Merging Technology and Geekdom

I worked out something very interesting for Randy Trimmer’s cry havoc :: amber drpg game. I’ll explain it here, and you can go see the application of it at the link above.
Randy had hit upon the idea of using a blog tool (blogger, in his original conception) as a sort of posting board for player diaries and whatnot. While I applaud the use of the technology (especially when it’s one of my less-techie friends), I’m no longer much of a friend of Blogger.
So, while we played last night, I set up a blog using Movable Type, and as it came into being, I found myself incorporating some features from some of my other blogs in such as way as to make a “one-stop campaign site”.
The trick? Categories. I use them on this page (on the left, under the dated archives), and on Cry Havoc I inserted them automatically — it makes sense to categorize all the entries that could be made — background, NPCs, logs, quotes, journals, etc.
Well, look what I suddently realized — by giving all the players and the GM appropriate access, setting up the categories correctly, and letting them type away, we’ve got a single blog page whose archives will automatically grow, via categories, into a clean, slick campaign source-site of the type I built for TiHE, complete with authorship tracking and date stamps.
Bonus: I don’t have to get email, copy/paste, htmlize, ftp, save, edit and maintain. Neither does anyone else.
Once the templates are in there, ‘maintenance’ is done and we’re ready to go. A great way to build a dynamic, group-grown campaign page.
(Of course, you have to use something like Movable Type, but that’s the price you pay. 🙂

Up up and away

So we started playing the Justice Squad campaign this weekend. Lots of fun. Here’s my personal good/bad/ugly list.
Good
– I’ve never been in a game GM’d by Dave, whom I’ve heard only good things of. No surprise, his style is different than mine, but great fun for everyone, and I always enjoy watching other people work and taking mental notes.
– Supers. It’s just fun. Maybe it’s not Star Wars, but I’m not PLAYING Star Wars, am I? One of the really long-running and fun games I played in in college was a Champions supers game, and I just love the feel of calculating knockback on a hex map. Whee.
– Rules. I’m pissy about BESM most of the time, but I worked my ass off on figuring out a workable version until SAS (supers from goo) comes out, and it seems to be working.

Bad
– I can’t min/max a character they way I could in Champions (nor to I want to anymore), but I know the rules better than probably anyone else playing (for now). While the characters themselves are all very cool concepts and built on the same points, there was a certain feeling disparity between them, simply because of design efficiency. This isn’t to say we don’t all have a few points ‘wasted’ on things like Painting or Horseback riding, but after the play-test and redesign, I felt like the character’s I designed were a little overwhelming.
(Offside of this: I’m also helping Dave by statting out some bad guy NPC’s — so I guess I’ll reap what I’ve sown in the long run.)
All in all, really fun though, and I’m looking forward to the next installment a great deal.

Wishlist:

– Oriental Adventures
– Farscape RPG (or even frigging info on when it comes out)
– Tome and Blood sourcebook
– Silence and Song sourcebook
All of the WEG modules converted to d20.

Urg

I haven’t put an entry in here for so long that MT has removed all my other entries — too old. So here’s the Halloween update.
I’m leaving for Portland tomorrow for Amber Con North West (ACNW). The con runs 3.5 days, and while I participate in a con or gameday almost every month, this will be my first AmberCon. I’m fairly excited.
Fairly.
Jackie has been wondering why I haven’t been more psyched. Here’s a few reasons why most people might get excited and why I’m not.
– I’m going to be staying with Jon. This should be fun. Should. I haven’t seen Jon in 5 years, however, so who knows. Maybe it’ll be awkward as hell. On the right hand, I’m really glad not to be shelling out another couple hundred bucks on a hotel room, on the left, I sort of feel as though I’m missing out on some of the ambiance of the con by not rooming where everyone else is. The coordinator is local to Portland, and even she is staying out there.
– I’m going to be going to Con. Big Deal. I go to Cons all the time. I GM weekly, and when I’m not running something, I’m thinking about running something, so I don’t fit the profile for the typical Amber Gamer — most of these guys are not in regular games, and this con is one of thier big chances to hang out with people who share thier interests, and like the same game they do — ADRPG is a fringe community within a Fringe community, as such… not a big following. In Denver, with the active RPGA membership, Cons are monthy, normal, dare-I-say boring events. At least boring in the fact that they are happening. So I’m not psyched just because of the con.
– Meeting new people. That’s great, unless I don’t gel with the group of people out there. Might happen, might not. I’m not short of friends, and unlike some, I don’t think that adding to the list is something one needs to work on day in and day out for your whole likfe. I’m comfortable with my current list of friends, and I’m not counting on AmberCon to help me out in this regard.
– Get to Travel. BFD. I do that all the time. It’s not exciting, it’s just work. Ditto staying in a strange bed, eating strange food, in a strange town — all these are things that I associate with work, not play.
All that said, I am excited as much as possible, and I’m sure I’ll be even more psyched once I get there and start meeting people and playing. Here’s my schedule:
Arrive Portland, 2:40pm PCT, Thursday.
Reception — Thursday, 5:30 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Slot 1 — Thursday, 7 p.m. – midnight (Castle of Crossed Destinies)
Slot 2 — Friday, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. (Christmas in Amber)
Slot 3 — Friday, 2 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. (All Cats Are Kings (Meera is using Swift to run this!))
Slot 4 — Friday, 8 p.m. – midnight (A Comfy Nights Stay at the Happy Crossroads Inn)
Saturday: nothing going on until…
Slot 6 — Saturday, 7 p.m. – midnight (Skeletons in the Closet)
Slot 7 — Sunday, 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (eXcessive Force: The Tentacle Files — this is supposed to end at around 2pm instead — I need to make a character up for this one, still)
Depart Portland, 6:30am (!!) PCT, Monday
These are the times when Jackie is glad to have the 85 lbs. Great Dane/Lab roaming the house. I’ve seen him pick out intruders… it’s imposing.
The main slot on Saturday was going to be where I would run a game, but I signed up late, so I didn’t get enough people signed up, so I’m open. There’s a guy I know in Portland who wanted to get together for lunch, but other than that, I’ve got nothing going on (other than needing to write some stuff for NaNoWriMo.)
The Sunday slot usually breaks up and ends up dissolving into a socialization event at the Inn’s bar — I’m down with that, since my flight doesn’t leave til the next day.

Cool

Added a new Shapeshifter class to the d20 Amber Basic Character Classes. I really like how that guy turned out. Also, tweaked ranger and got rid of Druid.
Things still to do:

  • I figured out the rules for making Trumps (needs more detail), but not the rules on how to use them. Extension of this: mental combat.
  • I need to fiddle with the age brackets for chargen. Realized it’s not quite right yet (following some testing).

Addendum: Just doubled the size of the Feats section, adding a bunch of “Background” feats, as well as things like Improved Familiar and Heroic Recovery (A.K.A. “Cockroach”).

d20

Updates to the Amber d20 pages. Specifically, did some work on the character classes, notably Ranger. Started the painful process of eliminating non-genre spells from the Magic section. Finished the Feats and skills for Logrus (Probably won’t do the non-canon powers for a long while, especially since my favorite power (Twilight) can be done more easily with the Prestige class Shadowdancer).
Did a bunch of reformatting in the skills, feats, and power skills section, and reeditted the equipment section.
Also, slowly replacing the term Gold Piece with Game Point (thus abstracting money).