Trip's Brain-Sucking Web Site

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Trip's Life (Recent episodes)

5 Most Recent Comments
2017-04-09:  "Re: session write-ups" by Trip
2017-04-09:  "Re: session write-ups" by Jeremy
2017-04-09:  "Re: session write-ups" by Trip
2017-04-09:  "session write-ups" by Jeremy
2017-03-21:  "Happy happy belated Tripday!" by marithlizard

23 April 2017 - Sunday

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22 April 2017 - Saturday

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20 April 2017 - Thursday

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19 April 2017 - Wednesday

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18 April 2017 - Tuesday

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17 April 2017 - Monday

Somehow I managed to look at a different screen tonight, and watched the first episode of Dark Matter because Earl and Ken both like it. Hey, look, PoC! Even if somewhat stereotyped. So far it is as well done as can be expected for visual SF in a future setting, although there are plenty of issues like the ship being ridiculously huge for six people, inconsistent artificial gravity, terrible fighting techniques from people who should know better, and poorly-thought-out direct interfacing. The first episode ends on a big reveal, so I'll have to see what the second episode brings.


John Dies At The End (David Wong) is about two hapless guys who encounter reality-corrupting monsters of various horrible kinds and find their already-mediocre lives getting ruined, or at least thrown into an uproar. The main character is pretty much a doofus, but sometimes manages to do the right thing, despite bug monsters, mysterious people from nowhere, a deep uncertainty as to what is really real, and Las Vegas. I see why it is a cult favorite.

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16 April 2017 - Sunday

Happy Jewish Zombie Day, everyone!

Ayse and Ken had the usual feast, but Cat could not make it because she is even more of an introvert than I am. We devoured shallots and pork loin and potatoes and deviled eggs and many other things, but then exploded due to lack of energy, and did not watch Nirvana in Fire or anything.


Secret of the Princess (Milk Morinaga) has the often-used trope of "you'll do anything to keep your secret? then go out with me!" but it doesn't start out "for real", and the blackmailer soon suffers serious remorse, so I don't mind too much. Also, complete in one volume!


So I still don't know exactly what SCOOS2 PCs do, but apparently most people don't understand or remember it when they do it. That doesn't mean monstering out turns you invisible, you'll just get extra detention for not taking off that silly costume right now, young lady! I think that means the PCs can't be outright monsters, which is fine. Being torn between two worlds is obviously much more melodramatic, although making the game about self-definition is suspiciously serious.

What kind of things do the PCs do that make NPCs go blank (besides sorcery and/or mad science)? Should they have actual powers? Yes, because this is still a comedy game about teenage monsters, not subtle psychological drama about alienation and poor body image! Although creatures like Deep One Hybrids don't have much in the way of powers in Lovecraft, or even in Emrys...

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15 April 2017 - Saturday

Today I managed to go grocery shopping, but that is about it.

In the afternoon, I went over to Monkeycat Towers for egg dying, and have the brightly-colored fingertips to prove it! But Marith was hiding in her sickbed, and Ayse and Ken were wiped out from being up with sick kid all night, so there was no anime.


The Flying Witch manga (Chihiro Ishizuka) seems to be the same as the anime, only in black and white and not moving.


Okay, so I can't figure out what exactly SCOOS2 characters should be doing, beyond "teenager stuff" and "high school stuff". But what it means to be a teenager or a high-schooler depends on the setting, so maybe I can approach it from that end.

The most important thing in any environment is the people, so how do NPCs deal with these magic-using monsters? In CoC, when you get exposed to mind-blasting horror, you first get the chance to fail an INT-based roll to not understand what you're seeing, and then if you make that, you still get a SAN roll to avoid flipping out, so the three possible outcomes are:

  1. Don't see/process/remember the thing, at least not correctly ("It was terrorists! With chainsaws!")
  2. Deal with the thing just fine
  3. Flip out, which I think means succumb to an established desire, or maybe just run away/freeze

(In other words, the standard three options: win, lose, or don't play.) PCs need to mostly be B, except when it would be funny. A and C are both funny for NPCs, but A is probably better as a general thing for background NPCs. Actually, optional C (if it would be funny) and then A would be best. Would people who routinely interact with the PCs, like parents and faculty, have to be B as well? Or could they be A? I suppose being given detention for playing a stupid prank on the teacher isn't really any different than being given detention for monstering out in front of the teacher! (Is detention still a thing?)

