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Jens Alfke
A man … a plan … a can of SPAM™ … Bananama!
A man … a plan … a can of SPAM™ … Bananama!

Jens's posts

Just got my copy of the deck. It looks great! There's one thing that I think is a typo, though. The How To Use This Deck card says: "Each player draws two Character Definition cards, and one mutation."

This seems backwards to me. A character can't use two definition cards — I can't be both a Felinid and a Gelly Blob at the same time! But I could have two mutations.

So is this supposed to be "…draws one Character Definition card, and two mutations"?

Continuing my rules questions from the previous post...

Typo: Missing period (or colon?) at the end of the first para on p.19.

In the example on p.19 it's implied that the order of scene creation is (1) choose first element, (2) frame scene, (3) other player chooses second element. Is that accurate? (I didn't glean that from the scene-setting section; I was assuming both elements were chosen first.)

In the example the conflict is introduced during the scene framing; is this necessary? Or is it OK for the scene's narrator to frame the conflict during the narration of the scene?

When determining your dice, do the Trappings and Lore chosen have to match the Elements of this scene? (The example seems to imply they do, but it isn't stated explicitly in the preceding rules.)

Typo, p.20: "At least one dice" should be "At least one die".

The example on pp.20-21 shows the player narrating the outcome of each die roll, though this isn't stated in the rules. Does the player always do this, or is it whoever's framing the scene? And this is distinct from the declarations that happen in step 4, right?

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Hello! I just heard about ERA on a Story-Games thread (see link), and went out and bought it. I like the sound of it a lot — works with 2 people, story-based but still has some crunch — but I'm finding the details of the rules a bit difficult to follow. I'm pretty experienced with RPGs so I don't think this is my fault ;-)

"You can only have a PATHWAY scene for a particular element once
in each story" — this really confused me, because each element clearly comes up twice during pathway scenes, as shown in examples later on. I think what you meant to say is that each element can only appear once as the first element of a pathway scene, and once as the second element. Is that correct?

Also, it's never explicitly stated, but I'm guessing the Storyteller and the player can't choose the same element in any scene, e.g. no "Granite and Granite" scenes.

Typo: There's a missing period at the end of a paragraph in the middle of p.13.

It took me until my third reading to discover the crucial information that whoever chooses the first element of a gateway scene also gets to frame the scene. This is mentioned briefly on p.13 under Gateway Scenes, and in the example on p.14, but I missed it; I think it'd be worth calling out as a bullet point or something.

And this isn't stated explicitly, but I'm guessing this rule also applies to the Gateway scenes, i.e. the Storyteller frames the first Gateway and the player(s) the final Gateway?

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I made a new end-of-year mix "CD" (really an MP3), which has been a tradition of mine since about 1993.

This one contains 87 minutes of some of my favorite music of 2012 (much, but not all, of which was released in 2012.) It runs the gamut from ghostly ballads to French shoegazer-metal, with stops at heartfelt indie-rock, witchy synth-pop, techno, post-punk, &c. Enjoy.

What I played this year, such as it is:

Trail Of Cthulhu -- loved the setting of the campaign (Kerguelen Island in the far South Pacific, cold and lonely), but the found the mechanics tedious.

Call Of Cthulhu -- Yes, our primary GM is a bit of a Lovecraft nut. Plays Arkham Horror most weekends too ;) This game I actively disliked, through no fault of the GM or players; I found the zillions of skills unwieldy, and the reliance on investigation really choked the pacing. Just not my style.

Old School Hack -- I GM'd one session of this. I liked it, but the players didn't seem too enthused, so I didn't press them to continue. :(

The Kerberos Club [FATE version] -- Now this was fun. Great steampunk/fantasy setting, and I loved my character even though he was a pregen: a sardonic but sympathetic Fae who reminded me of the Man With Thistledown Hair from Jonathan Strange. Being basically immortal, and detached from humanity, I was able to avoid gamism and focus on roleplaying.

In A Wicked Age -- Hey, an actual story game! Been enjoying this a lot. The oracles and complete lack of fixed setting inspire a lot of creativity, so making up the characters and setting is at least as fun as the action. (To be honest I find the conflict mechanics a bit confusing.)

Currently about to start running a game for my teenage kids. Leaning toward Fate Core, but might use Dungeon World instead, or Old School Hack.

I also accumulated a truly embarrassing number of unplayed games in PDF form, enough to max out my Dropbox account. Must try to actually play some next year!

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I made a G+ page for TouchDB. Because I could. Now you can all follow it to show how hep you are.

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TouchDB is a CouchDB-compatible embedded database intended for mobile and desktop apps. It has no code in common but it supports the same replication protocol and REST API.

Basically, if CouchDB is MySQL, then TouchDB is SQLite.

TouchDB is available in a stable 1.0 release for iOS and Mac OS X.
An Android version is in the works, roughly at alpha quality.

The new Communities feature could be a big deal. I've already joined three RPG-related communities this week, and the UI seems better than the mishmash of forums their pre-existing instances use (Google groups, Yahoo groups and Vanilla 2).

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Here's a set of Fate Core cheat sheets I've been working on. So far it's got:
* Skill list (with summaries of how to use the skill in the 4 basic actions)
* Creating, invoking and compelling aspects
* How to get and spend fate points
* The four basic actions and what they do when you fail, tie, etc.
* Other conflict actions like Full Defense and Concede
* List of consequences, recovery times and example aspects

Suggestions and corrections welcome!

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The first half of this hangout is my brief slideshow about BaseCouch, a new project I'm working on that lets #CouchDB and #TouchDB sync with #Couchbase Server 2.

(Skip forward to 0:57 unless you want to see the usual "is this thing on?", "let me start the slides" stuff.)
Unknown hung out with 2 people. #hangoutsonairJens Alfke and Tommie McAfee
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