Monday, September 25, 2006

John M. Ford, 1957-2006

I remember John M. Ford from when I was a poster on SJG's Pyramid forum. He had the most hilarious .sigs that I have ever seen, each tailor exactly to the content of the post that he had made. Admitedly I only knew him online as a fellow poster and through his work as a game designer but it is still a loss. Without his sense of humor, the world is a little grimmer today.

John M. Ford, 1957-2006
Mike Ford is gone. The cause of his death is not yet known. Elise Matthesen found his body around two o’clock this morning. She said it looked like it was fast and easy, whatever it was.

He’d been in poor health for decades. This still comes as a terrible shock.

I keep thinking that Mike would know the right thing to say about all this. There’s a hole in the universe.

Just in case you don't know who he was, here is a link to the Wikipedia article about him.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

A small circle of friends

Once again, Bill Stoddard brings out the concept of the gaming circle. A great idea, and one of the goals that I had in the back of my mind with the formation of the Cleveland Gamers group. It is still the principal around which I would like to have a larger scale group organized but it just seems less and less possible as time goes along.

I'm not really sure what it is that the concept keeps butting up against, but (for some reason) I can't seem to get it to work. The idea of a large circle of gamers drawing upon each other for games, campaigns, ideas and general support seems to be a natural one but it just doesn't get far up off of the ground.

In the back of my head things like the Geek Social Fallacies pop up, and it makes me wonder exactly how true those fallacies really are. Maintaining any sort of social dynamic among a group of people who probably aren't the most social of individuals is never an easy task. I am not saying that is a problem with the Cleveland Gamers (the people who aren't the most social of creatures that is) but subtle issues of social dynamic do lurk beneath the surface whenever you gather more than three people together into any one location.

A small circle of friends
As a result of online discussions of roleplaying games, I've had it borne in on me that my approach, which I always took to be the obvious and straightforward way of doing things, has a number of peculiarities when compared with how a lot of people game. This is about one of them.

It appears that a fairly common social pattern among gamers is the 'gaming group.' This is a set of people small enough so that they can all play together in a session of an rpg, who meet—most often weekly, but sometimes biweekly, monthly, or irregularly—for the purpose of doing so. The meetings continue indefinitely, either as one long campaign, or through a succession of new campaigns. If a new campaign is started, it's because a member of the group offers to run it and is accepted; and depending on the group culture, either the nature of the new campaign is presented in advance and must receive group approval, or the GM throws the players into it and may face dissatisfaction, resistance, or open sabotage if it's not what the players want—and the player may feel entitled to engage in such sabotage. Players hardly ever face expulsion from the group, even if they do actively sabotage a campaign or make it not fun for other players; keeping the group together is a higher priority. New players can be introduced, but it takes some effort for them to fit in; most player groups don't actively seek new members.

I describe this in such detail precisely because it's not at all the way I do things, and when I first heard about it it struck me as eccentric, if not outright weird.

Over the last three groups that I have put together there have been a total of five people that I had never previously gamed with, or even know previous to our gaming. That is out of seven gamers that have been in those last three groups (one person has been in all three). I think that's a great thing. It brings fresh perspectives to the table and it helps to keep ideas fresh and flowing. You can't really get stale in your ideas and approaches when you're working new people into the dynamic like that.

One thing, having that high number of new players is actually intentional. I run a pretty active recruiting before I start a campaign and I really love to see new faces at the table. It makes things more fun for me because, despite myself, I am a fairly social individual. I do, on some levels, like meeting people and I consider my gaming to be a social activity first and foremost.

The trick seems to be in figuring out how to convince others that this is a viable method. If you know how to do that, please let me know.

There will be more on this topic in the future, I am sure, as it is something that is on my mind a lot.

Batgirl 1st Appearance

Come on, you know you want to look.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Hail Eris!

All Hail Discordia!

Former ‘10th planet’ officially named Eris
A distant, icy rock whose discovery shook up the solar system and led to Pluto's planetary demise has been given a name: Eris.

The christening of Eris, named after the Greek goddess of chaos and strife, was announced by the International Astronomical Union on Wednesday. Weeks earlier, the professional astronomers' group stripped Pluto of its planethood under new controversial guidelines.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Never Forget

We will never forget the day that the moon left its orbit and those astronauts were lost.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Closer To Slash

What happens when you combine Star Trek with Nine Inch Nails' Closer? Click on the video above and find out just how wrong it would be. By the way, this isn't safe for work...just in case I have to explain that to you.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Superman Is A Dick

While trying to find something that would give me an idea what to do with tonight's game session I discovered something else: Superman is a Dick!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Wikipedia: Lamest edit wars

Once again the Internet comes through with arguments over the dumbest things.

Wikipedia: Lamest edit wars

Occasionally, Wikipedians lose their minds and get into edit wars over the most petty things. This is to document that phenomenon. This page isn't comprehensive or authoritative, but it is designed to show the 'worst-case' result of people attaching so much importance to some trivial detail that they are willing to engage in the lame pastime of edit warring over an even lamer cause.

ArtHaus Acquires Big Eyes, Small Mouth RPG

I'm not overly surprised by the news, not since I saw that some of the Guardians of Order BESM-related properties had been transferred to Arthaus on the website. I had hoped that it would be Mongoose who ended up with this, bu it would appear not to be the case.

Regardless, it is good news for BESM fans. I wish that it had been released as a softcover, at least, though. That price is a bit too rich for my tastes.

ArtHaus Acquires Big Eyes, Small Mouth RPG

Fans of Big Eyes, Small Mouth (BESM) will be thrilled to learn that the 3rd Edition of this award winning role playing game will be released by ArtHaus in January 2007.

Previously published by Guardians of Order, BESM is designed to be a multi-genre anime and manga game and can accommodate nearly any setting or time period. The rules are simple to use and thus do not include an overwhelming amount of specific detail, with the task resolution system and combat engine designed to capture the fast-moving nature of anime and manga action. This element is one of the central strengths of the game, making BESM ideal for either the novice or experienced role-player.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Fun With Google -- Confidential, Do Not Distribute!

I picked this up from Boing Boing and found it humorous. Is it dorky? I'll leave that one to you.

Apparently there are people in business world who think that marking something as "Confidential" and then putting it out on your website will keep anyone from ever finding it.

Fun With Google -- Confidential, Do Not Distribute!

[via Boing Boing]

Monday, September 04, 2006

TV star Steve Irwin killed while filming

The Crocodile Hunter hunts no longer.

TV star Steve Irwin killed while filming

Television star Steve Irwin has been killed while filming an underwater documentary in Queensland.

The 44-year-old, who was dubbed 'The Crocodile Hunter', was killed by a stingray barb through the chest while diving off Port Douglas.

Local diving operator Steve Edmundson said: 'Steve was hit by a stingray in the chest. He probably died from a cardiac arrest from the injury.'

Police confirmed that paramedics were flown to nearby Low Isles, where Irwin was taken to be treated, but he died before they arrived.

Irwin, who runs the world famous Australia Zoo, is survived by his wife Terri and their two young children Bindi Sue and Bob Clarence.

Speaking to Sky Television, Queensland Tourism Minister Margaret Keech said: 'It's a dreadful loss for the tourism industry and for nature conservation.'

'Everybody who met Steve was impressed with his energy and his enthusiasm,' she said.

Irwin made almost 50 'Crocodile Hunter' documentaries, which earned him worldwide acclaim for his dare-devil stunts with animals.