Omakase Amzn

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Table Scraps RPG Video Review 28: Panty Explosion

This is our official review for the RPG called Panty Explosion. Is it pantylicious? Find out!


I did not know, at the time I made this video, there is a newer version called Panty Explosion Perfect, which is said to have a different ... "flavor", if you'll pardon the possible distasteful pun.


Friday, November 1, 2013

Fate/Plot Points - Pay First?

First, I am in more general agreement that I prefer to be able to use my "plot manipulation" resources, such as Fate Points or whatever, to bring a sub-par roll up to at least a minimal success, rather than be forced to make a "dramatic" decision to spend points beforehand and possibly only roll a 1 which doesn't help me.

However, probably the best read on this question, is that it matters just how much is "on the line", for the real answer. If it's an over the top game where it's expected that lots of action or big gestures (physical or metaphorical) are made and it is generally easy or fairly routine for players to earn back the resources they spend, so they can do it again, then the pay-first mechanic is doable, especially if it's unlikely that even a bad failure is going to just outright kill someone or permanently remove an important option. But in more adversarial gaming (not my cup of tea), players do have enough that they are mentally working on and laudably keeping straight in their heads, to see things work out, that making even a game's possible "equalizer" resources merely a roulette spin, rather than a significant way to insure at least some part of their efforts pays off solidly, could seem honestly just spiteful. I guess it could work if you were going for an extremely gritty, nihilistic atmosphere with brief glimpses of hope.

To me, I still tend to fall into the camp that views gaming as a relative analog of novels or movies, not video games. If my players take the time to read and play by the rules, make characters, invest time and thought and flesh out an avatar and entertain me and the other players, then that makes them the MAIN characters, that will be challenged and have bad things befall them from time to time, and they'll be punished for stupid moves, but mere random chance won't decimate their heroic goals, anymore than a main character in a novel or movie will fail his roll randomly and fall off a ledge he's crossing, without that being intended to be a major plot or turning point. Similarly, main characters that have these Plot Point resources should be able to use this above-normal power, unavailable to most NPCs, to affect real change.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Round/Turn Length in Game Design

In game design, timing, and especially tacked timing of "combat rounds" and for chases and things like that, can be very important. This article will give at least a brief treatment to some of the considerations that go into round length in a game.

Savage Worlds and Warhammer both also use about 6 second rounds of combat. The PC turns are effectively the same 6 seconds, but happen simultaneously, with the initiative order signifying really only a fraction of a second difference to put one person above another "in line", so a turn is 6 seconds, and a round is made up of multiple turns, but it also is 6 seconds, because they overlap.

Many if not most games usually include at least a brief note about "attacks" or "shots" related to round length, stating that a melee or ranged attack is not one single sword swing or firing of a weapon, but a brief cinematic shot or scene of an exchange in combat, complete with dodging, parrying, counter-strikes and such.

You can see where it would be nearly impossible for characters to really keep track of their ammo, especially in the heat of battle - so think of every ranged attack you make as not a single pull of the trigger or loosing of an arrow or bolt, but as perhaps up to half a dozen or so, in the span of 6-10 seconds (depending on game system).

Rounds are the nebulous, uncertain but nominally 6-second (usually) length they are in most games because it is a contextually short amount of time, but long enough to be able to "hold" most significant things or actions that combatants would do.

If you are truly serious about "getting it right", the best way to understand round length and compare your own ideas are to simply do some personal experiments.

Pick up a short broom or other weapon-length item, hold it to your side with one hand as a sheath, and try drawing it a few times with the other hand, mentally or even using a stopwatch (or having someone else do it), find out what your average time is to "wield" or draw the weapon. Now do it with a watergun or capgun or bow (or that same sword-proxy), etc. You can get an idea into what kind of "window of activity" a large range of actions would fall. Take your faux-weapon and make a single strike, or even just punch or kick something (insert warnings, disclaimers, etc) and get an idea of how long these things take.

Now complicate your attacks by adding the time you have to take to aim at a certain object at a certain distance, to reload, to draw an arrow from your back or hip-quiver, raise your bow into position, nock it, aim and fire, or do an impromptu bit of LARPing or "shadowboxing" in your melee attempts, making parries, ripostes, recoveries, changed strategies and tactics, moving footwork.

