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Christo Meid
A geek that's striving to remember who he really is
A geek that's striving to remember who he really is

Christo's posts

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Dreamation 2017: The Watch

The Mystical Fox Tabak

You’ve probably ready posts by other players in the Long Con game of the Watch at Dreamation (by +Tony Lower-Basch, and +Michael X. Heiligenstein They talked about the events, the battles the camaraderie. What they didn’t talk too much about was the magic...

I played the Fox, one of the extended playbooks for the Watch that we’ll only see if we make some stretch goals (that’s a big hint people -- please back it! I want those amazing playbooks). You might think the Fox is a trickster or a cunning thief. That’s not how Tabak came out. Her playbook says in no uncertain terms that she talks with spirits of the dead among other things. That immediately drew me: creepy magic!

Tabak, my character, was chosen by Laustek of the Degrassi table. As you might have guessed by reading Tony’s write-up, we were a tight group and earned the name Degrassi. We covered for each other, argued with each other, exposed our fears and vulnerabilities to each other (e.g., Open Up to Someone) but we had each other’s backs even when we did horrible things...

When team Degrassi was taking the fort, following the screaming lead of Presti the Fabulous (aka Presti the Reckless), one of the shadow-thralled got up and surprised Tabak, pinning her to the ground and vomiting putrid shadow into her.... Tabak boiled with rage, freed herself (or was she freed by a comrade?) and fought fiercely. Later, when searching the fort, it was Tabak that found the 3 hostage women in a side room. It was also Tabak who was overcome by the rage of the shadow and viciously slew them...

From that battle, three of our women had been tainted by the shadow: Laustec, our leader, Tabak, and Patho (sp?). We had not known of Patho’s corruption until she attacked Laustec and infected her also. Hiding this corruption from our commander (the women above Laustec), we pondered what to do. At this time, a new force of shadow thralls was approaching the fort, preparing to lay siege. Tabak came up with a risky idea that had the chance of solving many problems at once: she should do the Spirit Walk move and, through extreme exertion, take her comrades with her and cleanse everyone of the shadow taint...This raised her Weariness and Jaded, but Tabak needed to atone for what she had done to the hostages, so she was willing to take the risks of losing herself. Tabak instructed all to close their eyes and link hands, and she would lead them through the whispering spirits.

The Spirit Walk went as planned, with a tunnel opening through the spirit world, leading right to the center of the enemy’s forces as planned. Engaged in battle, our friends were briefly separated. Tabak threw herself to attack the commander of the Shadowthralls, only to discover (missed roll) that it was her cousin. She fell in shock and anguish (missed roll resulted in being overcome by weariness, an excellent cinematic mechanic), since her cousin had been her best friend, and more, growing up. Laustec came to the rescue and saved Tabak. In the ensuing battle, one of the women killed Tabak’s cousin, and Tabak obtained the amulet that had been around his neck --- a shadow artifact that Preyma had divined could be used to create a talisman of protection against the shadow. On taking down their commander, Team Degrassi achieved a stunning victory, and routed the shadow forces. Not to forget, the Spirit Walk has also cleansed three of the comrades.

On returning to the fort, Peyma and Tabak performed a ritual (Peyma’s move), using the amulet, some of the remains of the shadow vomit (yes, Tabak kept it in her waterskin after the attack: she has more willpower than I do!) and light to create a protective amulet that would make the wearer immune to corruption by the Shadow.

Team Degrasi hid what had happened to us (shadow tainting) and the fact that we had taken a shadow artifact from the commander, since she felt that any that had been touched by the shadow should be killed. This, of course, ratcheted up the tension, but made our characters bond and trust and protect each other all the more. Oh, and blow off steam, talk heart to heart, etc. Degrassi, after all.

An aside here: in all cases where magical moves are mentioned, the mechanical effects are given in the playbooks, but the fictional details are left to the players and MC. It was Tabak that decided that the Spirit Walk was a chill pathway through spirits of our dead, who would whisper and try to lure living souls from the path. When Tabak botched her roll when confronted with the leader of the enemy, it was the MC who asked: how do you know the leader? The first person that came to mind was Tabak’s beloved cousin... This creative, collaborative flexibility led to fantastic, mesmerizing storytelling and cinematic opportunities to show that our character’s were not emotionless automatons of war, but people that had been drawn into this battle, and were trying to hold on to their humanity. It also, of course, gets everyone to buy-in to the story, since we all contributed to it and no two games would play the same.

Well, hopefully this post has given you a glimpse of the intense dramatic nature of The Watch. Please support it: not only will you bring a great game into the world, but you'll free the Fox and other playbooks, which are currently locked as stretch goals!

