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Month: January 2011

About 2010

So there you go. 120 games in 365 days, which maths out to a game every three and a half days. That seems about right. Something like 28 of them were at cons, not counting the game days we ran at our place, which still leaves me at a pace of one game every four days. This may not have been entirely wise, since I’m a bit burned out, but it was fun. I regret very few of those sessions.

I’m not industrious enough to figure out the online vs. face to face count or anything. Half and half, probably. I never really warmed to online play as a main venue for me; more often it was an easy way to get a character into a new band. I liked the people but I didn’t like the medium most of the time.

Susan and I went to DDXP, RegulatorCon, Dexcon, Gencon, and GASPCon. I also went to a local one-day minicon at Games & Stuff. In January, I’d already moved my store game day to Legends; in the summer I gave up on Legends out of frustration with communication problems and (to be honest) a lack of desire on my part to take responsibility for difficult players. I can be tolerant, but I don’t necessarily want to have to be tolerant.

We played at Games & Stuff fairly often. I never got down to the Columbia game day, which is a shame.

The best thing about LFR in 2010 for me was gaming a lot with Susan. Other best things, in order: the Embers of Dawn mini-campaign, the Elturgard Battle Interactive and resulting plot lines, the White Petal Demise major quest,  experiencing paragon play. And of course the people involved in all of these.

120. Ripples in the Stream of Souls (CORE 2-6)

Susan and I went down to Games & Stuff the day after Christmas to play Ripples in the Stream of Souls with Faral and Reed. Jimmy ran; Mark B., Jason B., Amanda, and Terrence were our fellow players.

I liked the moral choices in this module a lot. There was a lot to mull over, there was stuff to investigate without the risk of getting stuck without enough clues, and so on. For the last adventure of the year, I’d say this was pretty good. It was also pleasantly apt that we’d meet a fun new local player in the last game of the year, since that’s always been a big part of the LFR experience for me.

119. Set Adrift (AKAN 2-1)

I ran this down at Games & Stuff for Alan, Hudson, Mark B., Jason B., and Evil Tony. Like most Akanul region mods, it’s a straightforward linear mission. The story is a bit weak for paragon tier PCs, but the opposition is fun and it’s a very tunable module. You can make it deadly dangerous or you can dial down the difficulty as appropriate. It’s also got some interesting monsters.

The entire module takes place on a single map, which happens to be the WotC DM Reward ship tiles. The Fat Dragon Medieval Cog model is just about the same size as that map, so I built the ship, which I am very pleased with. The players liked it too.

Also fun: I came within inches of forcing Alan’s pacifist cleric to give up his peaceful ways. He has this personal vow; if he ever does damage to any creature at all, he’ll give up the pacifist path. This is obviously much more restrictive than the feat requires, but that’s cool. I didn’t know any of this, but I sort of dominated him and forced him to make a charge attack against one of his allies. Barely any chance he’d hit… but he rolled a 20.

Fortunately his 4 points of damage weren’t enough to get through the ally’s damage resistance. But it was close. Neat stuff.

118. A Stab in the Dark (DRAG 1-3)

The second game we played on 12/18 was A Stab in the Dark, which was one of the few H3 modules nobody had ever played. I dragged Alesk out of the folder, since Amanda was GMing and Susan didn’t want to play two games. Jimmy and the Bradleys were the other three players, of course.

This is pretty much your usual Dragon Coast Westgate module. (Previous versions of this post may have been confused, ahem.) I liked the terrain even though it was not at all rewarding to melee – but playing Alesk as a polearm battle cleric was tons of fun anyhow. Plus I’m a sucker for Westgate.

117. Tyranny’s Bitter Frost (SPEC 2-2 P2)

We played a couple of games at the house on 12/18. The first one, which Susan ran, was Tyranny’s Bitter Frost: a bunch of the local peeps who’d played Tyranny’s Bleak Depth’s at Gencon wanted to play the sequel. I happened to have Collin sitting comfortably at the beginning of P2, so that worked out well. (This made his fourth SPEC module in a row, and he’ll be playing the BI later in January. No mundane mods for him.)

The other players were Amanda, Jimmy, Mark B., and Jason B. The usual suspects. It was a super-balanced party and the module went very smoothly despite a couple of nervewracking points. I never enjoy repeats quite as much, but it was fun seeing if Collin could stand up to the task. He could.

Mac App Store

I tried it out; it does what you’d expect. But here’s the ridiculous news, which is best summarized by the following graph. Since the Mac App Store launch, more than half of Evernote’s new users have come from the Mac, compared to a minuscule percentage before the launch.

Evernote new user graph

I mean, it’s the first weekend, and I’m sure it’ll level out. But man.


The Boston sports world is a weird place. Intense, fanatical, whiny, hopeful — it’s the kind of place that can support two sports radio stations without any problem whatsoever. Very macho world, of course. Sports. So the cool thing of the morning is this: Steve Buckley, who’s one of the reasonably big names in Boston sports journalism, came out. He writes for the (conservative) Boston Herald, and he has a frequent guest spot on (fairly conservative) WEEI, so that makes his environment just a little bit more unwelcoming than if he wrote for the Globe. Big kudos to him.

The comment section of his article isn’t quite a cesspool, although there’s a lot of hostility. Lot of praise, too. Also a lot of deleted comments. I expected worse, all in all.

One event closer to equality.

Stuff I Watch On The TV

We recently cut the cable cord. It turns out that you can get an HD antennae that feeds a Tivo well enough, and that covers anything on Fox, NBC, CBS, ABC, and CW. AMC is the big exception, but it’s cheaper to buy the episodes on iTunes than it would be to maintain the cable bill. I was gonna get HBO in the spring to watch Game of Thrones, and HBO does not do downloads for non-subscribers, but c’est la vie. Also I lose a lot of the NBA playoffs. Thankfully there are sports bars.

Anyway, for the sake of the decision-making process I thought hard about what I actually watch.

eBooks and Agents

Two interesting ebook questions: when will publishers get around to releasing the backlist as ebooks, and who will be the quality gatekeepers in a world of self-publishing? You may think the second question is a moot point, and can be answered by some form of collective criticism, aka Metafilter, but I’m going to throw out some relevant news anyhow.

As I understand it, part of the problem with the first question is that publishers don’t own the ebook rights to their backlist. It wasn’t part of the standard contract back in the dark ages of the 1980s and 1990s and 2000s. This means authors can do it themselves, if they like. Please take a moment to read this post from John Scalzi before continuing.

This summer, literary agent Andrew Wylie realized that he had a bunch of clients who had great backlists which could be profitably released as ebooks without the added cost of involving a publisher. We’re talking people like John Updike, who do not need as much marketing for their backlist as others. So he tried that. Alas, it did not work out entirely well.

However, the (primarily) SF&F agency JABberwocky recently did the same thing. So that’s kind of interesting.