Lastly actually walk at your normal pace a certain speed or amount of time, noting it, then determine any other factors not known at the time. For me it took about 7 minutes to walk around a quarter-mile (1,320 feet or 400 meters) high-school track, which worked out to about a 3 feet (0.9144 meters) per second (2 mph or 3.22 km/h) stroll, which is my everyday walking speed - that translates to 18 feet per turn or round, roughly half the standard movement rate of 30-40 feet per 6 seconds (so standard speed for a Movement 6 character in a 6 second turn game moves 4 mph on average).

From this you can determine what you WANT to allow for your game, in a certain span of time you're calling a turn. From a more concrete game design standpoint, it isn't so much that a round is "as long as it needs to be" and more "it is as long as the GM wants to allow it to be, based on how many actions he wants to be possible in a turn". A single punch or melee weapon strike could take as little as less than even a second (Bruce Lee and many martial artists have been documented as being able to strike with fist or foot, faster than a rattlesnake strike (90 frames of video, at 1/500 of a second each, or 1/5 of a second), which puts trained, top-notch melee unarmed fighters as fast as 0.10 seconds, or even faster.

You then have to "work backward" from these, and see what time frames can meet and average out, to allow most of these actions to all fit within the same duration, which becomes your turn and round length. This is where you have to make the judgments calls on whether or not you want PCs to be able to draw a weapon and attack without it being a multi-turn action, or drop, dig through and draw an item from a pack, etc).

For example, let's say in a game I'm working on, I've decided that the turns are short, encompassing only a single strike, but with the setup, lead-in, strike and resulting changed stance and location for both combatants, or a complex grappling maneuver, and possibly some posing - this still is well within a 3 second window, and that timeframe keeps popping up in my personal project, so it is probably going to be my base.

I don't have a lot of the other examples above in my game, such as drawing items from pouches and such, so I just give a penalty for "long actions" rather than making them multi-round, so I have no need to use the 5 or 6 second turn.

I've also watched some fight scenes from various movies, though mine were mostly martial arts/action movies (Jackie Chan etc), and most action/fight scenes came out to take a minute and a half or two minutes, from start to finish of the entire fight scene. That's for "non-Boss" fights, even with lots of stunts and choreography, while a "final showdown" with a major villain tends to clock in around 5 minutes. From this, I have the additional option of taking the non-Boss fight scene (1.5 minutes), and dividing that by the number of rounds I feel is a good average, or one which I wish most fights to take, to arrive at my seconds-per-turn idea.

If a simple but clever setpiece fight scene lasts 2 minutes, and I intend for the PCs to have to have the opportunity to attack 5 times in that duration, before the foes are eliminated, I divide 2 minutes by 5 attacks or rounds, arriving at 2.5-3 attacks = 1 minute, 1.5 attacks = 30 seconds. I hope you can where I'm going with that. Also  note the preceding example is for mostly unarmed and fact-paced martial arts scenes, not epic fantasy brawling, but the ideas remain the same.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Fuel Houserules for RPGs (and Chainsaws!)

Ok, I saw a question about how to track fuel and ammo and similar things in an RPG, and I actually like these kinds of questions, so first here is a Yahoo Answer I came across, which suggests a number of approaches (http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100501232045AAee8tO).

Now for me, If you take one of the last answers, that a pint of premixed fuels (good luck if you decide to focus on details enough that chainsaws need oil and gas both) gives him about 15 minutes of constant cutting for his chainsaw (though he doesn't say what cc or rpm), you might need to know:

- "gas tank" size: 0.25 - 3 pints
- rpm: 2400 min idling - 12000 max full power
- cc: 30-120
- hp: 2-10
- max running/cutting time: 10-15 minutes per pint
- lbs: 10-25
- bar length: 12-60" (larger exist but aren't single-person practical)

From the above data I gathered, it looks like it would be possible to have a couple different sizes of chainsaws, from a small home utility to a much more powerful full-sized professional carbide saw.

Given the general ranges of gas tank sizes, I would probably suggest an easy breakdown for "ammo" for a chainsaw would be 10-30 minutes of full power per tank, and probably not use fuel "unit" sizes smaller than 1/4 pint, with most chainsaw tanks being 0.5-3 pints.

Averaging all this, I'd say, gives you "fuel/ammo" ratings of 1 (1/4 pint or 1/2 cup) to 12 (3 pints) "shots" per tank, at 2 minutes per "unit" (1/4 pint), or a total of 24 minutes worth of use per tank, if it held 3 pints (12 units).

