Randomness and Trends

Trends first, randomness throughout.

The Editing Gig
...is going swimmingly. I'm focusing on smaller projects, which fits better with the scraps of time I have available and coincidentally works out to a higher pay rate. I also find myself having more fun in tackling a wider diversity of content.

Bicycling in the ionosphere.
Yeah, it's kinda like that for me.
The numbers: I edited 7 projects last year, 2 of which were quite sizable. By March 1st of this year I'll have 5 projects done. For the list of projects I've worked on, head over to my editing CV. Yes, I'll update that project list in the next week or two as the products become publicly available. I may need to split off an archive page to keep load times reasonable.

The trend? This year will be busy, but so far it's been a great ride. I like the quicker turnaround, but the downside of smaller projects is the endless quest to fill the pipeline. As of now, I have only vague promises of more projects after March 1. If you've got a project you need a second set of eyes on, it's a great time to give me a shout.

Random Disasters: The Parsonage
I became the chair (chairdude? chairperson?) of my church's Buildings & Grounds committee (B&G) as of 2 weeks ago. We have a new senior minister that started work this past Monday. 2 weeks prior to that, the parsonage (maintained as living quarters for the senior minister) was cleaned out by a team of volunteers and ready for move-in day. Two days after the cleaning was done, the previous head of B&G went over to install fresh batteries in the smoke detector and discovered water damage down two stories worth of interior walls.

Needless to say, our minister is currently couch surfing, and we're scrambling to get the damage repaired as quickly as possible.

Fraggles and tuneage. Rawk.
Y'know when you roll a random event in your game that will totally screw the players and you look over the screen weighing the impact of making it happen, and your players see the look in your eye and say, "Don't you dare do whatever you're about to do to us! We just fixed all this crap and just barely survived!" and you feel bad? Fuck it. Do it anyway. Trust your dice and your random tables and let the chips fall where they may. Give your players too much to do. Grant them a break occasionally, but make those breaks sweeter for the random real-world crap that falls out of the sky and totally hoses them.

There's a real-world precedent for it, and it keeps life interesting in your game.

The Right Tool for the Job
This morning was the first time this year my car door latch stuck open when leaving home on my commute. Normally it takes 5-10 minutes of blasting the heater before it lets go and allows my door to stay shut on its own. This morning I broke out the can of ice melt that I've been carrying around in my backpack for the past few months and I was off within 30 seconds.

Reward planning ahead, no matter how obscure or inconvenient.

PAX East Is Coming
We've got 2 panels to run and we're waiting for the final schedule before publicizing our faces off. I've got a few prizes to give away lined up personally, in addition to the other swag we'll dig up. I'm psyched. And it's 29 days away now. I'll be busy between now and then. I have games to gather and an idea that I'm not sure I can prep in time...

Games I'll Have With Me
Now to print Stinger vehicle sheets
and fit an arena map in the box.
I bought a first edition pocket box version of Car Wars. I'll also have Car Wars the Card Game. Zombie Dice should be on my person, and probably Cosmic Wimpout if anyone wants a slightly longer classic dice game. I'll be prepping an intro adventure for Classic Traveller, which shouldn't take terribly long as I'm revamping the adventure I ran years ago in college. I'm on the fence about bringing Nuclear War, or anything else in a box larger than the Traveller LBB box set. We'll see what else I can fit into my kit.

The D&D Edition Wars Gauntlet
Here's my crazy idea. Prep a simple encounter in an ogre's cave, then run variations of it back-to-back in OD&D, Moldvay Basic, AD&D, 2e, 3.5e, and 4e. It'll probably be a 4-hour run to play the full Gauntlet, and all the pre-gens and pertinent rules will fit on index cards for quick start-up. Just add players and dice, and you can taste 6 editions of D&D in one sitting to get a sense of the evolution of the game.

Just play the damn game.
I don't have any 2e books, so I may skip that version for the initial run. I'm weak in 4e development, and I haven't looked at AD&D in years. Time will be a factor here, but I'll do my best to make it happen.

What do you think about the Gauntlet? Good idea? Is running the Gauntlet an interesting experiment or a waste of time? I'm interesting in hearing your feedback, especially if you're interested in playing.

Thanks for reading!


  1. Funny you should mention this.

    I have a standard mini-encounter (level one fighter, reasonably min-maxed, with three hunting dogs, going after ogre on its own territory) that I test using each edition. Doesn't evaluate the spell or faith systems, of course, but, then, I would contend that those have never been the 'core problem.'

    Thus far, 3E has more options (unsurprisingly), but falls short on the damage side (also unsurprising, given entry-level-human-vs-ogre). 4E proves the most effective due to maneuvers (knock back, knock prone, etc.), which seems to fit with that edition's overall metier.

    1. Almost sounds like a straight math grind, with bonuses for the fighter imposing unhelpful statuses on the ogre (flanked, prone, etc.). Still, I can see its use for picking out the advantages/disadvantages of each set of combat rules.