Nuadha's Tale

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

Thursday, October 31, 2002

Yeah! I'm the man!

I would have liked Thomas Jefferson, but Tom Paine is cool too.

Wednesday, October 30, 2002

Concerning that which can not be talked about, we should say nothing.
-Ludwig Wittgenstein, philosopher

Man sees only one side of things, the other side is plunged into the night of frightening mystery.
-Victor Hugo

Tuesday, October 29, 2002

Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance
I beat it Saturday. There's still more in the game I can do to get the better ending, but I'm almost there. It was fun, but too easy. It was even easier than Symphony of the Night.

Now, if they would just come out with the PS2 Castlevania game they promised over a year ago. I'm getting the sinking feeling that they cancelled it to work on Gameboy games instead. The Castlevania game for the N64 was such a flop that Konami (the makers of Castlevania) are scared to try making another 3D castlevania game (as they should be) and they seem to be scared to make a 2D game for the PS2.

An In Nomine Horror Story

Several years back, a friend of mine picked up the new (at the time) game of In Nomine, a game allowing players to take the roles of the angels and demons of Judeo-Christian mythology. Going with my "heart character" I made an angel who was once allied to the archangel of Dreams but has since fallen from God's grace. You see, my angel served in the dreaming realm, where he met and fell in love with a mortal dreamer. He went to earth to be with her but then she was murdered. Using his power over dreams he ripped apart the mind of her murderer with nightmares. This began his fall. He didn't fall all the way to Hell, but he's closer there than ever. He is now living as a con artist on earth, a character inspired as much by Vertigo's John Constantine as by anything else.

I built my character so that he was the equivalent of a mortal human in physical stats and spiritual stats. It was only on the sphere of Ethereal (mental) that he excelled. As the game started, my character was arriving in New York's LaGuardia airport when he came across a fight between a few angels (the other PCs) and a demon.

I ask, "How do we figure out initiative? Who goes first?"

My friend looks confused for a moment and begins looking through the book. He can't find it. Instead of making something up, he keeps looking. We all take turns. In Nomine has a very pretty book, but its horribly organized. (Possibly worse than White Wolf.) None of us can find it. GM still refuses to move game forward. "It must be in there." I'm wishing I kept my big mouth shut. Finally I convince him of a way to handle it and the game continues...a half hour later.

It was a physical fight and my character would be completely outclassed, so he stands back and waits for a critical moment to toss somebody's luggage at the demon, distracting it when the other PCs could finish it off.

So, then the plot starts developing and I decide my character would slip into the ethereal realm to research the origins of the demon. The GM says, "You can't do that yet."

I ask, "Why?"

""The ethereal sourcebook isn't out yet. I don't know how to run it."

"Can't you make stuff up? It's your game."

"Yeah, but the sourcebook may contradict me."

The whole game was like that. Another physical fight broke out and once again, I couldn't use by mental powers in the fight because the GM didn't have a sourcebook. As my fellow angels fought the demon in the street, I went to the truck of the car. I pulled out my suitcase and pitched it at the demon.

I recently borrowed a whole bunch of In Nomine books from some friends. Unfortunately, I don't think they ever came out with an ethereal sourcebook.

Monday, October 28, 2002

I'm Infected
According to the Human Virus Scanner, I must have no defenses against viruses:

The virus that have infected you will be show here along with thier cures, if known.

Viruses you suffer from:

Rule, Britannia! Britannia rule the waves! [repeat]

Eat some real food. Something which you can identify the source of every ingredient, not the point of manufacture.

Stop wearing the stick-on ears.

Read some Enid Blyton.

Grow up. Let your roots grow out. Listen to Britney.

Life is not a game. Roll 3D6. On a 4 or more go out and do something with your life.

Everyone likes folk. No, really. Maybe you should listen to the Incredible String Band.

Read "God's Debris" by Scott Adams (yes, the Dilbert guy)

No need for cure. Benign virus.

Buy a suit. Invest your money. Eat hotdog buns on a friday.

Stop caring!

Free love is passe and potentially dangerous, and patchouli smells like cat piss.

