Friday, February 29, 2008

Potion go boom

I just saw this thread over on EN World, and it got me thinking...

The material enclosed in the box below is released via the Open Game License.

New Feat:

Create Spell Grenade [Item Creation]

Brew Potion

You can create potions from ray spells (spells in which the effect is a ray) of third level or lower using the normal rules for brewing potions. The potions created are treated as thrown weapons that require a ranged touch attack to hit and no weapon proficiency to use.


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Price of Power

I've been reading C.S. Friedman's Feast of Souls. It is pretty good, so far. In the world that Friedman creates, magic is powered by the spark of life. Most witches can only use their own life force to power their magic, which results in them tending to live shorter-than-normal lives.

This isn't a new idea, at all. Novels are full of wizards who burn themselves out (though it is often temporary) or cause themselves physical harm by overextending themselves... reaching into themselves for reserves of power at the expense of injuring themselves.

Games don't model this particularly well. Some try. Shadowrun (and some other games - maybe GURPS?) tend to force magic-using-types to roll or take stun damage after using magic. Theoretically, this could turn into lethal damage at some point (depending on the system).

Really, though, I find most of these systems unsatisfying. There tends to be too high a chance of taking damage from trivial uses of magic. The danger doesn't match up with dramatic tension.
What I haven't seen is a system that is really incremental and seductive - one that allows you to use minor magic with no real risk... but the more of it you use the greater the risk is for more powerful magics. I'd also like to see a system in which players could make a choice to undertake greater physical risks to pull off impressive magical feats (reaching into their reserves of strength).

Monday, February 25, 2008

Art Linkage

Angela has started up an art blog for Necropolis Studios.

Right now, it has a picture of her working on the awesome dragon she's making and some pics that Grace drew/painted at the Con.

Have I mentioned this dragon before? It is going to be amazing. The thing is big - about the size of the Wizard's colossal red dragon (though this one will fit on a 6"x6" base, if you want it to...).

Angela tends to be a bit obsessive over detail. She's sculpting every scale individually - and some of them are so tiny that you need to squint to make out the detail. She's modeled it on a variety of animals in terms of head shape (carnosaur), scale patterns (crocodile, uromastyx), and teeth (I don't remember). She's left gaps in the tooth patterns and sized the jaw so that it actually makes sense and could, in theory, close (unlike most dragon sculpts). She fussed over forelimb/wing musculature until she got something as plausible as I've ever seen (the whole double-limb on one shoulder thing is pretty tricky).

She's sculpting it in wax, and will cast it in, I think, drystone (a strong, plaster-like medium that is used to make some dishware and stuff). She's going to make a bunch of these things in the hopes of being able to offer them at a reasonable price (she's going to probably put well over 100 hours into the original). Most will feature glass eyes, as well. I think they'll be available both painted and unpainted and on various sorts of groundform (including the above-mentioned 6"x6" square).

I'll post pictures at some point.

Favored Weapons

One of those things I remember fondly from my early days of playing D&D was that PCs would sometimes end up using strange weapons (often tridents, for some reason) because they'd find some really good magical ones. Making (or commissioning) your own magical weapons to spec was prohibitively expensive, and most GMs I played with (including myself) didn't make magic weapons readily available in stores. Couple that with the fact that early versions of the game had an absolute version of damage resistance based upon the "+" of the weapon (e.g., +3 or better magic weapon required to hit), and you had good reason for PCs to stick with the most powerfully enchanted weapon they could find.

In many fantasy novels (and other source material), a hero's weapon may not be magical, but it is often not interchangeable with any other weapon. A character might be particularly skilled at using a given weapon... and weapons are often ascribed with legendary importance due to tasks that have been undertaken with them.

How to capture some of this in d20:

In D&D 3.5 it is more-or-less expected that your primary magic weapon will have a +1 equivalent for every four levels or so.

New Rule-in-Development:

Each time your character gains a level, you may assign one of her weapons as favored. This must be a weapon that she has used. After every second consecutive level that the same weapon is named favored, she may add a +1 competence bonus to either her attack or damage rolls with that weapon. These competence bonuses stack with themselves, but not with other competence bonuses. Each time the weapon is enchanted after it has been named a favored weapon, the PC must get used to the new 'feel' of the weapon. For every +1-equivalency that a weapon is enchanted with, the PC loses a +1 competency bonus to either attack or damage (player's choice).

