Jun. 21st, 2017 02:36 pm

fun for the whole family

kareila: Sora outlined in silhouette against a heart shaped moon (kh2)
[personal profile] kareila
I've written several times over the years about how much my kids and I enjoy playing LEGO video games, especially the franchise tie-ins, and I appreciate being able to go back and read those older entries and see how that relationship has evolved as the years have gone by. In particular, it struck me that once upon a time I wrote about how Connor would join me in two-player mode on the Wii, but Will never joined in, although he liked to watch and advise us, and would play the mobile versions of the game on the DS or the iPad.

Well, that has officially changed. After assisting me in various areas of the first Harry Potter game over the past couple of weeks, today Will started a solo playthrough of the second Harry Potter game.

The original LEGO Star Wars, the game that started it all, came out the same year he was born, in 2005. So I feel like my love of these games and the lives of my kids are entwined, in a sense. All these years later, I consider the Harry Potter games to be my favorites, so it's a bit surprising to me to realize that I only completed the second Harry Potter game once, although I've played through the first one four times now. I wish they would release a remastered combined game for the Wii U like they did for the PS4.

As near as I can figure, I own all of the LEGO franchise tie-in games except for Indiana Jones 2 and LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars. I even repurchased for the Wii the ones I originally played on the Playstation 2. I haven't completed the more recent ones, though, since I got distracted by the introduction of LEGO Dimensions.

This is the first summer in a while that I can remember not having a new LEGO game to play. LEGO Marvel Superheroes 2, which appears to feature the Guardians of the Galaxy, has been announced for later this year, but it will require me to purchase a newer console, so we're probably getting a Nintendo Switch for Christmas. Connor's already asked for one anyway.

Just for fun, I made a chronological table for the various franchise games - not including the LEGO Movie Videogame, LEGO City Undercover, or LEGO Dimensions and its various expansions.

Read more... )
Jun. 21st, 2017 09:52 pm

Notebook - Practicality

carisma_sensei: (Twin Peaks→Dale Cooper)
[personal profile] carisma_sensei posting in [community profile] dreamwidthlayouts
Title: Notebook
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Jun. 21st, 2017 08:34 pm

Reading, Listening, Watching

purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
[personal profile] purplecat
Reading: Still Crime and Punishment which should be no surprise. However I had anticipated being further in than Chapter 5 by this point.

Listening: Stuff you Missed in History Class on William Moulton Marston, the creator of Wonder Woman. So far he's invented a lie detector and is investigating women's emotional responses to bondage - suddenly Wonder Woman's lasso takes on a whole new dimension. He appears to have been both a feminist of sorts* and a polygamist. The former of which is, I gather, very evident in the early Wonder Woman comics (particularly his belief that the world would be a better place if run by women) the latter somewhat less so.

Watching: We have discovered Stanger Things. Very reminiscent of E.T. (it opens with a D&D game, is set in the 1980s and much of it is short from a child height viewpoint (a characteristic of E.T. according to B.))

*neither of his partners got suitable credit for their, in some cases considerable, input into his work.
Jun. 21st, 2017 05:14 am

Meet the locals: Vyzor hirelings

[syndicated profile] jrients_gameblog_feed

Posted by Jeff Rients

A large number of semi-active adventurers have become permanent fixtures in and around Castle Vyzor.  Most of the time, these individuals are happy to sponge off the generosity of the Sorcerer of the Blue Mask.  Occasionally--often due to gambling debts or unpaid bar tabs--they get desperate enough to actually venture into the dungeons for a small fee and possibly a share of the loot.  This is where your PC comes in.  For just a few gold pieces, you can hire one of these poor fools and probably lead them to their doom.

Since these are unique (hopefully-)recurring characters, you can only recruit and control one hireling at a time.  These folks generally work on a per-session basis.  If they survive an adventure, they go back into the hiring pool.  If a single session of game play involves more than one expedition (i.e. you exit the dungeon and go back in) then you must make a morale role (modified by the DM if the previous expedition was particularly harrowing or enriching) to cajole your hireling back into the Vaults.

To recruit one of these folks, spend 10gp, 25gp, or 100gp.  Consult the Charisma chart to find out what die you may roll on the roster below.  If you don’t like the result, you can choose not to hire anyone but you’re out the gold and don’t get to try again; whoever you rolled is your best prospect given the time and money available.




CHARISMA



3
4-8
9-12
13-17
18
10gp
you get Willy
d4
d6
d10
d20
25gp
d6
d10
d12
d20
d30
100gp
d10
d12
d20
d30
choose

Note that one of the reasons why you want the largest die possible is because the chart is basically ordered by competence.  Hireling #10 and #18 may both be first level Fighters, but #10 will require more oversight than #18.  Not that #18 is without his own issues.  That guy thinks he’s the hero in a sword-and-sorcery novel.

