innocent_man: (funtime)
See, here's the problem. Facebook allows me to post things as I'm thinking of them. As such, where once an idea would have bounced around in my head, picking up speed and refining itself before getting posted to LJ, now I just basically say it (or tweet it), and that's that. But occasionally I feel like I should use this blog. Although I don't know, it's more out of habit than anything. I don't know if anyone's really still reading (which makes me really sad, because I miss the discussions we used to have here, "y'all"). I use it for a dumping ground for my movie reviews, my game write-ups (and even then, those get posted to RPG.Net, too) and, once in a blue fucking moon, character creation.

I had planned on doing two characters a week; the last one I did was here, and that was almost three months ago. Now, since then, I've developed a book and written stories and run games and done lots of other stuff, but making a character requires energy and it requires me to have read a damn book.

That said, I know what RPGs I need to read. I need to read Marvel Heroic Roleplaying because I'm running it next week, and I need to have characters statted up and an Event planned before that. I need to read Monsterhearts because Morgan asked me to run Werewolf when I come to Atlanta next month, but what she really wants to do is emulate the Teen Wolf TV show, and that's not Werewolf, that's Monsterhearts. And I need to read Nobilis 3rd because reasons. :)

Really, though, one reason I haven't logged on is that I haven't actually run one of my regular games in a while. Promethean is on hiatus (hence the Marvel game), Spirit of the Century likewise until Sarah can rejoin us. I'm running Geist on Saturday, so I need to take notes for that, but not tonight. Dresden got cancelled for this month, but we're playing on the 3rd, and Changeling is over but we're playing curse the darkness as a bit of a palate cleanser, and deciding what to play next, on the 4th.

OK, then. Oh, and Tragedy. I need to do a write-up of the awesome game we played last week. Maybe tomorrow night I'll get the table cleaned off and spend some time writing. But, for those of you following the Kickstarter: We're at $4275, very respectable. I still think we could make $5000 before the end (10 days!). Also put this video up today:

Oh, and, more characters every day over at the company site. Which reminds me: I'm behind, so better go do that.
innocent_man: (duh)
The "duh" bee isn't there because I'm really thinking "duh," just because it's a bee.

OK! I got one of the scenarios for curse the darkness backers done, two more to go, but only one I can actually write right now because I'm waiting on some info from the other one.

I need to get ghost rules for curse the darkness done by Con on the Cob, because I want to use them there.

I need to get these short stories done for the God-Machine Chronicles fiction anthology. Michelle's editing, really I just need to tweak a few last things and decide on an order.

Speaking of anthologies, supposedly the deadline for the curse the darkness anthology is tomorrow. I've only received, like, four stories. I'm expecting a couple more, but I don't know if I'll wind up with enough. I'll have to figure out what to do about that - maybe I'll flip the order of release (and do the Companion first) or maybe I'll just buy the stories (if they're, y'know, good) and put them on the site for now.

And I really want to make a fucking character today. I'd like to commit to one a week, so I'm getting 50 or so done a year. I have time before the Changeling game, I think.

Oh, and Michelle and I are putting together the Kickstarter for our second game, A Tragedy in Five Acts. More on that soon.

For now, let's do the write-up from yesterday's Dresden game and then notes for Changeling and Promethean, and them maybe make a character!

Dresden! )

OK, so now I need some notes for Snowblind. )

And finally, Promethean. )
innocent_man: (labrodors)

I am recently returned from GenCon Indy, so again, I pop my memory card into the computer, upload some photos, and share my experiences to all and sundry! Read more... )

innocent_man: (woola)
So, I'm at GenCon. I had really meant to do this game write-up Tuesday, and then I got really ill Monday night and spent most of Tuesday laminating sheets for the curse the darkness Kits and generally going "oog." I couldn't muster up enough brain to type.

We're in the JW Marriott, which is quite a nice hotel. Except they don't have free in-room wifi (seriously, guys? In 2012? Should be standard. Just fold it into room cost!), so I'm downstairs with Michelle as she works on her panels and I do this. Yay!