For game-practical purposes, if a round is 6 seconds and 10 rounds is a minute, I'd say you might "round down" to make it harder for chainsaws to be the common weapon, reducing the fuel efficiency suggested above - maybe the fuel is older, the mix is bad or old most commonly, and using the saw for full power and active cutting will use more fuel than the ideal minutes-per-tank rating, which is for idling, so probably:

And for completeness, "realods" or "clips" might be containers as follows:

1 gallon = 3.79-4 liters (or quarts) = 8 pints = 16 cups = 128 oz = 4000 ml/cc (32 fuel units)
1 quart/liter = 2 pints = 4 cups = 32 oz = 950-1000 ml/cc (8 fuel units and 16 minutes)
1 pint = 2 cups = 16 oz = 473 ml/cc (4 fuel units and 8 minutes)
3/4 pint = 1.5 cup = 12 oz = 356 ml/cc (3 fuel units and 6 minutes)
1/2 pint = 1 cup = 8 oz = 236 ml/cc (2 fuel units and 4 minutes)
1/4 pint = 1/2 cup = 4 oz = 120 ml/cc (1 fuel unit and 2 minutes)

1 round (6 seconds) = 1/4 fuel unit (1/16 pint) and 30 seconds used
4 rounds (24 seconds) = 1 fuel unit (1/4 pint) and 2 minutes used
6 rounds (36 seconds) = 1.5 fuel units (5/16 pint) and 3 minutes used
8 rounds (48-54 minutes) = 2 fuel units (1/2 pint) and 4 minutes used
10 rounds (1 minute) = 2.5 fuel units (3/4 pint) and 5 minutes used
12 rounds (72 seconds) = 3 fuel units (1 pint) and 6 minutes used

So a 6 round combat uses 1.5 fuel units and/or 3 minutes, a 10 round one is 2.5 fuel units and uses 5 minutes, etc.

I have changed it a bit to bring it more in line with the more important aspect, which is how those unit sizes fit in with combat and game mechanics, so I'd recommend:

1 fuel unit = 1/4 pint = 2 minutes or 20 rounds of full power or active cutting

This allows you to have various chainsaw types, with idling speeds (for keeping it at the ready but not expending any more precious fuel than necessary), being equal to full-power minutes x3 (if you want to use idling speeds at all).

The above highlighted formula would allow a single fuel unit to carry a PC through 20 rounds of combat (depending on the game system, this may be a lot of rounds) from start to finish, which is what just feels like a "just barely enough" amount of fuel, which will allow players to make use of fueled devices, without relying on them extensively. Obviously, "fuel" can be virtually anything you want, including batteries or energy cells, vortex plasma for futuristic weapons or devices, or whatever else.


Small Home Chainsaw: Capacity 1 (0.25 pint), Minutes/Tank: 6 (idling) or 2 (full power)

Medium Utility Chainsaw: Capacity 8 (2 pints), Minutes/Tank: 48 (idling) or 16 (full)

WorldChewer: Capacity 12 (3 pints), Minutes/Tank: 60 (idling) or 20 (full)


A creative GM or game designer could work these ratings into possibly differing damage ratings (full power = x, idling = 1/2 x) or take this idea any number of ways! This same method could work for vehicles, with a certain number of Fuel Units allowing a vehicle to travel a certain distance, then requiring the PCs to gather more fuel when that runs out, usually important in post-apocalyptic and/or zombie games.

Resources

Chainsaw Comparison Links:
http://www.sawmillchainsaws.com/sawfacts.htm 
http://www.husqvarna.com/us/products/chainsaws/compare-chainsaws

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Tutorial: How To Permanently Set New Default Template in Libre Office (Oct 2013)

From what I can tell, most documentation and videos are out of date lately, about how to set the Libre Office Default Template (for Writer).


Yes, you can set it with the instructions on the Libre Office help page, and it will create a new properly-templated document when you double-click the Libre Office 4.1 shortcut suite launcher, but what about those people (like me) who create new documents by using the right-click context menu in a Windows folder, and selecting "New > OpenDocument Text"? You won't get your nice, new template you just made - it will revert to the core default template.

This video will instruct you how to permanently set Libre Office to use your own custom template, and works even with the right-click context menu.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Abstruse Decapod's Universal Technobabble Generator Online!

Finally, at last! Abstruse Decapod has its very own Universal Technobabble Generator!

You can find it linked to in our Toys section here!

http://abstrusedecapod.blogspot.com/p/toys.html

The actual direct link is: http://www.peracles-rpg.com/guest/jp/toys/index.php?pagecont=01

It generates technobabble phrases, actions, parts and devices of varying lengths and complexities and timeframes to accomplish the actions. Here are ten examples, to whet your space whistle!


