Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Changeling Contracts part 3 of 4

Court Contracts come in two varieties, fleeting and eternal. Fleeting contracts can be purchased if you have the favor of a court. Anyone who is a member of a court automatically has favor. Every member of a court can grant a point of Favor equal to their level of rank in the court. More on that in the court section. Eternal contracts can only be purchased by court members no matter how much favor one may have. A changeling can only learn and use up to their rank rating in the eternal contracts. If they lose rank they do not unlearn the contract but it cannot be used until they get their title back.

Court contracts--------

for all court contracts one must have status 1 for that court to learn the fleeting contracts although they retain their function after one has quit. to learn the eternal contracts one must have a status equal to the level of contract and said status must be current for the contract to work. The powers do not disappear once one loses rank but they cannot be used unless one has rank equal to level of power.

Contracts of Fleeting Spring: Fleeting spring uses Awareness as a retest. Catch: caster must burn a heartfelt (writer had intimacy towards intended) love letter that has been seen and read by its intended for each casting of the power.

lvl 1 Cupid's Eye - social challenge against 10 traits, success reveals one of the victim's intimacies, victim's choice, successive uses of the power on the same target reveal additional intimacies at 15, 20 etc trait difficulties.

lvl 2 Pulling Heartstrings - costs one awareness, Social challenge success suppresses the bonus trait gained from an intimacy for an hour.

lvl 3 Binding or Red Thread - costs one awareness one glamour, social challenge with target, cannot be used on self target gains for one hour an intimacy of the caster's choice.

lvl 4 Golden Apple spend a willpower while crafting an item. anyone who holds or uses that item has an intimacy towards it/when using it. item lasts 28 days no more than the user's Wyrd in items may be active at once. when an item becomes inactive it falls to sparkling dust, even if it were made with the sturdiest of materials.

lvl 5 Young Man's Fancy spend one willpower 2 glamour. engage a social challenge with target, Target suffers a -2 penalty on temperance checks.

Contracts of Eternal Spring: Uses survival Catch: caster must sacrifice animal with a number of blood traits equal to the level of power used.

lvl 1 Bright new day - spend a survival touch a subject, can be used on self. all penalties and damage associated with fatigue, poison, or starvation vanish, it is as if the recipient has received a full meal and a good night's sleep without the concurrent regain of will.

lvl 2 Planting stick - Spend a survival, walk around a farm, field or patch of growing plants. must be able to be paced around in an hour. running is fine as are travel powers but no steeds, bikes, or conveyances of any kind. crops and animals treated this way are cleansed of blight, disease, parasites, infestations, the land is made healthy and nutritious and plants grow as if it were spring for a day. crops yield their maximum possible bounty, livestock is healthy and clean. Three days of this treatment is enough to reverse the effects of Witch Blight.

lvl 3 Graceful Hand of Renewal- touch target wound, spend one glamour wound is downgraded one stage from ag to lethal or from lethal to bashing or bashing to healed.

lvl 4 March of Passing Days- spend a willpower, touch a subject, subject grows as if they had a season of perfect health, nutrition and exercise in a day. this provides 3 months of 'convalescence' for healing times. works on plants, the season for plants is as per their growing season. counters Ache

lvl 5 Grass Underfoot - spend one willpower and 5 glamour. Grass and flowering plants spring up under the feet of the caster. All plants in the room bloom and grow as if they have had a season of growth. Everything in the room with the caster except the caster himself, friend or foe, for good or ill, is cleansed of toxins and diseases and regains one bashing health level, if they have no bashing a lethal is downgraded to bashing, if they have no lethal an ag is downgraded to lethal. this effect costs 2 glamour per round to maintain.

Contracts of Fleeting Summer: uses intimidate as retest Catch: character must sacrifice the liver of a rabid animal per level of power used. must have made sacrifice within 3 days of use. each sacrifice only works once and is expended.

lvl 1: Find Flaw: engage in mental challenge with subject, if successful, know their lowest virtue.

lvl 2: Object of Scorn: point at a subject and loudly and in a clear voice deride them. engage a mental challenge subject is down 1 social trait for an hour.

lvl 3: Mockery and Pointless Obfuscation: caster must engage subject in conversation for a full minute, incites a difficulty 3 anger frenzy in the target resisted with self control, even if subject is in no way subject to frenzy a killing rage overtakes them, aimed at the caster in which the frenzy rules apply. get a staffer.

lvl 4: Tripping Your Fellow Man: Mental challenge expend a glamour and change the target of any existent occurring frenzy. You decide who someone is frenzying on.

lvl 5. Outrunning The Bear: spend a willpower caster cannot be frenzied upon for one hour, frenzies still occur as normal but choose another target. caster cannot be target of effects produced by a frenzying creature, this includes creatures in permanent frenzy.

Contracts of Eternal Summer: uses occult as retest. Catch:character must give away an ounce of pure 24 karat gold per level of power to be used. Per use. said gold cannot come into contact with the character again. lest his powers cease functioning for one day per ounce.

lvl 1: Home and Hearth: expend one occult retest. the room is toasty and warm or cool and pleasant for one full hour, brought to the comfort level of the caster, if caster is outdoors field goes for 50 feet.

lvl 2: Brilliance of Hyperion: spend an occult character glows with the light of the sun for 200 feet in every directions, cannot engage in stealth challenges, gains 2 trait equipment bonus to leadership. light is not true sunlight but reflected doing merely 1 lethal per round to those affected by sunlight. and triggering a difficulty 3 fear frenzy.

lvl 3: Prometheus Fist: spend an occult and a glamour. character's hands glow with unearthly light. does an additional unarmed damage of solar fire. (1 ag) lasts one hour

lvl 4: Sunray: spend 1 willpower 3 glamour. for one hour caster manifests a beam of sunlight. the bolt is a weapon that does 2 ag, can be fired once per action and grants 1 physical trait. uses firearms.

lvl 5: Unblinking Eye of Appolyon: spend 1 willpower and 5 glamour, all illusions, all obfuscate, concealment or stealth magics, ends unless the caster of the illusion spends a willpower for the round. as the caster radiates sunlight for 100 yards in every direction. elder level powers (6 and up) are maintained at no cost, all things or people hidden through mundane means are revealed. costs 2 glamour to maintain,

Contracts of Fleeting Autumn: uses empathy retest. subject must not have ever seen the character's face.

lvl 1: as per cupid's eye (fleeting spring) except reveals a number of mental flaws or derangements(if any)

lvl 2: Phobos Kiss: spend a glamour social challenge with subject applies a -1 valor penalty to the subject.

lvl 3: Whispered Mantra: expend a glamour touch subject, subject has a +2 bonus on valor checks.

lvl 4: Fear of The Reaping: character gazes upon a target, target is subject to a 3 trait valor check or fear frenzy with the caster as stimulus. this happens even if the subject is of a creature type not given to frenzies. stimulus lasts for one round

lvl 5: Barghest Mien: spend one willpower, character is a 2 trait fear frenzy stimulus to all who behold her. must spend 1 glamour per round to maintain. this stimulus affects even those creatures of a type not given to frenzy.