Next Monday I go back to work. Doing all of the work at the end of last school year and over the summer on gaming stuff has really, really made me miss being a game designer fulltime. I have enough ideas to do it, I have stuff in my head that I think would sell, but it doesn't pay nearly enough, especially when you factor in little things like health insurance. Maybe in a few years Michelle will get a tenure job and I'll take early retirement, open a private practice just to keep my hand in speech therapy, and do games full time.

Or maybe I'll go back to school next week and get really enthused about it again. Out of sight, out of brain, after all.

Anywhichway, Mars. )
innocent_man: (Default)
So, look what I found from five fricking years ago on RPG.Net:

(I am really goddamn tired right now, so if this doesn't make any sense, blame the fatigue and end-of-semester boozing earlier.)

BlackHat_Matt's World of Darkness:

There are supernatural beings in the world, and everybody knows it. Well, everybody at the top end of the world (where highly educated mages, ancient vampires, and the richest, brightest and "best" of the world hobnob) and the bottom end (in the slums, ghettos, and rural areas where no one's going to hear you until it's too late and lycanthropes, feral vampires and street mages try to hash out a living).

The folks in the middle? The folks who live in the burbs and pay their taxes and all? They know about the supernatural in the same way that, in the real world, they know about hunger or disease or poverty. Pretty abstractly and thus not a real pressing concern on their time (until it happens to them somehow).

The game focuses on the street-level stuff. The World of Darkness is painted in blues, grays and dark purples. Organizations of supernatural creatures are more like gangs, secret societies or crime families than global networks, and if they're bigger than state-wide, that's scary and rare.

The supernatural is the truth no one wants to admit. Everyone knows it, but mostly you just try to get by and keep your head down. The numbers are low; there aren't that many vampires or werewolves (the ones who really prey on people - oh, yes, werewolves fucking eat flesh), and they aren't dumb enough to make targets of themselves. But some folks can't help but see the supernatural. Cops have to respond to calls about blood-drained corpses. MEs and forensic pathologists have to worry that the body they're working on might rise up...hungry. Bartenders in this World of Darkness are knowledgeable and paranoid. Alcoholism and suicide rates are higher among these professions.

The World of Darkness is part film noir, part splatterpunk, part psychological thriller and part humanist manifesto. Here's the take-home message: You take hope where you can find it. There is no one coming to save you, and those wolves at the door aren't fucking metaphorical. You might be a vampire, a mage, a cop, or just someone trying to get by in a world like this, but at the end of the day (night), the question is: What are you going to do?

Light a candle, or curse the darkness?

Gee, think this has been in my brain for a while?

By the way, there's an update on the book situation over here. It's not good news.

I would, however, like to make a character.

The Game: Cortex
The Publisher: Margaret Weis Producations
Degree of Familiarity: Some. I've played Serenity and run Leverage, both of which work on this engine.
Books Required: Just the one.

So, the Cortex book is basically the game system, presented so you can use it as a generic system a la GURPS or d20. In the back, we've got several sample settings, which is good because it's hard to make a character with no setting, yeah? So which one?

Hrm. I'm not terribly fond of any of them, really. One is Star of the Guardians, which is more-than-vaugely Star Wars-ish, with hints of Dune. It's the one that interests me most, but there are no campaign seeds or suggestions, and there's so much backstory (told very quickly) that I can't help wondering if the setting would be interesting if I haven't read the novels (which I haven't).

Oh, what the hell. I haven't made a sci-fi character in a while. Let's do this.

The setting write-up talks about the ruling class, folks called the Blood Royals who were genetically engineered to be leaders and psionics. They have access to these kickass things called Bloodswords, weapons that work by stabbing you in the hand with needles and then becoming Lightsabers. I like that, and it's tempting to play a Blood Royal, but it's also tempting to play the Han Solo type who has no time for that kind of magic.

Ah, hell, I so rarely play the Chosen One. I'll make a younger character, then, someone who was looking forward to a life of leisure before the destruction of the old republic (like I said, you can see some Star Wars in here). That'll put me as a novice character, I think.

My Concept is "embittered princeling." He was only five when the monarchy was overthrown, and he's been in hiding in various places ever since (it's been 18 years since the overthrow of the monarchy; I think that's "current day." Honestly the summary makes my eyes glaze over).

Attributes. I get 42 points, and each die type costs its value (so a d10 costs 10). Hang on.

