Next time you enter the Forest of Arbor you'll be begging for piranakeets!
On the other hand, manfully trying to avoid integrating Dave the Barbarian into my fantasy campaign. Then again, if I did, I don't expect anyone would actually notice. A pity there was only one series.
Actually did the write up for my Cortex Plus version of Gloranthan runeplaying. Looks good, and should probably test it at some point in time. The only problem is working out how much I can reveal for non-private use given it involves IP from not one but two companies. Sigh.
The experiment in my new D&D rules is to a large degree making level tangible in it's effects in the campaign (and not just by the abilities gained by the increase in level). This results in a social ladder not unlike that in Flashing Blades. Vaguely amused by the thought of doing away experience points entirely and working up a multi-dimensional level-based promotion ladder (a sort of fusion between Flashing Blades and Barony.). Characters trying to roll for promotion is vaguely amusing - especially if
Now I wondering if I could then run the whole campaign PBM, ala En Garde.
Really want to play (not run) an Old School Dungeon again, especially if I get to do it with DCC RPG. Or failing anything else I'll probably have to run it. Sigh.
And there is all the other stuff file on the Round Tuit.
I think I shall avoid social events with friends. Three out of the last four have directly resulted in serious plague for the week following. <sigh> [Remember I'm on immune suppressents so if you feel dodgy please tell me immediately so I can run away like a scared little boy threatened by a girl ["Hah! You thought I was going to use a false sexual stereotype, didn't you!" And yes, almost over is not the same as over as my occasional moments of insanity should attest.]
Anyway, gigs I'm currently interested in if anyone else is.
Oct 25 at Jive. Mama Kin. $23.
Also Tai Chi 0, but it's only on on one screen,in the North-Eastern Wastleands beyond the River of Lead, and in that horrible artifice called 3D. And probably only on for the week.
First off I quite like Dr Carmilla's Exhumed & Unplugged. Must grab a copy from Bandcamp (and probably the other albums, once I'm past this financial hiccup [on the other hand I quite like the deal I got on the bike - next year's model at this year's price]). I'm putting this here to remind me despite the fact I almost never look at these. Still someone might be interested.
I'm definitely having a love affair with Paul Shapera's Tales of New Albion: A Steampunk Opera. I love it both thematically and musically. Also getting a lot of play time at the moment is his Cthulhu the Funksical. Whilst I did get it primarily for the Cthulhu Funksical (which is excellent), I really love the two songs at the end Marionettes of bone and A melancholy tale from the icy lands. The first is a great song bayou magic in the spirit of Herbert West, whilst the second is an epic song quest in a fantasy world (not your typical role-playing world but one inhabited by avatars and tragic tales). You can listen to both at his Bandcamp site. [And buy the rest of them too, like I promised myself last month and no doubt next month too.]
Just received my physical Kickstarter copy of Unwoman's The Fires I Started. I haven't even had a chance to listen to the electronic copy I got some weeks ago, but no doubt it is excellent. Looks very pretty. Speaking of which also have Amanda Palmer's latest. Unlistened to again. And The Complete Instrumental Collection by The Clockwork Dolls. If you want the words buy Dramatis Personae. It's worth it for Impartial, which has to be one of my favourite war anthems of all time (and not just for cloud navies). OK, I also like Steeleye Span's Black freighter. "Hoop-la."
Just finished downloading the rest of Maximalism's Soundtrack for a Great Adventure [I don't know if I was well enough last month to comment on my music acquisitions. If not I'll do so later, but I might need to remember them first.] Not that they were bad but just suffered in comparison to Paul's work. I don't think I have even listened to Dead Can Dance's Anastasis yet! Then again I didn't quite get to the state where I listened to Kate Bush's Under the ice for three weeks straight, but I might have come close. [And I just grabbed Wild man thanks to adding links to this post!]
Speaking of which the sparse ambient electronica of Canada's Conjure One's Exilarch appeals a lots more to me at the moment, so be warned people! This also means The Synthetic Dream Foundation's Tendrils of Pretty is pretty tempting at the moment too.
While I'm not a total fan of the UK Pub Punk Steampunk that is The Men Who Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing (although I do like there some of their songs such as Stevenson), how can I go past an album entitled This May Be The Reason Why The Men Who Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing Cannot Be Killed By Conventional Weapons, particularly when it features songs with a chorus like the one in The People's Common Sense Medical Advisor By RV Pierce MD (definitely NSFW).
Hmmm. My music player really wants me to buy Exilarch. Just to spite it I might buy the Cabaret steampunk of Victor Sierra's Secret Page. [Oh, and they have a cover of my favourite song of all - White rabbit - on an album on Bandcamp. Not the best version I've heard, but something to add to my Grace Slick inspired collection.]