Contracts of Eternal Autumn: uses survival Catch: caster must sacrifice animal with a number of blood traits equal to or greater than the level of power used.

lvl 1: Feast of famine:caster must touch subject, expend a survival. subject loses one glamour/blood/etc and if human takes one level of bashing from fatigue/starvation

lvl 2: Witch Blight: spend a survival, walk around a farm, field or patch of growing plants. must be able to be paced around in an hour. running is fine as are travel powers but no steeds, bikes, or conveyances of any kind. crops and animals treated this way are stricken with blight, disease, pests and the soil is turned to salt. nothing can grow upon this land for a full season. attempts to cause any kind of growth are 2 difficulty categories higher.

lvl 3:Fester: Spend a single glamour when you touch a wounded person, a single existing bashing becomes a lethal a lethal becomes an ag. touching unmarred flesh produces a bashing but frankly you could just have spent your effort punching someone for that effect. Does not work multiple times per strike. This effectively makes a character's strikes one wound category more deadly on any victim that is already wounded. e.g. they gain a bashing from the punch you are now throwing and turn a previous punch into a stab.

lvl 4:Ache: spend a glamour touch a creature already wounded. the creature cannot be healed by time, non supernatural medical help or convalescence for a full season.

lvl 5: Killing Frost - spend a willpower and 5 glamour all plants in the room wither and die, frost lines the room. Everyone except the caster, friend or foe must spend an extra willpower to heal or activate or maintain healing magics until the effect ends. costs 2 glamour to maintain.

Contracts of Fleeting Winter: no skill retest, Catch: Each use consumes one pounds of ice per level of power used. per use. caster must be in contact with said ice.

lvl 1: Evito - as per celerity 1

lvl 2: Guidiamo - expend a glamour, your steed or vehicle gains an additional step per round or 10% of its speed whichever is higher.

lvl 3: Colpisco - as per celerity 2

lvl 4: Progredico - as per celerity 3 except each level of fleeting winter must be paid for separately still, this just removes step penalty.

lvl 5: Morite - as per celerity 4

Contracts of Eternal Winter: uses Science as a retest Catch: character must giveaway Permanently a level of resources. and cannot have their resources rise above this new level for one month lest they lose their powers for one month. burning this resource allows use of the power for free for 72 hours

lvl 1: bank the blaze: a chill breeze whips through the room, extinguishing or dampening all fires or sources of heat. every fire (not sunlight, fire) is suppressed, doing one less damage, fires reduced to 0 levels go out. at the end of the round, those not extinguished return to their former size.

lvl 2: heart of ice: spend an science, touch a subject, their temperance gains a 2 trait bonus.

lvl 3: numbing touch: spend a glamour touch a subject, subject is not affected by wound penalties for one hour

lvl 4: Winter's Sabre: spend one glamour, for one round the character's weapon gains 2 lethal of cold damage and one trait offensively

lvl 5: Armor of Frost: spend a willpower and a glamour, the character's skin is covered in armor of ice, granting 2 defensive traits and an additional health level. fire and all heat (including sunlight) does lethal instead of ag

Oh my, More Changeling Contracts Part 2 of 4

Below are seeming contracts each set of contracts are easier for a particular seeming to learn and harder for all others. As before anytime they document references another power or vampire go to vampire.echoesofempires.com for the appropriate rule text

Seeming Contracts-----

Contracts of Artifice: uses crafts to retest. Catch - crafter must create and give away for free an item of difficulty equal to the level of power used to someone he does not know

lvl 1 MacGyver - may repair an object without a scrounge roll for materials, repair lats a number of days per level of power.

lvl 2 Gremlinize - mental challenge vs 10 mentals look a complex mechanical device (must have multiple moving parts) and suppress its function for as long as gaze is maintained

lvl 3 Shoemaker's Bright Hammer - gain a an additional discipline retest on extended crafting challenge

lvl 4 Eye of Balor - spend a willpower as per Kuldonic's way of fire Shatter

lvl 5 Wings of Wax - Spend a willpower and create in one hour, without a scrounge roll needed for materials any object the crafter can normally craft, item lasts a number of days per level of power.

Contracts of Darkness: Uses intimidate as a retest Catch caster must have in their possession a vial of tears of someone they have frightened, the tears are consumed in the casting
lvl 1 Whistling to the Dark - as per obtenebration 1
lvl 2 Numbing Teror - as per nightmare lvl 1
lvl 3 The Following Dark - as per obtenebration 2
lvl 4 Fell Countenance - as per nightmare lvl 2
lvl 5 Form of Nightmares - as per obtenebration 3 except player may decide the look of the creature, i.e. the tentacles could be tendrils of vine or lobster claws or whatever, no game effect difference though.

Contracts of Elements: uses survival as retest, this is actually seven paths that must be purchased separately the path options are: Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Wood, Metal, Lightning, for damage, lightning and metal do lethal, fire does ag all else does bashing. Catch: character must sit in meditation of their element with that element present for half an hour for each level of the power to be used. This catch lasts one day.

lvl 1: Cloak of Elements: spend a survival and take one less damage per attack for the round from that element

lvl 2: Armor of the Elements: spend a survival, the caster is surrounded by a swirling shroud of their element that does a level of damage to anyone using a non-reach or ranged attack against them, and includes the effect of the lvl 1 lasts one round

lvl 3: Gladius of Elemental Wrath: costs 1 glamour, the character's weapon is sheathed in substance of their element and adds one level of damage to the damage done by a weapon the character is using. after this level of damage is done the effect dissipates. effect does not stack with other elements or itself. if the damage is not done within an hour or the weapon is sheathed/put down by the caster the effect ends. lasts an hour

lvl 4: Elemental Passage: Costs 1 willpower
Caster must step into an amount of their element larger than their surface area and can step 10 feet per level of Contract to another amount of their element of a size larger than their total surface area. note unless other powers are used the caster still takes damage from passing through a fire for example.
If the destination for some reason is not present (i.e. someone knows what you're moving to and extinguishes the fire, turns off the electricity) all people going through transit take 4 levels of appropriate damage type and are spat out at their point of departure.

lvl 5:Form of the Elements: costs 1 glamour 1 willpower. Character becomes a living embodiment of their element, gaining an additional healthy health level and a discipline retest (like might) on all situations where might would apply. they also gain the benefits of the armor of the elements. character does not actually entirely become the element but their hair may turn to fire, skin to steel etc. lasts one hour

Contracts of Fang and Talon: this is actually 8 different disciplines that must be purchased separately but the beast seeming discount applies to all of them even those not of their specific kith. these eight disciplines govern the eight kiths of the beast seeming: broadback, hunterheart, runnerswift, skitterskulk, steepscrambler, swimmerskin, venombite, and windwing. all use animal ken as a retest. Catch: character must care for and feed an animal of the appropriate type for a day per free use of the power. these free uses all disappear when the character stops taking care of the animal.
lvl 1 beast speech - as per animalism but only communicates with the specific group of animals related to the seeming.

lvl 2 beast's keen senses - costs one animal ken as per auspex 1 heightened senses

lvl 3 pipes of the beast caller - as per animalism beckoning

lvl 4 borrowing - as per subsume the spirit

lvl 5 cloak of borrowed form - character can turn into any animal in the appropriate group. All attributes remain the same.

Contracts of Stone: has no appropriate retests Catch: Character must be outnumbered by 3 to 1 or better. these powers do not take an action to activate. when active they activate for one hour. a glamour must be spend for each.
lvl 1 Strength of the Wold - as per potence 1
lvl 2 Enduring Stone - Caster does not suffer wound penalties beyond bruised.
lvl 3 Strong as the Hill - as per potence 2
lvl 4 Hale as the Stone - Caster has an additional healthy health level.
lvl 5 Redcap's Hungry Maw: Must spend one hour devouring all food in sight, and must devour at least one's head's weight in food. heal 3 health levels.