Agility d10
Strength d6
Vitality d8
Alertness d6
Intelligence d6
Willpower d6

Derived Attributes. Fuck you, these go at the end.

Traits. These are Assets and Complications. I start with no free Assets; I have to take Complications to get any. So hang on, let's look at the list.

I want Combat Paralysis (d4). Makes sense for a dude who's lived a mostly-sheltered life. Same reason, I'll take Low Pain Threshold (d6). Ooh, On the Run makes sense. I'll take d12; something about him threatens the status quo to an alarming degree (again, this would require digging into the setting a bit more). Finally, I take Rotten Luck (d8). Twice per session, the GM can make me reroll a successful roll. That sucks, but with a good GM it'd be fun.

Right, that's my 30 points (I can't take more than that). Now, Assets! I take Blood Royal (d8), which lets me use a Bloodsword and psionics and stuff. I should look up psionics, then.

OK, so the system is pretty loose. I'll take Telekinesis (d10), and say that he would have more psi, except he hasn't really had the training he needs.

Ah, hell, go big or go home. I'll take Destiny (d12), which eats the rest of my points. Once per session I can be saved from a roll that would kill me. My Destiny might be to bring back the nobles or some shit. Or, like, bring balance to the Force. Oh, wait, wrong IP.

Anyway, Skills. I get 62 points. This works like Serenity; I can take a General Skill up to d6, but if I want it better than I have to specialize. I'm hip.

First thing's first: Bloodsword. I buy Melee Weapons up to d6, and then Bloodsword to d10. Costs me 10 total.

Athletics d6, sure. Pilot d4. Ranged Weapons d4. Guns d4. Lot of broad, light combat training, but little experience. I have 34 left. I'll take Tech d6, Knowledge d6 (Blood Royal d8), Covert d6, Influence d6 (Intimidate d8). Six points left. I'll spend 2 into a Stealth specialty and put the other d4 into Discipline.

Technically Gear is next, but fuck that. I'm already bored. How about Derived Attributes?

I get 14 Life Points (Vitality + Willpower), 16 Initiative (Agility + Alertness), 14 Endurance (same as Life Points), and 16 Resistance (Vitality x2).

Nothing left but a name. Characters in this universe evidently have American-sounding names. Let's say this guy's name is Bryn Garlon, just because it sounds more Star Wars-y to me.

innocent_man: (Default)
So, exciting news! The pdfs of curse the darkness went out to people yesterday. And I've already gotten an email telling me about a mistake! I'm a real game publisher! :)

(The mistake is pretty minor, really, and we'll correct it at some point, but it doesn't affect gameplay, it's just an inconsistency in the setting timeline. If I were following the 90s White Wolf "never admit a mistake" philosophy, I'd say something about narrator bias, but the truth is I just typed "three" when I meant "five" and no one caught it.)

Anyway, the game will go on sale for download from Drive-Thru RPG on August 1st. I want to give the Kickstarter backers a little time to obtain and read (and maybe even play, gasp!) the game before it goes live for purchase. Plus I need to give Nicole some time to get our website going.

The print books...well, it's in the works. There are things going on with the pdfs that are art or layout related and therefore I don't understand them, but the people who do understand them (Michelle and Gareth and Matt) inform me that things are progressing. Hopefully, hopefully, we'll get the books by GenCon. If we get the books before GenCon, we will have books and Kits at GenCon if I have to pull all-nighters to get them assembled.

What else am I working on? Well, let's see.

