the Vurt books, the Game Cat. The Game Cat reviews the newest Vurts to hit the streets and warns vurt-heads about the dangers of the vurt. In some of the early games I just read Game Cat passages out of the Jeff Noon novels but later I had the Game Cat talk about things that directly realted to the game. When one character faced off of against his father in the vurt, the Game Cat ended that adventure warning his listeners not to try to work out all of their psychological issues with vurt. The vurt can guide you deeper into psyche and give form to your greatest fears but there are some things you have to work out in the real world.

This framing technique worked really well in Vurt and I have used it in several campaigns since. In some games I used music at the beginning of each session. In my first Changeling game I started some of the sessions with a poem. (I didn't have a fitting poem each game but luckilly C has quite a collection of poetry books for me to draw from.) In the last Changeling game I tried the teasers.

WISH: Secrets
Sometimes the plot of a game requires a GM to keep secrets. Is it better for the GM and other players to keep most out-of-character knowledge secret, or to assume that players are capable of keeping in-character and out-of-character knowledge separate? Where and how do you draw the line as a GM and/or player between what secrets should be kept and which ones are OK to reveal?

I believe in trusting the players and try to let them be involved in everything of the story even listening in on parts that they are not involved with. I have the good fortune to play with soe excellent roleplayers who are quite capable of remembering what their character does and I believe they enjoy the game more by getting to see the whole story.

In the last couple of "episodes" of Changeling: The Shattered Crystal I started and ended the adventures by describing short scenes that none of the PCs were involved with. Just like a lot of adventure shows on television start out with the teaser of a villian preparing his next dastardly plot or ebhind the scenes characters discussing the actions of the main characters, I gave the players a teaser of what is to come or what is actually going on behind-the-scenes and with it a little bit of information that their characters didn't have. Instead of losing suspense by giving away the mysteries, I tried to give the players just enough to keep them interested without giving away the big mysteries; a teaser of the over-all plot and things to come.

The only times that I believe in keeping secrets are when the plot is a mystery and the bit of information is a significant clue that may give it away to everyone before the suspense has been built up properly or when the characters are actively working against eachother. Then I'll have secret conferences with players. Of course, if the characters are conspiring against eachother, the players will usually ask to pull the GM aside.

Thursday, July 25, 2002

US, China and Cuba unite in support of torture!
The United States led the opposition to an anti-torture legislation that passed in the United Nations yesterday. The story is here.

Wednesday, July 24, 2002

Of course, when I want to post and I'm not feeling extremely creative I post quotes. I may not be a great writer but I know great writers and I'm willing to quote them.

I read a writer's tip that says that when you read and a passage strikes you to write it down so you get a better feel how the sentence structure and teh rythm works. Well that's what I'm doing here.

Nothing to fear...
we've been here before.

...the rulers of the exchange of mankind's goods have failed through their own stubborness and their own incompetence, have admitted their failure and abdicated. Practices of the unscrupulous money changers stand indicted in the court of public opinion, rejected by the hearts of men.
True, they have tried, but their efforts have been cast in the pattern of an outworn tradition. faced by failure of credit, they have proposed only the lending of more money.
Stripped of the lure of profit with which to induce our people to follow their false leadership, they have resorted to exhortations, pleading tearfully for restored confidence. They know only the rules of a generation of self-seekers.
They have no vision and when there is no vision the people perish.
The money changers have fled from their high seats in the temple of our civilization. We may now restore that temple to the ancient truths. The measure of the restoration lies in the extent to which he apply social values more noble than monetary profit. Happiness lies not in the pursuit of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.

-Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1933: First Inaugural Address

Fight banality! We can win this war!
I've been feeling a notable lack of creativity lately. I'm not so sure that it's the lack of gaming as I had hypothesized earlier as it is the banality of my daily work. There is so little creativity in my nine-to-five that by the end of the day I feel tired and sad. I am applying for another position at my company that seems like it may give me back a spark of enthusiasm for my job.

