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Derek Pennycuff
Attended University of Alberta
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Derek Pennycuff

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TIL at least 10 of the +Cinematic Titanic releases are streaming for free for Amazon Prime members. Also the +RiffTrax Live version of Sharknado and some MST3K episodes.
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Derek Pennycuff

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One of the openings is for a web applications developer. I have more than a few people in my circles who may be interested in such things.
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Well, they're local, and given my friends' stories of their work experience there... tread carefully.

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Savage Words Shadowrun Play Report - Session 2

Recap of Session 1
So last time I introduced the players to the system using the free introductory adventure from one of the early seasons of Shadowrun Missions. The one where they guard the meeting of fixers at Freeway Park. They managed to get through that with no real combat and only a single shot fired (as a distraction). Then just to give them a taste of combat I ended the session with a quick version of Fast Food Fight.

Player Characters
Dex Null - Dwarf hacker / rigger. Played by my 10 year old son, Gavin.
Sune - Elf cyborg / cat theif. Played by my 15 year old daughter, Fiona.
Cleopatra - Elf mage / face. Played by a 13 year old friend of the both the kids, Emily.
Pendragon - Human mage / face. Played by a 14 year old friend of the kids who lives nearly an hour south of here, Dylan.

So we ended up with 2 mages / faces. I made a total of 15 pregens and that's just how the picks went. Initially Pendragon was not a face. But at the start of tonight's session Dylan was talking about how he wants to approach the character and it became obvious he wants to avoid combat and try to talk his way out of situations first. So the Quirk Hindrance I initially built his pregen with (that was giving him a -1 Charisma) got swapped out for the minor version of Pacifist.

My Swag
I've used the Combat Cards from the Explorer's Society website (which is no longer around but it looks like all the downloads are available from the +Pinnacle Entertainment Group website now) to make cards for all the gear, cyberware, and spells the characters have.  It's hard to find minis appropriate for Shadowrun so I've taken some inspiration from virtual table tops and made character tokens instead. I got some 1 inch "flattened" bottle caps, a whole punch, and some acrylic disks from Amazon. After a lot of searching I ended up making extensive use of the character portraits published on the Shadowrun Online / Shadowrun Chronicles Facebook account. A beneficial side effect of the bottle caps is my magnetic status markers from Alea Tools stick to them without any modification. My Chessex Battlemat has gone missing in action in the nearly 2 years since I last ran an active game. When I replaced it I went ahead and ordered the Action & Adventure decks. I introduced the Adventure deck tonight. But for the Action deck I'm using some cyberpunk themed poker cards. Minis for baddies are pulled from figure flats, bags o'zombies, and the occasional prepainted plastic mini I've been able to find on the cheap over the years.

House Rules
I've stripped down the skills list to only 15 skills: Athletics, Driving, Fighting, Hacking, Healing, Intimidation, Investigation, Magic, Notice, Persuasion, Repair, Shooting, Stealth, Streetwise, and Taunt. Races balance out at +4 per the race creation rules. Cyberware is based on the Super Powers Companion, with Essence and price translating into Power Points. Essence starts at 6 and there's no way to increase it or recover it once it's lost. The magic system uses the No Powerpoints rule. Both mages and shaman start play with Summon Spirit / Elemental , Environmental Manipulation, and Assensing (converted from the Shadowrun core) as cantrips. They also get to choose 3 other spells. Strain cannot exceed Essence, and some magic focused Edges have minimum Essence requirements. I didn't end up with any physical adept players but the plan was for those to essentially follow the Adept edge without the requirement that it be added on top of the Miracles Arcane Background. Gear is mostly just applying Shadowrun names to core book gear. Prices mostly follow Shadowrun, although some of the infiltration and surveillance equipment seemed strangely over priced so I dropped that to a level I felt comfortable with. Drones follow the robot rules from the Science Fiction Companion. Hacking is mostly narrative although mentally I'm taking some inspiration from both Dramatic Tasks and Mass Combat. I've filled in some gaps using the free cyberpunk rules from Tipple Ace along with +Mike Evans's conversion (available on his blog). I offer bonus Bennies for: showing up in costume, showing up with a prop, bringing a snack for yourself, bringing a snack to share. So if you show up for a session in costume with a prop and carrying enough food for everyone then you could get up to 4 bonus Bennies.

Campaign Plan
I'm running them through the 1st edition (or maybe 2nd edition?) adventure / mini-campaign Harlequin. I'd love to be able to weave it in with totally unrelated runs, but school will be back in session before I can even get all the way through the 8 runs in Harlequin. I'm not counting on being able to continue regular games much past the start of the school year. Once we're through with Harlequin we'll re-evaluate the situation. We may or may not keep playing Shadowrun. We may or may not keep playing at all.

