mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (Default)
Our Shadowrun Game Night rolled around last night. We'd missed the last few due to various logistical issues, but finally we had everyone except Lewis and Amy. So what did we do? Spent the evening catching up with each other.

Heh. Can't say I minded too much. It's good to hang with one's friends for whatever reason.

Of course, the tornado warning last night added a little drama - apparently the center of the 'red zone' passed right by Jesse's house. no damage done, though, and she was able to relax a bit after the worst passed.

Well, we'll just have to get together again in two weeks!
mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (orbiting)
I'm staying up too long again tonight, but I really want to write down my weekend impressions while they are fresh.

The clock read quarter-to-eleven before I could drag my carcass out of bed, which meant that Closing Ceremonies were only three hours away. No panels, no costuming, just time spent with friends today. I wandered the halls, trading hugs and saying hellos and goodbyes, until noon when the con auctions were to begin. My interest this year remained solely academic, as I'd vowed to spend no money at the con: the budget this spring wouldn't support it.

The White Elephant auction at 1:00 contained many fascinating items, including Shadowrun gaming materials that almost tempted me. (I looked carefully, finding none of the books that my group has specifically mentioned searching for.) Soon enough, though, the Closing Ceremonies began, dragging on for almost three hours before everyone could tear themselves away. I joined [livejournal.com profile] jsciv and [livejournal.com profile] candidevoltaire for an evening of gaming that lasted until 11 with a dinner break; we played the new Battlestar Galactica board game for two hours, and I judged it worth playing but not one I'll be purchasing soon, if for no other reason that it plays best with exactly five players. Now, I'm back in my hotel room, bleary and typing away.

Was the con a success? Indeed so, from my perspective. Rumor has it that attendance numbers reached average Technicon levels, which must be a good thing. I had a lovely time, as did anyone else I got to ask. Should there be one next year? I'm not as sure. I think this must be the last Technicon in its current form: future versions with or without the same name will need much new blood, and perhaps new ways of doing things, to attract college students jaded by DVD players and online gaming. I'll always be available for the panels and performances I'm good at, but I have no interest in a strenuous staff position, and I doubt many other of the con's veterans do either anymore.

I'd like there to be another T-Con; but I feel that forcing the issue would cause more harm than good. I'm comfortable biding my time and letting things take their natural course. And until I learn what that course is, staff members of SheVaCon expressed strong interest in having me present my late-night insanity at their event, which will give me something to do while waiting for Technicon 27 or Technicon Next Generation #1.
mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (cyberpunk)
Shadowrun went pretty decent last night. We finished a big fight with some corp-type security guards, and the group is set up for the finale confrontation next session. The webcam link to Amy functioned pretty well, and there were albino gluten-free cookies for all. Now I have two synopses to type up :) One pitfall which urban-fantasy GMs must always be aware of: while fantasy-game swords kill slowly, guns are instantly lethal, which can sometimes be a challenge to the game.

Our players arrived to a less-than-spotless house. Starr and I had a rare weekend where neither of us worked or had any social commitments, so we spent a lot of personal time together, which meant I didn't do any cleaning in the living room or kitchen over the weekend. Last night I had to get the place presentable in about 90 minutes time, which I think I managed sufficiently. Luckily my friends aren't Better Homes and Gardens reps.

Midori started the evening off fairly relaxed, but started panicking once the room filled up, and took a completely unprovoked swipe at Jesse's face. Luckily, Jesse's all right, but I'm pretty cheesed at our little evil bitch cat right now. MistyMina, on the other hand, cuddled on [livejournal.com profile] ptownhiker's and [livejournal.com profile] lewisw's laps all night, racking up cute points until time for all to leave.

That, by the way, is indeed the new kitten's name. We tried Matisse, which didn't work, and then we tried Misty, which almost worked. Starr suggested Mina, the name of a friend, and about then the kitten knocked yet another something over. So we named her MistyMina, for her criminal behavior, and that stuck.

