Summer 2016 Reading Log

June, July, and August, 2016

#21: Hellboy Vol 1 (TPB)

#22-30:  Ghostbusters (2013-14): vol 1-9 (TPB)

#31-33: My Wife is Wagatsuma-san vol 1-3 (TPB)

#34: Trees v. 1 (TPB)

#35: Gulp by Mary Roach (Audiobook)

#36: On Monday Nights We Danced in the Park (novella) by Nikki Dolson

#37: Feet of Clay by Terry Pratchett

#38: Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett

#39: Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie

#40: Knit Tight by Annabeth Albert. Gay contemporary romance with a knitter for a live interest. Still suffers from the “knitting sisterhood” fiction problem, but since the main character wasn’t a knitter, and the knitting community was a secondary character, it was quite unobtrusive. 

#41: What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami 

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Timewatch Buddy Cops!

The Gadget, the first atomic bomb, 1945 (2)I ran the first third or so of Kevin Kulp’s Timewatch adventure “The Gadget” last night for my weekly group. It’s published in Behind Enemy Times, the adventure supplement for Timewatch. We only had a couple of hours– we might actually finish the rest of the adventure next week.

We’re in a kind of limbo while 2 players are absent and only have 2 players available. So we’re filling in with some time-travel buddy cop fun.

Our investigators are a 24th century “reformed” time criminal, and a Roman Praetor (very law-and-order) from 200 BC. It’s interesting running a GUMSHOE game where not all of the investigation skills are covered. Especially when one of those skills is “History: Contemporary” and your game starts out at the Trinity test site in New Mexico in 1945.

Not advised, mind you. But interesting. I decided to run with it and see how it goes. So far, there’s been a little bit of “fish out of water” silliness, but I’m sure they will get more into their element when they travel to more distant times and places as they track down what happened at the Trinity site just days before the first test detonation of the atomic bomb.

The cool part is that I’ve been able to easily grab images from history to use in the adventure. Like a woolly mammoth, which I was able to turn into a Roll20 token pretty quickly!

Mammoth

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#RPGaDay 9-12

Oh, I missed a couple of days! Sorry about that!

9: Beyond the game, what makes an ideal session?

Everyone shows up, preferably on time, and everyone contributes to the social part of the session, whether it’s bringing food/drink, setting up, cleaning up, or whatever. If it’s held at a local shop, everyone makes a modest purchase to support the store owner, and throws away their trash.

10: Largest in-game Surprise?

I ran an evil campaign during D&D Encounters (Web of the Spider Queen) in which, in the penultimate session, two of the PCs, who had been plotting together through the whole season, murdered a few of the other PCs, trapping the maguffin in the Abyss. The maguffin was supposed to be recovered and used to stop Lolth in the final session. It was a close, bloody fight complicated by the fact that things from the Abyss were trying to kill the PCs while the party member betrayed them. One of the PCs, dying, picked up the maguffin and threw it towards the closing Abyss portal, but rolled poorly and missed.

The player who had orchestrated this betrayal (with my blessing!) could see in my eyes that I had no idea what to do if they succeeded in trapping the maguffin. They were pretty far off the plot rails for Encounters anyway.

Finally, I shrugged and said “nah, you know what? Good job, team Drow. I’ll figure something out for next week. The amulet bounces off the portal and clinks to the floor just as the portal closes.”

11: Which gamer most affected how you play?

The cheater. We had a player in organized play who cheated. He’s notorious for it locally. I had multiple phone calls to Wizards of the Coast, who did nothing. He found out he was about to be kicked out of the group (the latest in a long string of games he would be booted from), and stopped coming.

12: What game is your group likely to play next, and why?

My weekly online group is likely to play Fall of Magic on Roll20 for a few weeks. We have a lot of schedule and personal stuff going on, so a system with a bit more flexibility seems like it’ll be a good fit for a while.

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#RPGaDay 8: Book format

The question of the day is: Hardcover, Softcover, or Digital?

If I’m going to play the game at a table, I prefer a softcover “trade” sized book (typically 6×9), like the Dungeon World book. That’s the easiest format for me to flip through and reference on the spot.2016-08-08 16.31.10

If I’m reading and keeping the book because I love the designer, the system, or something about it in particular, I’d like hardcover. This is how I ended up with the Chuubo’s tome on my bookshelf, right next to the Burning Wheel tome. I haven’t played either game and when I do play Chuubo’s, I’m more likely to leave this on the shelf and bring the ebook to the table.

No matter what, I desperately prefer to have an ebook/PDF version of the book in addition to the print version. I travel to cons and am not interested in carrying a 30-lb book with me. I look stuff up when I’m at my desk and don’t want to trek downstairs to find the book. For all I know, I’ll move back into an RV and go vagabonding again, in which case I’d definitely need ebooks if I want to keep gaming.

I also very much prefer game books that are under 200 pages. Funny thing. If you don’t have a zillion rules for how to commit violence against each other, you can get away with a lot fewer pages.

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#RPGaDay 7: Biggest Effect on My Life

I’d have to say socially, RPGs are a huge impact in my life. I am an extrovert and would probably always make friends no matter where I go. But RPGs have brought me into contact with some of the smartest people I know, and I’m grateful for those friendships and connections. Make-believe and role-playing games have also been a steady constant since I was a child, and they have utterly shaped how I grew up and the social bonds I’ve formed.

Plus, without them I’d never have met and fallen in love with my husband.

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