Ability scores are generally irrelevant for these people.  For simplicity’s sake, they all range from 9 to 12.  You can assume fighters have a 12 Str and an 9 Int, for instance.

Hit points are rolled anew for each expedition.  Fighters and dwarves get d8.  Clerics, elves, and halflings get d6.  Everyone else gets d4.

Most characters start with no equipment save the weapon and armor listed below, with the following exceptions: Thieves generally have a crummy lockpick or two.  Clerics possess a shoddy wooden holy symbol.  And magic-users own a poorly organized spellbook incomprehensible to anyone else.  Other specialists probably have the basics to practice their profession.  Any equipment purchased for hirelings stay with them after the expedition is over, though these folks have a tendency to misplace, break, or otherwise lose equipment.

Spellcasters get random BX spells.  Reroll between expeditions.  These characters are generally too incompetent to learn or teach new spells.

Anyone with a standard class (not a zero level weenie) earns half experience and is entitled to a half a share of moneys earned.  All hirelings will automatically carouse if they can afford to do so, earning half XP.

Should something unfortunate happen to one of these poor wretches, a replacement will appear on the chart that may or may not be of the same class.  Should a hireling experience a windfall, they may retire at the DM’s discretion.

These rules generally replace normal henchmen and hireling rules, but you can bring in henchmen from other FLAILSNAILS campaigns.  Also, if there is a shortage of PCs, the DM may still fill out the party with some of boring spearmen.

ROSTER
Die Roll
Name
Class
Weapon
Armor
Miscellaneous
1
Willy Whats-his-name
0-Level (Loser)
club
rags
absolutely non-descript
2
Otto One-Eye
0-Level (Mercenary)
spear
rags
no left eye; nasty gaping hole
3
Young John
0-Level (Likely Lad)
dagger
rags
eager to please
4
Little Liam Linkboy
0-Level (Misc)
none
rags
torchbearer, won't fight
5
Jonesy
0-Level (Mercenary)
shortbow, empty quiver
rags
shifty little mofo
6
John Lackwit
0-Level (Loser)
had a club, but lost it
rags
needs constant supervision
7
Richard Half-beard
Thief
dagger
rags
bad burn on side of face
8
Wicked Juliana
Fighter
battle axe
leather
merciless
9
Sly Henry
Thief
dagger
rags
calls himself Sly, actually a fool
10
Adam o' the Dung Heap
Fighter
mace
shield
oh God, the stench
11
Poor Brother Rupert
Cleric
staff
raggedy robe
sold his holy symbol to feed the poorer
12
Baguette
Halfling
dagger
leather
kid sister of Fromage and Escargot
13
Balphazad the Befuddled
Magic-User
staff
tattered robe
would forget his beard if it wasn't glued on
14
Kernick
0-Level (Mercenary)
rusty polearm
chain
not from around here, speaks very little Common
15
Emma Bright-Eyes
0-Level (Likely Lass)
sling, 2d6 stones
patchwork dress
an innocent; if she gets killed you might actually cry
16
Walter the Physick
0-Level (Misc)
dagger
threadbare robe
physician (quack?), non-combatant
17
Slightly Creepy Kerra
Thief
dagger
leather
the way she smiles when she draws her dagger...
18
Hugo the Slayer
Fighter
sword & dagger
leather
can't actually dual wield, alternates attacks
19
Fromage
Halfling
shortbow, d8 arrows
leather
middle brother of Baguette and Escargot
20
Gwalin Rustbritches
Dwarf
warhammer
leather & shield
hated by other dwarves, no one knows why
21
Runaway Tom
0-Level (Likely Lad)
staff
rags
something about that boy ain't quite right
22
Sister Hilda
Cleric
mace
shield
smites evil with joy
23
Alice Talks to Crows
Magic-User
staff
robe
certain all animals speak Common but choose not to
24
Ralf the Pathetic
Fighter
sword
shield, helmet
woe-is-me disgraced knight
25
Fat Roger
Thief
shortsword
rags
armor costs 150% for size adjustments
26
Gilbert the Heretic
Cleric
club
shield
won't shut up about angels
27
Morwena the Hedgewitch
Magic-User
dagger
robe
you can't stop staring at the wart on her nose
28
Escargot
Halfling
shortsword
leather&shield
eldest brother of Baguette and Fromage
29
Oombur Axebutt
Dwarf
handaxe
chain&shield
composes songs, not bad at it but his singing is terrible
30
Mellifor of the Brazen Hand
Elf
longsword
chainmail
right hand made of brass (semi-functional)

Mercenaries are capable of holding their own with human-like foes such as orcs and goblins.  They are less stalwart against weird monsters and undead.