Tonight will be Technicon travel prep. I feel like I know what I'm going to to be doing on Saturday night now, so my main jobs are laundry, repairing a prop, and picking costumes for the weekend. I have four candidates, and only two days of convention :) Really looking forward to seeing everyone!
mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (decepticute)
Wow, I just had an idea for the 10:00-10:45 Saturday night panel that I wish I'd had three weeks ago. It's better than what I've got, but will require more late-in-the-game recruiting. I'll probably go with it though, if I can find some willing souls who are (a) staying up that late and (b) aren't already involved with something else.

If you're interested, aren't on my lifestyle filter, and are fine with whatever weirdness might show up on my lifestyle filter, let me know.

In other news, we are definitely Shadowrunning tonight. Google Calendar is supposed to be sending out reminders, and my own reminder emails will be sent out as soon as I can do so. I'll also have a synopsis of last session up as soon as it gets written.
mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (space_tech)
Bad news: we all have to take Office 2007 and MS Vista training; it's not optional, even for Mac me. Good news: The company will reimburse tuition for any Microsoft certifications to which this training leads. Methinks I'd be a complete fool not to take advantage of this - extra certifications can't hurt, right?

At the moment, Starr and I share the house with four cats, two of ours and two from her family that are on extended 'boarding' with us. We must put in a fair amount of effort to keep up with demands for food and clean litter! As a result, though, I woke up this morning with one cat sleeping on my lap, another nestled tight against my left hip, and a third tucked under my right armpit. It seems I make an excellent cat pillow.

Tonight, Starr works late, and my chore list includes laundry, cooking, and cleaning; our Shadowrun group meets again Monday, and I don't intend to spend the weekend picking up. I need to chill, and take care of some happier business.
mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (teefive)
Last night we had the complete gaming group together for the first time since the Shadowrun game started. Jesse's razorgirl and Amy's decker joined in as the group looked for a place to hide their rock singer. The group procured a rent-a-squat, obtained food and water, and decided to turtle up and wait out their contract.

They'll never find us here! )

GM fail of the week: I set up a meeting reminder notice in Google Calendar, accidentally pointing Starr's reminders to her work account. Google proceeded to send her a couple hundred notices before I redirected them to her Gmail. Durrr. On the other hand, I think I may finally have talked Dwight into signing up for a LiveJournal account. We'll see. Well done, all!
mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (Default)
  • 09:31 @meiran Awesome! Very well done! Are you going to shoot for "Elder" in the last couple days you have left? #
  • 09:44 A 32-degree morning seems much balmier compared to the 12-degree ones last week. #
  • 10:05 Dangit, I have just accidentally spammed Starr's work address with the invite to the Shadowrun tonight. Hurr, me use computer good. #
  • 11:47 @meiran I picked up the coins for all of Kalimdor yesterday (not counting capital cities). The Horde outposts were a bit exciting :) #
  • 12:01 I think the guy two people ahead of me in the lunch line was trying to pay in Euros or something. #
  • 13:15 Wish I could leave early. I still have dishes and laundry to put away before gaming. And the Xmas tree should come down someday too. #
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mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (teefive)
Tonight I GMed my first Shadowrun game since leaving Salem. I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed doing that! Using second edition worked well, I was able to make several correct rules calls without touching the rulebook. I did find out that I need another little box of six-siders - they go fast in SR, where a combat roll can easily take 8-12 dice at once.

Session details )

Combat and spellcasting went smoothly once we found the rhythm, and the scene stopped at a perfect break point. I'm feeling good about this, and I've got plans to integrate our geographically challenged decker and Jesse's runner into next session. Thanks everyone, for making it so much fun!
mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (teefive)
We began prep on the new 2nd Ed. Shadowrun campaign last night. Looks like we'll have a core group of a detective, a freelance bodyguard, an ex-corporate enforcer, an Amerindian shaman, and a street mage; with decker and shaman 'guest stars'. This is subject to change as the characters all get fleshed out, but it looks good. The decker's player is moving in two weeks, and will only be able to attend by webcam, which I think is amusingly appropriate.