Oh! Johnny Hollow's Dirty Hands has a cover of one of my favourite songs People are strange which sounds great. Sold.
Hmmm. I quite like Kitty, Daisy, and Lewis's alternate bluesy rock-and-roll Smoking in Heaven. And wonder of wonders, Amazon will actually sell it to me! iTunes won't. Maybe later gadget.
The Deadfly Ensemble's An Instructional Guide for Aspiring Arsonists isn't too bad either. Three albums, but only one and a bit downloads left. Hmmm. And Is till haven't looked as Miss Kitty Fantastico's latest selection of favourites!
Watercarver's Guild's Balladeers and Aeronauts. The Aeronauts' Burlesque and Ballons [and their White Lies album from Bandcamp - really good]. Good Co's Electro Swing for the Masses. Sigh. Stop writing music until I can catch up!
Oh well, my music sample player seems to be insisting on Exilarch, so that it will be. It's not as sparse as I first thought. Interesting. May have interesting complexities. Done. See. My dumb computer is smarter than me.
With a special shout out to Professor Shyguy's 8-bit synth Geekotica which wins the orphans for this week with it's geek love tribute to David Tennant in Dr Who am I. Although I'm grabbing the rest next month, especially the well reasoned Zombies > vampires.
ETA: Actually Conjure One's Exilarch is a lot better than I first thought it would be. Definitely something for fans of Sleepthief and the like. I'm adding the rest of their albums to my ever-growing queue. And TIWTMWWNBBFNCBKBCW has quite a few fun songs, such as Margate fhtagn, The people's common sense medical advice, Victoria's secret, and the titular tribute that is Brunel. Whilst I don't necessarily enjoy them musically I do like them thematically. I'll have to recommend it to the friend that keeps complaining that Steampunk is not punk. Only another 18 hours of new music to listen to...
A day after getting a new rear wheel fitted and I was riding home to feel it wobbling and rubbing against the frame. "Oh, no, not again," says I. And no, it wasn't another buckled wheel. Instead the frame attaching one axle to the bike had sheared off. Time for a new bike. Any reccomendations on the cheap hybrid side (it was an old steel-framed Shogun Metro AT and I really did like it, although it is no longer available - and in fact there seems to be a great absence of Shogun bikes locally) save for the fact it really needed a heavy duty rear wheel for my frame).
[This is mainly to get my idea on record so someone might find it useful.]
I like the Smallville RPG, even though the source material makes me feel less than enthused about doing so (I hold that it is actually a game that transcended it's source material). So I've been mulling over alternative ideas for play, which is difficult, since it really is a nicely integrated game.
For example, the main attributes in the game aren't just characteristics, they are Values (Duty, Glory, Justice, Love, Power, and Truth) and the character can actually play against them by Challenging them.* So in the normal course of play they help you, but when you cross them they have a tendency to bite back.
So simply replacing them with a non-reactive characteristic doesn't seem right. Now with the latest incarnation of Glorantha a character's fundamental runic nature has a greatly increased importance. So it might well be possible to replace these six values with the five elemental runes (Darkness, Water, Earth, Fire, and Air). The nice touch is that elemental affinities run throughout Glorantha when you apply the condition runes. Taking Death for example, which often symbolises violence, you get the traditional various weapon combinations. So someone wielding a spear would use Fire; a sword, Air; a mace, Darkness; an axe, Earth; and a soft/entangling weapon, Water. You can carry out a a systemic replacement of skills with the other condition runes, such as movement (Fire = Ride; Air = Jump; Water = Swim; Darkness = Sneak; Earth = Endure [Hiking]). It also leads to innovative applications such as using Jump to "jump out of the way of the blow" instead of "dodge," and Endure to "block the blow with my shield."
One nice benefit of doing this is that skills now naturally become advantaged and disadvantaged against one another according to the cycle of elemental advantage. Thus Air always has an advantage against Water, but acts at a disadvantage against Earth, so someone with an axe would probably beat someone with a sword who will probably cut a soft-weapon weapon to bits.
That leaves the mammoth in the room with respect to 3rd Age Glorantha. What to do with the Moon rune of the Lunars? Now this is simple, since both Air and Moon are signs of the Middle Air [the realms between Earth and the Sky (Fire)] and each excludes the other. So Moon can easily replace Air (with Death leading to wielding a scimitar and Movement leading to Balance, etc).
But can we carry it further? What if we represent Chaos as a wildcard? And allow it to actually taint someone. What if we allow the player to substitute one of his elemental traits with Chaos. As a wildcard, it can be used in place of any of the elemental affinities because it is not part of Glorantha and therefore not bound by any of it's rules. But it's Chaos, so using it always has unintentional consequences. And people can hide their Chaos taint by simply not using it. Until they need it, at which point is waiting there for them.
