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Alex Schroeder
Worked at BSI Business System Integration AG
Attended International School Bangkok
Lives in Zürich, Switzerland


Alex Schroeder

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I love this. Generate random spellbooks, or create your own spell lists to refer to at the table without having to look it up in a book.
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Word! How many times have we looked up whether you can speak to your friends or not under the effect of a silence spell. I often think that my players should just physically cut and paste the spell descriptions into a little booklet. But as a player, I didn't do it. Perhaps with a few printouts from this site it will work better!
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Alex Schroeder

STR, CON, DEX: Training & Exercise  - 
I've recently read Born to Run and it really makes me want to run more. A while ago we started training for 10km runs and these days we moved to training for a half marathon. This book is about 50 miles runs and 100 miles runs, however. It's also about buying cheaper shoes, eating healthier, running more, and people living in remote areas of the world that still run for hours on end. This book really makes me want to run more.
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Wow, that is really interesting! Thanks for posting. 😀
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Alex Schroeder

◘ OSR // Old School Renaissance  - 
Gestern war die zweite Session in unserem aktuellen Abenteuer, wo wir dem Hundearchon Duft von Heu in der Morgensonne helfen wollen. In der Nähe des Klosters des Inneren Lichts erscheinen immer wieder ein paar hundert durchgedrehte Modronen und das töten dieser Modrone behindert den Aufstieg der Hundearchons in der Gegend. Über Gedächtniskristalle der Sennsaten erfährt man vom Gelächter eines Riesen aus dem Limbo Tor und über Bahamuts Palast findet man einen Palast der Djinn und eine Festung der Riesen bei einem Ausritt mit Pegasoi und am Ende werden die Einen gegen die Anderen gehetzt und die Pläne laufen schief doch beide Parteien werden um ihre Schätze gebracht und der Limbo-Ring wird ebenfalls geschnappt. Fertig mit dem Entführen der armen Modronen!
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Explore kensanata's photos on Flickr. kensanata has uploaded 4188 photos to Flickr.
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Nein, die sind überwiegend an Bildern und Dokumenten interessiert (siehe Homepage und!.html).

Hab aber selbst noch nichts hingeschickt, muss ich leider sagen. Vieles von meinem Zeug landet irgendwann auch leider im Nirvana, weil ich RPG Kram nicht ordentlich abhefte.
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Alex Schroeder

Discussion  - 
Luke Crane using Moldvay, like +Harald Wagener did when he ran the module for us. Sukiskyn was a great battle an I remember it still. I like how Luke says that sometimes the particular rules in the module create killer situation and that Moldvay usually knows best. There is an elegance about Moldvay's procedures.
I run three D&D games at Kickstarter (The groups all have names: Tiny Skulls, Lordz of Chaøs and Swords with Friends). All three groups have now completed B2 Keep on the Borderlands. One group chose to head for the ruins of High Port and is now embroiled in the Secret of Bone Hill.

The other two groups opted to head north to Haven and are both now (separately) involved in the goblin uprising on the Dymrak frontier—aka B10 Night's Dark Terror.

I combine NDT with the Palace of the Silver Princess. Kelven becomes Haven and Haven becomes the capital of the Silver Principality. Argenta then becomes rule of law and primary quest giver. It works out great (when I ignore nearly everything else in the Palace of the Silver Princess scenario).

This week, I played the second session of Night's Dark Terror with Swords with Friends. NDT's second is great. It's action, action, action.

Spoilers follow Desist reading if you think you'll ever play NDT

Swords with Friends consists of some serious power at this point: Oulot the Conjuror (L3 MU), M the Conjuror (L3 MU), Gabrielle the Priestess (L3 Cleric), Fiasco the Swordmaster (L3 Dwarf), Phineas the Burglar (L4 Thief) and Ludo the Ghoul (L1 Ghoul). There are also two Halflings (L2 and L1) that couldn't make this session.

In addition, there are many NPCs: four men-at-arms, a guide (Stefan, from NDT), a charmed Lizard Man chief (Hhem), and a prisoner (Dog from the raid on Kalannos' boat).

After settling into the game, I pushed the story as quickly as I could to the arrival at Sukiskyn: smoke on the wind, fire in the distance, the faint sounds of battle in the twilight ahead. It's a classic set up.