  • Left-Hand Path for Mage. I need to be done with development by 8/1. It's, what, 7/19 now? That shouldn't be a big issue. What's the weekend look like? Er, kinda choppy. Well, certainly I can get at least some of it done, and then probably finish it next week. A little extra time for Michelle to edit would be welcome, I'm sure.
  • That Fiction Thing. I have a bunch of stories to read, and a bunch more stories to read, and some more stories coming tomorrow to read. These I can do over the weekend because they're only 4000 words a pop, and that's quick reading. So let's commit to one a day, and try to do two.
  • Ghost rules for curse the darkness. I'm looking forward to it, but I never think about it when I'm at a computer. I think I can get them done by GenCon.
  • Custom scenarios for curse the darkness backers. These will take me all of an hour to do. I'd like to get them done and laid out in something resembled the book's format, but doing that before GenCon might be a stretch. I think I may have to just do it in Word and cook it down to a pdf, but that shouldn't be a big problem. I told them I'd try and get them done by GenCon, but that it might slip past that.
  • Project with Sean Fannon. Skype meeting today, deadline is in early September, I think I'm gonna have to let the real work slip to after GenCon.
  • Story for We Are Dust. Almost done. I've been saying "I'll do it today" all week and then other stuff keeps cropping up. Definitely done by Monday.
  • curse the darkness playset for Our Last Best Hope. Got the template, but I don't there's any way I'm getting it done before GenCon.
  • Oh, and I'm also a GM! I have to take notes for Deadlands tonight, Geist Saturday, Mermaid Adventures Sunday, nothing Monday because that's Michelle's GM night, but then I should take notes for Dresden next week at some point.

OK, so that's enough. For today, let's do this:

  • Light housecleaning.
  • Game notes for the weekend.
  • Make a damn character.
  • Movie write-up.
  • Game write-up.
  • Read 2 fiction pieces.
  • Start development pass.
  • Skype meeting.

Jesus. Best get to it.

Game write-up - Armies of Mars! )

Oh, right, dinner that night:

Carrots, pork chops, crab paste, white rice.

It would be a completely straightforward basket, except crab paste. And holy shit, that stuff is like the Platonic ideal of "crab" in a goddamn tube.

So, I was pressed for time. Candied the carrots with brown sugar and milk and some salt, sauteed the pork chops with some smoked salt, cooked the rice in chicken stock in my rice cooker, and made a salad from carrot tops, tomato and cucumbers with a crab paste vinegarette dressing. There!
innocent_man: (cookbook)
Actually, it's been a pretty productive day and it's only 10AM. I've added the character examples from the backers to the curse the darkness drafts (those that have answered the question - looking at you [personal profile] digitalraven), I've uploaded the picture from foodstuff yesterday, and here you go:

Lamb kidneys, asparagus, dried chiles, wild rice, red onion.

Never made kidney before. Hmm.

Rice/chiles: Cooked in veggie broth, then added the chiles (chopped, seeds removed). Result: Lovely. Nice earthy rice with a touch of heat from the chiles, but they weren't hot enough to make it hurt.

Asparagus: Roasted in the oven with garlic and olive oil. Simple. Result: Yummy, but I make asparagus like this all the time.

Kidneys/onion: Soaked the kidneys in milk. Chopped the onion and sauteed them in a pan with olive oil. Coated the kidneys in bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese, which didn't stick, but mixed with the juices and made a nice gravy-like sauce. Result: I really liked them, actually. I'm totally gonna have to try to make steak and kidney pie. Offal is cheap, too, so I might experiment with other kinds. Sadly, Michelle and I might be the only ones who eat it.

And then the Dresden game. )


Jun. 7th, 2012 10:43 am
innocent_man: (snorkel)
Last day of school was yesterday! Today is the first day of summer vacation! Yee!

So of course I have a million things to do.

  • Make a damn character. I'm totally doing this today.
  • Do write-up from Monday's game.
  • Do write-up from last night's movie (which I didn't actually do last night because I was a bit drunk).
  • Go through text for curse the darkness and highlight character examples to put in backer's names.
  • List out graffiti elements.
  • Message graffiti backers.
  • Come up with a timeline for work this summer so I don't find myself writing ghost rules for curse the darkness the day I leave for GenCon.
  • Balance checkbook, weep quietly.
  • Finish interview for Geekcentricity.
  • Take stuff out of car.
  • Price out Kits. - as done as I can be. Waiting on some quotes.
  • Take kids swimming!

Holy shit, that's a lot to do. Let's roll!

innocent_man: (slimshady)
Last week was Origins, and so we all piled into Baby Blue (Michelle's weird, she names her cars) and trundled down to Columbus to do some gaming, some hanging out, some demos of curse the darkness.

Overall impressions: Attendance seemed light this year. I don't have numbers to back that, but based on what I was seeing and hearing, the move to early June may have been a mistake. Next year it's later in the month, so we'll see if that really made a difference, but I dunno.