Tonight's Session
Tonight's session was Harlequin chapter 1: Physical. The team is hired to break into Sylvan Information Systems to steal the manuscript for an upcoming book written (by hand) by Ehran the Scribe. Spoiler warning for a 20+ year old adventure if anyone cares about such things.

They were polite but firm with the orks in the elevator, handling it mostly through role play with a couple of Persuasion rolls thrown in. Strangely, no one asked about or suggested they just take the stairs instead. That's honestly what I expected to happen.

They didn't even try to negotiate on pay. But they did ask some questions about Sylvan, particularly the security setup. They didn't seem to worry much about who was hiring them or why. The focus was on getting the job done. They did some legwork with the contact lists. I had drawn up 3 different sets of maps depending on how well I thought they covered the bases. They were thorough in their questions to me (and their contacts) and rolled well. We saw several raises at this point of the game. I ended up handing out the version of the maps with the most info.

The plan they came up with was to send in Dax Null and Sune, break in through the parking garage, make it into the main computer room, then take down the security system from there. Then Cleopatra and Pendragon can just waltz right in. They can start a physical search for the manuscript while Dax Null continues to hunt for relevant info in the matrix. Splitting the party was a little dull for the mages, I think. But the way it worked out actually kept the matrix part of the run from bogging down because by the point everyone had something to do.

They bought some smoke and flashbang grenades as well as some (nonlethal) gel rounds. Everyone but Sune already had silenced weapons. The goal was to get in and out without drawing undue attention or having to kill anyone.

Sune is an Acrobat with high Stealth so she had no problem getting over the fence and sneaking around. I gave Fiona a chance to help her unskilled (but Gifted, thanks to some headware) little brother get over the fence. But she chose to watch him struggle. Instead he nearly doubled her roll, even accounting for her Acrobat bonus.

My plan was to call for 3 Stealth checks to make it from the fence to the parking garage gate. I also roll a single d6. If both players make the Stealth check they encounter a Barghest on a 6. If anyone fails they trigger an encounter on a 5 or a 6. On the 3rd round the encounter die came up a 6 and Gavin failed his Stealth roll. He wanted to Bennie it but I pointed out with a 6 on the encounter die it wouldn't matter. I set up the map and the Barghest ended up exactly 15 hexes from Dax, the extreme end of short range for his silenced Ares Predator with laser sight. His Shooting roll was actually kinda weak but since he didn't have to move to get into close range the bonus from the laser sight landed a hit. He aced his damage roll and knocked out the Barghest in a single shot. We didn't even get through a full round of combat.

Gaining access to the building and to the computer room went well. They got smart and went straight for the security system once Dax got into the matrix. They turned off the security cameras and unlocked all the doors except for the caretaker's apartment, which they put on lock-down. There were still 3 Barghests on the grounds so Cleopatra and Pendragon got the same deal with the 3 Stealth rolls. They also ended up getting a 6 on the encounter die on the 3rd roll, but Cleopatra got a raise and Pendragon got two raises on the Stealth roll so I let the encounter slide.

After some searching and some cross-team communicating they eventually figured out who Ehran's editor was, which office was hers, discovered the safe, and found the combination in the computer system. Pendragon stole all the staplers in the office and some Elven jewelry found in the safe. (Since it's not Sylvan data it technically doesn't violate Morlock's requirement to not go snooping for pay data).

Then they decided that since the caretaker lives on site he must have a car. And they were willing to spend Bennies to make it something interesting. So he owned something small and sporty that all 4 of them couldn't fit in. The dwarf volunteered to ride in the trunk. But then they figured out no one had the Driving skill so the cyberware that let's Dax ignore the unskilled penalty was their best bet for being able to actually drive out of there. Sune contorted herself into the trunk. Dax sat on the manuscript so that he could see over the steering wheel. Then taped staplers to his feet so that he could reach the pedals. A Hacking, Repair, and Driving roll later and they were scott free. Didn't even have to deal with the Barghests on the way out.

No one used their Adventure cards. Although in hindsight Emily had a card that could have maxed their haul from the safe. As it stands they rolled and 11 on 2d6 anyway so her forgetting to play it didn't make a huge difference.

They took their pay from Morlock, fenced their stolen goods, and spent the majority of their haul on a step side van. Cleopatra spent her first advance on the Driving skill. Pendragon took the Charasmatic Edge. Sune and Dax haven't spent their advances yet.

