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Topics - Hastur T. Fannon

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From here

Quote from: GRIM

Quote from: Hastur T. Fannon

But this was said by a guy who not only routinely broke Levitical law, but encouraged others to do the same. So there's a tension here, an apparent contradiction and it's in the middle of a sermon where he's laying out a moral standard that is actually higher and harder to follow than the Levitical law ("Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect."). Now, if you're interested, we can talk about this apparent contradiction and we can talk about what kind of "great moral teacher" would set a moral standard that no-one can follow. Or you can dismiss the whole thing as bollocks. Your choice

Well, if you're comfortable having a public discussion about your bollocks

Well here we are :haw:

Some foundation work first.  Christians, Jews and Muslims alike believe that, at Mount Sinai, Moses achieved Kate Bush's dream and cut a deal with God (or rather God cut a deal with him).  Christians call this deal the Old Testament

The deal was that, in return for them following his commands, God would protect the Jewish people.

This deal still stands.  According to "the People of the Book" it will stand for all time.  Certainly as long as there are Christians or Jews, the Torah/Old Testament will continue to be reprinted, in a form as close to what was originally given as possible.  In that sense, the Law is eternal and "the least stroke of the pen" will not change.

However, I am not a Jew.  I was not present at Mount Sinai and (to the best of my knowledge) neither were any of my ancestors.  This means I'm not part of that deal.  As a Christian, I went with the new deal, the New Testament that Christ offered and sealed in his blood

This deal is a lot simpler in theory and a lot more complex (and harder to follow) in practice.  But that's another post

Media and Inspiration / PEAR lab closing
« on: February 22, 2007, 12:29:31 pm »

I studied Jahn's work when I was at university as part of a philosophy of religion course and it started a life-long interest in attempts to apply the scientific method to weird shit

It's a shame, but I do think they'd taken it as far as they could go.  They got some very interesting results, but nothing that was particularly useful.  Without a model that explained what they got and also predicted other stuff that they could test (a "falsifiable hypothesis") it was doomed to stay just interesting weirdness

Quote from: kryyst
Renegade Clowns would also make for a fantastic WFRP supplement/novel.

I'm pulling this out of my arse here, but I suspect that any game where "Renegade Clowns" wouldn't make a create title for a sourcebook/adventure (or at the very least the title for a section from a splatbook) is terminally dull

A possible exception is Call of Cuthulu

Spin-off from the Celebrity-Setting match thread

Can anyone think of any game that couldn't be improved by the addition of the original Man in Black?

Last night after too many vodka and Red Bulls, I came up with what I thought was a dynamite idea for a short PDF for d20

My wife has not yet talked me out of it so I'm going to do it

I don't want to drop 500 quid on a copy of Pagemaker, so can someone recommend something Open Source that'll do simple layout, bookmarking etc and save as PDF.  

I use Open Office Writer extensively, but I haven't tried the layout functionality yet.  Does anyone know what it's like? As I used a Microsoft platform, have Open Office got their Save As PDF function working yet?

Design, Development, and Gameplay / The Accidental Game Designer
« on: November 22, 2006, 11:30:54 am »
(or, "How I Learnt To Stop Worrying And Love The Rising")

My day job is third-line support for a company that writes software for the shipping industry, which means I spend most of my day shouting at a computer screen in impotent fury (to anyone else in computer support, imagine how much worse your job would be if most of your users and some of your colleagues didn't have English as a first language)

My real job, my career, is as a writer.  Up until earlier this year, I thought I my chosen medium was comics; RPG's were a hobby.  As someone wanting to be a professional comics writer, I read all of the major theorists, particularly Will Eisner (the comic equivalent of the Oscars is called the Eisners - there's a reason) and Scott McCloud.  From Eisner I got the idea that an artist has a responsibility to the society in which he or she lives, to examine, to criticise, to communicate and to challenge.  From McCloud, I learnt that an artist is most effective when they conceal their message behind of layers of medium, idiom, form and, well, art so that it sneaks past the viewer or readers usual defenses and hits them square between the eyes.