The expected upshot: PCs will stick with magic weapons they acquire early in their careers. Provided they have access to someone who can further enhance them, these weapons may end up being marginally more powerful in their hands than other weapons of similar magic.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Taco Like a Pirate Weekend

Last weekend, I headed up to Capricon. Angela and Grace had a table in the dealers' room.

Not that my con-going experience is vast or anything, but it was the most well-organized con I've ever been to. The signage was remarkably good. The badges were made of hard plastic. The con suite was always fully stocked with a dozen different types of beverages and snack foods (including veggie trays and fruit). They even fed the dealers (Jimmy John's, with vegetarian options).

It was also the most thoroughly themed con I've ever been to. The theme was "Pirates" - which is easy - but not only were there tons of people in pirate outfits, but there were pirate parties (with an award for the best use of Captain Morgan's), pirate-themed panel discussions, and Taco Like a Pirate night (a free taco bar on Thursday night).

Mostly, though, I hung out in the dealers' room as moral support and an additional salesperson. Grace was selling originals and prints of her artwork. Her cute stuff seemed to do best. Angela sold a bunch of boxes with eyes. Also, Angela was sculpting an incredibly-detailed big dragon (about 2-feet tall) at the table, which attracted a lot of attention... and e-mails from people who wanted to know when she'll be done with it. She'll be casting a series of 50 of them, and some of them will be on 6"x6" bases... I'll post pictures at some point.

Their table was also next to Glen Cook's - he was selling books. That was kind of cool. Spending as much time as I did in the dealer's room, I bought stuff I shouldn't have (including a cheap sword).

I also played a Shadowrun game at the con. It was fun. I like the 4th edition of it more...

Next con (which may be DuckCon): remember to bring boardgames.

Coming soon: actual gaming content
(I feel like I say that a lot, lately)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Elmer's Spell Book: Ground Stew

The material enclosed in the box below is released via the Open Game License.

Ground Stew

Transmutation [Meat]

Level: Sor/Wiz 3
Components: V, S, M
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Area: 10-ft. square/level; see text
Duration: 1 min./level (D)
Saving Throw: Fortitude partial; see text
Spell Resistance: No

The ground becomes a morass of hot liquid, filled with savory chunks of meat. You affect a 10-footsquare area to a depth of 2 to 3 feet, depending on the toughness or resilience of the ground at that spot. You may only transmute natural earth or stone into a stew. Magical, enchanted, dressed, or worked stone cannot be affected. Earth or stone creatures are not affected.

It costs Medium or larger creatures 3 squares of movement to move into a square of the stew. Small or smaller creatures require 4 squares of movement or can swim if they wish. Tumbling is impossible in a stew and Move Silently checks are made at -2.

The stew provides cover for Medium or larger creatures. Smaller creatures gain improved cover (+8 bonus to AC, +4 bonus on Reflex saves). Medium creatures can crouch as a move action to gain this improved cover. Creatures with this improved cover take a -10 penalty on attacks against creatures that aren’t underwater.

The stew is very hot and will soften tough meat (or flesh that cooks in it). Each round on your turn, starting when you cast the spell, the stew deals 1d4 points of fire damage to each creature and object within it. Each time a creature takes damage from the stew, it must make a Fortitude save or have its natural armor bonus reduced by one (minimum 0). Natural armor bonus returns at a rate of one point per minute after leaving the stew.

Material Component
A carrot

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

DM Organizational Tool-Tip

On Sunday, Angela ran D&D... and it was a fairly combat-heavy game for that campaign (we tend to avoid combat).

The first fight involved a bunch of Phantom, Sand-form Skiurids (shadow-squirrels with a couple of weird templates). Angela has taken to marking up the battlemat with an identifying number next to each opponents' miniature. This works reasonably well, but she's also put a running hp total next to them as well. While this is useful, it involves a lot of erasing, markers can be hard to read, and this makes hp of enemies transparent to the players.

I was brainstorming about a better solution. I think I came up with one: little circular stickers. Mark them with an initial hp total at the beginning of combat. Stick them on the bottom of the minis. Now you can write on them with a pencil or fine-point pen, keeping the info directly with the individual miniature and away from the eyes of the players.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Winter War Was

This past weekend, I stopped by Winter War, the local gaming con.

I've been living in town since 2001. This is the first time I've gone.

I wasn't actually aware of it for the first few years. After that, I'd been told that it was all historical miniatures battles (not really my thing). Then there were a couple of years in which the timing was bad... I was out of town or something.

Now, there does appear to be a lot of the historical mini thing going on... but there are also other mini games, boardgames, and (gasp) rpgs.