We're 2 sessions in and they're already turning into The A-Team.
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Your players are not nearly suspicious enough.

Derek Pennycuff

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Almost time for Shadowrun.
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Almost, except in Shadowrun  you'd be using a hightech chainsaw tipped with artificial magical diamonds.

Derek Pennycuff

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Scottish Pirate Metal… with a keytar!
 
Todays new favourite thing.

Undeniably superior to the new favourite things of days past. The bar has been raised.
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Hell yeah!

Derek Pennycuff

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Uh oh.

First the G+ link gets moved inside the menu. But now it's been moved to the bottom of that menu.
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Assia Alexandrova's profile photoEvan Owen's profile photoShannon Shoffner's profile photoCapt Mak's profile photo
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yeah its annoying and the security prompts oyy
Have him in circles
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Derek Pennycuff

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Hey +kreg Mosier, does this count as #NOIRWAVE ?
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would have to say HELL YEAH! :)

Derek Pennycuff

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Savage Words Shadowrun Play Report - Session 2

Recap of Session 1
So last time I introduced the players to the system using the free introductory adventure from one of the early seasons of Shadowrun Missions. The one where they guard the meeting of fixers at Freeway Park. They managed to get through that with no real combat and only a single shot fired (as a distraction). Then just to give them a taste of combat I ended the session with a quick version of Fast Food Fight.

Player Characters
Dex Null - Dwarf hacker / rigger. Played by my 10 year old son, Gavin.
Sune - Elf cyborg / cat theif. Played by my 15 year old daughter, Fiona.
Cleopatra - Elf mage / face. Played by a 13 year old friend of the both the kids, Emily.
Pendragon - Human mage / face. Played by a 14 year old friend of the kids who lives nearly an hour south of here, Dylan.

So we ended up with 2 mages / faces. I made a total of 15 pregens and that's just how the picks went. Initially Pendragon was not a face. But at the start of tonight's session Dylan was talking about how he wants to approach the character and it became obvious he wants to avoid combat and try to talk his way out of situations first. So the Quirk Hindrance I initially built his pregen with (that was giving him a -1 Charisma) got swapped out for the minor version of Pacifist.

My Swag
I've used the Combat Cards from the Explorer's Society website (which is no longer around but it looks like all the downloads are available from the +Pinnacle Entertainment Group website now) to make cards for all the gear, cyberware, and spells the characters have.  It's hard to find minis appropriate for Shadowrun so I've taken some inspiration from virtual table tops and made character tokens instead. I got some 1 inch "flattened" bottle caps, a whole punch, and some acrylic disks from Amazon. After a lot of searching I ended up making extensive use of the character portraits published on the Shadowrun Online / Shadowrun Chronicles Facebook account. A beneficial side effect of the bottle caps is my magnetic status markers from Alea Tools stick to them without any modification. My Chessex Battlemat has gone missing in action in the nearly 2 years since I last ran an active game. When I replaced it I went ahead and ordered the Action & Adventure decks. I introduced the Adventure deck tonight. But for the Action deck I'm using some cyberpunk themed poker cards. Minis for baddies are pulled from figure flats, bags o'zombies, and the occasional prepainted plastic mini I've been able to find on the cheap over the years.

House Rules
I've stripped down the skills list to only 15 skills: Athletics, Driving, Fighting, Hacking, Healing, Intimidation, Investigation, Magic, Notice, Persuasion, Repair, Shooting, Stealth, Streetwise, and Taunt. Races balance out at +4 per the race creation rules. Cyberware is based on the Super Powers Companion, with Essence and price translating into Power Points. Essence starts at 6 and there's no way to increase it or recover it once it's lost. The magic system uses the No Powerpoints rule. Both mages and shaman start play with Summon Spirit / Elemental , Environmental Manipulation, and Assensing (converted from the Shadowrun core) as cantrips. They also get to choose 3 other spells. Strain cannot exceed Essence, and some magic focused Edges have minimum Essence requirements. I didn't end up with any physical adept players but the plan was for those to essentially follow the Adept edge without the requirement that it be added on top of the Miracles Arcane Background. Gear is mostly just applying Shadowrun names to core book gear. Prices mostly follow Shadowrun, although some of the infiltration and surveillance equipment seemed strangely over priced so I dropped that to a level I felt comfortable with. Drones follow the robot rules from the Science Fiction Companion. Hacking is mostly narrative although mentally I'm taking some inspiration from both Dramatic Tasks and Mass Combat. I've filled in some gaps using the free cyberpunk rules from Tipple Ace along with +Mike Evans's conversion (available on his blog). I offer bonus Bennies for: showing up in costume, showing up with a prop, bringing a snack for yourself, bringing a snack to share. So if you show up for a session in costume with a prop and carrying enough food for everyone then you could get up to 4 bonus Bennies.

