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Raven Daegmorgan
Trying, just...trying. Every day.
Trying, just...trying. Every day.

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Ran an incredible game of At the Dawn for Forge Midwest, and I've been mulling over the game in my head for a while, as well as the exceptional feedback so-far received.

Observations: the Book of Creation works. Furious adding to the book ensued during every turn of play; though I need to clarify that you must add more than just a name. Will add "if you're stuck for what to write..." to the loose collection of advice and play tips that I want to write as a companion piece.

During last year's playtest, +Ron Edwards suggested a small, seemingly insignificant change to the Book's use in play, which definitely contributed to the passion with which it was written in.

Magic also came up this year, whereas it did not last year. That had an interesting and unexpected effect: roll-two-dice-as-one might be an overpowered mechanic. In one case, it overcame the strongest challenge available with one roll, which should probably not be something that can happen (I may need to rethink the math or alter the mechanic).

From a writer's perspective: you can get through a full story arc for every player in four hours. We completed two simultaneous story arcs, and we set up the clear beginnings of two new arcs. (Two of the players chose to significantly intertwine their story arcs; the other player, though their story did cross and affect the other, followed their own separate arc.)

The revised rules for Tragedy worked very well--the scene they created was poignant in all the right ways--though there was no chance to try Corruption. (I've since revised the rule to help it occur more often.)

Problems: (still) two separate, related attributes named Temptation and Temptations [1]; this is something I need to change for the sake of clarity, but have been unable to settle on a decent replacement for one or the other, even after perusing the thesaurus. ([1] In fact, the similarity led to my screwing up assigning penalties, which are supposed to be based on the latter rather than the former. If something trips up the person who wrote the game? It needs fixing.)

Another seems to be Qualities (or it may not be an issue); they currently exist conceptually in a vague between-space of "use this one for these sorts of conflicts" and a more narrative "use any if you can narrate the use meaningfully" (ie: effectively always your highest unless a rule/your own imagination limits the choice). Still pondering on this one.

My own hang-ups about GM fiat in terms of how strong any given foe is. I don't know this is a problem, as many, many, many games are fiat-based in this manner and work well, and it seems more organic than one more mechanic to remember/utilize would be.

Some events: very interesting test at the end of the game, where the player himself wanted something but virtue dictated their elf do the opposite. It caused some confusion at the table, since the other players wanting the player to succeed meant giving the opposition bonuses instead of the elf (so that the elf would fail the test). This isn't a problem to me since that is absolutely what the game is about (core source material stuff!).

(The elf did fail the roll, the player got what they wanted, and it also set up a new and very we have to play again! story arc for their elf.)

Another of the players declared a test themselves because they wanted to see what happened, rather than just agree on the outcome (which I had expressed). This was great, as essentially it proved "I'm stuck/uncertain, let's roll to see what happens" is working.

Also, on the "elves are just magic" isn't D&D--one of the players picked up on this, and so elves? OK, they can summon white, cleansing fires because we said so and when we say so. (Which also led to an interesting moral issue around the desires and fascinations their elf had been indulging in/fighting against all game, and a sly, venomous dragon.)

I am surprised at how well it plays, how organically it seems to do so even when the rules were bungled, and the extremely enjoyable end results of play. Everyone had a really great time.

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I've finally uploaded the full cover spread I did for Whispers, by Kristin Dearborn. You can read about the book at the Lovecraft eZine site ( ).

During my last Windows wipe-and-reinstall to fix some stability issues, something went funky for the files for the Patreon project. Fonts were not being 'drawn' correctly, or were defaulting to basic windows fonts (despite being installed and reported as being used), line spacing was off, text had disappeared, and graphic overlays were not matching up even after adjustment. Except not on every page, just some of them.

I eventually tracked down the problem: I had to re-reinstall every font, though gods-know-why, and so far everything looks normal again. But boy did dealing with the whole issue just kill my enthusiasm: for a while there it represented a ton of work to fix.

I played FarCry and wrote some fiction instead.

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New Patreon page finally! Hit the link for a little bit about why there has been such a long pause and what is next.

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Super excited to finally share this: issue #38 of the Lovecraft eZine is now available, wherein, alongside great weird fiction authors such as Peter Rawlik and Douglas Wynne, I have a published story!

Check it out and let me know what you think! And be sure to check out all the other stories: this issue has a great collection.

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One of the most bizarre things missing in NMS, given the "it's an art game, look how pretty, explore and share" is the ability to take a HUD-less screenshot without having to go through two menus and press four different buttons--and the same when wanting to turn your HUD back on. There's no quick button to turn it off, no way to bind a key to do it, etc. It is incredibly aggravating.

BUT the modding community has stepped up and has already devised a way to do just that, binding the F5 key to that function for easy screenshots!

If that has been bugging the crap out of you as well, you can get it via the Nexus or on the No Mans Sky Mods website.

The modding community has also produced a few dozen other clever and helpful mods already -- the one that lets you fly lower is pretty nice, so is the inventory stacking mod (because, seriously, you can store hundreds of chunks of plutonium in a single slot, but only one Gek Charm? Whaaaat?).


I'm reading through comments on mods that make Skyrim darker at night, and the biggest complaint about many seems to be "They make it too dark. You can barely see anything, and that's not realistic!"

Bwuh? It leads me to assume most of the people commenting it isn't realistic must have grown up in the city, because they've clearly never been out in the woods at night. (Seriously, have they never gone camping -- like in-the-middle-of-the-wilderness camping?)

Because, no, you can't see anything. Yes, it is actually pitch-fucking-black, except if you have a full moon, when you can probably make make out rough shapes (depending on the forest density, or if there's lots of reflective snow). But for the most part, even your hand in front of your face? Or when the sky is cloudy? Foggetaboutit.

Yeah, in the city you have all sorts of reflected, ambient light, and you can see at night fairly easily, even when there isn't a streetlight right there. But Skyrim takes place in a pre-industrial, sparsely populated wilderness area. As such, it's dark. Can't-see-shit-DARK. Wander-away-from-the-campfire-and-you're-fucked dark. Oh-my-god-it's-full-of-stars dark.

Or should be.


Have you ever been made uncomfortable just due reading a public apology written by someone you now feel embarrassed for, not due what they did, but because it was so completely overwrought, unnecessary, and self-flagellating -- like tearing of garments, sackcloth-and-ashes -- and they are writing about some minor gaffe as if they killed a baby while high on meth or carpet-bombed a third-world village?

Yeah, just had that experience. Jeez.

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A blog post about the skill system in Traveler recently helped me better verbally conceptualize the “only roll dice when people are going to die or things are going to explode” method I’d originally attempted to detail in the rules for my abandoned dark military sci-fi RPG, eXpendable.

I’ve always been really fond of that bit of design work, and am happy I was finally able to expound on it in a clearer fashion. Since eXpendable is highly unlikely to see the light of publication–it just never came together as a whole–this is the clarified method, minus rule-specific bits, for those who may find it or the reasoning underlying it useful to their own approach to play.

Hit the link for the method.

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I've been really into IFD (I Fight Dragons) for a number of years, and can usually be found listening to them when I'm working. But I've exhausted their output and simply need MOAR. Hence: does anyone have suggestions for similar bands, by which I mean rock-chiptune fusion with vocals?

Because my Google-fu is failing me thus far: I'm mainly coming up with instrumental chiptune or chiptune-fusion bands, which I am simply not interested in (nor nerdcore, either -- hip-hop is not my thing). So, to be clear, no instrumental-only bands, I've found tons of those, but am having trouble finding chip-rock with lyrics.
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