1. hyper-cube the glo-plexi gel (almost exactly 18 h)
2. shape the orbital photon drive (precisely a few seconds)
3. dif-collar the vertice stabilizer (nearly a few seconds)
4. entangle the dio-standard spider-gear in the vega-forced interrogator (around 10 m)
5. rapidly pro-fuse the deci-cosmic transformer dish actuator in the para teaser (about 20 m)
6. dif-gate the iso-optic cog adjuster in the dura-meta loosener (approximately 20 s)
7. systemize the magneto-trans coolant (almost a few seconds)
8. multi-rythmically impel the plastic brick (roughly 30 m)
9. suppress the parthon chain-reactionary obdurium safeguard (precisely 20 s)
10. slab the iono-carrier manacle (12 h)




Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Hit Locations and Combat Effects

Some alternate ideas to consider for damage, either for people creating their own system or for houseruling an existing game:

1. One model I've seen is a multiplier for severity in hit locations, like the body is x1, the arms or legs are x2, the head is x3. It simply uses math to make hits on certain body parts "matter" more. You could combine that with a per-location hit chart as well I'd guess.

2. Another model uses modifiers but for "hit points", so the body might get x3 to take or even soak damage, while arms might get x2 and head gets x1, so the body has the most resistive wound levels. You could probably also combine or derive this from the character's Stamina, etc.

3. Savage Worlds does something similar, adding +2 damage to limb hits and +4-6 for smaller/more sensitive targets, though this is more for called shots than random hit locations.

4. Warhammer Fantasy Role Play has hit locations (head, right arm, left arm, body, right leg, left leg) but all damage is still applied to the main Wound pool, but each location may have different levels of armor, which can change the damage inflicted, but not the effects AFTER being inflicted.

5. You might consider "effects-based" results as your primary combat results from various types of hits or locations, so instead of focusing on the body parts themselves, they can be interpreted or mapped to what effect an attack has. Say if you do a certain amount of damage or maybe the hit is 5 over what you might say is your 'average' damage roll, that would make the hit a "Good" hit, 10 over would be "Great", etc. These could have different effects, like "-2 to Movement until fully healed", "Drops Weapon", etc. It could be specific as just mentioned, or you could just have a random effect table also.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Tabletop RPGs: Realism vs Game

In my mind's eye image, when I think about gaming, I keep coming back to when people argue realism or 'would/wouldn't' to a certain point, that puts extra strictures on opportunities given to characters, due to meta rules. While some might argue RPGs are "art" or "collaborative storytelling activities" and such, they're still GAMES.

I feel like when a GM or someone running things makes a "you wouldn't know that" or "you only have x seconds" and all those kind of restrictions, based on real world things, I have to take a step back and look at it because I feel like there is a fine line between moderating a game and trying to keep things consistent, but also remembering its a game and that things that make the game FUN should be encouraged, and things that actually deny or prevent FUN should be avoided.

Part of the fun for some people IS the deadline part of decision making in-game and that is valid. As is the 'thrill' of it being possible for your character to die - you have "stakes" in the game. On the other hand, how does it come across as entertaining if the GM says "Well, your character rolled bad/went down the wrong tunnel - you're DEAD and removed from play". That is beyond missing a goal or something, or passing your turn. It has no real equivalent because when someone "loses" in most games, the game ends, or rather, one person "wins" and the game ends.

I've seen many more recent games and game theory, especially rules-lite affairs, basically say "Never say NO". While the intent of this is appreciated, it really isn't a realistic (used in the appropriate sense of the word here) or practical guideline. But it is because the actual idea  that it is substituting for is: "Before saying NO, consider the benefits and drawbacks of doing so. WHY are you saying no? Is it purely for rules reasons, that may have no particular benefit or help to the game or session, just for the sake of following the rules? Does saying NO or YES significantly change something? If not, then is there really an issue?"


To me it is really a matter of "what is accomplished" when something is prevented, or a character dies or whatever. Whatever the outcome, that is negative in general - the question is, "Does this negative thing help promote or give entertainment value or fun to the session"? Like those oldschool one-hit-on-kill poison traps and stuff. Those were very adversarial, very "gotcha", of the GMs and the players outsmarting each other, but to me that sort of play, on a "serious" level, is dysfunctional, not "a challenge".