Campaign Plan
I'm running them through the 1st edition (or maybe 2nd edition?) adventure / mini-campaign Harlequin. I'd love to be able to weave it in with totally unrelated runs, but school will be back in session before I can even get all the way through the 8 runs in Harlequin. I'm not counting on being able to continue regular games much past the start of the school year. Once we're through with Harlequin we'll re-evaluate the situation. We may or may not keep playing Shadowrun. We may or may not keep playing at all.

Tonight's Session
Tonight's session was Harlequin chapter 1: Physical. The team is hired to break into Sylvan Information Systems to steal the manuscript for an upcoming book written (by hand) by Ehran the Scribe. Spoiler warning for a 20+ year old adventure if anyone cares about such things.

They were polite but firm with the orks in the elevator, handling it mostly through role play with a couple of Persuasion rolls thrown in. Strangely, no one asked about or suggested they just take the stairs instead. That's honestly what I expected to happen.

They didn't even try to negotiate on pay. But they did ask some questions about Sylvan, particularly the security setup. They didn't seem to worry much about who was hiring them or why. The focus was on getting the job done. They did some legwork with the contact lists. I had drawn up 3 different sets of maps depending on how well I thought they covered the bases. They were thorough in their questions to me (and their contacts) and rolled well. We saw several raises at this point of the game. I ended up handing out the version of the maps with the most info.

The plan they came up with was to send in Dax Null and Sune, break in through the parking garage, make it into the main computer room, then take down the security system from there. Then Cleopatra and Pendragon can just waltz right in. They can start a physical search for the manuscript while Dax Null continues to hunt for relevant info in the matrix. Splitting the party was a little dull for the mages, I think. But the way it worked out actually kept the matrix part of the run from bogging down because by the point everyone had something to do.

They bought some smoke and flashbang grenades as well as some (nonlethal) gel rounds. Everyone but Sune already had silenced weapons. The goal was to get in and out without drawing undue attention or having to kill anyone.

Sune is an Acrobat with high Stealth so she had no problem getting over the fence and sneaking around. I gave Fiona a chance to help her unskilled (but Gifted, thanks to some headware) little brother get over the fence. But she chose to watch him struggle. Instead he nearly doubled her roll, even accounting for her Acrobat bonus.

My plan was to call for 3 Stealth checks to make it from the fence to the parking garage gate. I also roll a single d6. If both players make the Stealth check they encounter a Barghest on a 6. If anyone fails they trigger an encounter on a 5 or a 6. On the 3rd round the encounter die came up a 6 and Gavin failed his Stealth roll. He wanted to Bennie it but I pointed out with a 6 on the encounter die it wouldn't matter. I set up the map and the Barghest ended up exactly 15 hexes from Dax, the extreme end of short range for his silenced Ares Predator with laser sight. His Shooting roll was actually kinda weak but since he didn't have to move to get into close range the bonus from the laser sight landed a hit. He aced his damage roll and knocked out the Barghest in a single shot. We didn't even get through a full round of combat.

Gaining access to the building and to the computer room went well. They got smart and went straight for the security system once Dax got into the matrix. They turned off the security cameras and unlocked all the doors except for the caretaker's apartment, which they put on lock-down. There were still 3 Barghests on the grounds so Cleopatra and Pendragon got the same deal with the 3 Stealth rolls. They also ended up getting a 6 on the encounter die on the 3rd roll, but Cleopatra got a raise and Pendragon got two raises on the Stealth roll so I let the encounter slide.

After some searching and some cross-team communicating they eventually figured out who Ehran's editor was, which office was hers, discovered the safe, and found the combination in the computer system. Pendragon stole all the staplers in the office and some Elven jewelry found in the safe. (Since it's not Sylvan data it technically doesn't violate Morlock's requirement to not go snooping for pay data).

Then they decided that since the caretaker lives on site he must have a car. And they were willing to spend Bennies to make it something interesting. So he owned something small and sporty that all 4 of them couldn't fit in. The dwarf volunteered to ride in the trunk. But then they figured out no one had the Driving skill so the cyberware that let's Dax ignore the unskilled penalty was their best bet for being able to actually drive out of there. Sune contorted herself into the trunk. Dax sat on the manuscript so that he could see over the steering wheel. Then taped staplers to his feet so that he could reach the pedals. A Hacking, Repair, and Driving roll later and they were scott free. Didn't even have to deal with the Barghests on the way out.