Two elves and three humans make up the racial mix, which is fairly standard for a new group; I don't know yet if the guest stars will be metahuman or not. We're off to a good start, though. I encourage weirdness in my campaigns, because I think it adds to roleplaying and tone; Jesse and Dwight have already surprised me with their character ideas. I love it.

I'm already planning to have old friends make a cameo or two. "Skid" Dersitaliantis and Mister Zeta will pop up, though I don't yet know if I want to get the GSSC involved. Hey, TeeFive players: did you know that next year is the game's 20th anniversary? Some of our original 'runners should be in their forties or fifties by now.

I'm sure we'll need at least one more character creation session, then we can get to adventuring. One thing I want to do this week is extract the old TeeFive custom character sheets from the OS 9-era PageMaker and make PDFs for the group. I have to say, from a design standpoint, that I love that I could lay out the core game mechanic in about 10 minutes last night! Naturally, I also recommended Blade Runner to everyone who hadn't yet seen it.

We're going to hold the game sessions at my new place. This will make my GM duties much easier, as I won't have to haul the library back and forth. I'm also considering making the game a bit meta: for example, setting up gmail accounts for the characters to use during downtime. I wonder if the players would get into that. The decker ought to get one, right?

Thank goodness this will only be twice a month, as I could really submerge myself into this if given a chance. :)
mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (gaming)
Okay. I have owed my sister a phone call for several days, and perhaps if I post it here, I will be looking at it tonight and go, "oh yeah, I really need to do that".

We actually managed to get out of the house for a bit on Friday night - we've not been good at that for the last couple of weeks. It's so easy, when one of us doesn't get home until 7:30 or 8, to say "screw it" and vegetate for the rest of the evening, but we made ourselves go out with friends, and had a sorely-needed good time.

After a Saturday full of more moving and cleaning, Starr and I got our WoW characters each halfway to level 67, at which point they will have passed my poor gnome mage I've been leveling since long before The Burning Crusade. There was debate over whether we'd stick around Outland once we hit 68, and quest a bit in Shadowmoon or Netherstorm; but the urge to take off to the Great White North is strong. We'll see.

Along those lines, I need to contact my gaming group - our session three weeks ago was cancelled due to host illness, and I never even heard whether or not we scheduled a session last week. I was prepping to start a Shadowrun for the group, and I assume there is still interest. I've also got a box full of giveaway gaming material from the Stuff Reduction Plan, and I'm hoping that they'll want some of it.

Tensions are still cooling slowly on the cat front. Early this morning, Midori and Precious repeatedly chased each other up and down the house stairs, which I think may actually have been play instead of attempted murder. The welcome absence of hissing and yowling is the peg I'm hanging those hopes on.

The 45th anniversary of the Doctor Who TV show passed this weekend. I had to check out a YouTube video of the days when the Doctor was a cranky old man with a hyperintelligent granddaughter, and certain walls of the TARDIS control room were simple photographic blowups. Dig the 1962-era special effects:


Classic stuff.
mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (cyberpunk)
Oh, yeah, Sunday night I found all my old Shadowrun 2nd Ed. sourcebooks, adventures, and rulebooks. That pretty much decided me on the upcoming campaign.

I think I'll run 2nd Ed, with a version of the 4th Ed. hacking rules spliced in, and the world timeline advanced to 4th Ed as well. That means people in my group who want to can obtain 2nd Ed. used on eBay (they're going for $7-$8) and I can just do a handout or something of my new hacking rules.

Man, paging through all the old TeeFive characters really takes me back, though I figure we oughta start a new group. If only Tom was still gaming with us, maybe I could bribe him into a new t-shirt design. I do think I'll be taking a page from [livejournal.com profile] ptownhiker's notebook, and worry a lot less about game mechanics and a lot more about story and character interaction. Shadowrun's well-suited to that anyway.
mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (cyberpunk)
Speaking of gaming, the WWII superhero game is over in an appropriately cool Big Boss finale. Kudos to [livejournal.com profile] ptownhiker for running a great campaign! But he justifiably wants a break, so we tossed around some ideas.

