Matt Picone set us up with a set of maps with 24-mile and 1-mile hex overlays so we can see just how close everything is. Mark Smylie dug into the history of Pitton, his character Sir Aeron's randomly-generated manor, and tweaked his family ability to match the historically rumored link to royal mews that is associated with the manor.
We did character gen last week, with each player making a primary and a backup (good thing, too, see below), and then had our initial session this week, Year 485, the Battle of Mearcread Creek. Our three knights, Sir Florentina, Sir Galmwr, and Sir Aeron brought their household knights, mostly cousins, siblings, and uncles, to face the Saxons under King Aelle. The battle was inconclusive, with some moments of individual heroism, and a first session knight death.
Sir Florentina was slain by a Saxon Thegn and her sister Eleanor bravely pulled her body from the field. Sir Aeron later faced the thegn and captured him in battle. Sir Galmwr's favorite cousin died defending him from a Saxon axeman, and Sir Galmwr went mad with grief (failed a passion roll), going into a frenzy on the battlefield and being taken away by Saxons, later to flee into the woods, surprising the hell out of his Saxon captors. Eleanor was knighted for her heroic actions, inheriting the manor of Dinton.
Lauren said "I'm hoping we can stay focused on practical processes and solutions that are workable at very large scales." This post is about a wiki that is popular but not as popular as Wikipedia.
I've been running Emacs Wiki for a while now. It's definitely not "at very large scales" but it was certainly a step up from all my previous wiki efforts. I got started back on the Portland Pattern Repository and Meatball Wiki and so I kept trying to live up to Soft Security. That's why Emacs Wiki still doesn't have logins and passwords for ordinary users. There are passwords for roles that allow you to lock pages and to edit locked pages, for example.
The first line of defense I added was rolling back edits. The first wiki I used allowed you to edit an old revision and save it (click history link, click good revision, scroll to bottom, click edit link, scroll to bottom, click save button). I wanted to speed up the clean up. Now you you click history link and click the rollback button.
The remaining features are reserved for administrators.
Banning URLs by regexp
We are mostly getting link spam. Therefore I soon introduced a list of regular expressions (on a locked page that I could edit together with my co-administrators). In order to speed this up, I added some code to rollbacks. If the rollback removed URLs from the page text, those are listed and you automatically get a form where you can write a regular expression based on the list you're seeing. Clicking the submit button will add this regular expression to the ban list.
Banning IP numbers
This is a very crude measure. Luckily enough, it still works often enough. Perfect for defense in depth. I added more code to rollbacks. After a rollback, administrators are presented with a link to "ban contributors". If you click on it, you're presented with the editors of recent page revisions, together with a note indicating whether they have been banned or not. You can check the IP numbers of the contributors not yet banned and click a button to add an appropriate regular expression to the list.
Banning key words
This is also a very crude measure. It's our last automatic defense. We've added a few regular expressions to this list such as the Russian word for porn because we were getting vandals that posted links to forums and the like, together with some keywords, and those forum posts would then contain the link to the material we wanted to ban. The indirection via forum, URL shortener and the like circumvented our earlier ban mechanisms. This was our solution.
If we're under a large scale attack, we can always lock the wiki and wait. Once the damage is done, however, we can reset the wiki to a particular edit, generating the appropriate rollbacks for every page (i.e. these rollbacks are all regular edits and can again be undone by other administrators).
There are also other defense mechanisms unrelated to banning.
We only ask for a CAPTCHA once. Answering the question sets a cookie that bypasses the CAPTCHA. Clearly, this only works for a low profile site.
If you load too many pages in a short time window, the wiki will start responding with error messages, assuming that you're a bot and not a human.
Things we're currently missing:
There is currently no way to automatically ban the entire IP range given an IP number.
There is currently a semi-automatic expiry process for bans. It would be better if this was automatic.
There used to be a ban network sharing those regular expression lists but it was brittle and so I abandoned it.
Why did this concept disappear? Does anybody know?
You see, we consider ourselves the pinnacle of evolution, the most developed species, the best there is. We feel sorry for the poor animals who can't really think like we do, who can't participate in the products of our culture, such as poetry, literature or movies, etc. I can't help but wonder if the peacocks think the same about us and all other animals. Poor creatures who will never have such great tails and even if they had them, would never be able to present them properly, etc.
Remember the Voyager probe? Apart from all the scientific hardware it needs, it also carries a sort of "message" for anybody who might find it. What is that message? Some music. Some art. Some scientific information. What we consider the most worthy. It's almost as if we are courting the aliens, trying to impress them with our peacock tails!