Both used the example of Harvey Spielmann's Maus, a graphic novel of the life of the artist's father, a Holocaust survivor.  Spielmann used a deliberately comic-book style of drawing even going as far as to depict the Jews in the book as mice (hence the title) and the Nazi's as cats.  Normally, when we read, watch or hear something about the Holocaust our defences go up.  It's an period of history that we don't even think about because the thoughts are too painful.  But when you read Maus, Spielmann's style cons us into reading it like it's Archie.  Our defenses are lowered and OH MY GOD THEY'RE PUTTING THOSE MICE INTO GAS OVENS!

And all this was going around in the back of my head when I was looking around for an adventure to introduce my players to the new edition of the World of Darkness system (I think it's Maddman's group that uses Unisystem, Tim).

I knew Tim as Nutkinland's self-confessed drunken jackass.  I knew he'd done a zombie game, but I had a copy of "All Flesh..." and besides I didn't like d20.  When he released Hold At All Costs: Zero, I thought "a military adventure written by vet? Could be interesting...", brought it and did a quick and dirty port to nWoD.  I had a blast, my players had a blast, I reviewed it and sent Tim some comments.  

In the meantime, I brought a copy of Year of the Zombie core book and then Fleshmongers.  I'd never read anything like it.  Sure Stephen King, Richard Laymon and Chuck Palunik cover some of the same ground, but Tim, Tim, has actually seen just how bad human beings can be and he wants us to know about it.  Something was going on here, but I hadn't yet figured it out.

Tim invited us to playtest an early draft of the sequel and sent me an early draft of Marauders for comments.  I sent him feedback on both and some suggestions for Marauder groups, he asked if I wanted to write up those groups.  I had so much fun with Marauders I took a chance and sent Tim a proposal for Havens.  You know the rest.

Well, actually, you don't.  As I started researching Havens I started looking at what life was like in places where people try to rebuild their lives with only what they've carried with them and what they find lying around - refugee camps and shanty towns. I realised that Tim was right - real life is actually worse than anything he's written.

But people just don't want know.  There's a refugee, a torture survivor, at our church who doesn't talk about her experiences because people can't cope with it.  A couple that are friends of my parents run a clinic in a remote district of Tanzania.  They've made the decision that she isn't going to work with sharps at all because if he contracts HIV at least she'll be able to raise their children.  As Phoebe said to Rachel on "Friends": "You know that's kind of like when I was living on the street and this man said he'd feed me if I'd sleep with him.  Actually it's not because that was a real problem and yours is a load of made up Yuppie bullcrap."

What's this got to do with YotZ? Well the game is about creating a fictional environment where the players get to act out making the kind of survival decisions that real people make every day in places like Iraq, Somalia and Dafur.  And because it's a game and because it's fun (having a character stick a bullet into the head of a Fleshmonger is wonderfully cathartic) the content sneaks past your defenses and you'll never look at the TV News in the same way again.  It's the same principle that Spielmann used in Maus.

Sure it's also about Tim fulfilling a drunken bet and replenishing his Wild Turkey fund, and I wouldn't be surprised if some of it is therapy for him, but, just like any piece of art it's about communicating the way that the artists view the world.

I'm going to do another post about content and why I think Tim's pitching the level just right and then I'm going to say what I think all this has to do with game design.

(if you aren't familiar with the term, the Pundit defines it here)

RPGs are an inherently escapist hobby.  They are about pretending to be someone else for a while.  This means that they will appeal to someone with a tenuous grasp on the consentually perceived reality or who has something about themselves or their life that they want to escape from

Also, the complex formal systems will appeal to high-functioning autistics like those with Aspergers syndrome as will the creation of a world where you can control the details (I'm speaking as an Aspie myself).  There's a strong collaration between autistic spectrum disorders and social disfunction (heck, it's one of the differential diagnostics).  Many autistics have a problem with strong sensations on their skin (part of the reason why they don't like being touched) and this can manifest as poor personal hygiene

(myself, I've learnt to "ride the wave" - showering and being hugged feels goooooooood)

None of these are excuses.  They're reasons why these people are attracted to our hobby

Assuming this is true, what can and should be done.  I have some ideas, but I'd like to hear other responses first

Edit: Added more 'o's to good ;)

I've created characters: just as if I was writing a novel.