Next game night we'll be sticking to quick card and board games, but after that we want to start another RPG campaign, and because I'm a crazy crazy man, I volunteered to run some Shadowrun if people were interested. (After all, I ought to do something with all these gaming books, otherwise they're just dust catchers. Someday I want to run more Paranoia and Deadlands as well.)

Several of our group liked the idea, so now I need to return to an earlier concern from my last failed campaign attempt: which edition should I use?

2nd edition pros: I have almost every sourcebook available. I know the system backwards and forward, and could practically run it in my sleep, plus I have a raft of adventure modules from which to steal elements. Cons: This edition is long out of print, and people would be dependent on my books. Hacker characters, an integral park of cyberpunk settings, are awkward to run.

4th edition pros: This edition's currently in print, so people can acquire rulebooks and sourcebooks simply. Hacker characters are much better integrated. Cons: I have only the core book, and might desire to add sourcebooks (they've gotten more expensive). I have some issues with the new rule system, it's a tiny bit less cinematic and flexible than it once was. (OTOH, perhaps I can house-rule that.)

Hmmm, decisions. I'm really glad to be back in a gaming group; I worry that I'm getting a bit anti-social these days, not because I dislike spending time with my crowd, but because it's just easy to slip into a constant state of being tired and busy. I don't want to go there; the best parts of my life have involved my friends. When I look back on all the crazy stuff I've done in fandom, the memories inspire me: I'm determined to keep making more!
mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (teefive)
Swung by the grocery store today to pick up dinner. I was wearing my Technicon 17 (2001) t-shirt, and the cashier kept staring at it. I think [livejournal.com profile] kittenchan's catgirl in Grecian robes confused the heck out of him.

I just don't wear the number of t-shirts I used to. At Staples, I had to wear corporate red, but at B&D, Thrifty Nickel, Decipher, and BCT, I could wear what I wanted as long as it was neat, clean, inoffensive, and gender-appropriate. I owned a LOT of t-shirts. But at NASA, polo shirts are the order of the day, so my t-shirt wear has been cut by five-sevenths, and much of my collection has felt the bite of the ongoing 'stuff' purge.

Kinda sucks, because I kept seeing t-shirts I like at cons - such as an excellent Jennie Breeden shirt at MarsCon - and having to tell myself, "When will you be wearing this, and how much room do you really have in the dresser?" Sigh. I have a rule that I can buy something new for every two objects of similar kind or size I purge. Maybe I need to do another t-shirt purge soon to make room. Wish I could justify doing another run of TeeFive shirts (and find the art for the back).

EDIT: It has been pointed out to me that I was wearing the TCon 18 shirt. Either I fail at reading Roman numerals upside down, or the +1 to Confusion is working better than I thought.
mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (gaming)
The other day Starr picked up a book for me, one that I've been meaning to read for years: Carl Sagan's The Demon-Haunted World: Science As a Candle In the Dark. I'm enjoying it, but he's preaching to the choir, and I've not yet gained any new insights from the book. On the other hand, I also finally have a copy of [livejournal.com profile] tltrent's In the Serpent's Coils waiting in line, and I'm looking forward to reading that one. In my opinion, "Young Adult" fantasy and science fiction is where much of the good stuff is happening right now. Say what you want about Harry Potter, but Sorcerer's Stone was a better read than many of the transcribed D&D adventures that pass for fantasy novels these days.

Speaking of transcribed D&D, Gary Gygax's recent death caused me to drag out some of the old adventures I'd saved since the mists of First Edition, with an eye to running them again. In particular, I'm looking at the old S-series: "Tomb of Horrors", "White Plume Mountain", and "Expedition to the Barrier Peaks" (a particular favorite).

Now, I know these were convention tournament modules, but I was struck by the lack of role-playing, or even much of a plot besides "collect loot and survive to the end". The adventures are full of unfair puzzles, insta-deaths, and places where the GM will have to do some blatant railroading if the party's not going to wipe (no running back from the graveyard to rez!)

