Sunday, October 13, 2019

Weekend catchup: Tracker, solo Traveller, and more!

So the weekend slipped by faster than expected. I did manage some light yard work, scrubbed the basement bathroom, and washed the bamboo floors upstairs. So housework was out of the way. I managed to start painting a few of the Sine Tempora game's minis, but I fear badly. I really need to watch some more instructional videos and slow down. I did order a "learn to paint" kit from Reaper along with some minis. Broke the $40 part so free shipping and a free mini along with the paints and their guide. We will see if those paints work any better than the 50 cent acrylics I get a Wal-Mart.

I also managed to get the Traveller Core version to work as it was, and some research indicated that yes, I can distribute the whole thing as a single exe. There are 3 options, and I'll go for the smaller of them which assumes you have the .NET Core installed on your local machine. If you keep up with the MS updates, that should be the case. I suppose we'll find out at some point. I still want to style the big main menu buttons, and for some reason the images are not showing up there. I will hopefully get that figured out, and may put the exe file out there for others to see what happens. Just because it works on my machine...

The Traveller solo game has slowed down, so I decided to expand out a bit more for Krim. The pilot's guide has been slightly expanded, and I've added a high-tech medical company, Meditech LLC (no, not an imaginative name). Created a bad logo and will have the company overview posted below. There will be more adventures of the No Refunds and her crew, just need to get more motivated.

And finally, I've also stalled on the Death Test game I was solo playing. Want to get back to that but time and motivation don't seem to overlap for many of the things I want to get done.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Traveller Tracker - Core Edition?

So when I got the new computer, part of the process was also installing .NET core (and don't even try to keep up with all the .NET naming. While I know I am horrible at naming things, MS tends to be all over the map).  Anyways...for some reason the previous project thought it was and was not .NET Core. I was targeting the most recent Windows .NET which is 4.7, and honestly, while it will be around a while is really at end of life as they move everything to the unified "this will work on everything" process (which they tried originally with the UWP: write it and make sure the view ports were flexible enough and it would run on Windows computers, tablets, Xbox and phones. If you are not in the development world: it pretty much died. )

Anyway, I spent another hour trying to get the packages to work (the packages are libraries. In Ruby, they are gems, on C they are libraries, and that's about all the languages I use that use packages). I could not get it to work.  So, moving on to a new version. Again. With .NET Core. I've got it almost back to where it was (which was not too far anyway). There seems to be some difference in the Entity Framework (one way of talking to the backend database for the program). There is that final piece and I should be good to go again.

One of the advantages of moving to the newer framework is that in theory I think I can generate a single .exe file that is the whole thing: no installers, just download and run. In theory...if so, that would solve the biggest issue I have - getting it to run for other people. Not that there is a high demand for this, but hey.

And just to preen a bit: the last computer would take at least 2 minutes to load the project. The new computer has the IDE (integrated development environment where I can write the code, debug and run it) on the boot SSD and it is ready to go in less than 5 seconds. Having an SSD and twice the memory (16GB vs the 8GB) makes a huge difference for a lot of things.

Hopefully I will have some time to get that going this weekend and another post. I want to actually make those square buttons more SF like - chop off an edge or something.

And also, I've joined the Reaper Bones V Kickstarter. I fear I will spend far too much money for minis now that I am starting to paint them. Just have to actually USE them in a game...going for the core set and just bumped up for 2 expansions. As the pledge manager will be open for a long time afterward I fear I will have far too many minis. But I need those dragon columns! And that Greek expansion set - oh my!

Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Shadowrun - Session 0

With 5 people and 2 books, character creation was an interesting challenge. Plus the 5th edition books tend to not be well organized, and instructions somewhat vague and spread across multiple pages. 