Error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it.
-Thomas Jefferson, 1801: First Inaugural Address

This is one of my favorite quotes. It was part of my email signature a few years back. I found it in one of my most treasured books, Milestones to American Liberty, a collection of writings and speeches by Americans. The book was printed in 1961 and is filled with the patriotic images that filled textbooks of that era. It has a worn leather cover with the image of the Liberty Bell and a musty smell that only older books have. The book was given to me when I was very young by my grandfather and every time I have ever wanted to find the exact wording of the Bill of Rights or FDR's "there is nothing to fear" speech, I have been thankful to my grandpa for this book. I don't know where he bought it or when, but I vividly remember when he gave it to me. I was about eight years-old and the book seemed like some ancient tome of arcane mysteries. Of course, I quickly realized that it was "just history." Still, I liked the pictures and have kept it with me even after I got rid of most of the books from my childhood. As I got more and more interested in history, I've learned to appreciate this book even more.

Thomas Jefferson is a great example of what I love about history. On one hand you have the man who wrote that "all men are created equal." (It was hardly an original idea, but he still said it.) You have a man who spoke out about the evils of slavery. However, at home he did not free his family's slaves because he feared financial ruin.

Thomas Jefferson was not a great man. He did do some great things but he was just a man. The more you read about him, the more you see that he was flawed and human just like the rest us. All of America's founding fathers were and the more I read about them the more their lives become real to me; a real-life drama that happened ove one-hundred years ago. I can imagine TJ torturing himself over the fact that he lacked the strength of character to follow his own convictions. I can imagine Ben Franklin entertaining the Continental Congress with his raunchy jokes and offending the more prudish among them like John Adams. I can see the shy and introverted George Washington panicking when he is asked to speak in front of his peers and when I see how mortal and flawed our heroes can be it gives me hope that if needed, I too could stand up and take my place in history.

I keep sayig that I need to get a new keyboard for our Mac and I never do. I just wrote up a long post and due to the crowded keyboard, I once again accidently erased a post. You see, the number pad is dangerously close to the regular keyboard and with that the clear key is right next to the delete key. Now, I do not have the most nimble fingers in the world and I have more than my share of typos, so my klutzy fingers are always reaching for that delete key. Occasionally they hit a key of considerable more power.

Tuesday, July 23, 2002

Rules for the GM
(It's been a while since I posted one of these. This next one is extremely important for Amber GMs.)

Rule #6: God-like NPCs suck. Avoid using them. A character can have god-like powers, but he or she should still be flawed. If you design a really powerful villain, make sure that the characters can see some sign of weakness. Give them hope that your new villain, despite his or her fantastic powers, has some flaw that. The glimmer of hope that they can use the knowledge of that flaw will keep them struggling. Otherwise, where is the hope? What is the point of struggling if the villain already knows all your plans, has absolutely no weaknesses and can blip your character out of existence with a simple thought? Even a friendly NPC should not allowed to be built without limits. Otherwise, the characters will know that they can go to that NPC and have everything solved, so why should they do it themselves?

I had decided to postpone the beginning of the new Changeling campaign until September. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Now I've hit a snag. I really want to GM something. GMing really gets my creativity juices going and afterwords I'm on a "creative high" that lasts until work finishes draining it out of me. Without my monthly fix of GM duties, I'm hurting. I'm still playing, but playing doesn't give me the same juice. Maybe, I can run a couple of one-shots the next couple of months. I'm dying to give Nobilis a whirl and I've got several games that have been gathering dust for sometime.

Monday, July 22, 2002

...and I thought I had been a farmer.

What Was Your PastLife?
(via Double N, another ex-philosopher)

How to Build a Fascist Society
First you should bring everything under the direct control of one agency. Give this agency a cool name like "Ministry of Fatherland Security." Don't forget to start a program to have people spy on eachother and look for possible threats to your new order. The East German's had the Stasi. Check theirs out. You may find some inspiration. Then take the military, which already reports to the federal government and give them more power. Declaring martial law will go over much easier if the army has already been involved in arrests, search and seizures, etc.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer
C and I borrowed season 1 and season 2 box sets of BtVS from Matt. We've both enjoyed the little bit we had seen in the past of Buffy, but now that we're halfway through season 1, I'm liking it much more. Like many shows, it improves when you catch all of the episodes instead of catching two or three episodes a season like I had with both Buffy and Babylon 5. Now, if they would just release a Babylon 5 DVD box set, maybe I could finally watch them too.

Thursday, July 18, 2002

The meaning of things lies not in the things themselves but in our attitudes towards them.
-Saint-Exupery, "The Wisdom of the Sands"

I'm going to put up a web page for the Nobilis game I plan to run at Ambercon North explaining character creation and the theme of the game. This quote seems to fit pretty well for this scenario and Nobilis in general.

