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Messages - ArtfulShrapnel

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RPGs / Re: Star Wars in O.R.E. Yeah, I'm doing it.
« on: June 04, 2012, 08:05:37 PM »
This sounds like a winner to me! The best Star Wars game I ever ran was in FATE of all systems. It abstracted stuff enough that the regular guys were just as badass as the jedi, and everyone had a great time.

I'd say to make sure you pay particular attention to getting good motivations in place for everyone. That's really the core of a good Star Wars story, the lightsabers and blasters are just set dressing. ;)


Pretty good overall, but I think they went a bit too directly from canon with some of the powers... take this one:

Create Life (DS): Manipulate the Force to artificially imbue a biological construct with life or to impregnate a living creature.
This is a very uncertain process; you must roll your Create Life stunt dice as a separate dice pool, apart from your Physical Control dice, and score a height of 10 for it to work. If it fails, the biological construct is destroyed or the intended mother perishes

dafuq? Why is creating life a dark side power, and why does it specifically call out the ability to create pregnancies? Oh wait. Because that's what it's implied Palpatine did. So obviously that is the main use for the technique and it is obviously a Dark Side power.

« on: June 04, 2012, 07:50:23 PM »
I quite like Reign, and I'm working on a DnD conversion for it to add arcane-type magics. It definitely needs some love in terms of creating new "esoteric paths" (feat trees) for non-combat characters, but that can be a lot of fun.

RPGs / Re: Google Plus
« on: September 25, 2011, 01:53:44 AM »
I think he's referring to the G+ "Huddle" feature, which I have never used.

Could be interesting.

General Chaos / Re: Cthulhu Mythos Sculpts
« on: September 23, 2011, 05:10:04 AM »
By the powers of Threadomancy, I resurrect thee! Zbrush updated, and lovecraftian horrors are a great way to practice. :)

Added a new one to the set, A Cthonian. This guy is a huge mofo. 80mm tall x 120mm long on the table. (He can and will eat 1d4 adventurers per round. I'm pretty sure you could balance a couple guys in his tentacles too).

In related/exciting news, Shapeways will be dropping their minimum order policy shortly! (This is bittersweet news, as they will also be adding reasonable shipping charges. Really not much change on stuff like this, but I think it will be slightly raising the price of individual minis)

Any requests for the near future?

RPGs / Re: Crappy CoC skype game looking for players
« on: September 21, 2011, 04:13:16 PM »
I wish I could have gotten in on this, but I'm running MY Laundry game at the exact same time. :(

If you ever change nights, shoot me a PM and I'll try to jump in. My girlfriend also games, and would probably want to join or at least kibitz a bit. :]

RPGs / Re: Recording Game Sessions
« on: September 10, 2011, 01:15:21 PM »
Okay, this might be a bit off-topic/unrelated by now, but has anyone considered setting up an Audio Out cable on the computer that's running Skype, and connecting it to some sort of external recorder? Solves the memory issues pretty handily.

RPGs / AR in RPG
« on: September 10, 2011, 01:47:09 AM »
I've just started a Laundry game in the Providence area. Due to scheduling issues we only meet bi-weekly, and I've been finding myself leaning more towards AR game mechanics during the downtime. (Email is perfectly in tune with the setting, and to my delight nobody had registered

For example, this evening my players recieved this email*:

Dear Valued Laundry Employee,

Thanks to a joint subcomitte incorporating members Accounting, Quality Assurance, Operational Oversight and Medial & Psychological, the new Employee Documentation Incentivization Program (EDIP) has been instituted. The following message is from the newly re-named EDIP subcomittee:

"EDIP was created in response to concerns within Med/Psych that the documentation QA measures for field operatives within the agency (Such as Auditing, Official Reprimand, and Mental Probing) were having a negative psychological effect on operatives who are already under considerable mental strain. The Proper Paperwork Compulsion Gaes initiative was one attempt to deal with the problem, but testing found it was unsuitable to the rigors of Organization reality. (Note from Med/Psych: We ask that you avoid mentioning "Materiel Requisitions Rubrick 12-B" in the presence of Mr. Denton and Ms. Hughes during their recovery. This should be easy as these forms have not been in use since 1987 and are mentioned only as a footnote on some unfortunately outdated field equipment registration forms.)