Computer Games
Stop staring at the screen and get some fresh air. You should see a doctor about the RSI in your thumbs.

Conspiracy Theory
Face it, the elected government is in control. Actually that's quite scary.

If you find one tell us.

Consume more stuff! It's easier to buy new stuff than to recycle.

Use a mouse with more than one button.

Viruses you might suffer from:

Pokemon (60%)
Pikachu! Use your hyper-electric-get-a-life move now!

Linux (95%)
Install the latest version of Microsoft Windows. Learn to love it.

Japan (60%)
Big is good. Small is bad. Giant robots would not make a good last line of defence for Earth.

Free BSD (95%)
The GPL isn't that bad really. Adopt a penguin at the zoo.

Brand Names (95%)
Having a well-known name doesn't make it good.

X11 (85%)
I hear Mac OS 10 Aqua is nice at this time of year.

(Via Ginger)

The scary thing is that with many of the images I found myself thinking "geez, who wouldn't know this?" yeah, I'm a geek. Fnord!

Weekend- Expanded Edition
The book- I wouldn't usually be so excited about finding a book at Borders Outlet, but Jeff Noon's books aren't being published in the US anymore and I was thinking I would have to import this one through Amazon UK. When I checked Amazon a while back, this book was the only one by Noon I was missing. I couldn't believe it when I found it a Borders for a fraction of the cover price.

I made the mistake of setting the book down while I was shopping at one point and returned to find someone else picking it up and looking at it. My stomach jumped into my neck and it took great control not to leap at the guy and snatch it from his hands. "Mine!" Instead, I walked up to him as he read the back cover. "Excuse me, but that's my stack of books that I had just set down and I'm buying that book."

As a firm believer in Murphy's Law I expected the man to throw a fit and say he was going to buy it leading into two grown men fighting over a book at the sale table, but he obviously didn't recognize the book as the treasure it is and handed it to me.

I clutched the book the rest of the time I was in the shop.

Today, I looked at Amazon UK for the link for the book and found that he has another book out. It looks like I may be importing after all.

The party- It was a great crowd and a lot of fun. I got to see several friends that I'd like to be able to see more often and I met some pretty cool people. Carla and I dressed up as modern day vampires using these fangs that custom form to your teeth. They were neat but a pain in the butt. I talked with a lisp most of the night.

Heroclix- I like the game more now than I did at first. It's kind of amusing that a year ago my friend Cody and I were at the game store playing 40K and scoffing at the Mage Knight players. (MK is a fantasy game made by the same people as Heroclix.) The Mage Knight figures looked horrible and we figured the appeal was just for people who were too lazy to paint minis.

A year later, I have more unpainted miniatures than I'll ever get around to painting and Wizkids (the makers of Mage Knight and Heroclix) has really improved at making their miniatures. The Heroclix miniatures feature comic book superheroes, something I enjoy even more than high fantasy settings and the game is actually fun. So, Cody and I were at the same hobby shop yesterday playing Heroclix.

The game was a lot of fun and it was cool to see Cody. He's an old friend and I don't get to see him often these days.

The short, short version: I found a Jeff Noon book I didn't have at Borders outlet. I had a great time at the Halloween party. I got together with a friend to play Heroclix on Sunday and watched the new Buffy episode Sunday night. It was a great weekend.

Saturday, October 26, 2002

I'm willing to cheat:

Damn it. I wanted Sephiroth.

They are supposed to be rereleasing Phantasy Stars 1, 2 & 3 for Gameboy Advance. I may have to pick them up. PS2 was the first console rpg I ever played.

(Via Random Acts)

Friday, October 25, 2002

(Via Form Follows Function)

Thursday, October 24, 2002

My Champions group got together last night for the first time in a while. We had a good time. It was the first time is a long while I've been able to play Jubei.

We ended up talking at one point about how the the difference between the silver age comic books (1960's-1970's) and modern comics is that some point villians stopped calling themselves evil. There were tons of villian groups in the sixties with names like the Sinister Six and the Injustice League. In real life are you going to go around calling yourself evil?