Contracts of Vainglory: retested with leadership Catch: Character must have exchanged bodily fluids of some sort with subject(s)within the past month. a kiss will do.

lvl 1 Mask of Superiority - lasts 1 hour character gains +1 social trait as per potence's physical trait
lvl 2 Splendor of Arcadia - as per awe lasts one hour
lvl 3 Fanfare - character gains an additional social trait, stacks with lvl 1
lvl 4 Mantle of Terrible Beauty - everyone in sight of character must make a Courage test difficulty of the character's level in the power or flee. spending a willpower will automatically cause the challenge to succeed.
lvl 5 Echoes of the LLano - as per Melpominee Siren's beckoning using leadership

Spring break and Storytelling Advice

odd sleep schedules make for erratic updates. i will try to keep on time for the rest of the break though.
Inspiration for storytelling is everywhere.
Sometimes if you really need npcs or plot in a pinch you can't do better than apocryphal lunatic ramblings on the internet


Friday, March 27, 2009


Sometimes it helps after a game to give you players an epilogue as to what happened and clear up any little mysteries they have left over.
Steve Moffat agrees with me

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Awesome art site, and also more changeling rules

This website Has some incredible art.
On a totally unrelated note. Changelings get their powers through contracts, pacts with various beings and taking advantage of existing pacts that those beings and forces have made with the world.
Here is part 1 of 4 of changeling contracts.

Powers and Contracts:
Note Re: contracts activation ALL contracts costs a glamour. this glamour in addition to the other cost is what is avoided by the various catches. all contracts unless otherwise noted take an action to activate.

Universal contracts-----

Contracts of Dream: Uses Craft Dream as a retest. Caster must have a level of fatigue damage on their person, (bashing) per use of the power.

lvl 1 Pearl Portal - character automatically succeeds at the challenge to enter a person's dream.

lvl 2 Piggyback - costs 1 glamour per additional person. character may take a number of people into a dream with them on a successful Craft Dream Challenge

lvl 3 Heal the Dream - costs a number of glamour, character spends one glamour per point of willpower provided to dreamer, must make a successful dream tasking challenge. This cannot take the dreamer above their maximum temporary willpower.

lvl 4 Purify Dream - Costs a glamour, caster removes all poison from a dream.

lvl 5 Gently falling leaves - cost 1 willpower 4 glamour. caster takes lethal instead of ag if damaged by ejection from a dream.

Contracts of Wandering: Uses Streetwise as retest Catch, consumes 1 ounce of mercury per level per use.

lvl 1 Sounding - spend a streetwise touch a songline you know its key and a 20 word description of the nearest waypoint or freehold on either direction along the line

lvl 2 Quicksilver - spend a glamour per person in your group. link hands everyone in the group is whisked along to the next point along a songline provided there is no intervening person or obstacle. The party stops when they reach a person or obstacle.

lvl 3 Whoever Knocks - spend a glamour, touch a waypoint or place of power. know the person who rules there and what if any the laws and bans of the place are.

lvl 4 Adaptation - spend a willpower, The caster transforms into a form that can withstand the natural effects of an area for an hour. they sprout gills to swim underwater, they turn into living flame in lava this power mitigates the spiritual effects of the Never Never so that they apply hourly instead of per round. This power does not work in the Primal Chaos. This adaptation does not help with things that are not the natural environment. for example a person could use this power to stand in a volcano but still be burned by a cigarette while standing there.

lvl 5 Lockdown - Spend a permanent willpower touch a leyline or waypoint. A being cannot use the leyline or enter or leave the waypoint/node/place of power/freehold without meeting a catch placed by the owner or paying a glamour and a willpower.

Contracts of Fate: No Catch ever - can not be used on the same skill more than once per night or lose ties for one full night, note the lvl 5 power can only be used once per interval for the extended challenge or lose ties for a full interval

lvl 1 Miss step - spend empathy; social challenge opponent is at -1 to next action

lvl 2 Fortune's Bold Favor - spend empathy target is +2 to next action

lvl 3 Delphic Inspiration - spend empathy and glamour get a discipline retest on next challenge

lvl 4 The Lady's Grace - spend empathy and glamour gain a discipline retest for the next round

lvl 5 Strands Rewoven - spend 1 willpower extended static action difficulty reduced by one category

Contracts of Mirror: Catch, must craft from glass a model of the finished form of a difficulty equal to level of power used, if the model is broken the power ends. glass item must be touched to activate the power. As per vicissitude retests medicine use craft glass instead of crafts body for trait alterations.

note: a person's reflection always remains the same

lvl 1 Gurning - see malleable visage replace glamour for blood

lvl 2 Ihre Nase - as per malleable visage, works on other

lvl 3 Resplendant Vanity - see fleshcraft - self only
lvl 4 Pygmalion's Gift - see fleshcraft unchanged

lvl 5 Garden of the Body - see bonecraft unchanged

Contracts of Smoke: power cancels auspex at a 1 for 1 stealth retests, Catch must swallow the eye of a mammal or bird as you activate the power one eye per level of power used

lvl 1 Hiding in a Teacup - as per obfuscate 1

lvl 2 Cameo Dissappearance - as per obfuscate 1 works on cameras

lvl 3 Hidden Between Raindrops - as per obfuscate 2

lvl 4 Uncredited Extra - as per obfuscate 2 works on cameras

lvl 5 Alan Smithee As -as per obfuscate 3 works on cameras

Mists of Memory

every changeling has a mortal mask and a changeling Seeming. Their seeming gets its own chapter later but the mortal mask is what people without supernatural powers see. A changeling looks like a normal human in all ways. when a changeling attempts to spend a point of glamour for any reason their seeming 'slips' causing them to briefly appear blatantly supernatural. spending an additional glamour when using a power or performing other glamour intensive task can strengthen the mask causing the changeling itself not to appear bizarre and outlandish. however spending an extra glamour when throwing a fireball will keep people from seeing your elven ears but it will in no way disguise the fact that you have thrown a fireball.
The mists are an effect that erode the name of the changeling in the world. Since they have been kidnapped and a fetch placed in their place their names have been overwritten in the tapestry of fate. Any changeling can only be remembered by those they have ensorceled or Dreamwoven into remembering them. sea oaths and dreamweaving respectively. Records of the changelings name including titles and property deeds become blurry and fade, police records, personal memories, all fade. This does not keep a changeling out of trouble. if they are arrested and put in jail the jail will lose the records of who they are and why they're there leaving no way out. their lawyer will lose their case, it's a bad scene. Any changeling that wishes to maintain an influence above 1 must do so through a retainer or enchanted mortal. This has its own problems. A changeling cannot have a number of retainers higher than their leadership nor a number of ensorceled higher than their Wyrd. This forgetting extends to other supernaturals although they may spend a willpower per 3 days to remember the changeling the documents will disappear by the end of the lunar month.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Support This

I love Creative Commons, Cartoons and Bollywood
This is all three
I am also a great fan of torch songs, which this has in abundance.