Regardless, I did manage to get my Rigger, Jupiter Jones, set up. Background from before knowing anything about the mythos and world of 2075 Shadowrun:

Jupiter Jones from Rocky Beach, CA originally. Dumpster/junk yard diver to create interesting drones. Should have high IQ and technical/mechanical background skills, perhaps socially awkward. Per conversations should be early-mid 20's.  Moving to game location due to a "request" from local authorities to prevent him from "looting" various dumps.
Will name his drones Petey, Bobby and other names from (I think I read most if not all of those back in elementary school). Has an affinity for creating "lairs" in junkyards.
I'll post the stats later, but as I picked the most money, we'll add he comes from an above average middle class family. I did get a sweet van and 3 drones, still have money left over. The van is going to have a pegasus painted on the side, either a Boris or Frazetta inspired air brush image. I may do that with all the drones - I also picked artisian as a skill.  Also picked jury-rigging and a few other skills to make my background work. I still think I prefer random character generation, but I can see the appeal of designing a character to specs within a limited array of choices.

Here's a Boris Pegasus to see where this is going. Pretty sure they will be shag carpeting, beaded curtains as well.

Sunday, October 06, 2019

The Fantasy Trip Pantheon: Mim, God of Rain

Mim, God of Rain

Mim is the 1st son of Monta, God of the Elements, and Alamia, Goddess of the Earth. While Dwarves are the most attuned to Mim and Alamia, many other races venerate these gods as well. The ancient histories indicate that Mim created the Dwarven race. Whether or not this is true, it is what the orthodox Dwarves believe. Humans tend to think the God of Rain is why Dwarves are often so dour.

Mim does not have any particularly required devotions or holy events, so most adherents tend to make their own up. Mim will often send his avatars throughout the world, and there is always an aspect of water to these visitations (see Mim's Herald) Mim tend to the soulful, but is also the bringer of life: without the rains, life would soon cease to exist. He is known to bestow graces upon his clerics, and has answered farmers' prayers for rain, or even to cease the rain. 

He will rarely get vengeful but when he does, he brings down elements of his father upon those who have enraged him. 

Dwarves will more often prayer to his mother, Alamia, Goddess of Earth. Yet they also have respect for Mim and his life giving rain. They just prefer the earth in many ways. Often their underground shrines have aspects for both Mim and Alamia. 

The symbol that most adherents use is the knife on a cross, the knife being a vine encrusted hilt. It is often in a pool of running water in most shrines, open to the skies for rain to fall upon it. The saints for this religion, when done in statuary, are standing in a bowed position, arms outstretched as to receive the rains. They are depicted in armor, hands free of gauntlets but wearing rings. Usually guarded by 3 wizards for an active shrine or temple, those in neglect often are protected by wizard's spells to protect any holy items. As per the mid-winter festival that meet in the grove, offerings are not only ale and other grain-based drinks, but also leaves and flowers.

Prayers to Mim can bring down the rains, and higher level clerics may be able to ask for lightening and flash floods. Mim can also stop the rains - he does not generally mess with nature's own rhythms but may as needs arise. 

From Pinterest, could not find the original post


At the junction of a smaller path heading west, the adventurers see the pillar of water with the frolicking puppies. The avatar, its voice bubbling with emotion, pleads with the crew to visit the temple of the grove.

"Please, my lord Mim can no longer hear the priest who was in the midst of our mid-fall festival. The prayers were suddenly silenced and we fear nefarious intentions." The puppies, who were playing about the base of the flowing water column, stop and growl. They are amazingly cute. Mim's avatar continues: "I am the Beloved of Mim, and alas, whilst I can communicate his holy words, I cannot see what has happened."

Should the adventurers ask, the avatar will indicate that the grove is only a few miles down that path. It is not wide enough for the horse and cart (our group is with the Dwarf Mage and her protector, Heinrich, along with another pony pulling a cart piled with timber and barrels of peary). If they ask what is in it for them, the Herald will first wave its tentacles in the air, the puppies looking up at the adventurers with wide, puppy eyes. "I am but a poor herald, a voice among many. A young voice that fears I have nothing for you."  If pressed, the tentacles will droop, and one will move into the flowing column of water and bring out one of the treasures from the Deck of Many Things (another KS I did; feel free to drop in any small treasure. But by golly I want to USE those things I keep getting!).