Wednesday, July 17, 2002

Who am I? Where do I belong?

Where do YOU belong?
(via Arref)

What Egyptian Deity are you? go to:the quiz!
(via Ginger)

Today is a Rage Against the Machine day. It's too bad I don't have any of their CDs with me.

Tuesday, July 16, 2002

Isn't it Ironic?
A few weeks before Origins, Wizards of the Coasts announced they were cancelling Chainmail. At Origins, Chainmail beats Lord of the Rings and wins the award for best new miniature game.

WISH- Game Systems (concluded)
A system that doesn't work-

Palladium- (Palladium Fantasy, Heroes Unlimited, RIFTS, Robotech, TMNT and more) My first roleplaying game was Heroes Unlimited. I GMed or played in a Palladium game about once a week all through high school. I ran a Heroes Unlimited campaign that lasted five years. You's think I'd have fond memories of Palladium. I don't. The system has a lot in common with AD&D and other earlier RPGs and suffers many of the same flaws. The rules often don't make any sense, (I won't get started on the rules and spare you the lecture) but the thing I dislike most is character creation and advancement. Palladium is level-based. Instead of constantly learning from his/her day-to-day experiences, he/she doesn't learn anything until he/she reaches the next level when suddenly he/she becomes better at everything, tougher to kill, and learns x more spells! What is the source of this epiphany and why did killing 1d6+1 orcs suddenly cause our trusty wizard to understand the spell "Carpet of Adhesion" while also becoming 1d6 HP tougher and 5% better at swimming? Who knows?

So why did I GM a game for so long that I didn't like? Well, my friends and I didn't know anything about the other games out there (a few players had played AD&D and warned me it was worse which after trying I agreed) and we were having fun. I tinkered with the rules enough to make them stomach-able and focused more on the stories. By the time the Heroes Unlimited game ended it was "mostly diceless" anyway and the rules were more mine that Palladium's. I eventually weened my high school gaming buddies off of Palladium with GURPS and we never looked back. Eventually, we even returned to the world of the "Global Guardians" using Champions and I was a happy GM. We were returning to the game world we spent years building and I was able to GM it in a system that added more to the game than it hindered it. Sure I had to tinker with Champions as well but at least I had a solid base.

Games I would love to play or GM based on reading the book:

Nobilis- (No suprise here.) In my opinion, it is a much, much better diceless system than Amber.

Stormbringer- If you know me or have payed close attention to my blog the last couple of weeks, this shouldn't be much of a suprise either. Character creation is simple enough and the system doesn't seem overly complex or simplistic. I just got a copy of the newest version of the rulebook and the Corum supplement. (Corum is another Michael Moorcock fantasy series.) The new edition seems to have improved a lot on the old editions.

D&D Third Edition It's still level-based but it seems to have improved in a lot of other ways. I think it would be a lot of fun as a simple hack-n-slash, orc-bashing dungeon crawl game like the old Heroquest boardgame and would be a good chance for me to get more use out all these fantasy miniatures I've been buying. Still, for "serious roleplaying" I would look elsewhere. To quote my friend Neil, "D&D makes an excellent video game but I wouldn't use it as a roleplaying game."

A game I would never want to play in again:

The Morrow Project- The most rules intensive game I have ever played. A neat setting, but the system actually has charts to see wether you die instantly from getting punched in the face. (There is after all, a one in a million chance....) The Morrow Project goes in to more detail on the types of wounds a character can get than any RPG ever should. "Let me rolled a 46.....that's a sucking chest wound with a 40% chance of instant heart failure from the didn't make it! Lucky dog. If you had made it you would have lived for 2d6 more minutes in excruciating pain."

WISH- Game Systems (continued)
These game system are ones that I feel are OK but could be a lot better.

Storyteller- (Vampire, Werewolf, Mage, Wraith, Changeling, Hunter, Mummy, Exalted) There are things that I like about White Wolf's Storyteller system. Character creation is a painless process. Basic skill checks are really simple to do and I have always liked the idea of "the level of your skill=the number of dice you roll", but it falls horribly on its face when you get in to combat. White Wolf has tried hard over the years to fix the flaws in the system but in my Changeling game I figured out what the system really needed: a complete overhaul. In Changeling I had to throw out a lot of the rules for cantrip casting (both Mage and Changeling have magic systems that are far more complicated than they needed to be) and change the dice rolling system to someting more streamlined. Another option I have found that improves White Wolf immensely is to play it diceless. If you want to use dice, be ready to tinker with the rules.