You are all playing a game. You don't want to PUNISH a player for their character simply not rolling high enough or them making a single wrong decision, by taking what they've created and used to interact in your shared imagination space, and crumpling it up and throwing it in the trash. Simply "killing" or especially "TPK"ing, is ugly, inelegant and lazy on the part of the GM. This doesn't mean character death shouldn't happen, but it should be for the right reasons and in keeping with the stakes and event at hand - missing an Agl roll to cross a bridge to get a gem that someone needs so they can sell it to make enough to feed their family, is not worthy of death, even on multiple fails. Injuries, possibly coma and being out of action, but death - that sort of denying a player his own vehicle that everyone else has, for a wrong turn, is just wrong, in itself.



Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Are RPGs Games? Part II: Conflict and Competition

I think comments and argument suggesting some games do not possess the same presence of competition or conflict that other games do, are somewhat tenuous, due to some arguments that divide the players up and trying to classify the GM as some other non-player entity.

Obviously the two words have SOME difference, or they wouldn't be different words; however, the interrelation and overlap of these two concepts are so dense that I am not sure one can truly divide one from the other in any practical way.



From this site: http://www.differencebetween.com/difference-between-conflict-and-vs-competition/, I'll post this excerpt:

Conflict involves discord and disagreement whereas competition can take place without any clash or hard feelings. • A competition indicates a contest where participants vie for the top spot whereas a conflict indicates a scuffle or a skirmish.
• Competition is a healthy process that encourages intelligence, innovation, and entrepreneurship whereas conflict crushes all such concepts.
• In real life, conflict is inevitable because all people are different from one another and different viewpoints lead to conflict.
• Organizing a competition to choose the best painter, singer, or a player encourages excellence among individuals as participants want to beat others to get top honors.
• Conflict and competition are two different types of social interaction that are, in addition to cooperation and accommodation.

From these definitions, I would assert:

Conflict is a matter of fundamental agreement on an issue, opinion or course of action to be taken. At its most basic definition, conflict is really more a state of being or of a situation, rather than an environment or ongoing process.

Competition (and contest) is the actual process of resolving conflict, be it friendly rivalry to be the best, possibly while even participating in an event in a cooperative manner with others, while you are also competing against them to gain a secondary or alternate objective, such as a ball player being a member of the team but also qualifying for a recognition for excellence, such as MVP or other award.

Also I'd like to rebut a statement in an ongoing conversation I'm participating in, that "RPGs don't have competition between players". This is patently false. This may be referring to "the party" and not including the GM, but it is still a game, with a bunch of people all playing (though the GM role is different) - that means ALL players are "players", even the GM. To attempt to classify the GM as some non-player entity is both directly in opposition to the very nature of RPGs and merely redistributing the "where" or "who" of competition, not making it null and void. Chess is a good example. It is very much both competition and conflict, as it is a two-player competition between two players, and there is one main objective - to defeat the other player. This causes contextual conflict, and that conflict "I will win, instead of my opponent" is resolved through competition of play turns.

It is arguably possible to have Competition without direct or explicit Conflict, with the exception of opinions of the competitors: "I think I can win this, proving myself better than the others in this event"; this means there is no fundamental disagreement between all the competitors but the contest is held for goals of its own, a sort of transitory, temporary, even "artificial" conflict, a contest for its own sake, such as winning an amount of money. There may be no notable air or sense of disagreement between people until a contest is introduced, at which time they abstractly "come into conflict" with each other, regarding who will or should be seen as the victor of the competition, and will receive whatever the prize is.


Competing does not necessarily mean a participant think he will, or even should win - he may compete for the activity itself, to be seen by others, to take a chance and do something fun and the winning may be a secondary or even only vaguely acknowledged goal. In these cases, it is the player's deeds that makes the competition a conflict - he is participating, therefore from a purely objective standpoint, by virtue of the person involving themself, the default value of "attempting to win" is assigned to the person, whether he actually IS or not, which puts him in implicit conflict with the others, in a physically manifested sense, even if not of deliberate resolve.


On the other hand, can you have Conflict without Competition? In fact, like the very subtle nuances in the previous example, yes. Civilians caught in a warzone, or whose government is in military action against others, are "in conflict" with the opposing governments and militaries, being of the opinion the opposing forces should go away, but taking no direct steps to join in and resolve the conflict. In this way, that person is in conflict, or disagreement, with another, but is not in competition. He may even be in conflict with own government at the same time he supports it, for different reasons (I love our freedom/I hate our corruption, etc), and he may compete in some instances, trying to change things or "be the winner" in some way in the context of such a conflict.

