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Bruce Baugh
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Bruce Baugh

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On the side from my previous kvetch: a friend of mine is checking out Lord of the Rings Online, and I'm looking forward to hearing of his experiences. +Gretchen S., memory is telling me you played it for a while, and others may have too. How is it in terms of neat scenery to see? Obviously there's a bunch of smiting because that's how these things go, but what else is there, and how is it?
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Oh, other pluses: the different races' starting areas are really thematically appropriate, so Hobbits have pie quests, etc. I love the beauty of the elf areas. (The first time into Rivendell is amazing.) I really like the music.

Don't know if they've changed the way character abilities work, but there were ways to tune characters for solo or roles in a group.

The cash shop wasn't greedy greedy like some MMOs, and you can earn credit for it by questing etc. It was about cosmetics and comfort items (extra teleports, early mounts) more than P2W. One useful trick is to track down a boxed retail expansion, often found for cheaper than the cost of a month's subscription, and activate it to get the free month and the have subscribed ever benefits, which were decent enough that it was pretty nice to have.
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Bruce Baugh

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Ok, here's my solution.

1) Print this
2) Put your name on it

Done. You're a game designer.

If you don't believe me, just bring it to any "real" game designer, and they will sign the back for you, thus indoctrinating you into our millenia old secret order. 
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Nah. I'm retired.  That part of the brain keeps trying, but I stomp on it really hard...
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Bruce Baugh

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Some music by which to read Atlantis: The Second Age. If you like it, thank +Daniel Swensen for the lead. if you don't, blame him. :)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cyIU_3OppuI
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Just because you've triggered the stocking of a whole folder in my music library....
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This is really great stuff.
 
India's Mars Orbiter Mission makes big breakthrough: http://sen.com/news/india-s-mars-orbiter-mission-makes-big-breakthrough #ISRO #MOM
Inida's Mars Orbiter Mission space probe has used its Methane Sensor For Mars for the first time, measuring radiation from the surface of the Red Planet.
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That's frigging awesome.
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Bruce Baugh

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This rocks. Thanks, Chris. :)
 
Successful world-building.
@sirosenbaum @saladinahmed It's a picture I took a few weeks back at the Chuck Jones exhibit at the Museum of the Moving Image in New York. 0 replies 0 retweets 6 favorites. Reply. Retweet Retweeted. Favorite 6. Favorited 6. More. Embed Tweet. Randi Mason ‏@randimason 1h1 hour ago ...
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I remember in an issue of Arcane magazine they had a list of games they would love to make. One was Live Action Coppits. Another was Road Runner the card game. I still think as a card game it would be pretty great, more than likely a bit like playing Gloom.
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+Michael VanStrander my impression is that the 2nd Editions are pretty much self contained books, updated for GodMachine versions of the rules. 

So, you shouldn't need the WoD Core or GodMachine core, you can play with just Werewolf, for example. 
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Bruce Baugh

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Sometimes I just crave a good computer game - single-player, MMO, whatever - with the richness of world that good computer RPGs and such have, but where I wouldn't have to just go around fighting things to earn shinies.
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Planescape Torment?
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Something interesting about Atlantis: The Second Age: it very strongly assumes that characters will travel much of the world in the course of their adventures. You certainly can go for a tight local focus, but Grayson shows his influences (Clark Ashton Smith, Moorcock, Howard) really clearly here with stuff RPGs seldom support. A sample trip through the life path system (which is great) sent my test character from their start in Aztlan to friendship with a Veddan prince (maybe in Vedda, equivalent to central/southern India, maybe elsewhere), shipwreck and harpy fighting in the Sargasso Sea, and an offer of marriage to a Zinnite prince or princess (Zin being equivalent to the Middle East).

It also led to my test character making one of the gods lose face and thereby having a god wishing him or her dead, and to marrying the love of their dreams only to have an angry god (presumably the same one - annoying two gods a lot would be bad) turn the partner into a disfigured beast.