Oulot's player, Alex, was the caller for this session. Urged on by Stefan, he had the group rush ahead. Bursting from the forest, they saw the fortified homestead that is Sukiskyn. The barn at the north end was on fire. Ahead of them was a bridge over a small river that leads to a gatehouse that guards the entrance to the homestead. 

We had not set marching order or anything of the sort at this point. I was deliberately playing loose. Listening to them for cues as to what was important to them.

And thus, as instructed by the module, I sprung the ambush on them. Eight wolf riders emerge from the forest behind them.

How far? It's the immediate question. The adventure itself is mute. So I relied on the procedure from Moldvay: roll 2d6 x 10 for encounter distance. 

In this case, the wolves were 50' away. An excellent distance for such an encounter since their movement rate is 50'. 

It’s also important to note, Oulot, M, Ludo and Phineas were all invisible. The group managed to acquire an invisibility spell with a lucky roll a while back, so it’s a part of how they operate now that they’re 3rd level.

But this left Gabrielle, Fiasco, Hhem, the soldiers and Stefan exposed.

I called for the surprise roll. In NDT, it instructs the DM to use special surprise rules: 1-4 instead of the standard 1-2. Having run this encounter twice before, I couldn’t go with the module. I’ve found that NDT can be tyrannically violent in some places and that it can be better to rely on the standard Moldvay procedures than it’s own instructions for a more fair encounter.

Stefan and one of the soldiers were surprised. No one else was.

I turned to the caller, Alex, “What will you do? Run, fight, parley?”

They briefly discussed parley, but it was clear the goblins had spears raised and were on the attack. He indicated that they’d fight. I described the scene again: emerging from the forest at the edge of the river, a narrow wooden bridge guarded by a gatehouse tower on the far side.

“How wide is the bridge?”

I checked the map. “It looks to be about 10’ wide.” Pretty standard map square arrangement.

There were some ideas tossed out from the other players to Alex. He bowed his head for a moment and thought.

Lifting his chin he said, “No. The men-at-arms form up across the head of the bridge. Everyone else form up behind them.”
I saw something click in Alex. He understood the stakes. The wolves were at their back and bearing down. If they got among them in a confused melee, the group would be destroyed.

Everyone declared weapons and rolled for initiative. The plan still had to be enacted. The group stood in a loose pack on the river bank, so they needed lucky initiative rolls to get the soldiers formed up before the wolves attacked.

The dice came up in their favor. The men-at-arms acted on 5, the wolves on 3.

“How many men-at-arms does it take to plug up the bridge?”

“Three. With spears, they can fight close together.”

“Perfect! We have our three unsurprised spearmen form up.”

“They hustle into place, lower their spears and raise their shields.”

The group cheered. The other players began to spend their actions moving behind the line. Those that could, attacked as well. Oulot threw her sleep spell at their attackers—neutralizing the goblins, but not the wolves. But the priority was forming up.

Then the wolves attacked. The cleric and dwarf had yet to act. So they were out in space and vulnerable. I decided that five of the eight wolves would attack—one for each of the soldiers and one each for the cleric and dwarf. The others would hang back and look for an opening.

The cleric and dwarf narrowly escaped the wolves’ jaws unharmed, but the men-at-arms weren’t so lucky. Despite my gift of -2 AC to the soldiers since they had a legitimate spear wall, the dire wolves crashed the line. Two of the poor fools were ripped to shreds—shattering the line as a result.

Now the clock began to strike doom, and Oulot’s player, Alex, read the situation perfectly. The dwarf and cleric were engaged, but had yet to act. Alex calmly said to them, “Don’t attack your wolves. I need you to come back and fill in the line.”

Something in his tone caught their attention. They both looked to him. He continued, “There’s a huge wolf right in front of me. It just killed Quar. I cast sleep this round, so I’m visible now. If you don’t step in front of it, it’s going to kill me.” Oulot and M, the two conjurors, only have 5 HP each. So the dire wolves’ 2d4 damage is near certain death for them.

Despite having adventured together for over a year now, there was some reluctance from Hayley and Justin, the dwarf and cleric’s players. This group had witnessed so much bloodshed—so many corpses—that combat was often more about self-preservation than self-sacrifice.

But after a moment’s hesitation, they both agreed. 

“Okay, I step into the line,” sighed Hayley. 
“Yeah, I will too,” agreed Justin. 

(Based on their starting positions once the fight broke out, I decided that they were within a retreat move (10’) of the bridgehead. So it all felt very legitimate to me, movement-wise.)