So, yeah. I went for a day. Unfortunately, I didn't pre-register... so I didn't get into any rpgs. That made me sad. I wandered the dealer room for a bit. It turns out that Dave bought some interest in the Armored Gopher (FLGS). One of the other local gaming stores was unsurprisingly (but sadly) bitter and whiny about the fact that the con organizers had actually let in competition. I was unsympathetic.

Anyway, the con was OK. I'd have gotten more out of it if I'd planned for it. This is getting to be a common theme - and I will, eventually, learn this lesson.

I got to play Railroad Tycoon (much fun, but odd) with Jeff's sister. I got to meet Jum and his wife. I sat in on a strangely amusing game auction. It was a pretty good Saturday.

Also, someone in the dealer room was practically giving away Dreamblade minis. Angela got a pile of them (she likes minis. she likes surreal things). She used some of them in our D&D game last night (as a giant, mutant rat and some gibbering mouthers). We also actually played a game of Dreamblade. It was pretty fun, actually.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Fairness Rules!

I've been thinking a bit about rules that I've seen D20 as not handling well (or at all): disproportionately-sized opponents, facing, grappling, mass combat, surprise, mounted combat, and things like that. (The astute among you will note that many of these are related.)

Most of my thoughts have been along the lines of attempting to create relatively realistic models for these situations. Every once in a while, though, I get frustrated and think that the solution is to simply narrate things 'cinematically' with circumstantial modifiers based upon a few guidelines and a dose of considered judgment.

I keep shying away from this, though. I think I've figured out why.

I'd been telling myself that it was because the only real difference between the two approaches was the number and level of detail of the guidelines. Why not just have more of them?

I still think that's a reasonable critique (but there is an equally reasonable response to it) ... but I think that I've figured out that I was shying away from it due to concerns about fairness.

I admit that I sometimes worry overmuch about fickleness. I think this is an artifact of having played a lot of the old Storyteller system - and its tendency towards arbitrary skill lists. The fairness concerns aren't just related to fickleness in rules application, though. They are also about predictability and about being held to the same standards as others.

...but what "others" are there? Other PCs? If PCs are held to differing standards, it should be obvious to all involved... and easily noted and fixed. What about NPCs? Is there a reason that PCs and NPCs should be held to similar standards?

This is my real dilemma. With explicitly laid-out rules, PCs and NPCs are (at least nominally) held to the same standards. As a player, I get frustrated when an NPC gets preferential treatment. In part, this is because I've had more than my fair share of GMs with pet NPCs... but it is also due to the fact that I never understood the idea of, say, being a powerful wizard in a world full of magic artifacts who couldn't make one himself without tremendous hardship. This is one of the things I appreciate about the d20 system.

On the other hand, even as a GM, I don't have a problem when PCs get preferential treatment. It's their story, after all. fairness is only an issue for me to a point. Maybe what I need is a set of guidelines that is a bit restrictive for NPCs, but gives more leeway to PCs.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Planescape, Revisited

I wrote this up a long time ago as potential notes for a neo-planescape campaign. I've added a couple notes since then.

Maybe I will do something along these lines someday. Until then, maybe someone else will find this useful.

It is unlikely that this will make sense unless you are familiar with Planescape.

The Lady of Pain:
Largely unchanged, though perhaps a bit less hands-on. Mysterious. Silent. Terrifying. Ignore the backstory that was given to her in the gaming fiction.

Some portals, particularly older and more stable ones, are more akin to hallways than doorways. They have demiplanar space inside them. A few of these have multiple doorways off of them, but such are rare. Others have stores or inns that have set up shop within them. The largest and most stable portals practically have small cities within them - these are commonly called Gate-towns.

Religion in Sigil:
As I envision it, Sigil has very few churches to deities. Deities who desire representatives in Sigil may have an embassy, and nearly all such embassies have chapels. Organized worship of deities outside of embassies is not, precisely, illegal... but it appears to be frowned upon by the Lady of Pain and, thus, rare. The Lady of Pain has not, however, taken a stance on cults that worship things other than deities (which is one of the reasons that some of the Factions are so strong in Sigil).

Sigil Government:
The Factions, such as they are, do not have a formal role in government. Each of Sigil's six wards has a Ward Council. The members of these councils are chosen in different manners in different wards. Each of the Ward Councils sends a single representative to the High Council. In addition, each time the high council meets, a different citizen of Sigil is brought to the meeting by one or more of the Dabus. The Council refers to this person as The Voice (presumably "The Voice of the Lady," but this presumption goes unspoken in case it is mistaken). The Voice will break any ties of the council and holds veto power over any of their decisions. It is unknown how The Voice is chosen. Gate-towns have no formal representation, a fact that has caused some unrest.

