Press "Enter" to skip to content

Category: Gaming

Actual Prep: Honey Heist

I ran this like a year ago but I was cleaning up my desk cause of new kittens and I found the index card. I should probably do a kitten post, huh? They’re great.

Anyhow this is what Honey Heist prep looks like and all I did was roll five dice and look some stuff up on tables.

Orga: too obsessed w/honey — Hubert
Where: dangerous convention center
Prize: queen of all bees
Secret: rigged to blow!!
Security: armed guards, "impenetrable" vault

Orga (Convention Organizer): too obsessed w/honey — Hubert
Where: dangerous convention center
Prize: queen of all bees
Secret: rigged to blow!!
Security: armed guards, “impenetrable” vault

If I recall correctly, I located the convention out at Stehekin, which is a very remote Washington state town, and a lot of the shenanigans had to do with boats.

Notes: 2023-02-22

Pitchfork dug deep for this review of Harry Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music, Vol. 1-3. Cool for the music but also cool for the esoterica. Anyone who claimed to be Crowley’s kid and had a passion for folk music is worth investigating in my book.

Alejandro Galindo seems like a really interesting director. A fair amount of his movies are available on the commercial-based streaming services. I wonder if these weren’t an influence on Roma?

Speaking of directors, Soderbergh’s 2022 yearly media consumption list is up. Someone on Letterboxd made a more convenient list of just the movies, which is handy, but I also like reading through the full stream. (Hm, four views of The Killer? I bet that’s the upcoming Fincher movie rather than John Woo.)

The always insightful J. D. Corley made me want to buy Call of Cthulhu 7th edition with this blog post. It’s just some tips for running the game, but what is this Bout of Madness mechanic? Is that really how it’s written or is that Corley being smart and extending the rulebook in useful ways? Suppose I gotta find out.

Have a 60-odd page PDF about management techniques from Javier Grillo-Marxuach, show runner and writer. OK, it’s really about show running, but it’s interesting how much of this translates directly into smart management techniques. Particularly for director-level managers.

Google Meet Transcriptions

I launched a new online campaign this week and with the consent of the players, I recorded the session for later reference. (One of them wrote a great summary, but it’s still nice to have the recording.) My original plan was to use Whisper to get a transcription but it turns out the built in Google Meet captioning system is plenty good enough. I did give Whisper a shot anyhow, and Whisper’s quality was higher, but the thing about Google Meet is that it adds speaker information to the transcriptions which is a huge difference.

Google One will cost you ten bucks a month, which gets you Google Meet sessions longer than an hour and transcripts, among other benefits. Worth it to me since I can afford it and I don’t like using my work Zoom for personal stuff, but YMMV.

WotC and the Creative Commons

I’ve been meaning to write this down in one place instead of scattering it in comments throughout the Internet. Note that the following blithely ignores the question of copyrighting mechanics; I agree that mechanics can’t be copyrighted but am assuming there’s concrete value to having a license for them anyhow. I also am assuming that the ORC will have a viral component; if not, it’s almost certainly going to be strictly inferior to Creative Commons Attribution.

WotC releasing the D&D 5.1 SRD under a Creative Commons Attribution license is not just one of the better outcomes for fans, it’s a shot across Paizo’s bows and probably the only one that would have mattered. Paizo’s still going to release the ORC and Pathfinder will go under that license, but it won’t have the same effect it might have otherwise.

We’re already seeing this with the Kobold Press announcement that they’re focused on maintaining compatibility with 5e. Their material may also be released under ORC, but that’s far less important than convincing Kobold to focus on Pathfinder 2e as their primary focus.

Why does WotC’s decision matter? Because permissive licenses which do not require licensing derivative material are more attractive to corporations than viral licenses, all else being equal. In 2014, the GNU viral licenses were the most popular licenses in one study, with 45% of the market. In 2021, viral licenses only had 22% of the market. These studies probably didn’t use exactly the same methodology, but the second study has seen a several year trend of GPL popularity declining and the old Black Duck surveys also saw GPL popularity declining.

It also makes sense. If you’re not an idealist, would you rather use a license that gives you more control over your product or less? More is better from a purely capitalist standpoint. Do you want to build your third party fantasy dungeon supplement on a license that restricts what you can do in any way, or on a license that gives you complete freedom without having to worry about getting product identity declarations right? Bonus points for the fact that D&D owns the majority of the market, so you reduce some barriers to entry by basing your supplement on 5e.

There’s also an advantage to being the mechanics originator in an OGL-style licensing model, because ultimately you’re the only one who can restrict usage of new mechanics. Consider a supplement with a new class in it. If you’re WotC (for D&D) or Paizo (for Pathfinder under the likely ORC), you can publish that supplement without releasing the class as open content. Under a viral license, nobody else has that freedom.

WotC has demonstrated that they’re happy to do this. Paizo hasn’t had the opportunity to make that choice until now, since they’re using the OGL and thus have to release their mechanics. From the point of view of a licensor, it’s better to choose a license that doesn’t give a competitor more advantages, even if they aren’t using them right now.

I don’t know if anyone at WotC went through a similar thought process; it’s possible that they lucked into the smart move. Either way, it was the right move.