Amber- Amber got one thing right, but it was a biggie. "We don't need dice." Dice are nice, but sometimes they can get in the way. I had run several game systems diceless (GURPS, Storyteller and Palladium) before Amber came out, but it was nice to see a game come out tell me people to put their dice away occassionally. Unfortunately, Amber has a lot of flaws. The powers and how they are bought could use a complete overhaul allowing for variations in how characters can use the powers such as Caine's "Trump Tricks" in Shadow Knight which allows him to listen in on Trump Conversations (like he did in the Corwin books) without being a trump artist. In general, I don't think the diceless system is perfect for the Amber setting but it works. If I were to start up an Amber campaign next week, I would probably use GURPS. GURPS works just as well as a diceless game as any other game system and allows for a lot more detail on what a character is good at and how good he or she is.

Monday, July 15, 2002

Blogger's acting buggy. Suprise, suprise.

WISH: Game Systems
My thinking on game systems is that whatever system the GM is most comfortable with is fine by me. I would even play AD&D (a system I can't stand) if a good GM were running it. Who knows? Maybe the problems I have with AD&D stem from having really bad dungeon-masters.

Game systems that really work
GURPS- I've run several games in GURPS and the system is great for certain settings. The combat system can be as complicated or as simple as the GM wants and the GM can easily add or subtract as many rules as he/she likes. Character Creation is about as balanced as you can get. (The idea of a truly balanced game is the holy grail of game design. It's nice to strive for, but you're chasing a myth.) The detailed skill system allows for more detail in the all important question of "what can my character do?" Experience and character growth allows characters to grow at a fairly realistic pace while being able to gain new skills after each adventure. The game only breaks down at higher point (aka high-powered) levels as character creation becomes extremely unbalanced and time-consuming.

Champions- (aka Hero System) Champions is is a little heavy on the rules and unlike GURPs it isn't as easy for the GM to run without using all of the detailed rules. However, most of the rules are excellent and add a sense of depth to the action. Combat in Champions can really feel like the action in comic books. Comparing Champions to the other superhero games I have played is like comparing the movie Batman to Spiderman. Both are based off of comic books characters and are fun movies, but the action sequences in Spiderman actually felt like a comic book while the fight sequences in Batman were stiff and awkward. I've never used the Hero System for anything besides Superheroes, but I would think that it would also work well for a very-high powered fantasy game. Any low-powered game would probably be better off using another system, since Hero was really created for the superhero genre.

Masterbook- (the out-of-print "universal" system from West End Games) Masterbook included the Indiana Jones Roleplaying Game, Tank Girl, Necroscope, Tales from the Crypt and one of my favorite games of all time: Bloodshadows. The system was much more streamlined than GURPS or Champions. Character stats can be created in 10 minutes and still have a decent amount of detail. The main thing that I loved about Masterbook was the card system. At the beginning of each game, players were given cards that allow their characters to take special actions or in some cases be able to add their own sub-plots to the game. Also, Masterbook required very little dice-rolling. In combat, one dice roll would determine both if a character hits and how much damage the hit does.

(Coming up- Game systems that almost work.)

Friday, July 12, 2002

We are descended from the Puritan, who nobly fled from a land of despotism to a land of freedom, where they could not only enjoy their own religion, but prevent everybody else from enjoyin' his
-Artemis Ward in London

Thursday, July 11, 2002

IQ Test
Congratulations, James!
Your IQ score is 136

This number is the result of a formula based on how many questions you answered correctly on Emode's Ultimate IQ test.

The even better news is that at Emode, we've taken your IQ test one step further. During the test, you answered four different types of questions — mathematical, visual-spatial, linguistic and logical. We were able to analyze how you did on each set of those questions, which allows us to shed light on the way your brain uniquely functions.

At the same time, we compared your answers with others who have taken the test, and according to the sorts of questions you got correct, we can tell your Intellectual Type is a Visionary Philosopher.

The first thing we can tell you about that is you're equally good at mathematical and verbal tasks, and learn best through experience.

Visionary Philosopher......I like it.