Alignment and the Outer Planes:
I don't like the reification of alignment, and some alignment concepts ("lawful" - I am looking at you) are a conglomeration of things that aren't particularly related to each other. Instead of Law-Chaos-Good-Evil, the Outer Planes are organized around Reason-Passion-Peace-Conflict. Alternately, I'd use the new 4e cosmology. Sigil would be on an island in the 'center' of the Astral Sea... or something.

The Outlands:
My conception of the Outlands was pretty close to the 43 Astral anyway: The Outlands take up the space between the Planes of Reason-Passion-Peace-Conflict and are physically bordered by them. One can, in theory, walk from The Abyss (Conflict/Passion) to Arcadia (Reason/Peace). The Outlands, however, are weird. Phantom Tollbooth Weird. The Outlands are made up of a series of semi-contiguous pocket-dimensions, many of which are ruled by gods and shaped by their whims... and many of which are infinitely large. Some things formerly designated as outer planes in and of themselves will now be infinitely large domains within the Outlands. The Outlands also have a strange connection to the Inner Planes.

Gate-towns are no longer in the Outlands. Instead, the Gate-towns are demi-planes that have exactly two portals in them - one in Sigil and one on an Outer Plane. The location of each of these portals (in Sigil and on the other Plane) is well-known and well-traveled. The Gate-towns and Sigil itself make up a sort of megalopolis, and some people consider the Gate-towns to be part of Sigil.

The Factions:
The Factions are no longer Capital-F-Factions. Instead, they are much less unified and much more subtly integrated. Many of them are cults or secret societies. Others will have stronger ties to some of the outer planes or Sigil itself. Details are below.

Athar - The Athar exist as a secret society across many Planes. Most of its members in high standing are former clerics who have renounced their faiths. Some are worshippers of gods who have died. They rarely become directly involved in politics, but they often sponsor secular alternatives to activities typically provided only through religion. They have trained midwives and healers, and have reached out to those seeking spiritual enlightenment or meaning in a wide variety of ways. The Athar are subtly evangelical.

Godsmen - The Godsmen Foundry is run by a group within the Athar known as the Believers of the Source. The Foundry is a business venture - it sells both forged products and self-actualization training (which involves forge-training and work in the Foundry). Many people consider the whole thing a scam. The Foundry is, however, a cooperative, and the Godsmen own it (though the Athar still have influence in it). The Godsmen themselves are those who have successfully gone through the self-actualization training and believe that they are on the path to becoming gods. The Godsmen have become economically significant in Sigil. Many Godsmen have largely left the Foundry and continued on a more personal path. They tend to become successful in their ventures.

Bleak Cabal - the Cabal is a social club and service organization for existentialists. They often meet with each other or with members of the Sign of One (or - occasionally - the Revolutionary League) for philosophical discussions and alcohol. They fund and staff services for the poor in Sigil.

Doomguard - The Doomguard is a militant entropy-worshiping cult that exists across many Planes. It also has among its members a few of those who worship gods of entropy, death, and decay - though many of these eventually abandon their gods for the Doomguard philosophy. Members of the Doomguard recognize that the multiverse is flawed. These flaws, they see, will result in the eventual - and inevitable - decay and destruction of the universe. Many of the Doomguard are dedicated to seeing that this process occurs smoothly. Some of them are dedicated to eliminating unnecessary suffering in this process. Others seek to speed the process. In general, the belief is that the universe itself will reincarnate into a less flawed form. This process of decay and rebirth may need to happen many times before the universe is flawless. Joining the Doomguard involves a demonstration of your acceptance of entropy - and often involves the willing physical destruction of something of great value to you.

Dustmen - The Dustmen are cross-planar cultists, a group of whom have infiltrated and taken over the morticians guild of Sigil. Their philosophy involves a denial of Passion and Conflict. Instead of Reason and Peace, however, they see the opposition to these things as a state of True Death. Furthermore, they deny the meaningfulness of the common distinction between life and death - death that does not occur while one is in a state of denial of Passion and Conflict cannot be True Death (and, instead, results in the individual becoming a Petitioner). A minority of the Dustmen believe that the True Death must be found not only in the denial of Passion and Conflict, but must also involve the denial of Reason and Peace. This minority has a tremendous respect for mindlessness, and practices the creation of skeletons and zombies. The Dustmen count some intelligent undead among their members.