Once in place, the dwarf and cleric—Fiasco and Gabrielle—Hayley and Justin—just tanked out. Something clicked for them, too. A flaming sword, a snake staff, a dwarven warhammer all fell on the unsuspecting dire wolves. Behind them a thicket of spears burst forth. Hhem and Dog grabbed the spears from the fallen soldiers. Phineas’s chosen weapon is the bronze spear of the Minotaur. He lunged across their shoulders, lashing out at the ravening beasts. 

And the plan worked.

The wolves couldn’t break through to the more vulnerable characters. The heavier armor and steady thump of hammer and sword held them back while the conjurors hit the wolves with spell and wand. Even Ludo the Ghoul (after unsuccessfully trying to ride one of the beasts) paralyzed one and then crept along the lip of the bridge and ripped out the throat of another.

I love this moment in the game because I feel like group came together in a way they hadn’t before. They protected one another, they husbanded their resources, but they didn’t delay or squander opportunities. They acted decisively when they had to. And they were victorious.

According to the encounter description, a second group of wolves emerges from the forest along the river to try to cut off access to the bridge. Obviously, they were too late to cut them off, but I had them snake in for revenge. 

As the caller sounded the retreat to get them to safety behind the gate, I told Alex that the surviving soldiers expressed gratitude for what his character had done. They were happy to be alive!

And as a testament to their new fighting spirit, once they had stabilized the situation in Sukiskyn and assessed what was happening, the group formed up at the gate and sortied out against that second group of wolves! This time they came out swinging—a fireball from the bone wand wounded all seven of the wolves and incinerated their goblin riders. The wolves, enraged, flung themselves to the attack. But the group held their line and stuck to their tactics. Despite Fiasco the Swordmaster—now Fiasco Wolfslayer— being badly wounded, they managed to bring down six of the seven dire beasts. 

We wrapped up soon after. The group was abuzz with energy. I got messages later, “That was a great session!” “So much fun!”

Sometimes it just takes a bridge to defend against a pack of death-crazed dire wolves to bring a group together!
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Kirwyn's profile photoJason GURPS's profile photoDyson Logos's profile photoJens Larsen's profile photo
Done, and re-shared the post with this group.
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Alex Schroeder

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Old oil tanks and their conversion into floating villages makes me think of +Gus L and his HMS Appollyon campaign setting.
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"Thirty years from now there will be a huge amount of oil—and no buyers. Oil will be left in the ground. The Stone Age came to an end, not because we had a lack of stones, and the oil age will come to an end not because we have a lack of oil."

-The former oil Minister from Saudi Arabia
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Alex Schroeder

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Using Google+ Collections
The primary use I see for these collections is that I can tag my posts such that my followers can unfollow from particular tags only. This post is in my Social Media Collection, for example. Here's what not to do: putting all your old posts into collections! Today, my feed was clogged with a ton of posts by a person I had circled. These were not new posts. Sometimes, Google+ shows just one post in a new collection and says "Added this and 17 other posts to X" -- but in this case, I was seeing dozens of these posts. Was it because you need to keep adding posts to the same collection for Google+ to group them? I don't know. What I do know, however, is that putting old posts into collections doesn't improve my G+ experience. In fact, sometimes this activity can clog your followers' streams. I recommend doing that only for new posts.
Simon Forster's profile photoAdam Furgang's profile photoChris Purcell's profile photoLance Allen (Darius Wolfe)'s profile photo
Okay. I haven't messed around with 'em much yet.
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Alex Schroeder

Diskussion  - 
If you want to see the judges talk about the #1pdc  and hear about the 3 grand prizes for this years contest, then here is the youtube recording, raw and unedited. +Teos Abadia +Steven Winter +Martin Thomas 
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Alex Schroeder

