Mrs Wangdoodle Buys A Elephant

…and uses a skip loader as a pooper scooper


From the Daily Illuminator…

“And more of that good stuff is coming, including . . . REAL soon now . . . Doc Cross’ unholy blending of Toon ( ) and Munchkin ( ) , creatively titled Toon Munchkin. That’s not a link because it’s not up yet. But REAL soon now.”

Yes, folks, THAT was the pro writing gig I started last spring and turned in last fall. Coming soon to a PDF file near you:)

Swimming In The Volcano Of Love

…Ooh, it’s hot hot hot!

In Which The Gaming Discussion Picks Up Speed

As I mentioned last time, this whole “Level 0 Campaign” idea came to me when I was map making with Campaign Cartographer (an exceptionally cool new edition of which will soon debut) and the map you would use with this game is an integral part of the whole enchilada.

See, my idea is that you create a map of a small area, say 10 miles by 10 miles, stick a small village or town in it…add a few farms…maybe a small fort…put in a smattering of wilderness…and that’s the home town of the PC’s. Naturally, you could choose to create a city for them…or populate the small town with one or more races…or whatever you choose. The idea is to GIVE them a (somewhat loosely defined) home town…something that most characters in most games don’t have.

I said the town was loosely defined and I mean that mostly in regards to the population. Yes, you’ll have various businesses and farms and such, but you only need to give names/basic descriptions to the people the young PC’s encounter or are related to. More in depth definition comes later, with the players filling in the blanks as the grown up PC’s go about their adventuring.

So now we have a location with a loosely defined population. Next up is to create a few kids, some of whom will be chosen to become our proto-PC’s. These would be pretty simple templates for the players to choose from. You’d have strong kids, fast kids, tough kids, kids with a bare touch of magic potential, kids with better than average dexterity/agility…a couple or so of each.

From there, character development would be entirely based on choices made by the players. Naturally, they would have an idea of what sort of PC they eventually want to play, but exactly how the kid PC gets there is up to them. Perhaps Avis wants her kid to use his dexterity to become a swashbuckling type of fighter/thief, while Grace wants her high dexterity kid to become a martial arts using mage. This game (setting, actually) is what lets them lay the groundwork for that…as well as developing the character’s basic personality.

Next time: The rules question, kid adventures, non-gamers and the big finish.

Wild Soft Pretzel Migration

…many will die in the mustard pits

In Which Doc Stars A Gaming Discussion

So lately I’ve been thinking about roleplaying games…and non-gamers…and people who really like character creation and development…and what the RPG hobby/industry generally doesn’t do.

My conclusions? Well, one of them is that most players, even those who do manage to create a bit of a character concept before actually creating a character, give short shrift to character background. Oh sure, they might fill in some details of the background as the game progresses, but that is often done to justify having certain skills or attributes. Not always, of course, since there are folks out there who create some really in depth character info, but most of the time I’d be surprised if a given character has a half a page of background.

Tied to this is the fact that most non-gamers have a problem with wrapping their head around certain types of character. Characters based on well known stuff like Star Trek/Star Wars, well known superheroes and tv shows are pretty easy, but the basic fantasy archetypes (and those of pulp, horror and many flavors of sci-fi) are not things they really have experience with.

Another thing that both non-gamers and many experienced gamers don’t have is a connection to the character. In non-gamers, this is because they…A: don’t know the archetypes…B: start out as a full fledged hero…C: have to spend so much time learning the rules as they play. In experienced gamers, not having a connection to a character leads to the old “charge in and kick ass because this is just Fighter #231 and I can roll up another if he dies”

So anyway, I’m thinking about all this while I’m also working on some maps for the Kingdom Building Game and, as often happens, my muse hits me upside the head and says…

“Why not create rules and a very limited setting for starting characters out from the very beginning…late childhood to early teens…when they will gain the attributes and skills that will let them eventually set off on the adventuring path? Give them some very simple early adventures that will hone these skills a bit, eventually leading them to what D&D would consider 1st level.”

In other words, create the game that lets a player (especially a first time non gamer) build the character from the REAL ground level up, in a setting that is quite mundane and small compared to the humongous RPG settings they will encounter later.

And in my next post, we’ll take a look at how that might be done.

Chicken Soup For The Sociopathic Cannibal’s Soul

…written by Dr. Hannibal Lecter

Hey, kids, it’s meme time! Yoinked from delazan

The Rules:
1. You can only say YES or NO!
2. You are NOT ALLOWED to explain ANYTHING unless someone comments to the entry and asks.