Fated - The Fated are the self-proclaimed social elite of Sigil - many of them are ex-adventurers and former members of the Fraternity of Order or the Godsmen. Their interactions with each other center primarily around formal social events. They count among their number several members of the Lady's Ward Council and the Clerk's Ward Council, but their real power is as individuals. Each of the Fated is an individual of impressive ability or resources, without which they would not have been admitted to the group. They consider themselves to be the true powers in Sigil.

Fraternity of Order - The Fraternity of Order is somewhere between a secret society and a cult. Its members seek to develop a set of rules that unify all physical, arcane, social, and governmental laws. Furthermore, they believe that Sigil is the hub of the multiverse, and - as a result - is the key to their project. They have members on most of the Ward Councils. Its members are politicians, scientists, wizards, and businessmen. One of their major projects is to collect as much empirical information as possible about what goes on in Sigil. Another is to study Sigil's relationship to the rest of the multiverse (in particular, many are interested in the Gate-towns). Perhaps most central to the Order's purpose, however, is the strong political goals which fall out of their belief system. If they become the powers that be in Sigil, they believe that they will effectively be the powers that be in the multiverse.

Harmonium - The Harmonium is a group founded by Peace-aligned outsiders. It began as a sort of neighborhood watch within Sigil, and has become a vigilante group that is the de facto police force in Sigil. Moreover, its activities have spread outward from Sigil to the areas around more well-travelled portals, including Gate-towns.

Mercykillers - As the Harmonium expanded, it recruited more individuals who were not as strongly Peace-aligned as its founders. When such individuals were forced to deal more with the harsh realities of the underbelly of Sigil, many of them resorted to methods not sanctioned by the Harmonium. Eventually, this group, frustrated by what they perceived as the Harmonium's overly merciful ways, split off completely. There is a tension between the two, but they will occasionally work together (particularly if the Mercykillers agree to reign in their tactics). The Mercykillers primarily function in the Hive, the Lower Ward, and the Gate-towns of Conflict-aligned planes, but they have begun recruiting and acting outside of the environs of Sigil.

Revolutionary League - The Revolutionary League, like the Bleak Cabal and the Sign of One, is largely a social club for people of a particular philosophical bent - in this case, anarchists. The League has a political agenda - it believes that Sigil belongs to everyone and that the Ward Councils (and their Harmonium lap dogs) should be abolished. Recently, they have gotten wind of the Fraternity of Order's true purpose and have begun to mobilize to tear them down. They could easily turn against other factions.

Sign of One - The Sign of One is a group of solipsists that developed around a group of magical researchers dedicated to developing their own form of magic based upon a solipsistic belief system. While it was founded by a small group of individuals, the group has become increasingly popular among the self-important. These hangers-on tend to treat Sign of One as a sort of social/philosophical club. Recently, the researchers at the core of the group have made some breakthroughs, and the basic abilities of the magical system they have developed are becoming more widespread among the Signers.

Society of Sensation - The Society of Sensation is an elite social club for explorers... in a very broad sense of the term explorer. The Sensates are choosy about who they admit to their number. A prospective member must be sponsored and must have a truly unique experience to offer. The Sensates make extensive use of crystals that record experiences and memories.

Transcendent Order - Members of the Transcendent Order attend - or have spent time at - the Cifer Monastery, where they learn to act through instinct, ignoring both passion and reason. They practice distinctive meditative techniques and martial arts. The monastery in Sigil is not the first of the Transcendent Order's (which was on a Prime), but it has become the largest and, effectively, the headquarters of the Order.

Xaositects - 'Xaositect' is a name imposed from the outside. It refers to any one of a number of roving gangs made up of individuals who are mentally ill, have been driven mad, have had their minds altered by magic, or are of a creature type whose mind works in a way that most individuals in Sigil consider insane or chaotic. There have recently been rumors about an entity (possibly from a Passion-aligned plane?) who calls itself the Xaositect and who is said to be the leader of all of these gangs, but most consider the rumor to be unfounded...

There would be additional factions, as well. These include one that wants Gate-town (and, possibly, outer-plane) representation in Sigil government, and another that is working toward Gate-town independence from Sigil and the connecting planes.

I've gotten rid of the Free League - which I felt was necessary given the role of the factions here - though they might be recast as either (1) a group of individuals fighting against a perceived shadow government or (2) a mercantile league that supports a free market.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

What if you don't like carrots?