Professionally, though, I think it was a good con for me. I made some connections, spent a lot of time hanging with Matt McElroy in the DriveThru RPG booth and with Jonathan Lavallee and Mark Truman and talking business, pleasure, my Kickstarter, Mark's Kickstarter, game design, and so on. That was awesome. Also introduced to the joys of bibimbap, which I'm totally making as soon as I get my hands on some bowls that can handle it.

Wednesday! )

Thursday! )

Friday! )

Saturday! )

Sunday! )
innocent_man: (eliotcooking)
Productive day yesterday. Let's two-peat!

(Jesus, did I really just say that? Coffee, I think, is the answer.)

  • Finish cleaning kids' rooms.
  • Do write-up from last night's Geist game, and if I get really ambitious, last week's curse the darkness game.
  • Finish mowing the lawn.
  • Work on Hunters Hunted 2 redlines. (Not done, but worked on 'em.)
  • Shoot video for curse the darkness.
  • Assemble stuff for Origins' games.
  • Play some L.A. Noire.
  • Make a character.
  • Figure out stats/mechanics for mementos for Geist characters, which I forgot to do after the last game.
  • Watch Dead Man with Michelle.

That was yesterday. Didn't get to watch the movie because Cael wouldn't go to bed and Michelle had to read the system for today's chargen session (Game of Thrones), but that's fine, maybe we do it tomorrow. Today:

  • Make spiced peach jelly.
  • Finish handout for curse the darkness demos for Michelle & Sarah.
  • Go over finances for Origins, crying optional.
  • Go to grocery store.
  • Work more on redlines (gotta be done by Wednesday, 'cause my deadline is Friday and I ain't working over Origins!).
  • Assemble stuff for Origins.
  • Finish video for curse the darkness.

So that's where we are.

Peach jelly: I bought a bunch of peaches at the market the other day, so they're nice and ripe now. I peeled 'em (god, that's a chore), pureed 'em, and boiled 'em with pectin, cinnamon, crystallized ginger and a spice bag with some mulling spices, and then added a shitload of sugar. The jelly is currently cooling; I'm excited to see how it tastes.
innocent_man: (centimani)
I'm so productive today, you'd think I had a hundred hands!

Seriously. I woke up at 7AM. I have no idea why. I didn't want to go back to sleep, so I went upstairs and moved my son's bed back into his room (he's been sleeping in Teagan's room while we painted in his, and then we got busy/lazy and hadn't moved his bed back). I came back downstairs, did dishes, cleaned the kitchen, cleared stuff off the table, fed the dogs, and then Michelle woke up and I made breakfast.

Other things I need to (or would like to) do today:

  • Finish cleaning kids' rooms.
  • Do write-up from last night's Geist game, and if I get really ambitious, last week's curse the darkness game.
  • Finish mowing the lawn.
  • Work on Hunters Hunted 2 redlines.
  • Shoot video for curse the darkness.
  • Assemble stuff for Origins' games.
  • Play some L.A. Noire.
  • Make a character.
  • Figure out stats/mechanics for mementos for Geist characters, which I forgot to do after the last game.
  • Watch Dead Man with Michelle.

Shit, that's a lot to do, yeah? Better get started!

Just so we're not totally devoid of content here, my puppy has a pet. There are little brown hop-toads living under my porch steps, and Si found one yesterday, sniffed it, and then bowed like he wanted to play. Now when he goes outside, he scampers over and sniffs where he last saw the toad.
innocent_man: (ptc)
So, what's new?

Well! Michelle has finished her MA. Now begins the long slow to getting herself a PhD (though you could argue that actually started when she started Case). But mostly I think she's just thrilled to be done with classwork for a short while.

The Kickstarter continues to kick ass. We've got the rest of the artwork back, and it's amazing (a new piece should be going in an update on the Kickstarter sometime soon, I hope). We've still got a few weeks, so I figure we should be able to hit $10K and do the curse the darkness companion, but honestly even if we ended today, we've done pretty damned well for ourselves.