I'd mention

I'd mention that my posting is temporarily suspended as I have many many midterms. but all of my readers are also udel students or the people who know them so you all already know that everyone's lives have been put on hold for exams

Monday, March 23, 2009


I found out the finally finished scud the disposable assassin.
Also a Rom Schrab movie here

I found things out

that comic that comic there. and read their advice pics. most of them are good.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Yet More Changeling Rules

    A fetch is a creature left in the place of a changeling by their fae kidnappers it doesn't show up all of the time but most of it. it lives their life without them. It takes their place and their name. The fetch is tied to the changeling, twinned to their soul. The changeling always knows the direction and distance of their fetch and vice versa. the Fetch is primarily interested in maintaining the deception that they are the changeling's previous self. Its secondary drive is the elimination of the changeling. this it usually accomplishes through a proxy or proxies due to conflicts with its primary drive. A changeling can upon creation take the background Fetch at any rating form 1 to 5. A changeling loses a number of glamour per night equal to their rating in fetch. All changelings start with 1 level of fetch on creation and may buy off this dot for 3 freebie points. When a changeling kills their fetch through game play. they gain a dot of Wyrd.
Taking the Fetch flaw at levels past 1 grants the  user 2 freebies per level. A note to staff, a level 1 fetch has an exact duplicate of the changeling's character sheet. a lvl 2 fetch has all traits 1 higher, all skills 1 higher. a level 3 has all traits 1 higher, all skills one higher and all compacts the player has at 1 higher. A level 4 has  2 higher on traits  2 more dots of skills  one more do of compacts and an additional compact up to level 4. At level 5 a fetch  has any compacts the character has at 5. and 2 additional compacts at 5. All traits maxed and their trait max is two higher than the character. All skills at 2 and any of the player's skills at 5.
ALL Fetches of any level have a Wyrd of 5 and clarity of 5.

A Sense of Scale.

It is vitally important that your pcs posses a sense of scale. Sometimes they will have phenomenal cosmic powers and great wherewithal but feel like an underdog or downtrodden or put upon because they are up against far greater threats. From time to time put in a few under challenging encounters. Have them beat up a few random thugs. My personal favorite is a homecoming scene in which they have to go back to their starting area and deal with the problems that seemed so insermountable a mere few hundred experients points ago. It helps keep everything in context. When you're building a mood or trying to maintain suspension of disbelief, context is king.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

And Now Some Changeling Rules

Rules for changeling the Wanderer's Larp system.

If anyone has any questions or comments about this or any other gaming things posted. post in the comments section. Make some noise people.

While oaths sworn immediately and under duress can have force enhanced by the Never Never, channeling the Wyld to obey the words and feelings behind them in a manner that even pretends to be predictable is a delicate and difficult thing. No being, mortal or fae can have more magically binding oaths than they have Conviction + Wyrd. Crafting an oath is a Crafts: Oaths extended challenge, using the crafting rules, for the number of total traits you want the oath to grant the parties involved. An oath standardly imposes a penalty equal to the bonus given when broken, to craft an oath with a more dire or violent penalty, one may exchange a trait for:
a level of bashing damage,
2 traits for 1 lethal
3 for 1 ag. or
exchange 2 traits per point of a flaw to be imposed.
Either way the total penalty cannot be greater than than the bonus granted. Bonuses can be exchanged as follows.
1 trait per point of temporary glamour gained
2 traits per point of temporary willpower gained
1 trait for Ensorcelment
2 traits to increase the level of an existing merit.
2 traits to increase someone's court rank needs approval of person of appropriate rank
3 traits for freehold membership.

One cannot gain the benefits from multiple oaths on a single challenge. Oaths give equipment bonuses to challenges and thus override but do not stack with equipment. Girding one's self in an oath takes an action. A person calling traits from an oath can still get the benefit (almost always 1 trait) of an "off hand" piece of equipment. Switching between 'hands' as always takes no time or action. No Benefit from an oath lasts more than a year and a day. the oath ends then and must be Refreshed. All benefits of both parties end if either breaks the terms of the oath. Then the violation conditions apply.

Sample Oaths
Oath of Ensorcelment Lvl 1
Requirements: a changeling and a mortal creature, creature must have at least 3 mental traits (be sentient) the changeling swears to enlighten the mortal and be their guide in the Never Never the mortal swears to do the bidding of the changeling in the mortal world. The changeling invests the mortal with a point of glamour which does not return. The mortal is then unaffected by the mists and can see the world at the level of clarity of their changeling master. The mortal can then learn contracts at twice normal costs although this provides no contracts for free. The ensorceled mortal has a glamour pool equal to their willpower. If either party breaks the oath or renounces their association with the other, the ensorcelment ends. The mortal forgets all of their time interacting with changelings from the moment of the oath on but they retain any skills or contracts they have gained since. this is largely a moot point as their glamour pool goes away. Upon the renunciation the changeling gets their point of glamour back and must make a difficulty 3 compassion test or lose a point of compassion.
Oath of Induction lvl 1
Requirements: This oath is between a person with a rank of 2 or more in an order or court and someone wishing to join a court or order. The petitioner agrees to follow all of the tenets of the court or order they are joining. Their sponsor agrees to aid them in their task. The sponsor gets 1 glamour per night that their petitioner is in the order. the petitioner gets membership in the order. If the petitioner breaks the oath they are branded oathbreaker, a bruise appears on their cheek in the shape of the fleur-de-lis or a broken symbol of their court or order. The damage (1 bashing) can be healed immediately but the mark does not fade unless they have atoned before a member of the court or order they have broken faith with of a rank equal to or higher than their original sponsor who is not their sponsor. Their sponsor stops receiving the glamour until such a time as the petitioner has atoned.
Oath of Service - task Lvl 2
This is an oath between changeling and changeling or changeling and Dream creature. The Master agrees to pay the Servant in some tangible object, money, or glamour, (not with service in kind, that is a different oath) at a specific time or event. The servant gets a 1 trait bonus to the task, and a -2 trait penalty to all actions that are not in service to the task until the task is complete. The master gains a one trait bonus to leadership. and, if they do not pay the agreed amount on time, loses a pound of their flesh (takes a level of lethal damage that is healable but not preventable, it will keep bleeding though) if they do not pay on time. This pound of flesh is spirited into the hands of their former servant to do with as they will.
Oath of Service - Absyssic lvl 3
This is an oath between changeling and changeling or changeling and Dream creature. The Master agrees to pay the Servant in some tangible object, money, or glamour, (not with service in kind, that is a different oath) at a specific time, regular interval, or event. The Servant agrees to serve their master for a period of time no longer than a year and a day. The master gets a 1 trait bonus to all leadership challenges, gains a 1 trait bonus to intimidate challenges. The servant gains a temporary glamour each day of service. If the servant breaks their troth and does not obey their master they are struck with a scourging of whips, doing 1 lethal and a bashing upon their backs. This damage can only be healed at the end of the time of service or at their master's will and cannot be prevented. If the master does not pay his servant they are marked on the forehead with the brand of the bar sinister. Doing 1 ag, unhealable until they have paid their servant or their rightful heirs in case the servant is dead. if there are no rightful heirs the mark persists for 20 years.
Oath of Fealty - lvl 4
This oath is between a member of a court or order and someone who is a member of said order wishing to rise in rank. Requirements: the Person to whom the oath is sworn must have a rank of at least 2 higher than the one being sought. The petitioner swears to obey the master in all things. The master swears to teach and to protect the servant form all enemies. The servant gains a point of temporary willpower to avoid being swayed from their master's tasks. The master gains 2 points of glamour per day that their servant works for them. If the servant should disobey they have a -2 trait penalty to all actions until their master has forgiven them. If the master fails to protect or teach his servant, his right hand will bleed (taking a lethal) and will not heal until their servant is saved, if the servant has already perished, the wound heals after a year and a day.
Corroboree Lvl 5
Requirements: At least 1 person of Court status 2 from each court. All 4 must pace the perimeter of an estate or the edges of a room or the curtailage of a property while chanting. the spell takes effect when everyone is back in their place.
Duration:1 month
Participants: 1 leader, 3 other signatories, assembled multitude.
Benefit: Leader gets 1 glamour and a +1 to leadership challenges for the night, the other casters each get a glamour
Sanction: All within the area set by the Corroboree have a 2 trait penalty to any aggressive combat challenges or mental or social compulsion challenges that they initiate. They also have a 1 trait penalty to one other physical mental or social challenge set by the leader during the chant. i.e. -1 to all investigations, -1 to all performance , -1 to everything social challenges done by beast kiths. -1 to any crafts charms performed by redheaded Eskimos. Whatever,
the leader of Corroboree cannot lead the next Corroboree in which they take part.