The path to the grove is winding. The mage and her guard will stay with their wagon and wait for perhaps an hour or two. The other cart will continue its journey to Edge City. This is also the place where I can bring in other players: there could have been all sorts of people staying at that inn for whatever reason.  The adventurers will hear the sounds of birds and squirrels in the trees at first, but as they approach the temple in the grove, the sounds seem to dwindle until there are no more natural sounds. They come upon what appears to be the grove, a small, square building with a well outside in rough but serviceable shape. There appears to be a small garden outside the door, and a couple of chickens scratching in the dirt. There are trees and brush, and a well-worn area near a statue. Looking past the statue, then can see what appears to be a cleric tied to the tree.

At this point, start with the attacks. Have any scout-like character roll to hear for anything - a succesful roll indicates roll to initiative as normal, else the thieves will have the initiative for the 1st round.

The thieves are a mix of humans and goblins, ill-dressed and ill-armed. There will be 1d6 more attackers than adventurers, and they will be 32 point people. There are a lot of 32 point fighters out there - use some of them. Armor will be limited to leather, and there will be no fine or magic weapons. There are 1d6 coppers per brigand (they are poor thieves) and the weapons and armor are ill-made and not worth anything.

When the battle concludes, assuming the adventurers are the winners, they can release the priest. He is an elderly human male, tonsured.

"We were starting the feast of thanks when those brigands arrived." The group may notice that there appear to be no other supplicants around. "Oh,", says the priest. "It is just Gerty and Francine for this feast this week." He points to the chickens. "It is the peary harvest and people get busy. Mim is not so picky to require a full house other then the mid-winter celebrations."  He is bruised, battered, and first aid would help.  

The cottage aka temple is a rough-built square house with a thatched roof, a simple table with two candles and an open book. A small chest is to the left of the table, and a bed to the right of the door. 

"I am Reginald Oosterman, and I give my thanks to you for saving me." He rummages about in the small chest and brings out what looks to be a small knife. "As Mim gave this to me when I saved a young lass, I can grant you this knife as well."  It is a small dagger, the hilt appearing to have vines wrapped around it. It is blessed to do +1, so does 1d6 damage. It may fetch $20 rather than the normal $10 a dagger costs. "This, and a feast of thanks." Outside next to the well, on a stump, is a small meal. While enough for 1 frail old man, it would be just a few bites each for the group. But Reginald will be insulted if they don't partake of the meager portions he sets aside for each player. 

If the adventurers check out the brigands, other than smelling bad and having nothing of value, each of them has an intersesting tatoo on their right forearm. It is a snake wrapped around a sword and what looks to be a rune or writing in a language no one here can read. Reginald has no idea what this could mean or say either. 

If anyone makes a 4D roll against IQ, they may recall seeing that painted on some of the walls in the caves they were mushroom hunting in. They are part of a larger group...

Reality Trip part II

New computer, everything seems to be installed and back to working. Except: for some reason the Traveller Tracker program is having issues (nuget, aka the package manager, seems unable to find some of the packages). It is probably a solvable issue and I did spend some time on it but after more than an hour, got nowhere. There are, of course, several options: keep trying that, start fresh and maybe the transition will be okay, or just stop entirely. It has been a bit more difficult to do software in my spare time lately, I think part of it is that I am just tired of coding after almost 40 years of doing this. Could be a mid-life crisis! So off to a new hobby - painting miniatures! :)

I plan on working out at least one of the gods of my little corner of Cidri, expanding on the avatar I did a few weeks ago. I'll try & actually make a mini-game, something with maps, encounters, all that. Try my hand at writing a generic OSR module. If I got good enough, maybe aim to get one done at least once a month, switching between Traveller & The Fantasy Trip. We'll see.

So hopefully there will be another post today, extending the map to the shrine and having some encounters along the way.

