Sunday, April 13, 2008

I found this fun little site with those dumb little polls that everyone seems to enjoy filling out. Okay, I enjoy them, at least.

I have almost a 50:50 chance of surviving a zombie attack:


Given the above, it's probably not helpful that I'd make a good human shield:


Or that that it's a 50:50 chance I'd eat my friends once the food ran out:


However, I have a pretty good chance of beating up a kindergarten class (presumably if they aren't zombies):


I now have proof that I'm worth more to Alana dead than alive:

$4575.00The Cadaver Calculator - Find out how much your body is worth.

The degree to which I'm a geek shouldn't surprise anyone (except to say, "What, that low?"):

80% Geek

My spelling's not bad, either:

You can find the whole selection of quizzes and widgets here:

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Hello! Is there anybody in there?

Thud. Thud. Thud. Is this thing on?

As you can tell, I haven't died or been abducted by aliens or anything.

So, why haven't I blogged? Mostly from being extremely busy with writing and other stuff.

Right after I posted my last message (more than three months ago; yikes!), I received feedback on This Favored Land, the Wild Talents roleplaying supplement for the War Between the States. The good news was that they really, really liked the manuscript! A recent comment was "it will rock your face off", so I'm really psyched! It's been compared, rather positively, to Arc Dream's Godlike roleplaying game.

The bad news/good news was the feedback from the playtesters. It was all pretty positive, but it was in almost all cases a request for more information, both from Shane Ivey at Arc Dream and the playtesters. As a result, the manuscript exploded in size. From June through September I wrote 83,000 words. In the month of January I added almost 40,000 words to the manuscript! This is actually quite deceptive, because there was a major problem with the scenario in the original manuscript, so I had to almost completely rewrite it. Call it 45,000 words in a month and a bit. (The "bit" came when a playtest document showed up the day before I was going to send in the finished draft, resulting in another week or so of edits.)

So that was what I did every night in January, or so it seems. At about the same time, Logan started playing soccer and I was drafted as a coach. Well, alternate coach actually. I didn't have the time to do all the coaching activities. Their season ended last month. They didn't win a game, but they tied in three games. The age group ran from 7 to 9, and most of our players were only 7 years old. We also had a fair number of kids that only showed up for the games, not the practices. With a tiny bit of luck, we could have won two of the games we tied. It was fun, though, and I think the kids learned some stuff for the next season. I don't know if I'll be coaching again. Part of me wants to, though Logan probably won't play in the fall as it will run at the same time as football.

The biggest issue for us this year has been Alana's health. She's not been feeling well since December, or earlier, but since the start of the year she's just been feeling really bad. It has to do with her diabetes, and various drug interactions. We now at least know what is causing the problems. Unfortunately, she's now on a cocktail of prescriptions; she's up over 18 prescription meds a day now.

The weather has turned nice (we're in that one month zone in Louisiana when it's gorgeous), so we're getting out and walking more, which helps all of us. We just walked up to a nearby park, prowled around and walked back, something we need to do a lot more of. Logan and I have been playing more games of late. He's really taken by an old, simple Avalon Hill game called Naval War that, in spite of its name, is a slightly abstract card game. One of the reasons he likes it is because he can beat me at it rather handily (it's mostly just luck, though there is a slight strategic element). We played Memoir '44 this week, and he beat me! This is a "light" wargame in a system I really enjoy. It's a very easy system to learn, but it's not a simplistic game. I first played it with him a couple of years ago, when he needed help from Alana in choosing cards. This is the first time that we played with him making all the decisions. He still beat me! (Yes, I went a little easy on him. If I hadn't, I think he would have still won! I blame my dice rolls...)

Gaming wise, we're still playing roleplaying games once a month, though I think we've only played twice this year, and three times since September. Jimmy hasn't been able to make it down with Jason, so our roleplaying group is down to three. I'm running Walker In The Wastes for them. When that's over, in a year or so, I'll look at resurrecting Delta Green or playing a similar game, like Conspiracy X. I'm thinking of taking the Conspiracy X game (using Eden's Unisystem) and converting it to One Roll Engine (ORE, which is used in This Favored Land). Eden has been incredibly slow at releasing stuff for 2nd Edition Conspiracy X. First edition used a completely different rule set, so you have to do some converting of their sourcebooks into the Conspiracy X 2.0 rules. If I'm going to do that, I might as well convert to ORE. If I run Delta Green again, it will be with the NEMESIS rules, which are ORE based.

I've also been playing a weekly Skype game of Call of Cthulhu. I'm running the players through Shadows of Yog-Sothoth. This past week we used the freeware RPGTools MapTool program for the first time. It allows you to share maps with players online. It worked very well. One of the players, Tom, has purchased a similar game. I think we're going to give that a try to see if the extra features are worth changing from the free MapTool program.

This all brings me full circle to This Favored Land. I haven't heard anything yet, but I've volunteered to run a couple of games at GenCon. As a result, I've been working on a couple of scenarios. I also need to work on two extra chapters for the book which will be released as PDFs simultaneously with the book's release, which is tentatively scheduled for June. This week I received a request from Shane at Arc Dream to help with the new super power rules for Wild Talents. Originally the 2nd edition of the game was going to just be a reprint with some additional information. Instead, they've decided to fix some aspects of the rules based on feedback they've received since the game's initial release at the end of 2006.

At the same time, I have a couple of additional game ideas in mind. I could extend This Favored Land into the Wild West. Or, I could write an ORE version for feudal Japan. Percolating away is the idea for a fantasy/alternate history game I mentioned three months ago. The only problem with this game is I'll need to do a fair bit of research, and I'm not sure we have the space for any more books!

Yes, I'm going to be busy in the next few months, but I'm going to try and blog more. Or, if I can't because of all the other writing I'm doing, I have to seriously consider whether or not it's worth keeping the blog going. I'm not sure anyone is even reading it any more.

Thud. Thud. Thud. Is this thing on?