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John W. Sheldon
Heavy Art-tillery
Heavy Art-tillery

John W.'s posts

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Hello new people (or people new to Google+),

When I post here it tends to be on one of the following two topics, which I occasionally curate into appropriate circles:

Analog games, meaning roleplaying games and board games

Art, meaning pictures that I've created (photography, illustrations, and various creative projects), and a fair amount of the process that goes into them.

I do post a fair amount of my content publicly, but if you'd like to be in one of the circles above, let me know.
Animated Photo

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75% done with the colors for this one.

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Airplane flying low yesterday, snapped handheld with a 400mm lens.

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Pittsburgh skyline from Schenley Park.

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My dinner tonight. Though the food is not my creation, the photo is.

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So +John W. Sheldon wrote a little about the Town Building rules for my shapeshifter game, Turn. I wanted to include a brief rundown and some pictures of a sample town I built today! The pics are a little rough because they're on a glass table with dry erase, but eh. Anyway!

The start of the town is this:
The name
The type of town (there's a list to choose from)
The population
The square miles of the town proper

Each town type comes with some themes, like tradition or poverty or something like that. Starting out from the town center, you can add themes, locations, events, and bloodlines. From those, you can add further locations, bloodlines, and events.

In the pictures, you'll see I built the following town:

Pop. 2000
Sq. Mi. 3

(You can tell it's a low population town but it's waaaay spread out.)

The options for themes for industrial towns include (but aren't limited to) poverty, resentment, wealth, tradition, and waste. I added those!

I attached some locations, too, like the Mill, and Main Street, and from resentment, the Church.

Then I added the bloodlines, which are the families in the town, like the Blakes (tied to the Church), the Coopers (tied to Poverty), Tuckers (tied to Main St.), Westins (tied to the Mill), and the Lewis family (tied to wealth). These don't all have to connect, but I did it for fun.

Now there's a whole town! It doesn't represent locations, but you can see how different things might fit together and where trouble might start.

Hope you enjoy this glimpse! Will be crossposting this to Thoughty later. 
6 Photos - View album

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Preparation Means Success
Building the Town for Your Game of Turn

Over the last few years, I've read and heard a lot about "zero-prep" roleplaying games. In my (admittedly limited) experience, most of these turn out to involve one of two scenarios: 1, the prep has merely been done for you (which limits the scope of the game to the previously prepared material, see Love in the Time of Seid); or 2, the prep is played as part of the game, or it is the game (see Microscope). There are probably games out there that truly are zero-prep or ultra-low prep in some other way, but I haven't seen them or haven't noticed them. My point is that most of the time, prep has simply been deferred in some way or done ahead of time (possibly by the game designers rather than the players).

Lots of my favorite games and the games I see praised most often have significant prep work involved (though you'll notice that in many/most of them it happens collaboratively at the table). In +Stras Acimovic and +Giacomo Vicenzi's Atlas Reckoning, part of the first session is spent figuring out what the Kaiju threat is, why Giant Robots(tm) are needed to fight them, and what your last bastion of humankind will look like. In Sagas of the Icelanders, a strong relationship map is an almost essential centerpiece for helping players understand their social positions and how conflicts can spread or pull on other characters (this map can be prepared ahead of time for successful one-shots and con games, or at the table to ground all the player characters for a longer game). In short, I think prep is good, and I especially like it when all the players participate.

What I've been helping +Brie Sheldon with for Turn lately is the process of setting up the town. Since Turn will always take place in a rural town, she wants an efficient process for players (including the GM) to work together to build the town as a group. I really like the process she's come up with, and how it produces a cool visual artifact for reference, an artifact that both is and isn't a map: a layout of the town's concepts rather than a layout of its physical space. I don't want to give away too much (other than what you can see in the attached image), but it is really easy and really rad.

Spent a decent chunk of this evening after making and eating dinner (no pics, sorry!) talking with Brie and helping her put down her rules for making small towns in Turn, her game of shapeshifters living in small towns.

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I have a problem with my desk right now.

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Pictured below is the very seriously large SMC Takumar 400mm f5.6. This also happens to be the only telephoto prime for which I do not have the original hard case with shoulder strap. Now, I'd like to be able to take this lens with me on location, but it is too big to leave on the camera, and too big for my standard camera bag (I've got a bigger bag which would accommodate this, but I don't want to haul that suitcase everywhere with me).

Now, a few companies make specific lens cases for giant lenses like this, but they are well out of my price range for this sort of thing (they are made for people who have the budget for $3500 lenses; this one cost me $85).

Anyone have suggestions for a case I can use or object I can adapt into a carrying device for this? Basic requirements: it should have a strap (or accept a strap) I can put over my shoulder. It should fully enclose the lens in either a hard case or have at least a little bit of padding.
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