Now I have to think of how one can Challenge your fundamental elemental nature, and what the results might be.
[And I still claim they swapped Clark Kent's Power and Truth Values – Truth should be a d4 since it is always getting him in trouble, whilst Power should be a d6 because it is unimportant to him (he is, after all, Superman, and until he loses his power it doesn't really matter to him. But since Superman stands for "Truth, Justice, and the American Way" they probably couldn't make Clark Kent the lying idiot he is in the show. And yes, the game convinced me to borrow the complete series and watch them. And it's a prime example of the failure of the American method of TV writing by committee – any character development in one episode never appeared in the next, leading them to appear even more petulant than the normal instance of teenagers.]
Some time ago I started writing yet another set of D&D rules – for the last three or four campaigns I've had I've used custom sets of rules – as it cuts down on the rules arguments and allows me to create innovative systems to drive play in the directions I want. [Although I admit the last set died stillborn when I got my copy of Blue Rose and discovered that Green Ronin and I had been thinking along the same lines with both the True 20 system and the ideas of feats and levels. It's not the first time it's happened, either. I was disappointed with Earthdawn for limiting itself to commercially available dice. Steam engine time!]
Now I wanted a set of Old School Rules because I wanted to go back and visit the old idea of the megadungeon, because, frankly, I'd grown nostalgic. And I wasn't ready to recreate a campaign since the idea was haunted by the ghost of my players (the last had died a year previously). So I wrote a nice simple set of rules which I liked and tuned them. But meanwhile The Crater seems to have frown into an extended sandbox campaign. Which is not surprising. I like world development and tend to write reams of background information my players will never get to see – they don't need to and it's basically for me. [I'm not really complaining about this, since the advent of the DCC RPG makes me want to use that for some good old-fashioned dungeon crawls. I really do like this game.]
Anyway, one of the things I was playing with was actually defining level as meaning something in the game context, so that places and things all had a level that could be compared directly to player level, so that single "level table" could be used to create most things of importance in a direct sandbox style, (although it is less a case of rolling a distinct level but randomly modifying the level one would expect to meet with an exponentially skewed dice roll). [Note that the system is orientated towards a lot more higher level play than is common in most D&D games, so that I envisage most players will tend to be operating in the 5th to 11th level sweet spot. In fact 1st to 3rd level characters are considered ordinary people (what would be "0 level characters" or "normal men" in most systems).]
Anyway, beneath the cut are my notes for Religious Assets to give you an idea of what I'm looking at with these tables. [When finalised they probably be released for free under a creative commons licence.]
( Religious Assets )
Went to see Sophie Koh at The Wheatie with some friends. I'll probably like her new album best judging from the songs (picked up all three CDs at the gig). She is an enthusiastic and energetic singer and the live gig is well worth seeing. She suits The Wheatie and the venue suits her. I do hope she comes back soonish (less than 4 years this time).
The warm up act was Cookie Baker, back from Melbourne, for a bit and the audience was unduly packed with her friends and family.
Almost made it home without my lungs getting worse, but whilst irritated by the cold (lovely mist in the parklands), they do appear to want to stay in my body this time. Was a bit spacey from fatigue though. Far more than usual.
Gigs coming up are Kate Miller-Heidke, possibly Clare Bowditch, the Spiral Dance acoustic gig which I've now been ordered to go to. Don't know if I will go to the special quintet performance of The Idea of North (twice the alto power), although it is late enough that that decision may have been taken out of my hands. Definitely won't be going to The Tea Party.
[* Oh, and apparently "music Ian likes" is now code amongst a certain sub-group of my friends for "avoid this band at all costs."}
I know a couple of my regular readers will enjoy the following:
For those who don't recall, Henry Gordon Jago and Professor Litefoot were the local protagonists that aided the Doctor in my third favourite* Dr Who episode: The Talons of Wen-Chiang (w Robert Holmes; d David Maloney). [Although truth to tell, I preferred Li H'sen Chang, whose portrayal by John Bennett raised the show to 3rd favourite.]
[* And to quell questions as to my first and second favourites, they would be Pyramids of Mars (because of Set and his minion) and Robots of Death (because of D84 and the realistic portrayal of a human crew caught in a situation they never really imagined) respectively. Honourable mentions go to the two Peladon serials (simply because Alpha Centauri of the Federation is one of my favourite alien protagonists), Mission to the Unknown (because it was the only story where the Doctor never appeared and was a teaser for The Dalek Master Plan) [and of course Genesis of the Daleks, Death to the Daleks, Planet of the Daleks, and all the other Dalek episodes written by Terry Nation and not subsequently butchered by the director, because, well ... Daleks!], and ... <grin>]
I'm one of the old-fashioned sort that feel that an album usually has a story to tell that you lose if you just pick songs from it. And rumours that I will buy an album simply because I like the cover art or the title may indeed be true. In this spirit I present the eminently enjoyable Cthulhu the Funksical by Paul Shapera. Bring on the funk!
