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Thomas Deeny
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Hey gang, I've got a special announcement that I'd love to let you in on: I just joined Patreon! It's a simple way for people to contribute to my writings on graphic design and layout in games every time I release something.

There are some silly rewards for people who jump on board, like one where I'll actually high-five you if we meet in person, which is a thing I rarely do. I wanted to share this news with you before I started screaming it from the rooftops, starling nearby forest animals. Take a peek at https://www.patreon.com/thomasd, which has an open post with links to some of the types of writings I am really excited about doing!

"The Jedi are pretty much all extinct, but just in case let's give a weapon specifically designed to be used in combat against lightsabers to a random nameless low-level stormtrooper" is the part in The Force Awakens where I just shrug.

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This just got funded!

So, 7th Sea Khitai is a standalone expansion to the 7th Sea game system. John Wick, the guy that developed Legend of the Five Rings RPG and CCG, coming up with pretty much that game setting and early stories, has always been asked to do a game that links Theah with Rokugan: mesh the West with the East.

Well. John now owns his 7th Sea creation. And while he doesn't own L5R, he is expanding the setting to the Pacific Rim. It's going to be the closest thing you're going to get to a 7th Sea + L5R game.

You can play it with Heroes from the Thean setting and the Khitai setting. You can just play Eastern Heroes.

In short, if you want to see what the guy behind L5R would do with China, Japan, and the rest of that part of the world would do with a modern game, you should back this.
Phew! I've been putting my all into helping launch this project and 7th Sea: Khitai is now live on Kickstarter. I couldn't be happier to work alongside +John Wick. A wonderfully kind person and powerhouse creator whose work and worlds have shaped the broader course of RPGs.

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Hey, what else are you doing tomorrow? Pledging to this, right?
Undead Kickstarter launches October 3rd at 12 noon (Eastern time).

Join us.
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Hey, whatcha doing tomorrow? Pledging to this, I hope!
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There's this article that's going around my twitter timeline about emotional labor and issues with a household that seem solvable if the spouses in the article improved communication. I see the language the author uses, how there's no way to discuss the imbalance "without a major confrontation". Example after example is of how damaged the communication is in that household: If I were to point out [all the things I do], he would take it as me saying, “Look at everything I’m doing that you’re not. You’re a bad person for ignoring me and not pulling your weight.” This isn't healthy.

The article starts off with the author asking for a specific gift -- a house cleaning service -- from her spouse, but not explaining why she wants the gift. She doesn't want the house clean, she wants the work and worry of cleaning the house taken care of. However, the spouse thinks the gift being requested is a clean house. Concerned about the expense of the gift -- and I'm assuming the family budget, which given the state communications in that household I am not certain he even knows if they can afford it -- the spouse shares his concern about the cost to the author, asking if she "still wanted him to book it". The author describes this question and concern as incredulous.

The author lists what she really wanted to us in the article: all the effort and work that goes into finding a service is exhausting. "That's why I asked my husband to do it as a gift." Then she writes "In his mind, he was doing the thing I had most wanted—giving me sparkling bathrooms without having to do it myself," while she cleaned up other clutter.

These people just aren't communicating.

I look at how my wife and I talk things through. We have had few arguments in the twenty years we've been married. Very few, because we talk things through. We try to listen to each other, even if we are mad. We tell each other our point of view, trying to do so calmly and rationaly, no matter how pissed off we are. I get defensive sometimes. So does she. But when we discuss the imbalance of work, chores, feelings, hell -- anything in the relationship, it's not a major confrontation. It's a discussion because we have some ground rules, where if something is upsetting one of us, we'll tell the other person. The other person listens. These aren't attacks on the other, we're communicating our feelings and perceptions of what happened.

"I don't want to micromanage housework. I want a partner with equal initiative," the author writes. "However, it’s not as easy as telling him that. My husband, despite his good nature and admirable intentions, still responds to criticism in a very patriarchal way. Forcing him to see emotional labor for the work it is feels like a personal attack on his character."

I believe it is as easy as saying that. "This is not a personal attack on your character," one should start. "I don't want to micromanage housework. I want a partner with equal initiative." And because the communication has broken down in this relationship, given the example that the spouse didn't realize that there was high priority to replace that box in the closet or that the spouse didn't realize that the placement of the box in the closet needed to be addressed, and given the major example in the article is about maintaining and running the household, perhaps the best solution is to ask, "can we sit down for an hour and just go through the things in just the kitchen that need to be done on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis?" And then start with the kid's lunches, not just "the kids need lunches for school each day", but that the school handbook has dietary guidelines for lunches that we want to follow and we have to keep track of what food items we are running low on and the other elements that go into the kid's lunches. Then move on to the dishes.