Let's take Magneto's "Brotherhood of Evil Mutants." The plot is that Magneto bands together these mutants to stop the oppression of mutants. What was he thinking calling them EVIL!? Really, if he wanted people to stop persecuting mutants, calling his group EVIL mutants wasn't the smartest move in the world.

What if the National Organization of Women called themselves The National Organization of EVIL Women? Would the NAACP have done as well if they called themselves the NAAECP? Could the FBI get government funding if they were the Federal Bureau of Sinister Investigations? What if the UAW was actually United EVIL auto-workers?

Wednesday, October 23, 2002

Thou Shalt Not Kill
Continuing what I started at lunch:

The death penalty is a sign of weakness, an expression of our fear and inability to know what to do to help the situation. Killing a person does not help him or us. We have to look collectively to find ways we can really help.
-Thich Nhat Hanh, Living Buddha, Living Christ

Want to guess what I was reading at lunch?

One Nation Under God?
The Buddha always resisted violence and immorality. He withdrew his support from King Ajattasatru when the latter assassinated his father in order to ascend the throne. He tried to stop King Ajattasatru's efforts to start a war with the neighboring country of Vajji. Are our Sanghas doing the same-opposing social injustice and violence- or are we blessing wars and sending priests along with our armies to support the efforts of war? With utmost courage, Jesus taught a gospel of nonviolence. Is the church today practicing the same by its presence and behavior? Do the churches practice nonviolence and social justice or do they align themselves with governments that practice violence and hatred?
-Thich Nhat Hanh, Living Buddha, Living Christ

Blessed are the Peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
-Jesus Christ

One of the things that angers me the most with our country preparing for yet another war is that Bush made such a big deal about being a Christian but his actions have been consistently not Christian. It's bad enough that us non-christians have to hear about this all the time, but the so-called Christians running our government could try practicing what they supposedly believe. As far as I know, Christ taught nothing against abortions or homosexuality. He did, however, teach that the poor should be cared for and wealth should be redistributed.

Bush claimed in the Republican debates for the primaries that he considered Jesus the "political philosopher" that inspired him the most. Since then he has fought hard for tax cuts for the rich and the right to fight wars. Since when did Christ teach this?

Tuesday, October 22, 2002

New Tara: Beginnings
The first session (or Season Premiere) of my new campaign, "Kingdom of Lost Children" was Sunday night. We've got a good group. I sent a call out for new players last week and ended up with a pretty full group.

The first session introduced all but one of the main characters. The setting and first scenario wasn't completely solid in my mind yet when we started, so I had to wing some things. Also, I didn't know for sure what the new players would be playing, so I had to figure out how to work them in.

In the adventure, the characters met and defended a Frankenstein-like monster from the police, stole rare scarabs from the Boston Museum of Natural History and generally got to know eachother.

What went right: Everyone got to play (with the exception of Kris who was finishing her character). Noone wants to come to a game and not get a chance to play. I'd like to take credit for making sure that all characters were involved but much of the credit has to go to the players. They are a cooperative bunch as well as being excellent roleplayers. They knew how hard it can be to get a group together in the first game and they helped. The best part was seeing how everyone broke into groups and continued roleplaying while I was busy GMing with other characters. I found that to be a compliment to me that players were interested enough in the plot to continue discussing it and a compliment to the group that they

What went wrong: I knew I wanted to make a street map for the nighborhood before the game and sure enough there was several times I wished I had it.

Lesson learned:Never give players omens of things that they are not meant to prevent. I started one Vampire-to-be as a mortal in the game and made the mistake of giving another character an omen of what would happen to him. That character told another and the next thing I know there are two Sidhe (a type of Fae) protecting the future vamp. Luckilly things ended up working out by the end of the episode.

I'm looking forward to the next session with this group.

Friday, October 18, 2002

Bread and Circuses
The company I work for had an amazing month last month, so as a thank you they have been doing all sorts of strange but fun things today for the employees. The VPs and several others are dressed as McDonald's characters and giving out food: Cold McDonald's Cheeseburgers and Fries. I think there was some poor planning there, but I guess its the thought that counts. I work at a weird company.


