vaecrius: A stylized navy blue anarchy sign juxtaposed with a pixellated chaos symbol made to resemble a snowflake. (anarchy and chaos)
I take back certain things I may have said about Ground Branch a while back. actually coming along quite nicely given what is trying to be done.

On panopticons and when terrorists win.

Here, have some more imaginary evil.

...


Dumped by phone call. Asked if I still wanted to go visit her friend with her as we originally planned. Struck me as less than ideally unawkward.

Over the year I'd thought of her as a lifeline, or more aptly a possible final straw that would tip the balance.

Timed something wrong and was not listening to loud music through earbuds while Joel Osteen was on in the other room. He spoke of Zacchaeus, and I was reminded, and became at peace.

Then I called.

She wasn't angry at me. There wasn't hate in her voice. I could have kissed her for that alone, but obviously this was not the time for various reasons.

There was an Interruption, and now I'm posting this pending her return call if she makes it. If not, then some other day.


And now I wonder whether this would get me working on NML again by the end of tonight.
vaecrius: Duke2 Rigelatin overlord: "We'd kill you, you see, but our religion prevents the interruption of suffering." (rigelatin)
Zombie spider
Looks like a little slippery brown recluse with a vaguely pentacle-like mark on its back. About the size of a penny legs stretched out. Millennia of selective pressure allows it to rapidly mutate over a single generation to adapt against divine magic.

Bite causes necrosis that gradually spreads throughout the entire body, eventually killing the victim. Three days later the body arises as undead with rudimentary animal behaviours, but generally driven to find sources of other zombie spiders so the original biter can mate. The spiders feed on the decaying flesh and lay eggs in same, often going through many generations before the victim - now host - has decayed beyond the point of motility.

Are naturally curious and instinctively run up anything that strikes their host violently. Best way to identify an infection is to shoot the zombie - won't slow it down any, but you can see the spiders pour into the hole.

Are commensal with zombie fungus. Occasionally develop symbiotic relationships where silk and mycelium combine to form an extremely durable mesh protecting the host tissues from unwanted wear and tear.

Sometimes this allows the fungus to tap into the bones for further nutrition. While this does weaken the overall structure, the soft rubbery consistency of the new skeleton occasionally allows for a surprising increase in the host's agility, letting it move and hide in areas the living host type could not be expected to do.
vaecrius: A little yellow ant in the grass on a sunny day. (yellow ant)
Post a line (or two) from as many of your WIPs as you want, with no explanation attached.
  • On the one hand, I really don't want to do the thing with the two combatants standing around taking turns poking each other until one of them arbitrarily falls down ten minutes later.

    On the other, I want a reasonably forgiving game and not another Hideous Destructor.

  • If there isn't any obvious reason why someone would suffer any incidental injury because of a winning outcome, no one suffers damage.

  • horror - causes you to spend the next 200 turns either moving in random directions, attacking yourself, attacking the nearest potential target, dropping an item, or vomiting. the whole time you are screaming incoherently alerting all nearby monsters to your location. disturbing, evil things appear in the message bar. when the effect is over, you are no longer able to identify the scroll of horror.

    lamentation - for the next 500 turns, all items will appear as cursed, no matter their true status; weapons get no accuracy bonuses; all food tastes "horrible" and is randomly vomited; all enemy assessments are at their most pessimistic.

    kingly lineage/forbidden secrets/death/changes - does nothing.
Please send letters of blame and other faulting to [personal profile] lienne for this.
vaecrius: A little yellow ant in the grass on a sunny day. (yellow ant)
Two quest ideas for a Fallout-style CRPG.

When you enter one town, you might learn from a random townsfolk dialogue that they get their water from the nearby stream. There is a quest where the local eccentric is accused of something awful (no one died or anything, but it really was very Not Nice and We Just Don't Do That Around Here) and, guilty or innocent, you are to try to reconcile them with the rest of the town.

Upstream there is an older town that's full of crumbling buildings and a few morose people. The town is dying: it used to be this busy riverside trading post with great cuisine and nightlife, but the land accreted over the port a long time ago, the logging industry that replaced it died when the soil eroded and the forest was gone, and now the one thing that seems capable of saving the town, a newly discovered gold vein deep underground, has been taken over by monsters.