And there is also interest in Traveller at the gaming group. I'll post an email for the Jan/Feb game slot to see if there is enough interest.

And: a 32" 4K screen is....large for a monitor. But really nice!

Friday, September 27, 2019

Reality Trip

The hard drive on my computer at home decided to die. It was not even 8 years old. Being an all in one sort of thing and being a few years old, rather than replace the drive I am going PC shopping this weekend. Need to bump up the specs a bit more as I still use Visual Studio and several graphics programs that would benefit (8GB works but it could be better). So 16GB, at least an I7 of recent vintage, and an SSD for at least the boot drive with maybe an additional SATA drive for slower storage. And I will get better about backups - last one was at least 6 months ago. And supposedly I am an IT person (well, I am a developer, and all my source code is safe up in Github, so there is a back up!)

Good news is most of my stuff I save on-line. Not even sure what is on that hard drive, but I'll probably pull it from the machine and maybe get an enclosure to get access to it if possible.

Bad news is I have to reinstall everything, including Heaven & Earth, the 20+ year old Traveller software that still worked for me running in XP service pack 3 compatibility, And i need to find the installers for the various planet generation software, Campaign Cartographer, all those fun things.

So my already spotty updates may be spottier as I really don't think I'll find what I want this weekend, and even if I do, there will be hours spent reinstalling software and configuring the system to work the way I want it to.

So, digging through my on-line storage, here are some images of Krim, a high tech world in the League of Independent Worlds. Sadly, the color mapping was one of the things on that hard drive - that program can use color maps, so I took the Mars mapping and added some additional layers for a more interesting color. But I do have all the seeds for the various planets saved online I think - each planet has its own directory with everything related to that planet stored there.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Fantasy Trip Pantheon

Resurrecting some old notes (as in 35+ year old notes - somehow I managed to hold on to a lot of handwritten, drawn and typed stuff from the halcyon college days!).  The pantheon of my fantasy world with a bit of stuff added to see if I can work with it.

There are 5 primary gods and goddesses, who between them only have eight gods and goddesses of the next level. I would think there may be a bunch more gods and goddesses, demi-gods and demi-goddesses that are not listed. Sort of an open-game world: establish the big structures and everyone can fill in things as they want.

And apparently various races are more directly connected to the gods and goddesses. Not to say that there is 100% compliance, but at a guess, if you worship "your" god you may get better results. Not really sure what I was thinking at the time.

The big five are Tionna, God of All Living Things. While that covers a lot of ground, we'll just go with that. His wife or consort is Blizria, Goddess of All Demons. A ying-yang of the celestial world perhaps. Blizria was also attached to Slamia, God of Might. Guess a burley, he-man of a god. Monta is God of the Elments, and married to Alamia, Goddess of the Earth. I imagine a hippy god couple here...

Tionna and Blizria have two children: Tona, Goddess of the Lesser Creatures. Druids tend to pray to her a lot. Tinma is the God of Plants, and apparently female warlocks have an affinity with him.

Blizria and Slamia also have two children, Bizmia, Goddess of Fire. Demons and imps really like her. Her sister is Blaon (and I have a typo in the document below), and is goddess of lightening. Ogres and giants dig her.

Monta and Alamia have four children: Mim, God of Rain. Dwarves are apparently attuned to Mim. Maion is the God of Wind, and Elves appear to be attached to that particular god. Miniatria is Goddess of Air (and how that differs from wind exactly is a celestial question!), and is favored by pixies and fairies. Aronius is Goddess of the Land and the Centaurs truly believe in her.

Now - the race/creature affinity grew out of which miniatures I had at the time (and still have). So that is part of the explanation.

I'll have to write up more aspects of the gods and goddesses as well - I think the next adventure I get to DM, that avatar from a previous post may belong to Mim or  one of his progeny, and it may be his temple or grove that has been messed with in some way.  Maybe throw in some of the other things I keep getting: deck of silly things has some good treasures, and the Delayed Game blasts also have some really fun things. I need to make the adventures more fun and out there. I tend towards the conservative in gaming it seems, and really need to learn to let go.