FIRE OF WATER. You are tolerant toward others and are good at easing tension. You make others feel calm and understood. You are patient in even difficult situations or with difficult people. You would make a good therapist or healer. Because of your accepting nature, you are able to have friends from all walks of life. People seek you out for advice because you always know what to do/say for the betterment of everyone involved.
created by Polly Snodgrass.

I did a Tarot reading for a friend last week and the spread had a whole bunch of Pentacles. I realized that I wasn't very familiar with pentacles since they rarely come up in readings I do for myself. What suit seems to come up the most? Cups. So, this result didn't suprise me much.

Transylvania is threatened once more. Dracula has returned.

Carla and I stopped by Circuit City tonight to pick up Buffy Season 1 on DVD and they had the newest Castlevania game in, "Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance." So, I picked it up. It's good so far. It doesn't seem as challenging as the last one and the action seems a little slower, but the graphics are a lot better and this one allows you to save anywhere which is a big plus.

Like "Castlevania: Symphony of the Night" and "Castlevania: Circle of the Moon," this new game mixes elements of console RPGs (such as leveling up your character and equipping items), the exploration-style gameplay of the Metroid games and classic Castlevania action. Symphony of the Night is probably my favorite video game ever, so there was little doubt I would like this game.

Now, if they would just come out with a 2D Castlevania game for the Playstation 2....

Thursday, October 17, 2002

Gaming: New Tara
The new "World of Darkness" campaign starts Sunday. I'm almost ready. I've recruited a few new players and all of the old players who are starting new characters (most of them) have their new characters ready.

I have it in my mind how the characters should mesh and the setting is ready. Now, I just need a plot. I have a few plot ideas in mind but the first game needs just the right plot. It needs to be one that lets the characters introduce themselves and give the players a chance to get into character. It also needs to get all or most of them together at some point and hint at dangers to come. This could be difficult.

The game will be set in a neighborhood of New Tara, a New England city with a powerful occult connection. (The characters of the last campaign basically created the city in their minds.)

Here is the cast so far:

Drusilla Peel (Matt)- Toreador Vampire and headmistress of Ms. Peel's School for Girls.

Lucien (John)- Sidhe Knight who will be opening a martial arts dojo in the neighborhood.

Calixa (Carla) - Malkavian Vampire

Maevren (Double N) - A wereraven who acts as groundskeeper for Ms. Peel's school.

??????? (Mark) - A young Tremere Vampire who runs an occult shop in the neighborhood.

Drusilla and Lucien are returning from the Changeling game. The others are new. I'll let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, October 15, 2002


Take This Quiz!

(Via Ginger)

WISH: Props
I don't use a whole lot of props in my games but sometimes the right picture or right piece of music comes along and I use it.

Pictures are worth a thousand words. It's true. To that end, I've started collecting pictures to use in roleplaying games. I've been buying artbooks; mostly gaming and fantasy art. I've been ripping pictures out of magazines that catch my eye including several illustrations from ads in Previews, a catalog of upcoming comic book releases. I've got a few folders with scraps of magazines and doodles of my own.

I've also started looking for illustrations to use in The Dreaming City website which I have been lazily avoiding working on lately.

As for music, sometimes there is a peice that reflects exactly the mood I want in a scene. In "The Shattered Crystal" Devrim was the caretaker of a castle that was haunted. When the ghost first manifested itself, I wanted to reflect the feeling of stepping back in to another time. I picked out a Jazz song that sounded like it was from the 1920's and played it in the background. "You hear music coming from one of the rooms."

I'm guilty of buying dice themed to a character. For Jubei, the immortal Samurai I play in Champions, I bought three six sided dice that have Japanese numerals on them. They are pretty cool. I use them only when I play Jubei (which hasn't happened in a while). I also have bought dice in colors that have fit a character or setting.

As a GM, I tried playing a horror game by candlelight once. It didn't work. Gamers often need light to see the books or character sheets. Candles might work better in a game like Amber.

For my next campaign, I am coming up with maps. Normally these aren't that important. Players can picture the maps in their head, but for this game I want to make sure that the neighborhood the game is set in is defined and that players know how many blocks away things are. I will also map out the interiors of several of the main locations.