This feels really swords-and-sorcery. Really, really.

http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/product/124386/ATLANTIS-The-Second-Age-World-Map
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It's easy when +Jerry Grayson made it be this awesome.
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Atlantis: The Second Age lets you do a campaign of Seven Samurai, except that instead of samurai, you can have an Atlantean, a jinn, a regular human being from a mythic version of Ireland or Aztlan (or lots of other places), a peaceful technology-mastering ape, a warrior from the dying race of serpent people, a somewhat satyr-minded minotaur, and a jackal-person. And that's without casting a wolf-person, a jaguar-person, an owl-person, a lion-person, a merman (or merwoman), or a member of the savage human precursor species that was the Atlanteans' first effort at making a race of servitors.

The bandits they fight could be just as diverse. And this is before we get into cultures, of which there are a lot, and: "You may notice that there are no racial packages and that is intentional. A Lemurian raised in Ophir will have different belief and social mores than a Lemurian born on the island of Zinn. To reflect this, the cultures are all racially neutral."

Description notes:

Atlantean: "With skin the color of polished mahogany or deep bronze, the statuesque Atlanteans stand above all other men on earth. They wear their kinky hair in long wavy locks, oiled with exotic fragrance and sprinkled in gold and silver flakes. Their eyes are the color of gold or emeralds (sometimes a mixture of both) and their inviting lips the color of pitch. The Atlanteans are all beautiful and gracefully built; the idea of perfection in a primitive world. All Atlanteans stand at least 1.8m tall, weighing around 68 to 90kgs."

Jinn: "Jinn have skin the color of old parchment or coal, and hair of any and all colors imaginable; sometimes all at once, and usually worn long and braided, bound with hoops and pins. Their skins appear to be covered in tattoos. They are, in actuality, eldritch writings recording the mad murmurs of the Elder Gods given a physical pallet. These writings tell the history of the pre-world before the gods fell into slumber, and if all the writings could be collected and codified, would tell the world’s story from creation to today. When a Jinni dies, his words vanish, lost until another Jinni is born. Some say a Jinni’s beauty or ugliness stems from what is written upon his skin. Some of the things scribed across their bodies are the terrible imaginings of cosmic entities, gibbered and chattered during the prehistory of the universe.

"All Jinn are born with a single horn growing from a random location on their head. No Jinni will ever have the same type of horn on the same location. While two Jinn may have a horn jutting from the center of their forehead, one might resemble the thick horn of a rhinoceros and the other, the sharp, curling horn of an ibex. Twins share the same horn and must be broken apart at birth, the Jinn with more horn is honored and considered the elder child. Jinn are said to grow from their horns, and many take great care in ornamenting them with rings, jewel inlays, piercings, or gold caps. Wisps of black smoke issue from their mouths when they speak; above their head burns a small, perpetual flame which gives off no heat, but changes colors, as do their eyes, depending on their mood (blue for extreme elation, black for hate, red for rage, and green for all other emotions). Jinn vary in height, from 1.25–2.13m, and weigh anywhere between 35–90kgs. One notable oddity of the Jinn is that their shadow is only cast in moonlight and seems to move independently."

Taurans (minotaurs): "The large bull-men are feared for their great strength and infinite rage. Standing 2.25–2.5m tall and weighing 136–181kgs the Taurans are the largest of the Beast-men and are known as bullies and blowhards. All Taurans have horns and the larger the horns the more prestige they enjoy in their society. Tauran horns are adorned with many rings (the more the better), and they wear gold horn- rings, ear-rings, nose-rings, and torcs as a sign of status. The saying, 'Neck as strong as a bull' comes from the fact that Taurans wear so much gold that a normal neck would snap under the weight.

"Boastful and lusty, the Taurans live life to the fullest and expect those around them to do so as well. Taurans eat, drink, slay, and love with equal zeal and never a day goes by that they do not do one of these things in excess."

Anubim (jackal-men): "Used as guards and enforcers for the Atlantean generals during the Beast Wars, the Anubim were loyal and quick to action. Standing over 1.5m tall with a wiry, lean build and the heads of jackals, Anubim are covered in short, fine fur ranging in color from jet black to a dusky gold. Most Anubim adorn themselves in gold and lapis jewelry that contrasts their fur.