Pear Farm

Here is where our Fantasy Trip adventure had their mushroom adventure. Decided there may be more in the woods and forests round the tiny farmstead/village. After rolling up the avatar a few days ago, I've stuck it in the fork in the road and added the Temple of the Grove. I'll see about writing up my old pantheon today or tomorrow.

I don't think I ever played TFT much back in college, it was mostly D&D with the main group, and Traveller with the sub-group. Traveller I liked as it was in the vein of proto-Traveller and a lot simpler, and anything could go. My primary character ended up with a 200 ton Scout ship with an artificial intelligence, a short range transporter system and the eternity chip (Merchants and Merchandise: expensive but would repair your ship), a deadly speeder designed with Striker and really based on the Blade Runner cars. That ship was TL 17 for some things: the AI was a true AI and of course transporters are way up there. And, due to an accident, both legs were bionic, giving him endurance F. Not sure I would allow a lot of that until a LOT of playing had gone on now.  And of course, I was reading a lot of the Well Worlds series so that character's name was Nathan Brazil. Interestingly, Jack Chalker, the author, I believe lived in Norfolk at the time, and I was going to Old Dominion University. I believe he showed up for various local cons, but I could well be misremembering.

My point being both games were fairly straightforward and simple in mechanics. It was only later that Traveller got significantly more complicated (and T5 is significantly more complicated!) Probably why I've backed the Fantasy Trip so much: rules are pretty straightforward and easy for anyone to pick up. I'll have those game aids for combat when the Decks of Destiny show up, and most of that is also on the DM screen and various other places.

Not really happy with this map: I had some issues with the layers getting wonky and the affects being odd. But I wanted a smaller 25x10 mile map and the overland maps are all 1000 miles wide...

Still not done with it but figured I would get something out there today. Seeing as I now somehow have all of 13 followers :)

Saturday, September 14, 2019

The Fantasy Trip, a side trip with a religious herald

While we've not yet returned to the Fantasy Trip adventure, the group will be heading back to Edge City, probably along with a cart bearing a fair amount of lumber and several peary casks (peary is a drink made of fermented pears. It was the only alcohol served at the inn they were at, what with all the pear trees in the back). I really hope we can continue that adventure: the place where we are at we can add or remove new player characters pretty easily.

Anyway, one of the (far too many) Kickstarters I backed was The Lesser Key to the Celestial  Legion, a sort of do-it-yourself religion book. Finally decided to roll up at least a herald to one of the many religions on Cidri, at least one of the ones in my part of that immense world.  I actually have an entire pantheon from the college days, so will try & get that in here at some point.

So, after rolling on the many interesting tables, the herald that came up is a 6 foot column made of water, with metallic eyes and very long tentacles. It has wolf puppies around it as this is a 1st level herald. Not that TFT actually has levels per se, but going with a low-level herald. The religious symbol for this god or goddess is a stone cross with a plant-encrusted knife planted in the middle of it. There are two religious aspects for this religion: ancestor worship and quiet prayers. Probably to the delight of the players, the sacrifice is wine, mead or ale. The religious texts are painted on linen cloth. There is only 1 celebration a year in the winter, celebrating a martyr's death. Costumes and masks are worn starting at midnight for 3 days in a grove, starting with the 1st full moon of winter. The odd relics are petrified toes of the martyr, which can grant +1d3 save against poison as well as +1d3 for a divine aid check (which I am not sure how that would translate to TFT but we can wing it). The toes are usually in a stone cross and knife reliquary.

So a distinct possibility is for the group to meet this young six foot column of water on the way back to the city, asking for aid perhaps in recovering the petrified toes, or investigating something.

And yes, I do need to get back to Traveller, the primary reason for this blog. But I've been side-tracked a lot lately by various other things. Including dying in yet another attempt at Death Test...

the spiders in the chest actually did 4 points of damage to 1 character. A bad start for the 1st room!