All of the numbers

I’ve been working on the new No Rest for the Wicked trade system for a while. For a very long time I was just staring at a wall of numbers willing them to make sense. Then I sent them round to Rob, who provided some input and based on that input I rewrote the entire system (kind of) in a way that (a) didn’t make my brain hurt, (b) made a lot more sense, and (c) was almost fun to work with.

The updated trade system is now out for preview with some people. If you’re interested in being one of the people helping make it make sense, let me know.

Jurassic World

Jurassic World

Last night, I went to see Jurassic World because I was in town and there was a showing still on and I really wanted to see it. I was not disappointed. There’s a bunch of moments that stuck out at me and I had a lot of fun.

So, in no particular order:

  • Lowery (Jake M Johnson) having a Jurassic Park t-shirt. Not only because it’s really cool, but because it foreshadowed the entire movie.[1]
  • The original John Williams sequence being used to accentuate both the glorious and creepy moments including the flyover of the new park, and the kids entering the old one. It was really great to pick out the theme and it accentuated things in entirely the right way while being part of an original soundtrack.
  • The old park. I loved watching that and seeing the kids explore the old park set. Especially how the raptor painting looked like it was going to jump out of the wall.
  • Jimmy Fallon doing the safety intro for the gyrosphere.
  • The hedging and hawing about what went into the Indominus Rex from Dr Henry Wu
  • Military applications for raptors. Have these people not been listening to Randall Munroe’s warnings?[2]
  • Indominus Rex’s genetics revealed. No really, have InGen not been listening to the warnings?
  • Kids being cleverer than the adults, getting a car sorted and getting out of dodge while the adults become the new prey.[3]

See also: Howard Tayler’s review of Jurassic World

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. “Sure, they ended in disaster…”
2. xkcd – prophet of the raptor apocalypse
3. Kids being cleverer than the adults seeming to be a common theme in Jurassic films


I intend to take part in #rpgaday2015, a continuation of last year’s #rpgaday. Basically, it’s a list of topics which you write about (one a day) over August. The list is available on the Facebook page, but also below in a non-image form as while all the fancy graphics in the world might look nice, nothing beats text for readability and ease of grabbing the topics.

  1. Forthcoming game you’re most looking forward to
  2. Kickstarted game you’re most pleased you backed
  3. Favourite new game of the last 12 months
  4. Most surprising game
  5. Most recent RPG purchase
  6. Most recent RPG played
  7. Favourite free RPG
  8. Favourite appearance of RPGs in the media
  9. Favourite media you wish was an RPG
  10. Favourite RPG publisher
  11. Favourite RPG writer
  12. Favourite RPG illustration
  13. Favourite RPG podcast
  14. Favourite RPG accessory
  15. Longest campaign played
  16. Longest game session played
  17. Favourite fantasy RPG
  18. Favourite sci-fi RPG
  19. Favourite supers RPG
  20. Favourite horror RPG
  21. Favourite RPG setting
  22. Perfect gaming environment
  23. Perfect game for you
  24. Favourite house rule
  25. Favourite revolutionary game mechanic
  26. Favourite inspiration for your game
  27. Favourite idea for merging two games into one
  28. Favourite game you no longer play
  29. Favourite RPG website/blog
  30. Favourite RPG playing celebrity
  31. Favourite non-RPG thing to come out of RPGing

I’ve already seen some flak come up about the chosen topics, and I think there’s a lack of clarity in some of them, or that some have been added just for buzzwords. “Revolutionary game mechanic” being one of the prime examples there, as it’s the sort of term that could be used in derision of the idea, or even just to mock every new game system for using the buzzword in their press releases.

Still, I appreciate a topic list to work to, and I can build these up over time as well.


Orpheus LARP

I’m working on a conversion of the Orpheus RPG by White Wolf to a simplified LARP format.

The reason I’m doing this is because (a) I love Orpheus, and (b) I don’t want to have to have people rolling dice or using another type of randomiser to resolve things in game. I want people to just be able to do things.

The problem with this is coming up with a balance factor. I haven’t decided whether I want to go for a contact system or not, and I don’t know how well what I’m working on is going to work.

Currently, I’m looking at having skills (abilities) that enable you to do a thing rather than being levelled and dropping attributes entirely. So Brawl gives you the ability to strike effectually in unarmed combat, and Melee lets you do the same with knives, while Dodge lets you avoid some strikes.

I’m trying to draw on the source material as much as possible – using the set rules rather than making my own where I can, but I don’t know if I shouldn’t just be trying to create a new system whole-cloth or just running it as if it were a tabletop system with acting the same way the Isles of Darkness do.

Empire 379YE Spring Equinox

My Good, Bad, and Ugly from the the Spring Equinox, 379YE. This was far and away my best Empire event (and my best event as a player of anything, I reckon) and being away from the office for nigh-on a week was something I desperately needed. Having as much fun as I did was just a bonus.