Taken a picture naked? Yes
Made out with a member of the same sex? No
Danced in front of your mirror? Yes
Told a lie? Yes
Gotten in a car with people you just met? Yes
Been in a fist fight? Yes
Had feelings for someone who didn’t have them back? Yes
Been arrested? Yes
Left your house without telling your parents? Yes
Ditched school to do something more fun? Yes
Slept in a bed with a member of the same sex? Yes
Seen someone die? Yes
Kissed a picture? Yes
Slept in until 3? Yes
Laid on your back and watched cloud shapes go by? Yes
Played dress up? No
Fallen asleep at work/school? Yes
Felt an earthquake? Yes
Touched a snake? Yes
Ran a red light? Yes
Had detention? Yes
Been in a car accident? Yes
Pole danced? No
Been lost? Yes
Sang karaoke? No
Done something you told yourself you wouldn’t? Yes
Laughed until something you were drinking came out your nose? Yes
Caught a snowflake on your tongue? Yes
Kissed in the rain? Yes
Sang in the shower? Yes
Got your tongue stuck to a pole? No
Ever gone to school partially naked? No
Sat on a roof top? Yes
Played chicken? Yes
Been pushed into a pool with all your clothes on? Yes
Been told you’re hot by a complete stranger? Yes
Broken a bone? Yes
Mooned/flashed someone? Yes
Forgotten someone’s name? Yes
Slept naked? Yes
Blacked out from drinking? Yes
Played a prank on someone? Yes
Felt like killing someone? Yes
Made a parent cry? Yes
Cried over someone? Yes
Had sex more than 5 times in one day? Yes
Had/Have a dog? Yes
Been in a band? No
Drank 25 sodas in a day? No
Shot a gun? Yes

I will gladly answer any enquiries:)

The Horticultural Whore Goes To Seed

…as in spinach seed

I was, among other things, in gardening mode today. I transplanted about two dozen seedlings (mostly tomato) into larger pots, then started about 35-40 heirloom variety spinach seeds. I’ll start another 40 or so in a week or ten days.

After that, I went out and gathered up some bits of sedum from the large mass growing in my border garden. Sedum is just about the easiest plant in the world to transplant, since all you have to do is shove bits of it into the ground every few inches. And that’s exactly what I did. with any luck, it’ll grow in thick and nice and choke out the weeds.

The last bit of garden work I did was to pour about 6 teakettles worth of boiling water onto assorted weeds. There, Mr. Weed, eat boiling death! Bwahahahahahahahaha!

In Other News…

Some time back I wrote about my idea to hold a sort of “shadow” con during GenCon 2007. I’ve decided that this will indeed be a good idea, so I’m going to begin plotting it in a few months. By the time GenCon 2006 is over, I should have a pretty good idea of the basic idea for this intracon. There will, of course, be no charge for this con within a con…I mean, GenCon badges cost enough as it is.

Still on the topic of gaming, I am thinking of starting another LJ just for the purpose of chewing the fat about gaming, game design, adventure ideas, etc. Would any of y’all be interested in such a thing?

And now, I’m outta here.

Red Butterfly Attack Unit

…hmmm, sounds like an anime title

Grace and I were a couple of busy beavers today. First, we hit a plant sale where I bought…

2 types of Aster
2 types of Sedum
A blue flowered Salvia
A Red Raspberry vine
A really cool Ajuga with neon purple colors
A dwarf Bamboo
A Geranium

After that, it was grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s and the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-Op, where we bought all manner of vittles. Next, after a quick stop at Safeway for even more vittles, we went to Chef Bo on Fair Oaks Boulevard. There, I ate a bigass plate of Mongolian Beef while Grace had an equally big plate of Green Bean Chicken. Stuffed like a couple of Thanksgiving turkeys, we came home and kicked back for a few hours.

And then we FINALLY got the new tv up and running. Holy Frijoles, is it the fuckin’ bomb! Big ol’ wide rectangular screen with a great looking picture! Even as I type this, we are watching LOTR: Fellowship of the Ring. Life is good.

And now, off to bed.

Bucky & Squint Build A Giant BattleMek

…and it’s powered by soybean oil, so it’s eco friendly

Damn! Will we never finish re-arranging this cursed living room so that I may watch my new tv for a bit before locking myself in the Game Room/Library to get some writing done? I swear by the Gilded Nipples Of Aphrodite that this foolishness will be done by tomorrow afternoon!

And now, from the Home Office in Mud Bay, it’s…

The Top Ten Things I Have Regretted Saying (with added parenthetical notes)

10: “It’s ok…that bull is way over on the other side of the field…he won’t chase us” (Lesson learned: distance can be deceptive and bulls can move with amazing speed when properly motivated)

9: “Dude, they said their parents won’t be home until after midnight! Tonight, we get lucky!” (if, by “lucky” you mean having to, at about 10 PM, leap half naked out of a third story window into an oak tree, do a barely controlled fall to the ground, then outrun 3 werewolves posing as guard dogs AND an angry father made entirely of muscles, by running through a peach orchard and hiding in a cold irrigation canal, then yes, it was a “lucky night)

8: “Hey, I trust you to know the way there. I’ll just snooze for awhile” (Note: one cannot go directly from San Jose to Yosemite by driving south, then west, then south some more)

7: “Those were great cookies, Auntie” (in fact, they tasted like barely sweetened cardboard, but my little white lie ensured that she sent me 3 dozen of the fuckers every Xmas for 6 years)

6: “I’m sure I can fix it” (no, I can’t)

5: “Yeah, those pants do make your ass look big” (I was SO young and dumb)

4: “Yes, I was staring at her tits. What’s wrong with that?” (as it turned out, there was quite a bit wrong with it)

3: “Ok, Mom, here’s the truth…” (despite everything they might say, mother’s really DON’T want to hear the truth)

2: “Sounds like a good idea…I’m in” (I love my friends and family, but time has proven that about 50% of their grandiose plans are decidedly not good ideas)

And the Number One Thing I Have Regretted Saying is…

1: “Susan, will you marry me?” (I still sometimes wake up in a cold sweat from that one)

And now, off to the Friday session in Dr. Yen’s Rotisserie of Dermatological Goodness, then work.