For President Bush to pretend to be shocked that some of the nation's top executives deal from a stacked deck is akin to a madam feigning surprise that sexual favors have been sold in her establishment.
-Robert Scheer, The Nation

"I'm shocked! Shocked to find out gambling is going on here!"
"Here are your winnings, sir."

-paraphrased from Casablanca

The Matrix Symbolism: Reluctant Messiah

what movie symbolism are you? find out!

Tuesday, July 09, 2002

Games I want to run some day...
...based on some of my favorite books listed earlier.

  • Vurt- I ran a campaign about 7 or 8 years ago that mixed the world of R. Talsorian's Cyberpunk 2020 with Jeff Noon's Vurt series. It was very successful and very trippy. Someday I want to run a one-shot game purely based off of Jeff Noon's work. "It's August and it's snowing in Manchester. You were riding this crazy feather and swimming with the Thermal Fishies. Now, you're back in the real and the shadow-cops are looking for you while Jack Frost nips at your heels. If Words was here, he'd make sense of all this but he didn't come out. He stayed in the Vurt, swimming in the protoplasmic pool. They say there's a feather for every dream. Is there one that can get you your friend back?"
  • The Robot Novels- When I was thinking of games to run at ACUS last year, I thought of doing a LARP mystery set on earth shortly after Caves of Steel. "At a party being held in Elijah Bailey's honor, an impossible murder occurs. A man is killed in the wash-room. The only other person in the room at the time was one R. Daneel Olivaw, a Spacer robot. Robots can't kill...can they?" Players in the game would play guests at the party, including several men and women from the police force. I decided against doing the game at ACUS because the game would need so many players. I may run the scenario some day as a more traditional roleplaying game instead of a LARP.
  • Martian Chronicles- I have always found the ruins of Martian civilization and the humans building their society in the shadow of the Martians to be a haunting image that could make for a great one-shot game. The players would play human settlers of Mars.

On Roger Zelazny
In case I haven't alienated myself enough from the gaming populace with my opinions on Tolkien, I also agree with KG on Zelazny. I thought the Amber books were OK, but nothing amazing. I love the roleplaying game because its diceless and simple not because I'm a fan of the books. I never would have finished the Corwin books if I didn't play the rpg. Now you know my opinion.

You're not alone. I also quit about halfway in to the Two Towers. I can't stand Tolkien. I find Tolkien completely unbearable. He's the only author I have ever read that can spend an entire chapter where absolutely nothing happens. Even Robert Jordan has something happen each chapter. Tolkien takes chapters just to describe the setting. Very pretty. Very boring.

I have always said about Tolkien that he doesn't just tell you that the characters are walking in the forest. He describe the trees, the moss on the trees, the leaves, the caterpillars, the rocks, the trees, the birds, the mushrooms, the trees, the twigs, the road, the trees, and on and on..... I know what a forest looks like and I am perfectly capable of imagining a tree. I didn't need him to describe one for me.

On the other hand, I was really looking forward to the movies since I heard they were coming out. I knew that no director would dare make a bad Lord of the Rings movie (and risk getting lynched by the fans) and any good fantasy movie is worth getting excited over. Plus, I always suspected there was a decent story in between all the chapters on elven language and hobbit music.

Monday, July 08, 2002

what's your inner flower?

[c] s u g a r d
e w

Favorite Fantasy/Sci-Fi novels
Here are a few in no particular order:

  • The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury- Mankind explores mars and build settlements. Martians object. Very creepy.
  • Stormbringer by Michael Moorcock- The last and best book of the Elric saga. I was just going to say The Eternal Champions series by Michael Moorcock but that's over 100 books. This was my favorite. Moorcock writes in many different styles. The Elric saga is written very much in the pulp style, but Elric is not your typical pulp hero.
  • Caves of Steel by Isaac Asimov- This is the first of the robot series, a series of mysteries starring Elijah Bailey, an agoraphobic cop and R. Daneel Olivaw, a robot. R. Daneel was pretty obviously the template for Star Trek: The Next Generation's Data.
  • To Your Scattered Bodies Go by Phillip Jose Farmer- Every person who ever lived on earth is reborn on the banks of an endless river. This is the first book of the Riverworld series.
  • Vurt by Jeff Noon- Vurt is a feather, a drug and a portal to another world. It's a crazy world in there. Be careful. Be very, very careful.
  • Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carrol

  • Amber
    Played in JS's new game Saturday. I like my new character, but he can become a tad depressing. He is the knight who failed to protect "the kingdom" and lost everything he loved. He will lighten up a bit in the future, but at first he has to come to terms with his past.