"Our new initiative provides a positive reinforcement for agents in the form of monetary rewards for proper documentation above the current standard of practice. Since it would be inappropriate and against government regulation to add these bonuses to paychecks, they will instead be awarded in the form of Personal Budgetary Enhancement (PBE) accounts for the agents to call upon for operational-related expenses. These could be used to requisition extra personal equipment during field ops, upgrade accommodations or travel arrangements during offsite deployments*, for personal enrichment through the Training department, requisitioning extra refreshments at the annual Holiday Party, or any other usage for which departmental funds would usually be earmarked.

"Any documentation you wish to have counted for these purposes should be addressed to the Laundry Operations Email Switchboard (Note from IT: this address) with "EDIP" somewhere in the subject line. Documentation valuation will be in accordance with Rubrick E-902. In keeping with the Fiscal Opacity Security Regulations, valuation will be in abstract "Budgetary Units", equivalent to those mentioned in your Laundry Budgetary Policy Introductory Handbook."

Your PBE Account Number is 000000022

To access your Personal Budgetary Enhancement Account Status Click Here.

I used Google Docs to create a Personal Budgetary Enhancement Account Status page for each of them, as well as the "valuation" rubrick to tell them how much a given thing is worth.

I've already sent an "official nickname reassignment" notice to one of them because his nickname wasn't the geekiest possible, and I intend to send everyone an "orientation packet" email that shows them their view of the organizational structure around them, as well as the names of their supervisors.

Has anyone else used stuff like this? Any suggestions for more stuff I could send them?

*As a side note for non-Laundry players, your "operational budget" in Laundry is used to let you requisition stuff when your "Status" rolls within the agency fail. You have a (very) small limit that's shared among all players. Things that you might requisition: Backup, Guns, Armor, Computers and of course Training Courses, which allow you to rank up your skills. This is basically the "get more XP for doing out of game stuff that adds to the world" system I'm putting in place.

RPGs / Teaching GMing
« on: September 07, 2011, 05:10:50 PM »
This started as a reply to a G+ conversation, but grew too lengthy to fit there, so I figured I'd bring it here for discussion. The analogy came up that "how to GM" articles tend to be a lot like beginner drawing books: They seem insightful to newbs, but once you have some experience you realize how specific they are and that you really can't condense all the experience needed to be a good GM into a page of writing.

It occurred to me that maybe we should look at how art CAN be taught, if we hope to discover a way to teach good GMing.

As an artist and GM, I can say the two processes are very similar: There are rules to be obeyed, but some people ignore some rules and still get a good result. A lot of the process is mental and hidden, but it manifests in an observable way. There are a lot of different styles, but most people will agree on certain foundations that make "good" art/games... the list goes on. So, on to art teaching methods!

1) Take your ego out of it
You are not your art

This is a part lots of artists and GM’s struggle with, in my experience, and it’s simultaneously the hardest and most important part of the learning process.

When learning art, a person will fuck up. They will be wrong. Not like "I disagree" wrong, but "this is totally incorrect and I can explain why with a fucking diagram" wrong. There are people who are better at certain things and the student needs to accept that and listen to them if they ever want to improve. Even people who aren’t as good as the student can have valuable insight, especially if they are the intended audience.

Honest critique is the core of modern creative instruction, and those who get the most out of it are those who can take a bad critique and not just tolerate it, but honestly study and internalize it. In every art class there is the person who ignores all the critiques and says that any "flaw" is "their style". They don't do well i the long run.

Instead, a student needs to distance themselves from their creations. They need to learn to accept that a person can create something and have it be objectively not good, and that this doesn’t mean they failed. They need to realize that a that a bad critique of work is not a bad critique of a person, it is advice to help improve their next work. The realization needs to happen that if a person takes the time to give a critique at all, it’s because they think the creator is able to do better and greater things.

2) Master Copies
One common way to learn is to study the work of more experienced artists and try to recreate it. Art teachers will tell you that in doing this, it is important to not copy what you see, but to analyze it and try to understand why a decision was made, then make that decision yourself.