In "games" (sports or hobby or video), the very act of participating puts you in competition with the other players or a computer AI if applicable. You play and although the rules do not require you "try your hardest", the objective of a game is to accomplish whatever the winning conditions are, so you are competing against the opponent(s), whoever they are, and at whatever effort you choose to give.

Also in "games", in the abstract sense of the definition, in any game you care to choose as an example, you are in conflict with the opponents, because you are endeavoring to accomplish a contextual goal and fulfill winning conditions, whatever those are, even if it is "don't die/get permanently imprisoned" in the case of an RPG, besides the more explicit "rescue the princess" plots - this is "in disagreement" with the GM or AI, or even random dice tables, whose are competing against you in a modified fashion of your own activity - providing you with sometimes very difficult challenge, and often the possibility of losing your character, which also falls under more conditions of both conflict and competition, a stake to be lost, even if it just the game itself.

But the GM also is cooperating with you, in that he is not taking every opportunity to try to make you fail or "kill your character", and in fact often fudges rolls and provides you with clues when appropriate or as a result of things you do, to succeed, and rewards you for doing so, as a coach or trainer (again, that fluid value of "how much effort"). In this way, you are both NOT in conflict, because you both agree that you want the game to be fair for the players, that the GM is trusted to be fair and creative, and the players are trusted to be genuine in their ideas and attempts to play, and to abide by and work with the GM on his rulings and moderating. I don't believe there is a final true black-or-white answer to this initial topic, because the answer to "are RPGs really games" and "is competition required for a game" is "yes and no", depending on which aspect you are referring to, from one second to the next. RPGs are and aren't games because they are both competitive against the other players, and cooperative with the same players, and they involve conflict between the players, and they also don't involve conflict, because everyone agrees they want to play a game and for it to be fun and fair. Ultimately, the answer depends on what you expect out of a game and how you play it, as to what it delivers or how it qualifies.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Is Competition Necessary for Something to be a "Game"?

I think that is probably the telling point and possibly the most important one. A hobby or entertainment without competition doesn't require rules because it is either a completely collaborative experience, such as acting, or simply "play", like freeform "making stuff up" - mutual storytelling.

The only reason an activity requires rules is because it involves competition and/or challenge, and the outcome and fairness become important. Even in "soldier" or "cowboys and indians" completely imaginative play, it becomes competitive and the "I shot you"-"did not" issue arises, leading to usually an improv set of rules to make things equitable ("I'm safe if I'm touching this post").

Competition doesn't necessarily mean conflict or violence or non-cooperation, however, and it shouldn't be seen as inherently bad, as this aspect of games teach valuable skills and ideas and interaction, and inspire useful or vital emotions or drives, which have much more important real-life counterparts. Competition, teaches how to mutually agree to share a set of values for a common goal, even if it means you may "lose" if you don't meet it (before or instead of your opponent), and especially in the case of RPGs, the GM is given a powerful responsibility - the other players are placing trust in his judgment and fairness and creativity and empathy for their enjoyment, and he understands that he must be fair and is not in direct full opposition to the players, but a coach of sorts, or trainer, challenging them to overcome obstacles, to rise above the mundane and become heroic and memorable, entertaining and exciting. This is competition to be sure, and the consequences can be harsh, depending on the game and GM, but the play itself is its own reward, besides the in-game mechanics for the characters themselves - the players get to see their own creations improve and gain in various aspects, and the GM gets to see his work enjoyed by others and how his moderating has helped shape and allowed players to bring their creations into active, dynamic realizations, and evolve.

And that, in the real world, is what competition is - challenges and obstacles to be overcome, direct opposition by others, sometimes violently, sometimes in relationships or careers or simple play, that hones and strengthens those drives to push and succeed, that teaches people how to deal with success and failure, to think differently, approach problems, come up with solutions or ways to entirely sidestep large issues with cleverness - this allows people as individuals, and as a species, to also bring themselves into active, dynamic realizations of their own creation, and evolve.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Herbal Terminology for Role Playing Games



I'm in the process of making a fairly comprehensive herb-related document which could be used for about any game - it has information and random charts, for randomly generating known plants as well as new ones.

I have to do a lot of research for various aspects and I'm putting these up as a kindness to other gamers looking for info on the topic of the various etymology (origins) and meanings of a lot of typical herbal/botanical terms, with examples.