    Video Games and Buffy
    C. and I visited Matthew yesterday to play video games. I borrowed Devil May Cry and Onimusha from him. I have been wanting to pay DMC again since I returned it to Blockbuster, so I'm very happy. Also, we watched the last three episodes of the last Buffy season. "Dark Willow" was cool.

    Bette Noir
    I haven't forgotten Bette Noir. I meant to post some letters this weekend, but I didn't have the chance.

    Saturday, July 06, 2002

    Dissent's newest Op-Ad in the NYTimes is on the patriotism of dissention. This 4th of July I wasn't flying a flag or firing of fireworks. I don't support the actions of my country or Bush's so-called war. It may be doing a lot of good for the Republicans and the fascist society Ashcroft wants to build, but it's not helping the masses. Somewhere along the way the conservatives hi-jacked the flag and made it in a symbol of supporting war. Everywhere I look, I see people blindly following the Bush agenda and flying the flags and ignoring the crimes being commited by the administration the Supreme Court elected for us. I don't want to be one of those people, but that doesn't mean I'm not patriotic.

    I believe in the ideal of the United States. When the country was started, our founding fathers wanted to build a society where a person's rights were defined and protected. They were trying to make a society where "all men were created equal." Over the years, we have progressed quite a bit towards realizing that goal. We abolished slavery. Women earned the right to vote. (I can't say they were "given" the right. They had to fight for it.) The Civil Rights movement fought to make sure everyone got equality. However, we still have a way to go and currently the administration has been taking leaps and strides backwards, passing legislation that takes away people's rights and disguising them in patriotic names such as the Patriot Act. No, I didn't fly the flag and I did't feel much pride in my country, but that doesn't mean I'm not a patriot.

    Friday, July 05, 2002

    Politics and Society
    After all, the practical reason why, when the power is once in the hands of the people, a majority are permitted, and for a long period continue, to rule is not because they are most likely to be in the right, nor because this seems fairest to the minority, but because they are physically the strongest. But government in which the majority rule in all cases can not be based on justice, even as far as men understand it.
    -H.D. Thoreau, "On the Duty of Civil Disobedience"

    I re-read Civil Disobedience earlier this week. These days it seems more important than when I read it before.

    Nuadha is
    Typed "Nuadha is" in to Yahoo search:

    Nuadha is ruthless and self-centered to the extreme
    Nuadha, is Tyr, is Dharama, is Mahamadh, is Umaill or Cumhaill, is Druidha, is Dawidhrui or Savitri, is Dhiu, is Iudha! ...
    Nuadha is the the Lamed King
    Nuadha is inspiring me to post poetry.
    Nuadha is the Fisher-god

    Wednesday, July 03, 2002

    Yep. Still a Heathen
    According to this test the religions that match my beliefs are:
    1. Neo-Pagan (100%)
    2. Mahayana Buddhism (98%)
    3. New Age (98%)
    4. Unitarian Universalism (89%)
    5. Liberal Quakers (85%)
    6. Theravada Buddhism (85%)
    7. Hinduism (81%)
    8. Taoism (75%)

    I appear to be a Buddheo-pagan.

    This is the third time I've taken the test. The first time it gave me Hinduism as the first rank and Mahayana Buddhism as the second. Last time it gave me New Age as the first and Mahayana Buddhism as the second. No matter what Buddhism seems to stick in second place.

    The Quakers suprised me the first time I took the test, but since then I have learned more about them. They are not at all what I thought they were.

    Thanks Kristen for reminding me of this test.

    Which flock do you follow?

    this quiz was made by alanna

    Our music is red with purple flashes.
    -The Creation

    I borrowed Nuggets II from the library last night. (I went to the library to return some books and borrow one on OSX.) These CDs are a collection of 60's psychedelic rock. Very trippy. One song is titled "I Can Hear the Grass Grow." It's a great collection of music and it's all music that would have never been released on CD if it wasn't for Rhino. I think I understand record collectors a little more now. Record collectors could find these little gems of bands few people have heard of. If you just buy the modern music sources such as CDs, you may never hear some of this forgotten music.