Some People Have Asked

So I used to be a journalist. I started this blog as a journalism project, why aren't I doing any journalism? This picture is why.

Despite my recent foray into reporting on child porn I don't want to be that guy right now. At least not with the world watching. So until I get an archive of old show stuff up and running or it becomes very very relevant like the above story I'm not going to be doing stories about prostitutes, religion or murder. Unless it happens in a game, then its all good.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Changeling Part 1

Changeling is a game about what lies outside ourselves, our borders. Changelings are those people who have lost their soul and their name to the chaotic depths of the ever changeling Wyld. Some were kidnapped as in the old stories by elves or strange dryad; perhaps they went bowling with some strange men beneath a tree and today they find themselves back in the world. Most commonly these people are escapees who had been kidnapped by the gentry and made to live strange lives as servants, pets, or in some cases furniture and scenery for the fey lords and ladies. The openings that allow escape began in 2001 with an event called the Returning in which the portals, gateways, and paths of the Wyld were once again connected to the tapestry of creation, allowing those who had been trapped to be capable of working themselves free. Characters can be from any time after 1700, but can only have been active on earth since the Returning. Not all changelings are abductees, although most are. Some have found the secret paths and song lines into the land that the escapees have used to find earth and followed them the wrong way. These brave, foolish, or unlucky people find themselves in the Never Never without the dubious benefit of a master to protect them and some few have returned to earth to tell of it. It is a big, strange world that has such people in it.

Very Interesting...But Stupid

A prime difference between larp and tabletop is plot. In tabletop players want plot and want the plot to be about them. In larp plot is a deadly, venomous, crotch seeking viperbadger with a heart full of hate and rage. The formula is simple. Anything that is interesting in tabletop or interesting to the storyteller is bad for the player.

Interesting means there is some kind of plot or action

Plot Requires Drama.

Drama Requires Conflict.

For something to be a Conflict and not merely scene description Conflict must be of an approximately equivalent challenge or have a chance (or seem to have a chance) of causing the Player Character to genuinely fail.

Chances of failure when there weren't any before is aggravating as buggery.
Getting rid of said chances of failure inevitably costs you one of the three things our character doesn't have enough of. Time, Wherewithal, or Hit Points/Health Levels.

If it is interesting to you it is probably causing painful forced entry for someone else. If this appeals to you, you are probably destined to be a storyteller. If you do not, however, understand this point and plan accordingly, you are probably a bad storyteller.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Things To Do at The Table When You're Dead

If you are going to be a gamer there is going to be a lot of downtime. There is only one Storyteller and as a rule there are at least three players. As your characters are not likely to be joined at the hip at all times the storyteller is going to be running a scene for one or two of you and not the other. Sometimes your storyteller will commit the cardinal sin of having the person they are running for not be you. All is not lost. I have seen several players use downtime productively and several others not. Here are the seven habits of highly effective downtime. You can do one or all of these during a lull in play.

1. double check the math on your sheet, when you last leveled or gained exp did you change all of your derived values? When you got that last magic item did you factor its bonuses into your various abilities? if not the time to do so is now, not in the midst of combat when it will frustrate and annoy everyone as you do math in the midst of what is supposed to be a tense fight for life.

2. Actually read the rulebook, if not for the game you're playing now, for some other game that you are currently in. Believe me, knowing what your powers do or don't do can save your character's life.

3. Stat out something you have left fuzzy and vague. DO you know your familiar's will save? how about your cohort's feat selection. Do you have followers? Making actual sheets for these people can be a very very effective way of getting more in character and getting more of a sense of scale for the world in which you play and the people your character meets each day.

4. Do homework. Many if not most gamers are in school of some sort, take this time to do a few problems or read a textbook. Gameing can overwhelm the study schedule of even the strongest minds.

5. Talk with the other players who are out of the scene, if possible and if it makes any sense talk in character. This helps the mood of the game and more importantly this will help you get a better feel for the other pcs. Also helpful, the noise of talking will keep you from hearing what's going on in the other payer's scene and if you're polite and o it right you won't drown out their scene.

6. Learn a simple craft, no really. I have seen the following things learned while at the gaming table, figure drawing, painting, sculpting, crochet, needlepoint, origami and on two memorable occasions juggling. Useful skills that will serve you elsewhere, but keep in mind if you juggle, learn to juggle away from the battleboard.

7. Plot. If there are any other players out of the scene, or even if you're all alone, use this time to plot and plan what you will do against the next big bad guy, spend this time trying to puzzle through any mysteries that remain. if you can use this time to prep your battle plans or so the math for the various situational modifiers and buff spells your character will need for their next challenge. Or if its not that kind of game just plot against someone, maybe the person in the scene, preferably an npc because in many games party unity is important.

Whatever you do, try not to fall asleep. everyone does it, game narcolepsy happens a lot, storytellers stay storytellers because they have nice or soothing voices, the chairs are comfy and the game room is warm. Still nothing tells a storyteller to stop storytelling and makes them feel bad like a player falling asleep.

This Is What an Exalted Backstory Should Look Like


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Now I Know

I've always wondered who "she" was. I've always assumed that the they, in they say are actually "Them". It makes conversations more surreal but worth it.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


I heard the first ice cream truck of spring today, it was beautiful. It sounded like a toy piano, not all beepy. It is a sad thing about adulthood in general or perhaps mine in specific that I can no longer hear an ice cream truck without volumes of experience rushing back. I remember seeing the tragicomic, drug fronts/ice cream men of Madison bringing smiles to young and old. I am both proud and ashamed of the many times the distant dulcet tones of the truck has resuced me from uncomfortable conversational moments. Many is the character in roleplaying games that owes his life to the five minute reprieve and regroup for thoughts afforded me by a distracted storyteller made all the more tractable by cold dairy treats. A truism I leave you with this evening. It is impossible for anyone regardless of station to look dignified while eating an ice cream cone. One of the first memories I have of politics is of GHW Bush when he was vice president, and former head of the CIA eating an ice cream cone during a white house easter. It was precisely then that I knew in my heart that adults were not inherently dignified, no matter their station. As a matter of fact, if you have an enemy or even a friend or associate who intimidates you, meet them over ice cream cones. If nothing else you at least get ice cream out of the deal.