Losers are generally incompetent.  They are nonetheless useful because once per expedition they can be used as cannon fodder to absorb some doom that would otherwise befall their employer.  E.g. that orc axe that would have split you in twain actually kills Willy instead.

Likely Lads and Lasses are the most competent and daring of zero-level characters.  At the end of each expedition, there is a 1 in 6 chance they ‘graduate’ to an actual adventuring class.  Their new class will be identical to that of their recent employer, if possible.  (E.g. a Likely Lass who worked for a Dwarf will probably become a Fighter.)
Jun. 21st, 2017 11:01 am

Somebody’s woke af.

nanila: wrong side of the mirror (me: wrong side of the mirror)
[personal profile] nanila
Humuhumu: “Keiki, are you a boy?”
Keiki: “No!”
Humuhumu: “Keiki, are you a girl?”
Keiki: “No!”
Humuhumu: “What are you, Keiki?”
Keiki: “I’m a KEI-KI.” syllables of name drawn out emphatically

20170620_194627
[Humuhumu and Keiki in the bath, giving themselves bubble beards.]
tcpip: (Default)
[personal profile] tcpip
Final day in Stuttgart included a long walk through Rotwildpark, a thoroughly beautiful location, and a visit to Schloss Solitude which by good fortune had its rooftop open to visitors commanding some superb views. The journey back to Frankfurt was quick and uneventful and once again checked into the Hotel Colombus where, alas, a top floor has been allocated. In the rather warm conditions that is being currently experienced in western Europe it is a little unpleasant.

The main purpose of this European visit is, of course, the International Supercomputing Conference. The event is just the right size, and with a good combination of medium to some very low level presentations ("low level", as in dealing with the technical details). Of some note was the announcement at the conference that the United States has been edged out the top three supercomputer systems, with the delicate suggestion that the current administration may wish to revisit their committment to advanced research. Among the vendors the can be little doubt that NVIDIA's Volta architecture attracted much deserved attention especially with its performance, energy efficiency, and capability for artificial intelligence - the latter being an interesting focus among a number of presentations.

There has been some more social activities as well; I was subject to a film interview by Dell on the sort of HPC work conducted at the University, and had dinner with a number of their staff at the well-reviewed Immer Satt. I have also had the opportunity to catch up with several individuals from my last visit to this part of the world, including colleagues from Stuttgart and Freiburg Universities as well as establish contacts with well people from Auckland University of Technology (quite a trip) and GENCI (Grand Equipment National de Calcul Intensif) who I will be visiting in Paris this Friday.
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Jun. 20th, 2017 08:09 pm

Texas Capitol Building

purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
[personal profile] purplecat
While I was in Texas an old friend and his wife took me out for the day including a trip around Texas' Capitol





Piccies Under the Cut )
Jun. 20th, 2017 12:25 pm

Asteroid 1618

[syndicated profile] jrients_gameblog_feed

Posted by Jeff Rients

Hey all, I just got a query about how to get a copy of my old Encounter Critical adventure thingy Asteroid 1618.  Here's a link to a PDF version.  Fair warning: it was hastily written, barely edited, poorly laid out, and it uses an intentionally eye-gouging font.  The art pieces not by me are nice.  That's the primary virtue of it, really.

Anyway... enjoy?
Jun. 20th, 2017 11:50 am

my political sentimentality

brainwane: My smiling face in front of a brick wall, May 2015. (Default)
[personal profile] brainwane
From "An Excerpt From My Definitely Not a Presidential Campaign Book" by Alexandra Petri, Washington Post, June 5, 2017:


People always ask me what I'm passionate about, and I tell them the following story: When I was a little kid, my grandmother took me to see an injustice. I got so mad! I threw my red white and blue popsicle down on the ground. My grandmother picked it up and said, "Winner, these colors are sacred. Never let them drop." And I said, "I know, Grandma, but I don't like to see injustice!" and she said, "That's just the world we live in. Unless you grow up and devise common-sense policy solutions to do something about it. And don't forget the men who died to give that right to you, and proudly stand up to defend her still today."

....

I think sex is bad unless it falls into one of the five categories below that also conveniently align with my policy proposals:

-- you are thinking about tax reform during it
-- other people are having it and you are vocally disapproving of it
-- at least one of the people involved is committed to being a great dad
-- it involves one willing participant who is a male celebrity
-- it is binding Americans together and serving to restore our common values


So one way I know that I am hopelessly sentimental about civic virtue and so on, and that part of me is an utter sucker for "common-sense policy solutions"/"binding Americans together"-type rhetoric, is that even this parody makes me mist up a little bit. Also I have literally cried (albeit on an airplane) at a Doritos ad that championed bipartisanship.