In GMing, this might take the form of listening to actual plays or watching a game from outside and trying to figure out why the GM did what they did, then running the same game and trying to stick as close to the original playthrough as possible. Likely the person won't be able to exactly duplicate it (stupid player choice!) but overcoming the small deviations is part of the process.

I will note here that running a pre-written scenario is not the same thing as studying how a GM runs something. I would equate a pre-written scenario as somewhere between a paint-by-numbers and a very comprehensive reference collection, depending on how it is used. It has the stuff that will be in the game, but we're not talking about studying game design, we want to be studying GMing, which is about far more than what happens when or where.

3) Tutorials and Process Workshops
In art instruction it is important to see and study the entire creative process, not just the end result. In painting this means seeing thumbnails, sketches, studies, and reference gathering as well as the final techniques used to make the piece.

In GMing, this might mean being there with the GM while he prepares, asking questions about why he's making various decisions, etc. in addition to watching the actual game.

With art, this is often done in the form of videos where the artist walks you through their entire process, or a specific part of it on several projects at once. A similar set of videos or podcasts for games would be interesting. RPPR approaches this in their theoretical talk about "how to incorporate X into your game" posts, but the real equivalent would be something like an AP podcast where the GM writes the game and narrates their process before the game starts so that you can see their entire thought process and how it carries through into the game.

Highlighting various set-pieces in terms of "I wrote it like this, with these ideas in mind, here's how it played out:" would be good equivalents too.

4) Guided Practice
The most common way to teach art once someone has the fundamentals down is through what I call "guided practice" or "mentoring". The student creates art while an experienced artist looks over their shoulder and gives them advice or corrections. That instructor might assign research materials, tell them to do something or not do something specific, paint over their work to show them how it should be done right, or whatever.

In the context of GMing this could take the form of having a GM mentor while a game is being prepared. They would need to look over the preparation, give advice on it, and be present for the game itself so they could critique the final presentation.  The student should be responsible for running things, but during the preparatory phase the co-GM might step in and give changes or suggestions.

It is important during this type of learning that the mentor be treated like an instructor, not a member of the voting constituency. They are teaching, the student is learning from them. If they make a choice that seems stupid... maybe they know something the student doesn't!  If they’re wrong and fuck things up? Who cares? Learning will happen anyways and you can always run another game.

5. Audience Critique
This may seem like an obvious one, but I'm always surprised at how few GMs practice it. After each session, ask the audience for a critique. "What did you like, what didn't you like?" is a great way to express it. It's a phrase that invites negative feedback as much as positive feedback, and gives the players an invitation to express themselves subjectively.

I would say with this, the tricky part is to NOT take it personally. It's really hard to sit at a table after a bad game and listen to four people discuss how badly things just went and dissect a failed experience. This is where that first part about "you are not your art" comes into play. In my experience the best way to alleviate the stress is to join the other side. Point out things you did that you didn't like, make fun of yourself a bit. It's hard to feel ganged up on when you're in the gang!

Any ideas on these from the rest of the forums? Things that I have overlooked, or other ideas to draw from?

I made these printable earrings on Shapeways. I am calling them GOATSEarrings. :)

They've made the top of BoingBoing's submitterator, and any extra votes to help them make the frontpage would be much appreciated!

Submitterator is HERE
My store page is HERE

</blatant plug>

... I think you'd get in on enthusiasm, but you'll have to change first.

Or we all have to pee ourselves. One way or another, everybody has to match.

We can do it like shirts/skins team. You can be on "team dampness". I'll head "Team Sanitation". :/

This thing is pretty slick. Costs about $2.50 for the android, but totally seems worth it!

Sent using Tapatalk

*peeing my pants* Me, pick me! Oooh ooh! Pick me!

... I think you'd get in on enthusiasm, but you'll have to change first.

So... does it work on this forum? Because I would totally lurk less and become an active member again if I could do it while I was out and about. ... maybe. >_>

Oh my yes, I shall be there; don't let my lurking on the forums lull you into a false sense of security. :]

Oh, snap! I think the internet may have gone out! You should check the cable on the back of your computer...

General Chaos / Re: Best Internet Vidyas
« on: December 05, 2010, 06:49:09 PM »
<a href="" target="_blank" class="aeva_link bbc_link new_win"></a>

This clip is pretty underground.

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