In unrelated news, I had a job interview last week for my local school district. I really hope I get the position, and it's causing me a little bit of angst. I love my job. I love my kids. This district is driving me crazy. My caseload is too big, the bureaucracy is too stupid, and Ohio doesn't give a shit about poor people so they don't give a shit about the people who teach poor people's kids (that'd be me). I can afford to keep making what I make, for a little while. I cannot afford a pay cut, and that's what the district wants. I can't do it. I need to get somewhere that I'm not expected to make less every year, and it's bothering me, because I feel like I'm quitting on my kids. But it's an untenable situation, and I have my family to consider.


Anyway, something else. Umm. Oh, right, poo. See, here's the thing. I run this Clay-o-Rama game every year (most years) at Origins and/or GenCon. Clay-o-Rama is awesome; you make a monster out of Play-Doh and the monsters fight. I occasionally get a guy playing at Origins who wants to make a big piece of poo for his monster. And he's, like 40+. And there are kids playing. He should know better, but he apparently doesn't.

I'm not willing to just sign his ticket and tell him to piss off. I could, apparently, under Origins rules, since a GM can kick anyone out of a game for any reason (which I fully support). But I work with people who are emotionally stunted or behaviorally challenged, and the other thing is, I've never talked to him about it (last time because it just caught me off guard). This year, I'll make the rules clear up front - no scatological humor. And if he can't handle that, I'll excuse him (and anyone else that can't play by the rules), but I can't just jump directly to "go away."

Shit, when did I become patient?

Anyway, Promethean. )
innocent_man: (Default)
We've hit our second stretch goal, which means that we're doing a fiction anthology. Here's the plan for that:

The anthology will include nine stories. Three of them will be set "pre-apocalypse," three "mid-apocalypse", three "post-apocalypse." In brief:

Pre-Apocalypse: The game takes place in the months before Jerusalem. The characters know that something strange is going on, but not what or why. Openers haven’t been discovered yet, nor has the Between, meaning that in fiction, these elements can appear but aren't commonplace or well understood (discovering them could be a thrust for a story). These stories might focus on investigating what is happening, perhaps by searching for people who disappeared in His initial attacks or by examining the wreckage. As the damage intensifies, characters can become involved with riots, food shortages, clashes between police and protesters and other dramatic situations.

In this setting, the Between is a lair. They are here, visible as characters enter, and They approach interlopers threateningly but do not attack. In fact, They look as though something is holding Them back.

Mid-Apocalypse: These stories, probably the most brutal option for curse the darkness, take place within the first 10 years after Jerusalem. Stories in mid-apocalypse games would involve coming to terms with the new reality of the world, learning about the Between and Them, and attempting to save and protect the people the characters care about. This is the part of the setting where absent-mindedly crossing oneself can get you killed.

In this setting, the Between is a beehive. They swarm everywhere, crawling over, under and around anyone who enters. Violence against visitors and travelers is common.

Post-apocalypse: The war might not be over, but He seems to have done what He wanted to. He doesn’t take as active an interest in the world anymore but still sends Them to kill people on occasion. Opportunistic looters and loyalists make up the opposition, but the resistance is global and working toward understanding what happened, why, and, more importantly, what options there are to fix the world.

In this setting, the Between is a ghost town. The topography is barren, flat and empty. They sometimes wander through the wastes, but travelers are just as likely to see other human travelers. They do not attack people without strong provocation (or orders from Him).

Obviously, you'll need a copy of curse the darkness for this to make sense. You can download the playtest packet here, and the game itself will be available in August (you could go pledge to the Kickstarter, if you haven't, which would get you a copy faster, since backers will get the pdf before it goes live on DTRPG). The playtest packet should be enough to get you started, and there are assorted fiction bits in this blog that should also help. And, of course, I'm available to answer questions.

If you want to submit a story, here's what you need to know:

  • Stories must be at least 2500 words and no longer than 4000 words.

  • Play Attention Games is paying 3 cents a word for these stories.

  • Stories must be received by Saturday, September 1st, 2012 (target date for publication is 12/1/12).

  • Stories must sent via email to playattentiongames AT gmail dotcom (except, you know, formatted properly). Please put "Anthology Submission - XXX-Apocalypse", where the "XXX" is either pre-, mid-, or post- depending on when your story is set in the subject line.

  • Stories may not reveal the identity of Him or define the nature of the Between, Them or any of the other mysterious elements of curse the darkness. You may feel free, though, to have characters speculate about these things.