If I were to run them now, and the basic concepts are juicy enough to make the idea interesting, I'd have to do some major re-writing for my audience. I'd want map revisions, monster changes, and some serious story integration. It wouldn't be a trivial task, even discounting the problem that the adventures were designed for experienced First Edition AD&D characters. What game system do I want to use - a D&D version, Earthdawn, Herc & Xena, an alternate-universe Shadowrun? (And in most of those cases, which edition?)

Yeah. This is kinda turning into a campaign, which is too bad; I'm not sure I can spare the time right now, fun as it sounds. The urge to run "Barrier Peaks" near Roswell using the Deadlands setting may have to wait.

Addendum: The sentence "the chest contains 10,000 gold pieces" was obviously written by someone who had never counted out 10,000 quarters, say, and then tried to carry them around for any length of time.
mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (teefive)
I'm pretty sure I began playing Dungeons & Dragons around 1978 - after Star Wars but before Star Trek: The Motion Picture. I vaguely recall hearing about it from school friends, but have a clear memory of sitting in a sickbed opening the box my mom had purchased for me. The game came with cardboard chits you were supposed to shake in a cup for random rolls, but there was a dice accessory available that she got me soon after: 5 Platonic solids of very very cheap plastic. The 20-sided die was marked 1-10 (0, really) twice: you had to mark half the faces with a colored Sharpie to know which ones were 11-20.

And thus began a minor addiction... )

30 years.

Awesome :)
mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (cyberpunk)
Just watched Unlimited Escapism, Vol. 0, by "Baron Soosdon". 14 minutes of wild visuals and trance music... nicely soothing on a Woden's Day evening.

This image of Petite Nikita, however, made me want to run a Shadowrun (2nd ed.) game set in a highly-technological future of Azeroth...

Gnomish Assault Vehicle

I doubt that anyone would be thrilled to find that their back-alley street doc was an undead Forsaken :)
mikailborg: Chris drew this picture of my first Starfleet character for a newsletter cover, years ago. (kriet)
So FanPro is going to release Shadowrun 4th Ed. in August. Since I never got around to getting much for 3rd Ed., this isn't as painful to my wallet as it might be; and I'm not the type to go all "end-of-the-world" just because a game company changes a game I like.

Some notes from their blurb:
* The core mechanics are completely revised to be simpler and more streamlined for quicker, easier and more consistent play.
* Matrix 2.0! An all-new level of wireless “augmented reality” overlays the real world, unleashing hackers to be mobile digital wizards.
* The year is 2070 ­ five years since the System Failure took down the old Matrix, nine years since the passing of the comet unleashed wild and unexplained magic in the world. The Sixth World has changed. Some of the players are familiar, but there are new faces - and new forces - at work in the shadows.
* Complete rules and world information in one volume ­ playable the day you buy the book!

Simpler core mechanics? Uh-oh. After the oopses in 1st Ed., Shadowrun's core mechanic became pretty dang easy. Simple enough to run fast, just complex enough to easily simulate various challenges and results. This seems a lot like fixing something that wasn't broken.

IMHO, major Matrix changes have been desperately needed since 1st Ed. Deckers have never functioned well as part of their character groups, and the system bore little resemblance to any sane method for using computers. The Matrix has also suffered from the SF problem of reality quickly surpassing technologies proposed for six decades from now. A re-work is a great idea.

The Matrix goes down? I would think that in the mid-21st century, that would be just short of apocalyptic for world civilization. I mean, imagine today's turmoil if every means of electronic communication failed for a few days... OTOH, major changes to a game world can be good for it sometimes, allowing new players to jump in and long-term players to get interested again.

One-book gaming: this is part of what sold me the original Shadowrun, back in the day. It helped sell me Paranoia XP, as well. I hate that if I want to buy any d20 game, I have to own a few 3.5th Ed. D&D books first. Good for FanPro!

I'll buy it, I know I will. But as always, when I GM, I reserve the right to throw out the bits I don't like.

(Of course, these opinions are my own and not those of my employer. But you probably could guess that.)

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