Diskussion  - 
I am tempted to provide an Internet headline. "5 reasons the One Page Dungeon Contest is the best!" As for my own reasons for supporting the One Page Dungeon Contest, back in 2009 I wrote the following: "Essentially I like a healthy mix of adventures I think of myself and professionally produced adventures. But when it comes to my own stuff, I’m never quite sure with what to compare it to. Should I aspire to write as the pros? I don’t think that would be time well spent. The One Page Dungeon Contest gives me the opportunity to compare my work with ordinary DMs from all over the world. I can learn from the successes and failures from others. That’s why I hope that the contest submissions will remain a crazy mix of things. I don’t want a contest dominated by Wolfgang Baur, Monte Cook, Eric Mona, Nicolas Logue and other people in their league. I want to compare my entry with authors in my league."
   Every year the contest has beautiful submissions, beautiful maps, beautiful type, beautiful layout – these submissions are slowly moving into the "unreachable league" because of my unwillingness to spend so much time on an adventure, and because of my lack of talent to push it from good enough for me up to that level. Perhaps that's why I decided to submit my handwritten adventure prep notes this year. I actually ran it just like that. Looking back, that was probably not the most thought out move, but it felt like the right kind of statement to make: if I want more stuff "in my league" to compare myself to, then I would have to put my stuff out there. If I want more "average" submissions in order to see what other people are actually running, then I would have to submit an adventure I had written and actually run at my table.
If you're interested in finding out who won this year's #OnePageDungeonContest that I helped judge, check out my latest blog post and tune in to a Google Hangout hosted by +Random Wizard tomorrow to find out.
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Alex Schroeder's profile photoGrand DM's profile photoRoger Giner-Sorolla's profile photo
Or perhaps a better way to work within the existing contest would separate out pre-defined winner categories, so that "Best Graphic Presentation" would be only one of them (best dungeon layout, best single encounter, best unusual concept, etc.)
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Alex Schroeder

Diskussion  - 
The judges have worked very hard this weekend to find the best of the best of the 2015 One Page Dungeon Contest. The finalists for this years contest are...
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Congrats to all the finalists! 
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Alex Schroeder

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I recently saw a quote from Platon's Phaedrus in my stream and as I'm listening to the episode of In Our Time on Sappho and hear them talk about fragment 31, I am struck by the timelessness of desire. Longinus uses the fragment as an example for the intensity of its emotion in his work, On the Sublime. Here's from 7th century BCE.

He appears to me, that one, equal to the gods,
the man who, facing you,
is seated and, up close, that sweet voice of yours
he listens to

And how you laugh your charming laugh. Why it
makes my heart flutter within my breast,
because the moment I look at you, right then, for me,
to make any sound at all won’t work any more.

My tongue has a breakdown and a delicate
— all of a sudden — fire rushes under my skin.
With my eyes I see not a thing, and there is a roar
that my ears make.

Sweat pours down me and a trembling
seizes all of me; paler than grass
am I, and a little short of death
do I appear to me.

And truly we are blessed.

Literal translation by Gregory Nagy, copied from Wikipedia.

I heard about it on the In Our Time podcast on Sappho.
(What a reading list!)
Alex Schroeder's profile photoDave Garbutt's profile photoIvan Pierre's profile photoAlan G's profile photo
If I had a time machine I would visit her to get the full versions :-) and hide the copies in other manuscripts I knew would be found later.

I have the Anne Carson translations 'if not, winter' and they are magic.
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Alex Schroeder

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Motte and Bailey castles, with lots of bullet lists. An interesting writing style. Perhaps of interest to RPG players not using King Arthur's Pendragon.
The Picture Gallery of the entire site is great, too.
In doing a bit of research about motte & bailey castles, I found this little neat website. Perhaps some of you will find it useful.
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nice find by +Alex Schroeder 
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Alex Schroeder

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Here's an interview with a person involved in fighting #fire . The questions are about the fear, the fascination, the smell, the noise, the birds. The answers are about panic, confusion, hoarse voices, smoke, darkness, hell, and pain.
A long time ago, looking for inspiration and information about a still-ongoing project, I asked my G+ stream if anyone knew anything about fire. Dungeon Smash, (blog here) responded and, after quickly finishing a bestiary wit...
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Alex's Collections
Emacs, Lisp, Perl, Wiki, D&D
I have some rare public posts. These are usually about Google+ itself. I also post to specific communities when the topic warrants it. If you haven't joined the same communities, you can check my profile to see those posts and the communities they went to. They're all public. That's how I hope to find new people: I often check the profiles of new people that comment on my posts.

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 live in Switzerland. I write code for a living (Java). I have a 60% job. I try to keep fit using Aikido, 10km running and some callisthenics. I have no faith and no kids.
Bragging rights
In Switzerland, bragging leads to loss of face.
  • International School Bangkok
  • Deutsche Schule Lissabon
  • Universität Zürich
  • Kantonsschule Baden
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Other names
Code monkey
  • BSI Business System Integration AG
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Zürich, Switzerland
Lisboa, Portugal - Bangkok, Thailand - Windhoek, Namibia
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Alex Schroeder's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
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