Once you beat the game, you get the following in the town epilogues:

Possible outcomes under cut. )
vaecrius: A little yellow ant in the grass on a sunny day. (yellow ant)
Pick one of my characters and then provide two people for him or her to consider as potential love interests/hook-ups/what have you. I'll provide you with the character's choice and the IC reasons behind it.
from [personal profile] zafflesia who needs to complete her transition STAT.
vaecrius: A little yellow ant in the grass on a sunny day. (yellow ant)
I've been thinking about that blog post about "Millennial" perspectives on American intervention. Drezner's premise: given a childhood of unquestioned national dominance and economic prosperity, followed by 9/11 and the Bush doctrine immediately followed by the worst economic downturn in modern history since the Great Depression, it seems natural to assume cause and effect as a matter of pattern recognition, and for people to hold an extremely isolationist view. He asked for responses to confirm or deny, and the general (albeit self-selected) response has been deny. I think I see why this is.

His analysis overlooks a few points:
- What we know of the Taliban involves really fucking evil shit. It would take a heart of stone and ash to believe what is reported about what goes on there and not at least WANT to do something.
- It wasn't merely THAT the Bush Administration got involved in all these foreign conflicts, it's also WITH WHOM and HOW - they picked a wrong target (Iraq), tortured people, and flouted the rule of law and demolished the United States' credibility when it needed it most.
- The economic downturn wasn't due merely to intervention, but the flagrantly irresponsible fiscal policies of the Republican Party and a banking disaster that had its roots in policies that were formulated even before the 1990s prosperity.

But those are just facts. I'm more convinced that the narratives we've grown up with are a bigger factor in predicting a less isolationist mood.

What do the Lord of the Rings, the Matrix, Marilyn Manson and Brave New World have on common? The books, the movies and the artist's message all run along a particular theme: beneath the happy, comfortable, little world we live in is the real world, a greater world where the real conflicts happen and greatness and horror can be found, and to face that world, break out of our comfortable coccoon and become part of that greater world (whether or not we sever our ties to the old one) is crucial for the protagonist to grow as a person. For those of us who were born on the earlier end of the span that gets the Gen Y label, that seemingly unprecedented international terrorist attack on American soil coincided with the time that we came of age and lost the excuses we had for our ignorance when we were children. For those born later, it may be at a less immediately poignant stage in one's life, but on the other hand it would become - perhaps like Tiananmen Square in my own case - one of the events in one's childhood when one first begins to become aware of the evils outside of hearth and home.

Which brings us to the second narrative I'm thinking about. Between the environmental movement, feminism and civil rights, and the huge profits that our mass media enjoys from promoting expressly counter-cultural symbolism, a good number of us have long internalized the idea that those who came before us got things horribly wrong and the next generation has to fix things. Apply that thinking to all the post-apocalypse stories we get and the nearly obscene sense of prosperity and entitlement we feel from the previous generation (availability of employment and homeownership are the most obvious examples), and the pollution associated with luxuries of the past, and the message is clear as day: We have inherited the ruins of what our forefathers squandered in their ignorance, and for better or worse our generation is the one tasked to rebuild the world.

If anything, I'm shocked that anyone of my generation who has ever read a book of their own volition is a conservative, even in the good sense.
vaecrius: A stylized navy blue anarchy sign juxtaposed with a pixellated chaos symbol made to resemble a snowflake. (anarchy and chaos)
It's about how to get right, shit that no one who hasn't studied the matter gets right.


The first example I think of as an illusion caused by what we're conditioned to assume is the question and failing to see what the real question is - I never even thought to consider the distribution of the two patterns, let alone that distribution as a thing independent of the probability of that pattern appearing at any given point.

I'm still wondering what the implications are for RPG design, in particular systems with Storyteller-like dice pools. Does this mean that super-crits or super-botches are on average more likely to happen early in a session than long periods of mediocre rolls? Is it enough to make a difference? Is there any way to game a combat (if it involves many rolls) so that your side acts during a clump of good rolls?

The third example bugged me for a moment, when it seemed that you could almost take that logic of ~she had one crib death, so we can infer her chances of another are much higher than the general population~ and extend it to ~she shoplifted once, so we can infer her chances of shoplifting are much higher than a first-time accused~ or ~a member of this ethnic group has threatened a particular sort of terrorism, so we can infer the chances of this member of the same ethnic group threatening such terrorism to be much higher than members of ethnic groups who have done no such thing~.

Then I came back to my senses when I remembered we are artificially forbidden to make that inference, however technically plausible, for some very good reasons of preserving the presumption of innocence and the standard of reasonable doubt - the way you would never point a five-shot revolver at your friend even after you just had it go bang-bang-bang-bang-bang-CLICK downrange and not opened the cylinder since.

As for the racial profiling, I don't think the second and third examples taken together support anything worse than the common-sense notion that you shouldn't bother checking the people who have no commonalities or potential ties whatsoever with the people making the terrorist threats. If anything, with an accuracy rate of well under 99% racial profiling isn't even a viable option except as one tiny part of what I imagine to be a Venn diagram-fest of looking for overlapping points between the subject's circles and the terrorist's.