(As a young'un I came across a copy of Art Buchwald's I Never Danced at the White House and read it and thus learned about Watergate. Art Buchwald was a political humor columnist for the Washington Post. I am imagining some twelve-year-old girl in 2039 reading a Petri collection, getting about 30% of the jokes and enjoying it a lot.)

(Also I should look up whether there is critical scholarship discussing Alexandra Petri, Alexandra Erin, the Toast work of Mallory Ortberg, and whoever else is doing .... this kind of thing in this era. *handwave*)
Jun. 19th, 2017 09:45 pm

Huh (or, why I do reiki)

ysobel: (Default)
[personal profile] ysobel
So I don't know if I mentioned it here at all, but I've been getting Reiki treatments for the past six months or so. Reiki, at least as far as I understand it, which isn't very far, involves energy manipulation, and s sort of like a massage only with gentle touch and rubbing your energy rather than your muscles.

(No, rubbing energy is not intended as a euphemism, shush.)

There is a part of me that thinks, stubbornly, cynically, that it's Woo. Kind of like the book my maternal grandmother sent me, when I was first diagnosed with FOP, about using visualization to do everything from curing cancer to getting your dream job/home/whatever, as long as you visualize hard enough and so it every day. Or like the "pray to Jesus and He will cure everything" thing that Christians do, based on the "if you have enough faith you can move mountains" scripture. Both of which are extremely victim-blaming: if you don't get magically better, you just didn't try hard enough.

But. Reiki ... well, it's not a magic cure-all, but it also wasn't presented to me as one; there are local people who use it for cancer patients but less in a "this will magically disappear your tumor" and more in a "this will help you get through the effects of chemo/radiation" way; and I fully believe there are things that science doesn't really know about yet, and "science can't explain this" is not a *validation* of alternative techniques but it isn't a contradiction either -- but regardless.

Even if it is pure woo, which I don't think it is? The touch aspect is huge for me. Most of the touch I get is functional, like my aides wiping my butt after I poop, but it's not really the level of touch that I crave; a lot of the remainder is my mom touching me, which is as awkward and fraught with complications as it is helpful. I can't cuddle. I can't hold hands. I can't lean against someone. I am massively touch-deprived, massively isolated because of both the wheelchair and the position I'm fixed in, and *even if Reiki is entirely woo it is a way I get meaningful touch*, and that is hugely significant.

It's also really interesting ... I know that priopreception is a thing and that we are aware of our own bodies, but usually my perception of my body is very dissociated and very blobby, kind of this:

Read more... )

Somehow, especially with the person I've done most of my sessions with, reiki gives me back a sense of my body. It's related to the touch thing, I'm sure, but -- a few months back she was doing stuff with my lower legs and feet, and I was connected with them as leg- and feet-shaped objects; even though my feet are blobs, IRL as well as in my self perception, for that while they felt like normal feet-shaped feet.

And mostly I don't want a sense of my body, because all my body brings me is pain and/or immobility, but it's nice just feeling like I get plugged back in. Like I'm actually a person and not a blob.

And that's a significant thing too.
Jun. 19th, 2017 07:20 pm

Parkour!

rydra_wong: Fragment of a Tube map, with stations renamed Piero della Francesca, Harpo, Socrates and Seneca. (walking -- the great bear)
[personal profile] rydra_wong posting in [community profile] common_nature
Sadly, I didn't have a phone on hand to try to get a photo.

But I just found out that a startled fox on a London balcony will, if feeling cornered, drop two storeys onto the top of a garden wall, bounce off that onto the ground, land with somewhat less dignity than it had intended but apparently without injury, and trot off hurriedly.

In my defense, I really didn't mean to make the fox feel cornered; it's just that my immediate, automatic response to "unexpected furry cat-sized creature" is "stay still, make crooning noises at it, try to edge a bit closer." Had I fled, it would have been able to go round to the other side of the balcony, where you only have to drop down half a storey to an adjacent roof.

ETA: I can't help noticing that there is a very well-chewed yellow foam ball on my balcony, which I did not put there.

Also, by way of apology, I have left a dish of water out on the balcony, because it is a heatwave.
Jun. 19th, 2017 02:08 pm

Ducklings

nanila: wrong side of the mirror (me: wrong side of the mirror)
[personal profile] nanila posting in [community profile] common_nature
Ducklings!
[Two ducklings, one facing the camera and one showing us its fluffy backside.]

Someone left the top gate on our canal lock open today and these two plus their four siblings got stuck at the far end of the lock next to the closed gate. They couldn't scramble out to meet their momma standing on the lock edge. I went out to chivvy her back toward the open gate, and luckily the ducklings trapped in the lock followed her all the way out the gate, which I shut behind them. All seem to be okay if a little peeved with me, and I can take it!

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