Dungeon23 in Bastion

My rough plan for Dungeon23 is to write one borough of Bastion per week, as follows:

  • Monday: Basic map of transit lines
  • Tuesday: Points of Interest named and described
  • Wednesday: Complications written
  • Thursday: Three to five One to three factions outlined
  • Friday: Three to five One to three NPCs outlined
  • Saturday: Encounter table
  • Sunday: A Treasure

Update: three to five NPCs and factions was optimistic. One to three is better.

I will capture the day’s work on Mastodon, hash tagged #Dungeon23 and #Bastion23. The completed borough makes a Sunday blog post, which are also tagged as #Bastion23.

I’m not at all sure how far I’ll get but it’ll be fun trying.

Delta Green & Mutual Aid

I’ve been thinking about Delta Green in relation to copaganda for a long time. That is a different blog post, because it’s a long topic, but recently I started wondering about collective action in the Delta Green world. As a practical matter, I believe that mutual aid is a better environment for mental health than any police force. What would that mean in relationship to the Cthulhu Mythos?

Let’s start with the existing rules for using Bonds.

A Delta Green Agent can reduce Sanity loss by projecting trauma onto a Bond. This weakens the Bond, because it’s meant to represent the tension between the horror of the Mythos and the people or groups an Agent uses to maintain connection to their normal life. That makes sense in context but doesn’t allow for the concept of a group which is explicitly there to support members against those horrors.

An Agent can repress temporary insanity the same way, with the same consequences.

During downtime, there’s a rule for Agents who focus on ordinary obligations and relationships: they can Fulfill Responsibilities by working to support a Bond. This rule works as is to represent mutual aid.

There’s also a rule for generating new Bonds, which weakens one other Bond. That contains an assumption which I think doesn’t necessarily hold for mutual aid groups, because they’re groups that exist in order to strengthen community-wide connections.

Finally, Delta Green is a special kind of Bond: “Powerful Bonds form between people who have to look out for each other to survive.” Oh, hey, there’s what we’re looking for. The special rule here is that Agents who suffer trauma develop and deepen their Bond with Delta Green, again at the cost of weakening other Bonds.

Put all that together and I think we have the makings of a community-oriented house rule.

A Special Bond: Mutual Aid Groups

Powerful Bonds form between people who have to look out for each other to survive, but even more powerful Bonds form between people who choose to help others survive. Collective action with full knowledge of the Mythos in mind creates a powerful structure for cushioning the impact of the horrors your Agent faces.

Your Agent may take a Bond with a mutual aid group that is aware of the Mythos as a special Bond. This may be at character creation, particularly if the entire group wants to be part of a mutual aid group, or during play as per the usual rules for gaining Bonds. Bonds with unaware mutual aid groups are treated as normal Bonds, with the exception that they may convert to a special Bond at any point if the group discovers the Mythos or a portion thereof, and elects to take on fighting the Mythos as a core cause for the group.

Every time someone in your Agent’s mutual aid group undergoes a catastrophic trauma, there’s a chance your Agent develops or deepens Bonds with their teammates. Such traumas include those listed on page 37 of the Delta Green Agent’s Handbook. The rules for this are the same as the rules for the Delta Green bond, except that your Agent does not lose points from other Bonds. Also, reducing Sanity loss or repressing temporary insanity with the help of this Bond does not weaken other Bonds. An Agent cannot reduce Sanity loss by more than the value of the special Bond, even if they roll higher on 1d4.

All other rules for this Bond are as per the rules for the Delta Green Bond.

Your Agent may not have a Bond with Delta Green and a Bond with a mutual aid group. However, other Delta Green agents may have Bonds with your Agent as part of their Delta Green Bond.


This new type of Bond is clearly superior to other Bonds, including the special Delta Green Bond. This is intentional. I don’t think it means Agents can defeat the Mythos: you still have to spend Willpower Points to reduce Sanity loss, and those aren’t an infinite resource.

It would be possible but awkward for a Delta Green agent to also join a mutual aid group. This is intentional and true to life.

The obvious campaign frame here (which I may write up at some point) is a mutual aid group which discovers the Mythos and decides they need to fight what is obviously a fascist tendency. There are plenty of non-pacifist mutual aid groups.


Covid Update

One of the ways I knew I was getting sick was that my ability to code dropped through the floor, so I’ve been fiddling with things from time to time as a test.

I’m still veering between faint positive tests and negative tests, but I got a wild hair and wrote some Python today. Credit for the underlying text and mechanics goes to Oliver Darkshire. I have taken the liberty of skipping assassination attempts when there’s no chance of success and decided that you can’t try an assassination attempt after an ending is reached.

Lions are released onto the streets in an attempt to calm the population.
Flames: 1
Desolation: 1
Relocation: 0

You might want to assassinate the emperor, but there's no chance.


Work continues on a house made of pure gold. It keeps melting.
Flames: 5
Desolation: 3
Relocation: 3

You might want to assassinate the emperor, but there's no chance.

There are no goods at market. "If you have no bread, then eat shit" is the word from the palace.
Flames: 5
Desolation: 4
Relocation: 3

Would you like to assassinate the emperor? [y/n]: n

The emperor sits in front of the flame and commands it to obey. It does not.
Flames: 6
Desolation: 4
Relocation: 4

Would you like to assassinate the emperor? [y/n]: y

You failed to assassinate the emperor with a roll of 11, and you are dead.

Obviously my play is sub-optimal. Don’t expect too much from me yet.