Props to our GMs: +Anna Kreider and +Aaron Friesen.

A big thanks to the players: +Tony Lower-Basch, +George Austin, +Rebecca W, +Michael X. Heiligenstein, +Joe Beason, Albert D, and +Doug Bonar

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Mesh networks for the home

Aside from providing a solid review 3 home mesh networks options, it also provides some detail on how neighbors are creating interference for each other with strong Wi-Fi signals. Plume is the outright winner here.

An episode on Dreamation 2017 Games

Two things struck me as particularly interesting in this episode. The first was how +Kate Bullock, +Rach Shelkey, and +Rob Deobald describe why they chose to play the games they did, what they hoped to get out of them, and what they did get out of them.

The second interesting point was on how games are often so narrowly tied to one culture. Velvet Glove, for instance, is very tied to US cultural touchstones and elements of gang culture in the 70's. +Sarah Richardson, the designer, does provide touchstones for those outside of the culture, so they can use the game to explore the culture: movies, music, etc. are listed in Velvet Glove, which is a big help, although players still may need to understand gang and ethnic relations of the time, as well as the political backdrop.

That said, the discussion from this broadcast brought up an interesting idea: Do game designers ever provide a framework or recommendations for others to adapt the games to other cultures? What does that look like? I'm hoping that +Sarah Richardson, the designer of Velvet Glove will consider this as she develops Velvet Glove, because that would be brilliant, and Sarah has been known to be that.

How excellent would it be to play Velvet Glove in SFO in the 70's, and then in Montreal...

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Wood Wide Web

This article is about how fungi connect plants, allowing for communication of threats and sharing of resources. The article often makes it sound like there is intent behind these actions, which strikes me as a bit of color the author added.

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Satire of our Politics? Wishful thinking?

Very well filmed, with actors that remind me of so many politicians. And the embarrassing realization in the end... 

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Betting on Trump's Impeachment or Resignation

I still want an impeachment pool.

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Another Alternative Fact..

Just in case you still have a thence to believe the President because of the respect due his office... Don't. He makes stuff up.
Donald Trump lies about the US murder rate (again)

I mean, I hate to call someone a liar outright. That's kind of rude. But when someone makes an objective assertion about reality and is corrected, numerous times, and continues to do so, they are either lying or insane.

And I'm kind of hoping it's "lying."

I mean, this isn't "We're in grave danger" or "I am the winningest" or "They loved me at that speech." Those have enough subjective wiggle room to be able to say, "Wow, you live in a strange little world of your own" and just shake your head.

This is different. This is numbers. And when you are corrected on numbers, but refused to believe them ... well, we get back to "lying" or "insane." I mean, it's really that simple.

'The murder rate in our country is the highest it's been in 47 years, right? Did you know that? Forty-seven years. I used to use that — I'd say that in a speech and everybody was surprised, because the press doesn't tell it like it is. It wasn't to their advantage to say that. But the murder rate is the highest it's been in, I guess, from 45 to 47 years.'

It's not. This is simply false. And he's been told this, on numerous occasions.

These are not press numbers. These are US government numbers. These are the FBI Uniform Crime Reports.

The most recent year that's been reported is 2015. The rate, according to the FBI, was 4.9/100K people. That's a slight bump from the previous 4 years -- the rate was 4.8 to 4.4 between 2010 and 2014.

Prior to that? Every year between 1965 and 2010 the rate has been higher than is currently is. In 1970. the rate was 7.9. In 1980 the rate was 10.2. In 1991, the rate was 9.8. Those are numbers all much higher than 4.9.

Those are the real numbers. Pres. Trump has access to them. He's been shown them and told them when he's made the same claim in the past. To be willfully wrong is -- well, I keep coming back to "lying."

And, for the record, violent crime overall shows the same thing, dropping to historical lows. As has property crime.

We live in historically crime-free times. I know that makes it difficult to wave the red flag about lawlessness and evil and the need to stomp all over civil liberties to bring it under control, but lying about problems isn't going to make them any better.

See also:

Even the right-wing site Townhall is running the AP story on this:
Fox News appears to be strangely silent.

And past corrections to Trump's similar statements:

And, no, 4.9 homicides per 100,000 people is not a happy number. I'd prefer the number be zero. And, yes, there's been an uptick in crime in certain areas that need to be addressed. But, again, I repeat, lying about the overall problem is not the right way to start doing so. And, of course, it's lying.

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Undocumented Immigrants and the Taxes They Pay

I find the sums mind-boggling.

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Removing Swastikas and Other Hate Graffiti
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