What Video Rpg's Can Be

I like Dorf Fortress

Friday, March 13, 2009

Secret Projekt Evil

I have been spending the last 6 hours trapped in a bunker in the library working on a secret evil project. This is why there have been few updates. and why I write to you know. believe me, when you see it it will be glorious.
Also My gaming not of the day, little artifacts make all the difference. If there's someone who can make character sketches that's great, but a character diary or a prop or if you can, a costume or a map of the character's home, a day planner. all of these are great for tabletop. They;re essential in larp. In larp you need to set the scene far more to create a deeper sense of immersion.
assignment, think of 5 things you character has in his pocketses that don't normally appear on the inventory sheer, bits of string, half eaten candybar, someone's phone number, feel free to use your own (or other people's with permission) pockets for inspiration.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

How to Succeed as a Storyteller

Nobody tuns games for a living, even those who write game fiction or game books don't run for a living. Therefore anything you do in your game is not for profit as a rule. So as long as your players don't catch on, steal mercilessly and often. The key is to steal from obscure sources or to put on a palette swap or two. Few people will recognize the story from Breakfast Club if its set in a prison for noblemen like say the tower of London in a fantasy Middle age setting. Personally I like recycling stories from Veggie Tales and other children's cartoons. The stories are simple and easy to follow and tend to have recognizable quirky characters. Because the characters don't have bodies they need to have exaggerated vocal quirks or mannerisms to help differentiate them, this translates to spoken word or rpg play easily. When in doubt mix 2 things that are similar, like Breakfast club and High School Host Club. Or two things that are very Dissimilar, like Care Bears and Kult.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

On Preparation

When choosing to run a tabletop game one often has a great deal of prepared material. Sometimes this is in the form of sourcebooks, sometimes modules, sometimes its your own campaign notes and sometimes you've just made it up and holding it all in your head.

Inevitably the players leave the edge of your map or decide to investigate a portion of the world that you thought you had fleshed out and it turns out, not so much. Perhaps you have set your campagn in a Venice-like city of trader princes and political intrigue and they instead decide to, for perfectly good and cogent reasons investigate what is going on with the city's plumbers guild or canal maintenance workers. Often storytellers will just handwave this and say that thir plan works or doesn't and everyone happily skips past the glaring inconsistancy.

Lets say in this Venice-Like you are running some sort of politcical intrigue , secret gathering mystery and for perfectly good reasons they have decided to get control of the plumbers and waterways as a method of vanishing the bodies of their political opponents and having a set of eyes and ears throughout the city, thus unbalancing or at least changing your game, as now instead of running courtly balls you have to run scenes with burly tradesmen in smelly sewers.

Don't panic, roll with it. This is why most storytellers smoke. Take 15 minutes, breathe, make something up. Take notes on what you made up. Better yet, tell the players to take notes because the clues are very important and just read their sheets when they hand them in at the end of game. This will tell you not only what you said but also what the players were paying attention to. I'm not advocating smoking mind you but often gamers get chair-butt or their legs fall asleep or it gets very stuffy in the room. Take a fresh air break, walk around the building you're in. When you've gotten good at this you can make up at least something to run out the rest of the night during this time and spend the time between sessions finishing fleshing out the plumbers.

Journalism homework, after trying daily for a week.

Here are my blog posts for journalism 367 for some reason the site won't let me post

I have not been able to past how is everyone else getting their posts up? why won't mine appear. I'm making one last attempt before class starts

All green to me:
I was not a big fan of the color scheme and I didn't understand why I was supposed to be interested in the material. I didn't like the double navigation bar. Perhaps its just that I'm so technically inept that I can't even post a blog entry but I couldn't navigate well.

CNN versus Mightygodking.com
Mightygodking went more deeply into what people think the law currently is and how they are mistaken. The CNN article assumed a great deal on the part of the reader. First assuming the audience knows the current law and then how the change would affect the reader. All in all I think reading both rounds out the story

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


This is just an idea for complicated systems for quick start. Perhaps a set of template pre-made characters that are actually well built, unlike the p.o.s. pregens White-wolf always puts out and D&d usually gives that come with the book? I end up running a lot of long running games with people joining slowly over time so that about 1 out of 3 sessions is taken up by someone new making a character. if I could just hand them a sheet that actually works and is competitive, they could begin play immediately. then they could tweak it between games. I have a policy, one I urge every storyteller to adapt. for the first 3 and sometimes first 5 sessions of every game I run, even larps, I allow players to completely re-spec their characters.

Often you want to play a worthwhile warrior or a puissant mage or even a talented florist. Then you find that the super ultimate sword technique, or the super damage ball spell or even the peony blossom arrangement style you picked and spent so many starting points on is in fact mathematically far weaker and lamer than advertised or doesn't even do the thing it says. Cleave doesn't let you cleave through opponents, the conscience virtue does not in any way reflect the strength of your conscience, and the peony blossom style is all about sword fighting. I've found the usual character or player learning curve to find out what attacks or spells or skills are actually at all useful is about three games. after that if you bought it, you have it. This also encourages players to try and use all of the various things on their sheet during the first three games to give you as the storyteller a chance to see what they can and can't do.

as an update to the previous post, I specifically dissagree with Jesse's take in this article.

The word Science could just as easily be replaced with storytelling.

Sugar We're Going Down

Downtime is a tricky issue in larps and tabletops. Some points of view favor more downtime, some favor less. I personally like having as much of it as I can reasonably get away with. Some of the best games I've seen basically could have been just talking heads exploring character and nuance of a game world. Now this doesn't mean I'm some kind of pantywaist, artiste, role-playing-not-roll-playing wussbag. I love D&D I like MechWarrior. Battles are awesome and frequent and ignominious character death makes for a tense and exciting larp. It boils down to an amount of simulation and verisimilitude in games. Most people most days don't do much, they don't fight or change careers or fall in love. and from time to time exploring what a character does on a typical day in their life really helps flesh out the world. Exercise for the day for new players or staffers: write down or try to take note of any time in your day when you do something hard, something where you have a real chance of failure and where that failure has consequence. At the end of the week see how many times that has happened. Think about what your character does when the game is not in session or what they did before the game was in session. What did they do easily, what are they like at home?

Monday, March 9, 2009

Something useful on Twitter

Something useful on Twitter
ah schadenfreude

Larp Tonight

Now I'm going to tell you a timeline of what was neccessary to prep as a player in a larp. I went to a fine larp tonight, also in the echoes of empires shared universe. I played a Nosferatu Bahari. more on that another day.

6:30 - get sandwich, change shirt, grab sword
7:00- larp starts
8:0o- everyone gets there
11:00 - larp ends

conclusion, playingis awesome, and easy.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Trying to Get a Sandwich, Finding Child Porn

So I went to Trabant in search of a meal. Normally I count this as a mistake due to overpricedness but today it was a mistake for a far different reason. I'm apparently engaging that part of my brain that cares about journalism again so I'm listening to all the conversations around me. Frat boys in ties for their frats in front of me talk about how the announcer for their hockey games has been arrested with six computers full of child porn, the girls behind me lament about how they forgot that chick-fil-a is closed sundays so what on earth should they eat. They then start talking about social events. The man making sandwiches talks about under staffing and changes in Trabant. A boy I walk past, looks to be in high school bumps me and looks out after his sister, clearly a freshman, she is showing him the campus and it turns out he's involved in some sort of skate something happening soon.
I choke back the urge to ask questions of any of them and all of them. Eventually I decide that even normal people would ask about the child porn so when most of the frat boys leave their friend on the sandwich line I ask, he tells me what he can. I find out he's wearing a tie for a chapter meeting, but there are a thousand threads of story that lead out from here.
I decide not to eat there and immediately go home to find out if the story has hit the papers yet. It turns out it (or something like it) has. I link to it in my blog. They didn't take the tactic I would've. I might have had a sentence about the Wilmington Man. At least I used to, I would have asked, where does he work? how is he known? did he make the films himself or were they sent. I do have an advantage over the reporters, I started hearing about the story as a piece of someone's life with a connection to the community. I know he announced at college hockey games. The person who wrote the piece probably only saw it on a police blotter.
Something interesting about the even shorter story here, it says there were 30 videos and 29 counts of child pornography. What's in the 30th video? What is the disconnect? Also why didn't they at least google the offender's name. one of the firts hits when I goolgled it, after the child porn thing is this.
Bill Panuski
Director of Broadcasting

Email: xxxxxxx (email and phone hidden by me as some sort of vague attempt at responsibility)
Phone: xxxxxxx(if the university takes the site down thoug I want to keep this copy of the bio here)

Bill Panuski is in his 6th year, as the Voice of the Fightin' Blue Hen Hockey Club. He is the Public Address Announcer, as well, as the Radio / Internet Play-by-Play Broadcaster. In addition, Bill became the ACHA Director of Broadcasting, for the Division I National Tournament. He is also, the Voice of the Blue Hens Volleyball Team and the Men's and Women's Lacrosse Team

This is a far more interesting story. The way I would have written it and its still short and only takes 30 more seconds.