I've helped develop an existing setting: just as if I was writing a novel in a shared universe (like Known Space or the Cuthulu Mythos).

I've written some brief plot notes - and if I was writing an adventure the plot would be more fully developed

It contains elements - such as the longer pieces of flavour text - that are undeniably literature

It's all been done with a certain degree of craft; I've concentrated on improving my use of English to better communicate my ideas.

So why is Year of the Zombie: Marauders not art?

A small PDF (~7000 words) of 30-40 common and/or famous diseases, statted up for d20 Modern?

Pen and Paper Roleplaying Games (RPGs) Discussion / PCGen help
« on: June 12, 2006, 06:49:25 pm »
Does anyone have a better sheet for doing d20 Modern statblocks than the one it comes with?  At the moment I have to remember the skills I selected for the characters Occupation - there's nowhere I can see where it's displayed.

Attached is an Advanced Class I'm writing for a unique take on the superhero concept using d20 Modern.  Can you let me know what you think?

Design, Development, and Gameplay / [Feats] Precognitive
« on: June 07, 2006, 04:26:17 pm »
This is written for d20 Modern, but I think it would work with any other d20 system that uses action points.  Heck, it would work as a Buffy quality if you substituted Drama Points for action points

Benefit: This feat can be used in two ways.  The first is that a character can spend an action point in an attempt to gain a glimpse of the future.  The content, form and information gained is controlled by the GM, but he or she should make every effort to gear the future of the campaign so that the vision will be of at least some use to the character at some point in the future.  The second way that the feat can be used is this; the GM may at any point give the character a vision in order to feed information to the party.  Each time that the GM does this, the character gains an action point.  However, if the character decided not to act on the contents of the vision (for example if the vision is of a disaster that the character could possibly avert, but choses not to) they lose the action point
Normal: A character normally gets to know about the future in the same way as the rest of humanity – one second at a time

Edit: messed up the title of the thread - can someone fix it for me?

Our sister site, Nothingland, is starting a City of Villains supergroup on the Infinity server called "The Damnation Army" (after a previous theme/incarnation of Nothingland).  We're going for a "Legion of Doom meets Animal House/Young Ones" theme

If you think you might be interested, please go here and take a look at the threads begining with "[COV-DA]".  If what we're planning interests you start a character on Infinity and post in the Roll Call thread

Thanks for your time

A couple of years back I had two last-minute cancellations which meant that I couldn't run what I wanted to run and it was too late to phone and tell everyone that it was off.  So I had two friends on my door step looking at me with puppy-dog eyes and nothing prepared

So I grabbed GURPS Discworld off the shelf (I'm one of these people who buys GURPS sourcebooks without ever playing GURPS) and flicked to one of the adventures at the back that I'd always wanted to run (if you know the book, it was the one about the missing bananas)

I looked at my players.  I looked at the GURPS rulebook: thick, menacing and largely unread.  I looked at my players

"Whose your favourite minor Discworld character - needs to be associated with the UU in some way?" I asked
"Ponder Stibbons." said Woody
"Wee Mad Arthur." said Darryl
"Wee Mad Arthur?"
"Pest control."
"Fair enough. Ok, we're doing this freeform."

We started off by cutting cards as a randomiser, but quite quickly abandoned any rules at all.  It turned out to be the most fun we'd had in a session since the infamous "Screw you fleshbags - you're on your own!" incident

Up until recently, I thought that this was a role-playing game - it was a game, we were playing roles.  Apparently some people think that this is not the case.  Can anyone explain to me why?

There's a load of old Storyteller games out there that would benefit from conversion to the nWoD system.  Trinity and Aberrant leap to mind - as does Orpheus

Now I've got a 3/4 finished conversion to Aberrant that I could post.  Would anyone else be interested in this? Should I just start and see if anyone else jumps in?

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