    Tuesday, July 02, 2002

    We upgraded our Mac a while back and everything has just been peachy. So, I haven't ever bothered to pick up a book. Last night I regretted that. My little Handspring brought our mighty grape ape iMac to its knees. This isn't the first time, we've had problems booting new software to the computer. I think the problem has something to do with OS9. Of the two times this happened that I was witness to, each time we were installing OS9 operations or had done so recently. I think the damned extensions conflicts that OS9 was so prone to has stuck around to haunt us. That's my un-educated theory at least. I need a book.

    My fortune cookie says, "The time is right to make new friends."

    Monday, July 01, 2002

    "Okay, here's what I'm thinking," he said. "None of us individually is strong enough to take that monster. What we're going to need to do is pool our powers -- coordinate our abilities to take the thing down together. If we all work together, after all, there's nothing that can stop us."

    "First," I said, "it's fairly obvious that all of us working together means bugger all when it comes to fighting dragons. Second, and I realize this is a subtle point, everyone else is dead. Third, and most cogently of all, I hate your guts."

    "But otherwise?"

    "An admirable plan."
    -- from "The Dog Princes" by Janet Cable


    WISH: Love and Romance
    It's tough GMing a succesful romance between an NPC and a PC. It can be A beginning relationship involves so much personal "getting to know eachother" time that if the GM takes time away from the other players, the other players feel cheated. If the relationship is to have any depth at all, you have to be able to do this. (I don't do a lot of PBEM roleplaying or "bluebooking", but obviously that would allow for that time.) However, I have seen some fairly successful relationships build between PCs. It's different between two PCs. The players can take the time while a GM is with other players to talk about the more personal things. They can confess their hopes and fears to eachother and in that time the characters can find out if they really are going to like eachother. PC/NPC relationships can rarely take on that kind of depth (in a face-to-face session).

    My early gaming groups were usually all guys. In those days, any relationships that characters had were rare and superficial. One of the first games I remember where a relationship meant something was the first Vampire: The Masquerade Game. The GM and I got together and played through the prequel for my character. I was playing an suicidal undercover cop like Mel Gibson's character in the begining of Lethal Weapon. The Brujah (the more violent, rebellious clan of Kindred) took an interest in him and decided to embrace him. The first couple of nights were hell for the character but the clan leader's girlfriend, Alisia (I believe) came to him and comforted him. Later my character saw the clan leader (his name was Juggler) mistreating Alisia. He stood up to Juggler and got beaten down for it. That night, as my character was laying in the pit that the Brujah used as a dungeon, Alisia came and helped him escape. Together the two stole a car and ran. That was the first game, a one on one session with the GM where Alisia and my character (I can't remember his name now) really became full-blown characters. Needless to say, they spent most of the campaign on the run from Juggler and the Brujah. There wasn't much time for the two to just talk to eachother, but in that first session they built the basis that made the rest of the game come alive for me. The characters really cared about eachother and I felt it. When Alisia was in trouble, I remember my (the player's) heart racing a little. I knew that if anything happened to her, my character would return to his old suicidal self and I din't want to play that character. I enjoyed playing the character he had become through his relationship with Alisia.

    However, every time I have played in a game where the GM fast forwards through the beginning of the two getting to know eachother, it hasn't worked. Sure, they may be together, but it doesn't mean anything.

    Let every man make known what kind of government would command his respect and that will be one step towards obtaining it.
    -Henry David Thoreau, "On the Duty of Civil Disobedience"

    I thought I'd share the description of the Nobilis game I plan to run at ACN.
    Infused with the power of creation, the Nobilis stand at the front line of a war to control and define the whole of existence, one idea at a time. Each Noble is given mastery over one part of reality, becoming its incarnation, master and protector.

    Yggdrasil, the World Tree, has it roots deep in the pits of Hell and reaches as high as Heaven itself. In between, the countless worlds of reality are supported by its many branches. In this great multiverse, one thing seems to remain constant in these worlds. Humanity, in all of its forms, has been favored by the creator. The Nobilis has always respected that as the will of creation, but now some of the animal lords question that idea. They have grown tired of seeing their children suffer while arrogant men grow more and more powerful. The revolution has begun. Which side are you on?

    Characters will be built by email using second edition Nobilis rules. Characters will choose a domain over a specific animal. Players may also choose a second domain for their characters that should relate to the animal chosen. If you are not familiar with Nobilis, don't worry. Everything will be explained in the emails describing the character creation process.