Local Sports Announcer Charged With Child Pornography

Ben Walker March 6 2009

Delaware State Police have charged The Director of Broadcasting for the University of Delaware Hockey Team with more than two dozen counts of child pornography.
State Troopers carried out six computers out of thirty-eight-year-old William Panusik's home today. A forensic preview has so far found 30 videos depicting child sexual exploitation.
The source of the videos is as-yet unreleased.
The University so far has no comment.

Here is where you show the mugshot.

The whole thing would have been in 12 point courier new.

Then again what the hell do I know.

Yeah, What he Said

Many Exams this week. So here's someone who pretty much sums up what I think Facebook is about. Personally I try not to have anyone on facebook as a friend that I haven't' at least had lunch with once. This includes the various low to midrange celebrities present. Still, the idea of a facebook MMORPG is a pretty cool one, might be a better CCg, if anyone has any idea for cards or for classes post here.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Calm Before the Storm

I have looked at the blogs and webcomics and suchlike that I want to emulate, it turns out they have something in common, they take one to 2 days off a week. I'm not sure when my day off will be, either Saturdays or Sundays, so until I figure that out I'll give you the reader an idea of how to set up before a shared universe larp.

12:00 noon, wake up, shower, prep any costume pieces you might need

1:00 breakfast, and by breakfast I mean no more than a single piece of toast and some oj as lunch wil be heavy, deal with angry and confused calls that you ignored the night before asking about character actions before game start, calm the masses, breathe.

2:00 chase down other staffers, make sure everyone is briefed for their roles, fix any problems on wiki (see 2 blog entries ago)

3:00 Ultra-lunch, carb and caffeine load a luncheon, save some for later for the nights will be long. Discuss metaplot and plan for games, also schedule of the evening with players and/or staffers over stromboli.

4:00 type, print, and cut all the scene reciepts, schedules for the night, see if there are any last minute changes, call stragglers that may not have rides, arrange rides for up t 10 peopleif unlucky, self if lucky.

5:00 breathe, organize backpack, do equipment check, does laptop work, does backup laptop work, do walkie talkies work, are backup batteries prepped? call other staffers, make sure their equip works, (printer, other computers, etc)

6:00 go to site, remove squatters , make sure security knows we're supposed to be there, check to see correct doors are unlocked, clear room of trash, check lighting, check sound system at site.

6:30 bind and package, receipts, schedule, walkie talkie for staffers, prep sign in sheet, load web documents, (wiki, maps). find/purchase/borrow pens,

6:45 first players arrive

7:00 players are allowed to begin sign in and get sheets,

8:00 in-game clock starts

9:00 most people are there

10:30 second wave of people arrive

11:30 things either wind down or explode

12:00 midnight end of game announcements

12:30 clean up site, shoo others out

12:45 post-game analysis at diner

1:30 am post diner analysis at home, drinks provided to those who are of age, staff drinks free.

4:00 am sleep

5:00 am breathe

Friday, March 6, 2009

What is a Uniform?

So a bus driver slugged McGruff. A blog of which I am quite fond, Holy Prepuce. has the story

Brim was later charged with simple assault on McGruff's human occupant, D.C. Police Officer Tyrone Hardy. The decision to charge simple assault, rather than assault on a police officer, raises an interesting legal question: to commit "APO" in most jurisdictions, the defendant must know that the victim is a police officer. Does socking McGruff the Crime Dog count? The person inhabiting McGruff turned out to be a real-life police officer, but the role could as easily be played by a civilian. Except where the victim is a plainclothes officer, the knowledge element of APO is usually open-and-shut because of the police uniform. Would McGruff's oversize blues count? The government's restraint in charging Brim means we'll never know--at least not until the next McGruff beat-down.

Makes me wonder if Smokey the bear counts as an authority or at least a park ranger in various wilderness and camp settings. Also if Captain Morgan can perform weddings, at least in Vegas or something.

Wiki Fatigue

I have just finished several hours of editing a wiki. I am beginning to suffer 21st century fatigue. On the plus side the best damn rules for Vampire The Masquerade LARP in the whole damn world are now just a little bit better.
I am willing to make the boast of Lu Buwei anyone who can add or subtract a single rule and have it pass the standards of heaven (the head storyteller) shall be richly rewarded.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Music, Interview, and Radio Blogging

Now the Textbook we have recently downloaded for class, Journalism 2.0,says that in order to have sound podcasts on your blog you need some kind of ftp or other file hosting site. I ran this idea past the wonderful human being who A. thoughtfully archived my interviews from last year's Otakon and B. runs the servers in my house and he says such sites have at least one standard deviation more viruses and horrible spyware than any other net site. So I am at a quandary, if anyone out there has any good ideas how to host 2.2 gigs of sound without catching something nasty please do speak up. Since I had planned to upload one of my old interviews in my trademarked soothing baritone and am stymied by the lack of hosting, here's Steven Fry once again with a much better story.

Steven Fry

This is a man that clearly understands the awesome power of today's new media.
He's also a lovely human being.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Graceful Wicked Mass Combat

So far I have read most of the Graceful Wicked Masques book and I like it. The shaping combat is going to take a few dozen tries to get right but I think if I get a forgiving troupe we could do some dry runs. Combat amongst the fae is weird and narrative but the combat as it is intended in exalted is weird and narrative. For the first time in... ever I am actually playing in an exalted game where the stunt system is being rigorously used. Its interesting but I think it would do better as 2 games. Exalted combat takes half as long as combat in the Old World of Darkness but in the OWoD there's a reason why they called it Vampire- The Eternal Struggle. Rolling a defensive dice pool and counting fiddly numbers has been replaced with a static Defense Value, and that's good but there is still a pretty complicated initiative system stol- er borrowed from Feng Shui (an awesome game in its own right). Playing in a party of nine exalts, seven of which are new to the game system, 3 of which are new to any White Wolf product is slow going. I dread the day when everyone here gets flurry attacks.

If You're Thinking 'Bout My Blog

Does it matter if this is black or white? Apparently according to every study everywhere, yes all of them, Websites work best as black text on a white field, not white text on a black field. This is odd as I generally prefer sites that are white on black. Come to think of it almost everything I browse are white on black, its mostly webcomics and music but still. It makes the site hurt my eyes less. So now I have Dark text on a light field on a grey field. I wonder if the compromise is worth it.

comic from Edible Dirt by Matt Rosemier

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Cage Match

I want to see Al Franken and Rush Limbaugh Settle the 2016 presidency with a steel cage match as they both have frenzied weasels stuck in their trousers. Click the names to realize why my fears are being made manifest.