Apple = round; any non-berry fruit (crab apple)
Bane = slay, wound (wolfbane)
Bar = red or fruit (barberry)
Bay = berry or seed (bay leaf, bayberry)
Bell(a) = fair or pretty (belladonna)
Bil = roots or ball (bilberry)
Boysenberry = named after “inventor”
Choke = poisonous or very acidic (chokeberry, chokecherry)
Clote = burdock, cloud, clod
Conkle/Conker = conch shell (conkerberry)
Cran = crane (cranberry)
Cress = devour or grass (watercress)
Donna = lady (belladonna)
Fal = call or invite, curved blade or grey (falberry)
Farkle = sparkle (farkleberry)
Hack = hag, meaning "bird cherry" (hackberry)
Haw = hedge or fence (hawthorn)
Hem = hops (hemlock)
Huckle = hook/coffin handle (huckleberry)
Lock = like/akin (hemlock)
Meg = musk (nutmeg)
Mul = dull/dark (mulberry)
Nard = name of tree or smell, aromatic unguent (spikenard)
Poke = N. American: stain, smoke, dye, possibly sack, puck (poke salad)
Privet = prime or first (privet berry)
Quarters = tithing time bloom, area, fourth or side of meat (lamb's quarters)
Rasp = sweet, rose colored wine (raspberry)
Ri = another/repeating or laughter (riberry)
Ruff = turbulent, wading bird, swagger, frilled (woodruff)
Saxifrage = "herb"
Seal = crowd/bunch, fastening emblem or plough or crop (goldenseal, solomon's seal)
Serviceberry = blooms when religious services are common
Snap = beak, mouth, quick movement, bite (snapdragon)
Sop = gift to appease or wisdom (sweetsop)
Sorrel = sour or reddish brown or yellowish brown (wood sorrel)
Spike = ear of grain, thorn, nail, splinter (spikenard)
Tay = engineered; named after river (tayberry)
Tea = inner integrity and power (teaberry and tea)
Whortle = hurtle (whortleberry)
Wim/Whin = whistle/whiz through air (wimberry)
Wort = weed (mugwort)
Wrack = marine vegetation, seaweed, kelp (sugar wrack)

Friday, May 3, 2013

Creating Paper Miniatures for Tabletop Games

Also known as cardboard or paper minis, these are the very cheap alternative to buying handfuls of paintable pewter (or originally lead) or even plastic molded or hand-sculpted figures for gaming. Most minis stand roughly an inch in height, and are set onto a flat base, either round, rectagle, square or even hex shaped, to keep them upright. Games Workshop, Reaper and Ral Partha are among the more traditional names for true packaged gaming miniatures, but today we'll be looking at the little brother of these fine figures.




Printable or "print mini" paper minis are usually printed onto a piece of paper or sometimes thin cardstock that can be fed into a typical ink or laser jet printer - many paper mini users print onto paper first to make sure a mini looks good without having to waste more expensive cardstock, and then cut out and glue or otherwise affix the paper mini to the cardstock, which also adds extra strength, combining the cardstock and the paper.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A Special Note on The Surly Jock

Irritated jocks. No, let's try this again. SURLY jocks. That's better. Surliness and jocks, two great tastes that... no, let's back up again.

Anyway, are you a jock? Do you know a jock? Do you have a jock? I mean, like, a person in your life who plays or likes sports?


Neither you nor your jock even have to be surly to visit The Surly Jock for all of your sports discussion needs, and see some considered, thoughtful, possibly insightful and useful, possibly outraged commentary on various topics in sports! Not always the same sport or topic, but always entertaining!

Check out The Surly Jock and be an athletic supporter!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Random Wrestling Move Generator Returns!


Yes, the Random Wrestling Move Generator returns! I apologize for the broken link as my previous host for that script disappeared and I didn't know, but I've fixed that now. I'll be working on some other generators as well, both for wrestling but also for tabletop role-playing games - height, weight, sex, age, hair and eye color, and my largest undertaking, random world locations.

The Wrestling Move Generator toy here at Abstruse Decapod will generate random pro wrestling maneuvers, moves and holds, from both authentic collections as well as creating new and exciting moves using a sophisticated sports-entertainment maneuver-logic algorithm. Just refresh the page for more!

Click Here for your Top 10 Random Wrestling Moves!


Direct Link

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Offtopic: Eschew Twist Ties - Spin It Instead!

I sat an unopened, twist-tied loaf of bread on my table the other day. Later that day I went to open it and found roaches in it.

I have roaches, because if there is a god, he hates me. I have various suspicions about who to blame but it's pointless to do so.