I used to have a wooden Kendo sword. I think it may have got lost in the one of the moves over the years. It was great for handing to a player and asking what stance their character is taking.

Monday, October 14, 2002

Happy Columbus Day!
I've already talked about this here. Only in America can you enslave people, work them to death and steal their land and get your own holiday.

Thursday, October 10, 2002

Still alive.
Not feeling like blogging much these days. I'll be back.

Sunday, October 06, 2002

Homage or Rip-off?
Non Sequitur has comics of The Graevsytes, a very Addams Family-ish group. They're funny, but not as funny as the old Addams Family comics. The comics that they based the tv show off of were reprinted in a book a few years back and I read them. Very funny. As for the Graevsytes, we'll see. He's run them a few times now and they've been kind of funny, but not as funny as his usual stuff.

Friday, October 04, 2002

Love Test
1. You are attracted to those who are warm and obedience.

2. In the process of courtship, the approach that would make you
feel irresistable is creative, never let you feel bored.

3. The impression you would like to give to your lover is loyal,
faithful, never change.

4. You don't like it when your partner is insecure.

5. The kind of relationship you would like to build with your
partner is one that you care not only about the present but
also the future with your partner, a long-lasting relationship
that you can grow with.

6. You care about the society and morality, you won't do anything
wrong after marriage.

7. You think of marriage as a precious thing. Once you get married,
you'll treasure it and your partner very much.

8. At this moment, you think of love as a committment for both parties.

I'm not sure how accurate this test can be, but you can take it here. (Link via Double N)

WISH: That Was Then, This is Now
In the gaming you are doing lately, what do you miss from earlier games? What works so much better you never looked back? Three examples?

What I Miss:

  • I miss trying out new games. Besides Unknown Armies, I haven't played a new game system in years. In the old days, we used to try out new games constantly. We were always starting an epic campaign of one game or another that would last for three or four adventures until some new game caught our attention. (This is why I started planning all my campaigns with endings. I got tired of playing in all of these open-ended games that never got anywhere near an ending.) These days, every game I play or GM seems to go back to the same few systems: Amber Diceless, Champions or White Wolf. I have a vague memory of there being other games out there. (OK- actually the vague memories happen to be sitting on a bookshelf next to the computer...)

  • Pick-up Games- I remember a time when games would start out of the blue. A couple friends would be hanging out and someone would ask "Hey, want to make up characters for this GURPS game I've been thinking about running?" and an hour later we'd be playing. These days, noone seems to have the time to just be hanging out, let alone playing a game on a whim.

  • Miniatures- I never played any roleplaying games that really use miniatures with the exception of one Champions campaign I was in once that used cardboard stand-up superheroes. I only played D&D a few times and never with a group that used minis. My current Champions GM flinches whenever I mention the idea of using miniatures. (Something that Champions is a very good system for and now that Heroclix is out, it's not hard to find minis for.) In fact, the only games I've ever really used minis for were Heroquest and WarhammerQuest, which are more like board games than roleplaying games. Still, I miss having a reason to collect and paint all those fantasy minis. Sure, I can collect them for Warhammer or Chainmail but that's different. Those games don't give a good reason to collect all sorts of funky characters. Instead, I find myself painting legions of elves with spears.

  • Multiple GMs: In my original group, we would sometimes start campaigns were we would take turns GMing. Our original Heroes Unlimited game (Superhero Game) campaign started that way until I eventually became the official GM. (None of us were experienced gamers so it took us a while to figure out who should GM.) Years later, we started a Palladium Fantasy game where the rule was that everyone got a turn as GM and during that turn, they would add onto the story and the game world. It was a lot of fun building off of what other GMs had started.

Things I don't miss:

  • Munchkins: My current gaming groups are munchkin free. In my original gaming group, we had the king Munchkin. I should tell you about him sometime.

  • level-based character development: It has been ages since I've played a game system where characters developed by going up levels. The only thing that may ever make me play a game like that again is D&D Third Edition. I want to use minis again and Third Edition looks like it is a bit better than AD&D, which I hated.

Why So Quiet?
I think that was the longest I've gone without posting. Sorry. I haven't felt talkative.