  • You should hear from us within four weeks of receipt of the submission deadline.

  • Please feel free to share this link, the link to the Kickstarter, and any delicious cookies you may have.
innocent_man: (woola)
We played Spirit of the Century on Monday, and yes, I'm just now getting around to doing the write-up.

Turns out that I need 8 hours of sleep to be at peak functionality. Seven is OK, but less than that, especially for two nights in a row, and I get crashy and unfocused. Game nights tend to keep me up late (because even if I end the game on time, my brain is generally too stimulated to go right to bed), which means that two game nights in a row really cook me.

All of which just means I need to keep a better eye on that.

In other news: $7332 on the Kickstarter this morning. That's $168 until the fiction anthology, which doesn't seem at all insurmountable. If you push us over, I'll read your submission first. :)

So anyway. )
innocent_man: (temperence)
Maurice Sendak passed away today. If you don't know, Sendak was an author and illustrator who gave us such amazing books as Where the Wild Things Are and In the Night Kitchen. To say that his work was influential to children and the field of children's literature is a massive understatement, and a topic my mother (a professor of early childhood education) could probably talk about with more authority. I'm going to talk about what his work meant to me.

I'm a speech-language pathologist, and I work with students in kindergarten through 8th grade in an inner city elementary school. I work with an incredibly diverse population, and some of my kids are readers with articulation problems, but most of them either don't read or don't read at their grade level. Very few come from homes with a lot of stimulating printed materials around, and very few come to me having read Where the Wild Things Are. I consider that a tragedy and I use it with my students during the first week of school.

Some of it is education and therapeutic. Readers can practice with words that they know and a few they probably don't ("terrible," "gnashed"). Non-readers get to listen to the story, follow it along, and answer questions about Max and his private boat and his journey to the place where the wild things are. One of my favorite moments in my job was reading the story with a kindergartener who, when he saw the picture of Max chasing his hapless pet with a fork, exclaimed, "He's gonna eat the dog!"

I know the book by heart (it's only 250 words or so). I've recited it to my children, in long nights or plane rides or while waiting for tables at restaurants or while helping them go to sleep. And I've occasionally thought, if it all crumbles and I have to care for them in a world devoid of the structure and comfort that we enjoy, I'll still have that story, word for word.

I think a lot of people from my end of the geek spectrum think this way - in the event of the apocalypse, what would we do or have or know? Trying to figure out what we would do in a given situation is a normal part of experiencing fiction, and between zombies, nuclear war and (ahem) RPGs about ideologues wiping out the world with shadow-monsters, the notion of dystopia comes up a lot. It's not that we want it to happen, I think, we're just interested in seeing it, us included, maybe as the hero.

Max didn't want to live with the Wild Things. He just wanted the rumpus, and then he went home, to the night of his very own room.

In the larger context of curse the darkness and properties like it, I think that this desire to let off steam in aggressive ways might be part of the appeal. I know that every child I've read Where the Wild Things Are to, ever, has relished the part where they get to snarl at me ("roared their terrible roars"), snap at me ("gnashed their terrible teeth"), make faces ("rolled their terrible eyes") and swipe at the air ("showed their terrible claws").

Kids don't need everything tied up in a bow, and they can certainly handle a little surreal - even out and out weird - in their books. Mr. Sendak understood that. He understood that kids get scared but sometimes seeing the monsters makes the scary easier to tolerate. He understood that kids pay attention.

If you have kids, maybe hit a bookstore or library today and pick up a copy of one of Sendak's books? Or if, like me, you know Where the Wild Things Are by heart, maybe recite it to someone you love. And make the faces. That's fun.
innocent_man: (Default)
Maybe not in that order.

Oh, and someone wanna pledge $599 and put us up to $6K so I can get working on the ghosts expansion? C'mon, you've all got money to burn, right?

(More seriously, if you could put the link to the Kickstarter somewhere conspicuous, I'd love you forever.)

So, dinner last night!

Chicken breasts, potatoes, carrots, jarlsburg, tomato crackers.

Made a hash from the potatoes, including some salt, garlic salt, pepper, crumbled up crackers.

Pounded the breasts flat, rolled them up with some of the cheese and ground crackers, baked 'em. Yum.

Sauteed the carrots with salt and honey.