Then there is this whole topic of the technological singularity. How the machines we build can be more intelligent than us and keep on improving themselves leading to accelerating rate of "progress". And I can't help but compare that to peacocks building an ultimate robo-peacock, which in turn uses its improved tail to build even better robots, finally arriving at a tail so gigantic and gaudy, that nothing better exists in the universe. But this might just be our mating instincts, and there is no telling what the super-intelligent machines will consider worthy of their pursuits. Intelligence and knowledge is valued by us, because that's how we are build, but maybe it only gives you so much advantage, and then you move on to something else?
I'm going to be using #Gridmapper for the map. It works best with Firefox but Chrome will also do. I'm still working on the map. Here's a snapshot: http://goo.gl/5eVixd (you can load the current state from the wiki by loading The Sewer Prison).
At the same time, I want to use this dungeon for my current campaign, soon!
The backstory is this: in my campaign, the party built a hospital in the coastal town of Kerealia, which got taken over by a chaos warrior called Nualia, wielding a magic sword called Man Eater and worshiping the demon of all crab-men, Garaskis. The hospital turned into a mad house, a prison, temple, a center of human sacrifice and crab man worship. Now we're going back with a new party of characters on levels 1 to 4, trying to rescue a friend or two and get rid of Nualia once and for all.
In terms of influences:
– Kerealia is a town by the Sea of Five Winds, of the Wilderlands of High Fantasy
– Nualia is a non-player character from Paizo's Burnt Offerings, their first book of the Rise of the Runelords Adventure Path, lording it over some goblins
– Garaskis and the crab-men is from the upper levels of The Darkness Beneath in Fight On! magazine by David Bowman
– In terms of style, I'm aiming for something like Stonehell
Anyway, if you feel your strength is keying a dungeon, creating treasure hoards, creating tricks and traps for dungeons, editing, illustrations, or adding the gonzo crazy to mundane dungeons, I could use your help! My own strengths are (hopefully) the mapping, a ruthless focus on brevity, and coding stuff if we need tool support.
I'm planning for the actual dungeon key to be written on the wiki, too: https://campaignwiki.org/wiki/Gridmapper/Comments_on_The_Sewer_Prison
Once we're done editing and all that, we'll move it – hopefully! – to six single page PDF documents, ready for the contest.
Example dungeon I'm working on when I'm not working on the tool itself (another very common distraction...): http://goo.gl/Jclnol
If you follow the link to the SVG file, click the Demo link and watch it, that should take about 100 seconds. :)
Unfortunately I dropped IE 11 support along the way... Firefox and Chrome should work, though.
Some more technical documentation:
As for role-playing games: I run two old school campaign using Labyrinth Lord and I play in an old school campaign using the Adventure Conqueror King System. I'm also in a biweekly indie game group. All in all I've played various Fate variants, including mini campaigns using Diaspora, Burning Wheel and Mouse Guard, as well as various one-shots using Lady Blackbird, Mountain Witch, In A Wicked Age, Western City, Apocalypse World, Isotope and many more.
As for politics and religion, I don't post much. I think these topics are important and that we need to have a conversation about them if we're going to share this world, but I get most of that from newspapers. Thus, I might plus a lot of left-leaning posts, but I hardly ever post any. I do post links to political things I care about on Twitter, though. I usually uncircle people that post too much about their favorite religion, gun activism, hate speech (islamophobia, homophobia, transphobia, misogyny) and other things that make me sad, or people that post too much about the food they eat or the drinks they drink…
- I maintain a blog. You might be interested in the RPG posts only.
- I run a very simple campaign wiki site.
- I wrote a German Labyrinth Lord variant called Hellebarden und Helme.
- I wrote a short, German rules reference for our Solar System campaign.
- I also wrote a German Fate variant called Der Geist Mesopotamiens.
- I wrote an old school character generator for Labyrinth Lord and B/X D&D.
- I wrote a Traveller subsector generator and a map generator to go along with it.
- I wrote Text Mapper, which allows me to generate a hex map from a text description.
- I wrote Gridmapper, which allows me to quickly draw old school dungeons.
- International School Bangkok
- Deutsche Schule Lissabon
- Universität Zürich
- Kantonsschule Baden
- BSI Business System Integration AG
People them with Monsters: D&D 5E Basic Rules - Lulu Cover
Step 1: Get version 0.2 of the player rules and version 0.1 of the DM rules HERE. (printer-friendly versions) Step 2: Remove the last page f
A Little Ancient Mesopotamian Campaign Setting With Your D&D, Sir?
Inspired by this approach to hex mapping and setting design, and at a bit of a loose end (you know how sometimes when you have a million oth
Playing D&D With Porn Stars: ...or you could just roll Gather Inform...
They land in the port of Abu Zin Zeer looking for the white elves who were rumored to be transporting the eye of a fallen god. But first the
Anyone Brushing Off NSA Surveillance Because It's 'Just Metadata' Doesn'...
One of the key themes that has come out from the revelations concerning NSA surveillance is a bunch of defenders of the program claiming "it