We the media claim to have pretenses of objectivity, pundits are supposed to watch news not be news. The use of the fourth estate as a tool of self aggrandizement is deeply disturbing to me. Reagan was the camel's nose in the tent. I am abjectly terrified of the camels ass.

Paying Attention

Watch this

When you're done,think about it. Really think.

Try to remember the colors of the shirts of the last 5 people you met. Try to remember Who the last five people you met were. What were you doing when you met them? What were they doing? Where did you meet them? Why were either of you there? If you cannot remember these details, make them up, write a little story about them. Make up their end of the dialogue. If you can, have someone else talk to you as one of those people, stay in character. If you can do this you can run Role Playing Game with the best.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Forget What Ya Heard

No matter what the date says on this post this is still part of a twice a day update. The plan, see, is to update once at 6 when I get back from class and once at midnight when I get back from game. If I stop gaming till midnight or (god forbid) start waking up before 11 with something coherent to say I will change this pattern but all things being equal its not tomorrow until I go to bed. if it makes you feel any better you can pretend Delaware is on the west coast, its not like most people would know if it was. I'm currently running an Exalted Modern game.

Some house rules I know and love include, 1. DV reduces and keeps reducing until the characters initiative comes up. This may seem to make people weaker but it keeps fight from going on for hours. 2. Screw fatigue penalties. 3. DV's do not go down when characters attack, this balances rule 1 and makes the characters tougher again but combat still goes quickly. You can either wear someone down or your can't, no fiddling about with trying fifty different combos only to find out none work. 4. People can channel virtues as many times as they like so long as they have willpower, this goes for villains and heroes it heightens the difference between the lesser Exalted and the mere mortals. 5. Everyone gets the same number of experience points, no matter what they do no matter if they even attend the session. This amount will be set by me and there will be no deviations. This I have found is the best rule ever for rpgs and should be adopted regardless of system. More on this in another post.

Dogs, both Reservoir and Sled

Well apparently I am no longer 12. I have discovered this in my recent attempt to take advantage of the snow day and sled. I was under the impression that Delaware is largely flat, flatter than the various square states, in fact the flattest place in America. Moxy Fruvous even had a trivia section in one of their concerts called "the lowest highest point" that mentions that Delaware is freaking flat. Flat however doesn't mean flat. there is a hill in Newark. not a natural one, like Val from chorus line (Dance Ten: Looks Three) Newark has brightened up its image with an implanted water reservoir.

After many years living in this town I found myself at this reservoir. I looked up at the hill, the hill looked down at me, powder and icy breeze from the reservoir whipping down and I trudged. when I reached the top I fell down. I realized I have not gone up an incline steeper than 15% since I lived in a house nestled in Rock Creek Park, but those days of freewheeling rock climbing and spelunking have vanished beneath 200 extra pounds of movie watching and rpgs. I was lying in the snow, looking up at my better half watching her run around on her sled, ingeniously MacGuyvered out of a waxed cardboard fruit box, some origami, some work with a pocket knife and several years of mechanical engineering training. She was playfully gamboling amongst the snowflakes after showing the requisite amount of concern that I was not actually dying and I felt something nudge me. A small dog has been let go on the slopes, it had decided I was the warmest non-moving object and had decided to take shelter beside me to get out of the cold. Some insane bint had let the dog go amongst the snow and water and such leash still around its neck, trailing its lead behind it with a tiny doggy sweater. now this doggy sweater I think mishandles the basic problem of an 8 inch tall dog in 10 inches of snow. First it was wool and therefore absorbed water, second it only covers the front half of the dog. I know if I was a tiny dog in deep snow I'd want some snowpants or something.

I waited fora while then climbed another hill to better get a look for my erstwhile girlfriend (and ride home) who had since disappeared amongst the snowbanks. the dog, this time bringing friends followed, we sat on the bench, we looked at each other and I have rarely felt such a kinship to an animal. we both had gone out into the cold with the people we love, the promise of a great adventure and winter fun in our hearts, and both of us were let down by the weakness of our respective clay.

Lindsay returned with her sled , tired and happy and offered it to me. I looked at the dog and it looked at me. I sat upon the cardoboard and crushed it into what turned out to be an oddly aerodynamic and effective shape. After a few feet of scooting I slid. Years of Calvin and Hobbes came back to me in a rush as I made my way down the smaller hill before a much larger descent and when I sat up after my winter wipeout I found that the small dog had followed me, skidding down in my wake, tail wagging. It seems my weight and momentum has cleared out or packed down the snow to the point where the dog could be happily rejoined with his master without trudging through show up to its shoulder.

A few minutes later I slid, (sledded? sled? sleighed?) down the big hill and it was fast and fun and wonderful. Lindsay followed on a borrowed skimboard, oddly enough borrowed fom the owner of the small dog, happy to be re-united with her put upon pet.

On the way back home a friend of mine told me that the reservoir had only become a park and such a picturesque place as an attempt to recoup some of its legal losses and big controversy involving its construction. I know this was a long way to go for anything newsworthy but I had fun on the journey.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Getting in shape

Well the thing about a blog is to get used to writing regularly, so here is my every-other-day post until Monday when I try to get used to twice-a-day.

Now, because at least part of my audience is made up of journalists, we begin our first regular feature, pithy quote from famous journalist.

The famous Journalist in question is Paul Boutin.


I first came across the work of Paul Boutin oddly through something called the Jargon File. I read the Jargon File pretty religiously in the late 80's early 90's in the old BBS days of computing.

in the jargon file Paul Boutin is quoted
TLA: /T·L·A/, n.
[Three-Letter Acronym]

1. Self-describing abbreviation for a species with which computing terminology is infested.

2. Any confusing acronym. Examples include MCA, FTP, SNA, CPU, MMU, SCCS, DMU, FPU, NNTP, TLA. People who like this looser usage argue that not all TLAs have three letters, just as not all four-letter words have four letters. One also hears of ‘ETLA’ (Extended Three-Letter Acronym, pronounced /ee tee el ay/) being used to describe four-letter acronyms; the terms ‘SFLA’ (Stupid Four-Letter Acronym), ‘LFLA’ (Longer Four Letter Acronym), and VLFLA (Very Long Five Letter Acronym) have also been reported. See also YABA.

The self-effacing phrase “TDM TLA” (Too Damn Many...) is often used to bemoan the plethora of TLAs in use. In 1989, a random of the journalistic persuasion asked hacker Paul Boutin “What do you think will be the biggest problem in computing in the 90s?” Paul's straight-faced response: “There are only 17,000 three-letter acronyms.” (To be exact, there are 26^3 = 17,576.) There is probably some karmic justice in the fact that Paul Boutin subsequently became a journalist.

Wikipedia gives the reason behind the math:


The number of possible three-letter abbreviations using the 26 letters of the alphabet from A to Z ( AAA, AAB ... to ZZY, ZZZ) is 26 × 26 × 26 = 17,576. Another 26 × 26 × 10 = 6760 can be produced if the third element is allowed to be a digit 0-9, giving a total of 24,336.
In English, WWW is the longest possible TLA to pronounce, requiring nine syllables. Although in written English it is an abbreviation, in spoken English it may use more syllables than that which it is abbreviating.[9] See also Pronunciation of "www".

what makes the quote so amazing to me is not its pithyness or its accuracy but how quickly Boutin could calculate a remarkably accurate estimation of the number of TLA's possible in the English language.