One assumption that I've been toying with is that PC advancement is tied to accumulated, earned experience points. For most, this is a no-brainer.

I, however, lack a brain... so I had to question it. Once I did, I stopped and wondered... why, if D&D assumes an average rate of advancement of one level per 11 encounters, does it bother with experience points? Why don't we just count encounters?

Last night, I played in a game using the new WoD system (which I prefer to the old one). The GM is using the default xp system, which gives a variable number of xp. One xp is given for the 'learning curve' - you get an xp if you mention something your PC learned that session. This isn't a new idea, but it is sort of interesting... primarily (to me) because the effect is that there is this floating xp award out there that is yours to lose. That is, its effectively a default award that a player may (but rarely will) fail to claim.

Still questioning, I now wonder, what if all xp worked like that?

What if you didn't earn xp at all? What if it came to you at a default rate? What if you could collect some or all of that xp depending upon your PC's actions?

This isn't really any different than a GM laying out the potential xp awards in a session... and realizing that not every PC will earn all of them. It is, instead, a different way of conceptualizing that. It opens up some new design space.

How so?

Well, for one thing, each PC could have different criteria (I'll call them Traps here) which could cause them not to gain full xp. I'll take a character from last night's game as an example: Hector is a mechanical genius and technophile. He's also socially awkward. His Trap could be: Lose 1/2 xp in a session if you (a) pass up the chance to fix or improve something mechanical or (b) make a good social impression on someone. This provides a way of reinforcing character shticks without worrying about bookkeeping.

It also allows for some stranger advancement options.

One thing I've been toying with is a character advancement scheme based around the pursuit of eudaimonia. I have rather particular ideas about virtue theory. I didn't want a system that rewarded you for practicing discrete virtues. Instead, I wanted a system that would reward you when you acted from all virtues - without conflict between them. Ultimately, I want something that effectively penalizes your advancement when your virtues and goals are in conflict.... and to do this, it would be simplest to have a fixed advancement rate that could then be tuned down at need.

(I don't know that this would be a fun system, but its something I was contemplating...)

Monday, February 04, 2008

February is Con Month

...for me at least.

The last Con I attended was Gen Con.

This upcoming weekend is Winter War, a con I could walk to if the weather weren't miserable.

I'm hoping to play in Jeff's Encounter Critical game if it doesn't fill up. Otherwise, I don't have any plans for it yet, which isn't the smartest way to handle a Con (as I learned at Gen Con). I'm taking suggestions.

The weekend after that is Capricon. Angela and Grace have a table in the dealer's room there. Angela's been working on a big dragon sculpt (about the size of the D&D Colossal Red Dragon), but it may not be ready in time - particularly if she's still sick. She's incredibly detail-oriented and dragons, you see, have these things called scales that require individual attention...

Anyway, Capricon looks fun. There are some interesting panels, but far too many of them are about pirates. Fortunately, a few of the ones about pirates include Gene Wolfe on the panel - which could be interesting. There's also a recurring Shadowrun game. I might have to get in on one of those.

Update from Fort Freedom

My grant has been submitted. My life can now return to normalcy.

...or some semblance thereof.

This weekend was a weekend of rest.

Friday was a snow day, so it was a much-needed three-day weekend. I didn't leave the house until yesterday.

I spent most of Friday fighting with my DVD drive. It died. I tried two others we had lying around the house. They were dead, too... but I'd expected them to be. Yesterday, I went and bought a new one.

Why the DVD drive obsession? As a treat for myself after the grant, I picked up a copy of Oblivion... and a new video card so it would run on my PC. I've been wanting to play Oblivion since before it came out. I adored Morrowind. The exploration was a ton of fun.

I only got a bit of time on Oblivion in yesterday, but it looks like it will be good. Also, the character-imaging controls are ridiculous.

Also, the new video card will let me play some games that I've had for a bit but abandoned due to my lousy on-board video card not being able to run them well.

It occurs to me that I now have a decent gaming machine. My PC isn't super-fast (though it is competent), but I have a good video card now, and I've had a ridonkulous (big ol' widescreen) monitor for awhile now.

Angela was planning on running D&D last night... and playtesting some of the ideas I've had for fighting big things. Unfortunately, she got sick (I think a bad cold). Nick ended up running his Mage 1950s flashback/interlude game instead. I'm playing a former soldier/momma's boy/insurance salesman (all of which are intrinsically linked together) Euthanatos.

See? I talked about gaming a wee bit there...