Archive for March, 2011

just as an aside, you understand…

March 23, 2011 Leave a comment

what fucking use is a laptop that won’t wake up after sleeping?
I’ve used macs for the past 8 years because back then I decided that I wasn’t competent enough at troubleshooting to own a PC. Now I’ve got photoshop on a PC only and… it dies on me every. fucking. day because the power saver settings tell it to sleep and then it’s a 50/50 whether it will ever wake up again.


OSR blogs of interest

March 8, 2011 Leave a comment

Sea and caravan encounter tables from aeons and augauries (sic) and swordnboard respectively. These blogs don’t seem like fabulous resources in their own right, but reinforce my impression, gleaned from hours of surfing OSR blogs, that even the worst commenter can seem quite affable and interesting on their own ground and topic.

These things make me think of the D&D table as a cognitive mode, a way of understanding the world or modeling data. You know that sometimes certain things happen. Maybe they are genre mainstays. So you arrange them into a random encounter table because that’s a certain scopic take on how the world works: shit happens, specifically this shit here.

Since the first is really a Moby Dick encounter table and the last is really a Conan encounter table, they also make me think of encounter tables for other famous works: what would an encounter table for The Waste Land or Gravity’s Rainbow look like? 1-3: concussed hallucinating infantryman – 50% chance of home made superhero costume antics. 4-6: maudlin Nazi pervert. 7-9: superficially alluring female who is actually experiencing severe trauma that none of the male characters has the emotional intelligence to observe.

Actually interesting OSR blogs: Telecanter, Dungeons and Digressions, Planet Algol, Jeff Rients even though I’m not crazy about his last several posts, Cyclopeatron, which when it’s good is very good indeed (shades of Super Mario Galaxy here), Dreams in the Lich House, Tao of D&D (when Alexis isn’t just grumbling), Pedantry, which is “historical D&D  set in Europe in 1618 on the eve of the Thirty Years’ War,” Quickly, Quietly, Carefully, 9 and 30 kingdoms, The Mule Abides, which is currently all about seaborne “saltbox” games,  Highly entertaining and just occasionally brilliant: D&D with porn stars, JOESKY, Vaults of Nagoh, Strange Magic for its monster makeovers and minimal Bene Gesserit class. What they all have in common: they write actual usable content and musings that spark ideas in my head. Most OSR blogs (most blogs, actually) make me tired.

Discourse and Dragons is an academic studying OSR. Lands of ARA I’m mostly interested in because they’re hosting the Sea of O’sr, Sickly Purple Death Ray did a nice map I might use as a vertical section some day.

Blogs I wish I had more time for: Delta. I love his sense of organisation, but I’m just not interested in the granularity or passion or simulationism of his rules. Sorry. Trollsmyth I probably could make more time for.

Potentially most interesting development of all: Roger’s Roles, rules and rolls, which contains theory posts on interactive fiction, and Alexis’ Same Universe Wiki. Remember to offer them my findings from Goitein, ibn Jubayr, other sources on medieval Mediterranean trade and travel. UPDATE: on second thought, no. I don’t want to work with this guy, sorry (the real horror starts in the comments). So. There should really be a central clearing house where OSR stuff can be stored. Like a wiki. Only a different one. Maybe I have to set it up.

What I’ve learned from all this: blogrolls are love – they direct readers to other stuff you recommend and work as an RSS for you. Dynamically updating blogrolls are a public service and will drive traffic to your page if it’s lazy like me and doesn’t have its own set up (maybe I should do something about that). Blogrolls also propagate the tools that enable them: it’s easier to get an identity as a commenter, get linked as a blogger, looks like part of the OSR community and get credit from everyone else if you’re on blogger, because everyone’s on blogger. Interesting.