"Anubim are serious and even-tempered individuals who do what they say and always keep their word. Anubim are loyal to those they call friends and would lay down their life for a loved one without hesitation. If an Anubim considered you a brother you know that he will follow you to the ends of the world and expect the same from you."
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Very detailed and compelling back stories. :)
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Gail Simone periodically delivers glorious deadpan humor. In this case, a series of tweets beginning "I don't know if I like all these dudes reading comics, suddenly. What if they make all the characters talk about their prostate exams?"

https://storify.com/x_glitch/gail-simone-on
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I may have actually hurt something laughing when I read the phrase "Superman's underpants cutout showing the top of his scrotum."
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Should be good again this month.
 
This upcoming Monday is the 9th. Which will make it time for another #nerdy9th  

If you've missed me yammering on about this, the idea is that for 24 hours, from midnight to midnight, your local time, on the 9th of the month, you only post positive stuff about your fandoms and passions.

No hate and no debate, just nerd love. 

When I mentioned this the last time, somebody asked why I'd want to set aside a day for this. The answer is pretty simple:

Critique is valuable. It adds to the discourse and enriches our culture and subcultures. But in the geek/nerd world, critique and negativity are, sometimes, the first and only line of conversation people have.

If somebody likes something, we have to tell them we hate it. If somebody asks about something, we tear it down, rather than pointing out the good stuff.

As a subculture, we nerds do too much hating and not enough loving. Which is really weird when you consider that what makes us nerds in the first place is our unabashed love for 'our' stuff. Science. Sci fi. Fantasy. Games. Books. Movies. Whatever. 

It's all about the love!


For this Nerdy 9th, I am seriously thinking about doing a 'My Fandom Is Not OK' episode about the problematic things I love. Though that may be cheating, since I wouldn't let me people me how wrong I am. :D

  
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I can get behind this.
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#BadatFandom  

Friendsof mine have been having today with "I am bad at fandom" posts, about ways they do not hew to conventional fannish wisdom. I'm up for that. The rule here is very simple: no dissing in the comments. If you want to go make your own post, that's cool, but there shall be harmony in the comments. OK, then. I'm going to try interleaving likes and dislikes here.

* The remake of Dawn of the Dead is the superior version, including being superior at satirizing a consumer society falling apart. Dunno just what went right there that hasn't on other Snyder films, but there's a quality of characterization in it that Romero just doesn't reach.

* I have never finished a Miles Vorkosigan book; I have started several, multiple times. Dunno what it is, but they don't sing to me.

* I really like some exquisitely produced drippy pop. I have a best-of Air Supply album and listen to it a few times a year, when I most crave a super smooth, super emotional ambience.

* I'm not a Joss Whedon fan. I like some of his work (Angel, The Cabin in the Woods, Avengers) a lot, but others (Buffy, Dr. Horrible) leave me cold, and there's little way for me to predict in advance which way I'll go with any particular project of his.

* M. Night Shyamalan gets dumped on way beyond what he's earned for his movies after Unbreakable. They do have their problems, and those problems do seem to be accumulating over time, but it became fan-fashionable to hate on them for things fan faves get away with.

* In general, I'm really just as happy when I leave entertainment made for children to children. When something catches my fancy, I keep in mind that I'm a guest there, and not the primary audience. Also, I just generally don't have a lot of interest in stuff that focuses on children's needs and wants, nor in stuff that's clearly just using children as props for stories that have nothing to do with actual children's needs or wants. There are exceptions, just not many.

* I like Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi about equally - lots of fun, lots of flaws - and like to just get down and roll around, mentally, in the visual and auditory ambience of the Star Wars prequels. Some of the Expanded Universe novels are great, and some not great but thoroughly fun, and all of that is in my imagination and on tap when I want to review it. No consistent framework is possible for that many works made in such diverse circumstances, and everyone should just go ahead and roll their own personal continuity, and know that that's what they're doing.

* Dogs and cats are both awesome. So are lots of animals.

* I'm a big believer in translation, and prefer to talk about things in English. Most terms in, say, anime are straightforward words in Japanese, not exotic at all, and it's unfaithful to the spirit of the original to make them unnecessarily exotic in secondary markets.

* It's fun to be cryptic with the allusions, but it's also fun to explain what you're on about so that others can join in and maybe learn something.
 
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Bruce, Miles Vorkosigan and Joss Whedon don't work for me either.
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