The Ugly

  • Nothing!
  • The Bad
  • Selling half of the salted caramel cream liqueur (that stuff was really really nice)
  • Aching heels from walking around the entire site several times organising rituals
  • Forgetting the names of runes partway through a ritual
  • Rituals could use some flash and pomp
  • Left my make-up at home
  • Blister on my palm from hammering tent pegs – betadine stings!
  • Barely being in Wintermark
  • Barely seeing friends on the field

The Good

    • Fighting Heralds of Arhallogen in the Hall of Worlds
    • Pulling both Pavul and Jessica out of the fighting to Gudrun and realising afterwards that I might have just saved Jessica’s life
    • Running the timers after the civil servant had to run off because of the Empress election
  • Being the lead ritualist in six rituals
  • Becoming known by archmages, the warmage, and grandmasters
  • Making a name for myself in the Shuttered Lantern
  • Making three crowns from my booze
  • Organising scrying rituals for the military council
  • Finding a rhythm for my rituals that meant I was pretty much perfect on timing
  • Lights in the regio stones
  • Enjoying every minute of Conclave (I must be getting weird)
  • James managed to pick up my make-up
  • Arriving on Thursday makes everything else so much more relaxed (being on site 28 hours before time in was weird)
  • Feeling so much better after being away for the weekend
  • Froth lunch at Buddy’s with the Glasgow lot
  • Salted caramel cream liqueur
  • First magical traumatic wound
  • Mhorish
  • Holtoberfest sausages
  • Team Human Centipede!
  • Stab-safe mage staffs are big and clever – I need to make myself one
  • Learning how to make Cesare speechless
  • Witnessing Astrid’s joining the League ceremony
  • Cunts and first kisses in the pub


I have a few IC letters and some reports to write, and I’m resisting the urge to talk in TLAs about everything that happened[1].

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. TRV did ESM and EHP on various locations. Fighting HoA in HoW was awesome.

Vegan Superpowers

Someone proposed using snake-skin in a LARP as a prop (by which I mean shed snake skin, not harvested skin) and some other people from “Team Vegan” piped up and said “not for us thanks” and went on to explain that they didn’t care how it came off of the snake, they want nothing to do with it.

I’m now wondering if they feel the same way about wool. Both snakes and sheep must shed their outer layers for their own comfort on a regular basis. Sheep can’t do it themselves (due to those traits being bred out of them) and need our help to do so. Not helping a sheep shed its wool in the summer is actually crueller than shearing it as it won’t be able to cope with summer heat with the thermal layers of wool. Snakes shed their skin as they grow, squeezing out of the tighter layer being shed to be more comfortable in the new larger scales beneath.

Jeremy is currently in blue at the moment (preparing to shed) which may be part of my reaction to this, but all I can think is that “Team Vegan” is so against any kind of animal product being used that they’re objecting even to the use of naturally discarded bits. I don’t get that. I can understand working against animal cruelty, and modifying your lifestyle to match, but not using natural discards seems overboard to me.

Antlers are discarded by deer every year, scales are shed by snakes regularly, sharks constantly replace their teeth. You can collect all of these things and more without ever harming or even capturing the animals in question – there’s no cruelty involved. It strikes me as being similar to objecting to cutting down forests and refusing to use fallen branches in a fire to keep you warm. It also strikes me that such extreme attitudes will lead to an increase in the use of synthetics, which will pollute the earth faster and cause more damage to animals in the long-term.

I don’t know – I just don’t get the extremism. Unless you really do get Vegan Superpowers from it.

[Requiem] An excerpt from a letter

An excerpt taken from a letter written by Charles Morganti to another kindred.

The advance of technology has been immeasurably useful to my trade. Where once providing a musician for a private affair involved earplugs, blindfolds and other such instruments to disguise the truth of affairs, now technology provides an answer. From the gramophones introduced at the turn of the last century, which enabled music to be played at will at the turn of a crank to the modern electric music devices that transcend such basic principles. In modern nights, I can have a favoured musician play in a private room and their art is conveyed through electrics to a room elsewhere providing the unique experience of a personal musician without the dangers of having a kine musician included in a kindred matter.

You might ask why I don’t simply solve two problems at once and make a favoured musician of mine into a ghoul to provide safety and loyalty. The answers are myriad: I provide discrete services, and even a ghoul being present can break that creed; providing a variety of musical talent in this way would be expensive in vitae; and then there is the foremost reason – the lack of creativity in the ghouled. There is no shame in admitting that the mortal mind adapts better to new situations and creates more readily than the minds of the kindred. Our immortal nature bestows a certain slowness in thought, and the ghouled take on some measure of that. A ghoul is less likely to be original, or to create new works. Even the bond is dangerous as it focuses the kine on yourself rather than the creation of new works. In art and music, you want nothing other than the best unsullied by the nature of vitae.

Of course, the problem with using only kine untouched by the blood is that they all too soon wither and lose their talent. At some point, one must ask oneself whether this treasured artist is at the peak of their abilities and whether you wish to retain them as they are, or whether one lets them continue to create and age as a mortal. This is another solution that technology has overcome to a degree. The ability to store the art of a musician’s craft in electrics such that their beauty can be recounted at any point is itself a marvel and one which I offer freely to my clientèle should they desire musical accompaniment to their activities. As previously described, a personal performance can also be arranged through the use of an insulated music room for the performer or performers which also allows for the composition of original or custom pieces for a particular event.

The scale of technological advancement seems to leap exponentially with every passing decade. There seems to be little now that cannot be accomplished through the power of electrics – the cities quite literally thrum with the energy passing through the aether at times.