But anyway, normally after I open a loaf of grocery store off-the-shelf bread, I just spin it tightly and tuck the excess twisted plastic under the loaf and sit it back on the table without tying it, and it never gets anything in it.

Which means what I do is more secure than the way commercial bread is packaged, and the bread sitting on the shelf at the store, is quite open to things crawling into it with little effort.


Friday, February 8, 2013

DUSO the Dolphin - Teaching Toy or TOOL OF THE DEVIL?!

First off, spoiler alert: teaching toy.

I have just done some research after spontaneously remembering this dolphin puppet that was occasionally brought out when I was in school - apparently kindergarten, though my memory may be hazy because of Satanic programming rituals. DUSO stands for "Developing an Understanding of Self and Others", which I certainly never knew until just now and even as a child, always assumed it was some sort of dum grown-up pun. I think I like my definition better.


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Realm Works - Streamlined RPG Campaign Tools Kickstarter


So, have you heard about this "Kickstarter" stuff? I think they used to call it "crowdsourcing" before this enterprising group of souls put together this Kickstarter site and took the ball and not just ran with it, but got in a high-performance car and drove across the continent and jumped the ocean with it. 

Anyway, my point is not them, but the things that can be done with Kickstarter, like this, Realm Works - Streamlined RPG Campaign Tools, a new "virtual tabletop" application, for tabletop role-playing games, allowing for sharing of maps, chat, dice rolls and various other things, but I have to say this project seems to really raise the bar on the features it offers. I'll be amazed if they can really provide the things their intro video shows. A GM can make or upload maps, sure, but also link to sub-node type of content on those maps, and have documents and other maps all associated with these, information blurbs that the GM can simply highlight or check to make known to the players, rather than typing things out at the given time - assuming you're not a lazy GM, of course. If you're just a horrible GM like I am, you might as well mail your players a half-eaten tuna sandwich with your bitemarks forming an image of a clue they uncovered, for all the pleasantness and speed you'll deliever, with any application.

BUT, for those that DO drag themselves out of bed before 5 PM and put some forethought into their role playing game adventures for their players, Realm Works seems to be able to offer a plethora of tools that could multiply any GM's productivity and efficiency. Check out the Kickstarter page for it - they've got 18 days to go at the time of this post, and are halfway to their projected goal to make Realm Works a reality. I'll be interested to see what happens.





Friday, February 1, 2013

BlessedMachine's CROSS at Garycon Mar 14-17 2013

Hey, all you tabletop role playing gamers, you know what GaryCon in Lake Geneva is, right?

Well it's happening again March 14th-17th, 2013, and among the awesomeness will be the debut of a completely new campaign setting and/or supplement for HERO called CROSS, the clandestine spy agency known as the Catholic Response Organization to Strategize and Strike, an organization that secretly fights evil for the good of Christianity using cutting-edge technology coupled with powerful prayers honed over two-thousand years of history.  

CROSS is published by Pete Ruttman's BlessedMachine.
 
If you haven't checked it out yet, I recommend you head on over to BlessedMachine and get the scoop on this new take and see what's in store for players at GaryCon. Pete's put a lot of creative work, thought and time into getting this into shape, and is really hoping to see some smiling faces there. He's a good guy and always welcomes feedback, so stop by, chat him up and get yourself a seat at CROSS and become part of BlessedMachine, if only for a few sessions (so far)!




Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Top 36 DeviantArt Search Images for "Wrestling"


Well, I was uploading something to Deviant Art, and being a wrestling fan, I thought I'd look and see if there were any interesting wrestling-related images up. Now I make wrestling images too, so I've seen a few odd ones over the years, but had never just sat down and typed "wrestling" and looked at what the DeviantArt search brought back. Hoo boy.

Although it will disappoint some, I'm omitting the multitudinous lascivious photos, black and white sketches, lineart, CGI art and other images depicting women "wrestling" in the same way OJ Simpson looked for the real killers. I'm not positive, but I'm fairly sure there is no such thing as the "High Heels Wrestling Federation", nor the "Global Oil and Mud Alliance". Likewise, I am omitting most fan art of real wrestlers, as most are passable or at least nothing stands out as incredibly postable, except a few that are actually quite good, and I'll include one or two. Lastly, I'm leaving out the images that go one step beyond the "sexy wrestling" and into brain-bleach territory, with furry cow wrestling in a lactation match and things like that - I just... I'm going to attempt to keep this article somewhat family, or at least human, friendly.