How do you let your spouse know about the emotional labor duties you preform without discussing them? I don't know of a single person that's a mind-reader.

There's an anecdote a friend of mine shared where she wanted her ex to do a task for her (again, as a gift), he purchased a thing that he thought would make that task easier for her, and when she used the thing on the task the ex asked if she could show him how to do the task. She: incredibly frustrated because she wanted the task done as a gift without the teaching and explaining and work. He (and I'm making grand assumptions here due to the medium of twitter): has someone that knows how the task is done right in front of him and wants to learn not just the task itself, but how she prefers it to be done, presumably so he can perform the task for her in the future. They: then fight.

Almost all of the reactions I've seen about the article have been "men, you need to examine your life and understand emotional labor" or "men, you need to listen to your partner". But it's impossible to have a conversation between spouses when spouses aren't sharing what is really going on. The frustration in the article (and my friend's anecdote) doesn't seem to be about the emotional labor, it's about not communicating that labor to one another. Those communication skills are what need to be improved in order to share the emotional labor and enact solutions to help the relationship.

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When starting on a new book project, one of the first things I think of are the typefaces for the interior. How to choose what to use to convey the information to the reader? How heavy should the type look in a character, line, paragraph, and on the page…

Saw the trailer for Tomb Raider and... it looks like someone played the Tomb Raider game from 2013 and dropped it through the Action Movie Cliche Machine.

From what I gathered, Lara starts off as a puzzle-wunderkind. Her dad has died, she opens a puzzle box, gets a key, discovers that the key opens a secret door (in her dead father's tombstone), uncovers a hidden lair, and finds a message from her deceased dad that says "If you found this, I'm probably dead" and "you have to do X, as the fate of the entire world hangs in the balance".

So, leaving aside the "fate of the world" thing, which means she's going to succeed because that's just how movies work, there's Dad's whole elaborate plan to clue Lara into the whole thing she has to do and... What if she never opens the box and finds the key? What if she never discovers what it unlocks? What if she does, but finds it like a year later? Why didn't the executor of her father's estate give a video file to Lara when the will was read?

What I liked about the video game is it was Lara suddenly having to survive on an island, discovering there's something wrong on the island, and when you get to the third act of the game and there's suddenly the Fate of the Entire World is at stake, you're invested into the character.

This movie? She starts off having to Save the World, and there's not much tension because she's obviously going to do so. So the stakes are relatively non-existent.

Here's how the movie probably goes, based on that trailer:

Lara walks into Croft International. "Hi, I'm Lara Croft." Receptionist looks up in shock, 'cause she's supposed to be dead.
ONE YEAR EARLIER
Family time at Stately Croft Manor. Lara plays with puzzle box but can't open it.
Dad and Mom Croft go off on "vacation". Plane crash. All dead.
Funeral scene.
"Lara, it's been two months since they died."
Lara idly discovers puzzle box, opens, finds key, finds Dad's secret tomb raiding room.
"If you're watching this, I"m already dead. Also these bad guys are going to Fate of the World. You are the only one that can stop them for some reason."
Research montage. "I know where my dad was going!"
First scene of Tomb Raider (2013) video game.
Lara escapes, many action sequences occur. She John McClains everyone, saves Fate of the World in the Nick of Time.
BACK IN LONDON
You forgot this was a framing element. But the big bad guy has taken over Croft Incorporated. Showdown thing.
Credits start to roll.
Mid-credits scene: the entire clip that was shown at the end of the trailer where she buys two pistols from Nick Frost.
Some generic loud music plays over the rest of the credits, switching over to a slow Love Theme from Tomb Raider song that plays out over the rest of the credits.
Post-credits scene: back on the island, the bad guy she defeated on the island crawls out of some rubble, holding a MacGuffin. He laughs at nobody, hoping there's a sequel.

Hey +Richard Rogers, I was listening to the first part of the "Porting the 'Pocalypse" episode of +1 Forward, and that's the first time "the game is a conversation" actually made sense to me. Up until now I thought it was just a bunch of simple words similar to what one finds in a "What is an RPG?" section of a game book: where players talk to make up a story instead of moving on a board. That was really the first time I've seen it positioned as a design choice.

Thanks! Good show!

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