Very simple, very tasty.

Anyway, Promethean. )

OK, well, how about we do the Snowblind write-up while I'm thinking about it?

That's Changeling, remember. )

And then last night, Promethean. )
innocent_man: (eliotcooking)
Been meaning to do this all week. Haven't. Hang on.

OK. Last night we play our first session of Geist. I'd been meaning to pull out my copy of the book and the character sheets and take some notes, but I just hadn't had time, and then it was game time! Shit.

I had vague stirrings of inspiration from this song:

But only just. And then I grabbed my copy of Eureka!, and flipped it open, and there it was. My plot. Bang-ba-doo-bang.

Oh, before we get started: Our Kickstarter is, as of a couple of seconds ago, at $4739. We are $301 away from our funding goal, so I'm pretty sure we'll make that in the next 39 days, but wouldn't it be awesome to get to $6000 and have rules for ghosts in curse the darkness or to $7500 and have a fiction anthology, well, then pledge and help us boost the signal! (Some of you already have, and you're awesome.)

Oh, and!

Steak, ramps, beer, eggplant, rainbow carrots.

Salted/peppered the steaks, cooked 'em in the skillet, flipped 'em, added a gratin made of manchego, bread crumbs and garlic salt. Into oven to melt and finished.

Carrots: Sauteed to a light sear in the pan with some olive oil and salt.

Ramps: Used the bulbs to make the sauce, sauteed the greens.

Beer: Made a sauce with the ramp bulbs, beef stock, manchego, mozzarella, Parmesan.

Eggplant: Sliced thin and boiled, used as a kind of a base.

Verdict: Steak was awesome, sauce was awesome, carrots were awesome. Eggplant was kinda boring; should've grilled it but I didn't have a spare burner.

Ok, then, game. )

Players, don't read this next bit.

This bit. )
innocent_man: (Default)
That is, our Kickstarter. This thing. GO PLEDGE.

(Please. But even if you can't, spread the word, huh?)


Apr. 23rd, 2012 10:31 pm
innocent_man: (cookbook)
So, I haven't been especially careful about counting points lately. Kinda fell out of the habit, and then food tasted good, and then I was like, fuck it. But I weighed this morning and I'm actually down a few pounds, so I feel a renewed sense of purpose. No way am I making 200lbs by Origins, which was my original plan, but maybe I don't want to lose 20 more pounds anyway (Sarah looks kind of horrified when I suggest that). So I'll just keep counting points until Origins and see what happens. And maybe get to the gorram gym.

This week is testing week at my school, because standardized tests are, obviously, the Highest Good in the public school system (hear that sound? that's the sound of my eyes rolling back). Fortunately, I have younger students I can work with who aren't shackled to their goddamn desks.

The Kickstarter is one photograph away from going live. Sarah, Michelle and I made the video the other day (well, really, Sarah did the work and Michelle and I just offered suggestions or approval). I'm pretty darned jazzed, especially given the success of awesome projects like Mermaid Adventures and Farewell to Fear. But when it goes live, it'll get its own post (here and freaking everywhere, and I'll want you all to repost and Tweet and Chirp and Google and Doodle and Bookface and whatever the hell else kids are doing these days).

Last night we played our first session of Spirit of the Century: Armies of Mars! We got about halfway to where I wanted because my players have the attention spans of hummingbirds.

Dinner first:

Faroe Island salmon, couscous, raspberries, goat butter.

I seasoned the salmon with coriander, dried orange peel and salt and cooked it skin-side down to get all crispy and stuff. I made a brown butter with the goat butter and some garlic, and then cooked the couscous and mixed in the butter (which was really good). I sauteed some kale I had sitting around and then reduced the raspberries in some red wine for a sauce, which was intended for the kale but was tasty on everything.

And then, the game.

Hummmmm. )
innocent_man: (Default)
Well, I've been around. I've been working pretty steadily on curse the darkness, trying to get the Kickstarter ready to go live (there are several little things that need finished before we can do that, including the video). But then there's ongoing stuff, like my day job and the desire to see my wife and my kids and so on. Today I'm running Dresden, though, and so I need some prep because this is not a game I can just wing. So. Under the cut we go. )


innocent_man: (Default)

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