No one used their Adventure cards. Although in hindsight Emily had a card that could have maxed their haul from the safe. As it stands they rolled and 11 on 2d6 anyway so her forgetting to play it didn't make a huge difference.

They took their pay from Morlock, fenced their stolen goods, and spent the majority of their haul on a step side van. Cleopatra spent her first advance on the Driving skill. Pendragon took the Charasmatic Edge. Sune and Dax haven't spent their advances yet.

We're 2 sessions in and they're already turning into The A-Team.
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Joey Mullins (Gaming Ronin)'s profile photoMike Elston's profile photo
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That same adventure led to a spirit running off carrying the bomb away from the site and when it went off near a freeway support,
It was called a terrorist incident.

They wound up fighting off the Halloweeners with the flame throwers.
Add a comment...

Derek Pennycuff

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Here's hoping for a day when medical cost crowd funding campaigns like this no longer have to exist.
 
My wife's best friend of 20 years is facing brain surgery, chemo and may have an incurable form of cancer. I'd never ask for anything for myself but I will beg friends and strangers to help them. If they reach the improbable goal of $10,000 my wife will shave her head completely bald.

Please help if you're able. (I want to see my wife bald) 
On June 8, 2015 Kasi was diagnosed with a brain tumor. June 16, 2015 she underwent surgery to have the tumor removed. I am trying to raise funds to help cover her medical costs. She has already been in the hospital two weeks and is facing at least six weeks of in patient rehab. She may well hav...
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I was talking to the kids this weekend about the Western misconception of karma, in that we tend to think of it in terms of justice. Do good things and good things will happen to you. Do bad things and bad things will happen to you. But that's bullshit. It's not about reward and punishment. It's about the effects your behavior has on the people and the world around you. It's better to be kind than rude, not because that "earns" you some sort of reward. But because it makes the world a slightly better place.

Making small adjustments such as listening, smiling, sharing and thanking others more often can have a huge impact. In one unpublished experiment I conducted, a smile and simple thanks (as compared with not doing this) resulted in people being viewed as 27 percent warmer, 13 percent more competent and 22 percent more civil.

The focus of this article is civility in the workplace. But I think it applies to any social environment. Given how rude kids often are to each other in school I can't imagine the drain on learning abilities teachers and students are dealing with.

In one study, the experimenter belittled the peer group of the participants, who then performed 33 percent worse on anagram word puzzles and came up with 39 percent fewer creative ideas during a brainstorming task focused on how they might use a brick. In our second study, a stranger — a “busy professor” encountered en route to the experiment — was rude to participants by admonishing them for bothering her. Their performance was 61 percent worse on word puzzles, and they produced 58 percent fewer ideas in the brick task than those who had not been treated rudely. We found the same pattern for those who merely witnessed incivility: They performed 22 percent worse on word puzzles and produced 28 percent fewer ideas in the brainstorming task.

Being kind, attentive, and respectful to other people is sort of like a super power.

Civility elicits perceptions of warmth and competence. Susan T. Fiske, a professor at Princeton, and Amy J. C. Cuddy, a professor at Harvard, with their colleagues have conducted research that suggests that these two traits drive our impressions of others, accounting for more than 90 percent of the variation in the positive or negative impressions we form of those around us. These impressions dictate whether people will trust you, build relationships with you, follow you and support you.

But there's no guarantee that you'll ever benefit from it. People can and will continue to be rude to you. And your positive actions may directly benefit those assholes instead of you. But do it anyway. Lines up nicely with +Ade Oshineye post I saw this morning about the Paradoxical Commandments.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kent_M._Keith
We’re rude at work, and it’s hurting profits, health and happiness.
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Derek Pennycuff's profile photoJared Ragland's profile photoChris Justchris's profile photo
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I'm always polite to people because I'm lazy, and it's like, 1000 times easier to say, "thanks" or "I'm sorry" than to deal with the bullshit resulting from not doing it.

Derek Pennycuff

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Heads Up:  Neil Young​’s Brand New Album, The Monsanto Years, Now Streaming Free Online (For a Limited Time).
A quick heads up: Neil Young's 36th studio album, The Monsanto Years, is now streaming for free online thanks to NPR's First Listen web site:
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Education
  • University of Alberta
    Communications and Technology
  • Tennessee Technological University
    Web Design
  • Pellissippi State Technical Community College
    Web Development Technology
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