In other news, am I the only one who finds this whole thing with the babies in an big egg house with a little square window on it bizarrely cute?
vaecrius: The blocky spiral motif based on the golden ratio that I use for various ID icons, ending with a red centre. (Default)
Each day, post ideally three, but at least one of the following:
  1. One thing that made you happy.
  2. One thing that angered or worried you.
  3. One thing that made you question or reconsider something you've assumed.

Day Seven:
  1. One of the things I've always beaten myself up about and thought myself utterly worthless as a human being for? Turns out someone I've admired and thought was this really with-it competent sort... has had this thing all along and never considered it to be a problem.
  2. arrgh fuckin' headache
  3. http://www.buzzfeed.com/awesomer/walking-in-on-your-cat-cci/ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fiTEHqAeanw http://www.helium.com/items/558037-semantic-noise-and-interpersonal-communications


In other news, game is cancelled until further notice. Really gotta go back to the drawing board on this one... I'm having the same got-too-much-shit creative calcification that's happened to HoTD and HT. I need to rethink how I GM and plan sessions...
vaecrius: The blocky spiral motif based on the golden ratio that I use for various ID icons, ending with a red centre. (Default)
Each day, post ideally three, but at least one of the following:
  1. One thing that made you happy.
  2. One thing that angered or worried you.
  3. One thing that made you question or reconsider something you've assumed.

Day Six:
  1. The entire September 2009 edition of National Geographic, but for link's sake I'll make particular note of the cover story wrt the Mannahatta Project.
  2. The noises my neighbours make set my teeth on edge. No rational justification, not at all worth a complaint and easily drowned out with just about any music I would proactively listen to, just... argh.
  3. Not to put too fine a point on it, but SWORD CANE WARHAMMER 8D (also sweet jesus fuck some of these things have a lot of barrels)
vaecrius: The blocky spiral motif based on the golden ratio that I use for various ID icons, ending with a red centre. (Default)
Each day, post ideally three, but at least one of the following:
  1. One thing that made you happy.
  2. One thing that angered or worried you.
  3. One thing that made you question or reconsider something you've assumed.

Day Three:
  1. So I finally got some shit done for the game. Session update pending. Game on Sunday at 2.
  2. After all this time I still use friggin' Wikipedia for contract law.

    ...and now I just completely forgot a basic little thing that I should have done first thing in the morning that I confirmed last night with the person and wrote down, just because I'm stuck in this rut for the past two weeks of coming into the office and accomplishing nothing and oh god she thinks I'm useless fuck I am useless fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

    EDIT: Well, at least it's snapped me out of said rut. ::gets shit done, calms down::
  3. Well, I've long figure we're pretty lame and hypocritical about this shit, but to have that confirmed internationally... (disclosure: I have not read the decision and it may be not patently unreasonable yet!)


2010.11.07 EDIT: Removing the lock. If she finds this it's hardly a secret.
vaecrius: The blocky spiral motif based on the golden ratio that I use for various ID icons, ending with a red centre. (Default)
WAT.


In other news, a bit of back-and-forth.

And in yet further alternova... it looks like Sunday may be undoable for me wrt the game. How does Saturday at 2 look?
vaecrius: The blocky spiral motif based on the golden ratio that I use for various ID icons, ending with a red centre. (Default)
[16:08] [livejournal.com profile] helarxe: Fortune cookie: "You will live a long, long time"
[16:08] [livejournal.com profile] helarxe: in bed :'(

So, um, yeah, that was the constructive highlight of session 8.5.

I'm going to be spending the rest of the week devising a system completely unrelated to combat to help me run the damn game even without several hours of prep just before the session.
vaecrius: The blocky spiral motif based on the golden ratio that I use for various ID icons, ending with a red centre. (Default)
So I'm hoping Saturday would be possible for most of you. (if not outright better than Sunday - that's starting to seem to be my case. @_@)
vaecrius: The blocky spiral motif based on the golden ratio that I use for various ID icons, ending with a red centre. (Default)
Anyway, I think we should have around a 3-4 day downtime IC while the characters wander about town doing their stuff. If people are amenable to this I'll post a summary of what's available in due course.
vaecrius: The blocky spiral motif based on the golden ratio that I use for various ID icons, ending with a red centre. (Default)
Game on Sunday.

Not as usual: /r/ feedback wrt combat shit.

I know this

if life is illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. I live, I burn with life, I love, I slay, and am content.

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