"You don't know what it's like to lose your mind to the Bubble Man. It's the Bubble Man! Yeah!"
Physical CDs this month are limited to Spiral Dance's Through a Sylvan Doorway and Abney Park's Ancient World. I actually haven't felt like listening to either yet (damn flu!). Also contributed to the latest Unwoman Kickstarter. If I had none of her music her keydrive would be great, but at the moment I have about half her music, so I'm undecided. Maybe next Kickstarter. Apparently she got a massive boost thanks to nice things said by Amanda Palmer and Warren Ellis. Also picked up song 2 (Bluebeard) of Yunyu's new album Twisted Tales. Haven't listened to that yet either. =8(
[Still listening to the Bandcamp sample of Cthulhu the Funksical. Brilliant!]
[Oh wow! It really is a funksical! Go Nyalothotep go!]
And to round it out Age of Steampunk by The "O" Man Jam because I like the guitar work on the intro to Cobalt Nebula, and Distant Worlds and The Poor Sitar Player, Rouge Windmill and the Satine Madame by the aforementioned Josua Vervin.
Going out Friday to Brillig was a bad idea, but I managed to crawl into Spiral Dance's launch of their new double CD Through A Sylvan Doorway. Quite good. I particularly enjoyed Asgard's Chase as well as old favourites Rise Up and Feet of Clay. I'd say more except I'm about to collapse in a heap of undifferentiated protoplasm.
First serious trip out post flu (of which at least two people I am acquainted with have been hospitalised, so I'm hoping I don't relapse), was to see Brillig at The Wheatie. Great show, their entire performance was all the new songs they've spent the last few months writing. Unfortunately, whilst two are already available via various means (Port Misery and The Hearse Song), they won't be recording the new CD until they have had a lot more experience playing them live, so you'll have to wait for the other eleven. They were quite good ballads/laments, with a much more Western theme than their previous work. Still with the appropriate amount of death and despair for Brillig songs. You can get a taste at their new song blog.
They were aided by Tristran Newsome (formerly of The Self Preservation Society and now striking out on an even more solo career than as TSPS [and much more Western than Blues-Country, so the dog may not die any more*]), and Kelly Menhennett who took the Telstra Best Songwriter prize this year (and is off to Nashville as a result), and whose album might well have been worth getting if she had actually remembered to bring any to the gig. She at Higher Ground on Thursday 19th ($5) and The Gov on Friday 20th (?).
They also had awesome cup cakes to celebrate Elizabeth's birthday.
Now hopefully I haven't made my cough wosse and will get to Spiral on Sunday Arvo.
[* You know what happens when you play a country song backwards - the wife comes back, the dog lives, and he gets a new truck...]
Fanny: What's the problem!
Nanette: What's! The Problem!
Fanny: They just lopped my head off!
Nanette: Game of Thrones style!
Fanny: With no warning!
Nanette: Ned Starkked her!
Michelle: I'm re-reading. I see nothing about a head, a guillotine, an evil boy king with mommy issues...
Michelle: I'm picking up a wee bit of snark here, so I'm going to take my toolbox and leave you to spiral down the rabbit hole you jumped into. Send a postcard!
[Quite enjoying the dialogue of Bunheads.]
For those who might be interested Brillig will be playing at The Wheatie on Friday July 13 from 9pm (sharp). Entry is free, and they promise a whole lot of new music featuring death and dismemberment (or simply dying of dehydration in the desert). Should be fun. Rumours that it is also Elizabeth's birthday may be totally unfounded (or at least unattributable to me).
Following that, on Sunday at 3pm at The Wheatie, Spiral Dance will be releasing their new album, Through a Sylvan Doorway. Entry is $15, but includes a copy of the CD (at a discount price).
[I'm going to try to be at both. I've almost stopped coughing and have reasonable levels of energy. I hope. At least I hope I don't relapse - the active fever phase of this bout of influenza, whilst mercifully brief (in my case one day), was also the most frighteningly bad bout I've ever had.]
The problem with taking wonderdrug is that it shorts out the immune system. So a set of normal sniffles has developed into full-blown flu today. I was shaking so bad this morning that I couldn't type properly.
Since I'm barely able to sit up I doubt I will be Spiralling this evening. Disappointed with the Melbourne group that snatched Spiral for their normal Yule date last week and then made such a mess of everything that Spiral had to pull out of the show because it was a disaster and stuff that should have been done wasn't. I could have gone last week. <sigh>
Hope everyone is having fun. First Spiral Yule I've ever missed but there is no way I could get to the other side of the city.