If the PCs are hybrids or humaniform larvae or whatever, maybe they have three corresponding options for their future: human, monster, or (just maybe) stay a part of both worlds. I don't usually go for games with a definite end, but maybe it would fit, here. Kind of a long way from the wacky Toon-like hijinx of TFOS that SCOOS was based on.

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14 April 2017 - Friday

Most of the Tor originals have been good, but I did not get "The Jewel and her Lapidary" (Fran Wilde) at all. Presumably this is because I am illiterary.

As is traditional in yuri, Kiss & White Lily for my Dearest Girl vol 1 (Canno) has leads of disparate personality, but this time one is the one who studies and studies and is second in the entire school at academics, and the other one sleeps through class and still comes in first. There may be sparks. Cute sparks.


Game design is hard, let's play Marvel Puzzle Quest and reblog stuff on Tumblr.

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13 April 2017 - Thursday

No Avalonhugs, she was up all last night with sick kid. Instead, Marith came over, and since she wants to save Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu for Nigh-Weekly Anime, we watched the first three episodes of Cowboy Bebop. I had forgotten just how terrible Spike and Jet are at getting paid.

Also Ghirardelli got petted, because he is rich in purrs.

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12 April 2017 - Wednesday

Welcome to our cyberpunk dystopia (although for full marks it should have been a for-profit prison).


This week at 13th Age: Persian food! I got "Jewel Polo", because how could I resist a name like that? But we have no Brooks because one of his family peoples is in the grasp of what Americans call "health care".

Possibly due to the lack of Brooks, Ken wanted us to run a heist as other characters who might be taking advantage of the commotion to also try to steal the White. Because his children are younger and his work is less competent than Jeremy's, he did not have time to make these alternate characters, although he tried to switch to Dungeon World and then Fiasco, neither of which is simple enough for switching in a session that short. Finally we just winged (wung?) it as the Undead A-Team with essentially Coin-Flip Dungeon and it was ridiculous. Because we are ridiculous.


The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps and A Taste of Honey (Kai Ashante Wilson) are respectively a short novel and a novella set in a fantasy world that is nominally far-future SF, where most people are black instead of white (because seriously, why not?). The sufficiently-advanced underpinnings didn't quite ring true to me, but they were pretty good for their part in the story. Also, boy-smooches and an ambiguity!

"The Devil in America" is also by Wilson, and also fantasy, but not otherwise related. It is set in the southern US in the late 19th century, and the named characters are black, so it's horror far beyond anything the main character's poor design merits.

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11 April 2017 - Tuesday

Bah, I got suckered into commuting all the way to the far office for the all-hands, and then it was cancelled. Stupid San Mateo.


The Chthonic Codex (Paolo Greco, Christopher Stanley) is another OSR thing, maybe a whole campaign, set in the Hypogea ("underearth") of caves and deep chasms beneath a horrible desert, where schools of mages have relocated for the mana-tar and formed their own closed society. There are strange conceptual monsters, new spells, rules for learning spells by mystic initiation, map generation by throwing handsful of dice, and piles of random tables for generating bizarre assignments from your master, bizarre masters emeritus, bizarre ritual actions for mystic initiation, you get the idea. Also, goat creatures.


I'm up to episode 7 of Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid, which is still cute and wacky (and fanservice) but also a little melancholy.


If thinking about who SCOOS characters are is too hard, what about what they do? Hm, also hard. How about who tries to stop them from doing it? For that, I think it should be other teenagers, and adults who interact with them as teenagers, not monsters that will eat the world or Delta Green operatives who want to stop them from eating the world or the like.

But what are they being stopped from doing? In a perfect gaming group, it wouldn't be necessary to think about what the characters should do, because anyone who made a character would be overflowing with direction and ambition, but any gaming group I'm part of is necessarily imperfect. Most gamers are at least willing to avoid "I keep my head down and try to graduate with a good GPA and no criminal record", but there should be some kind of direction, even if the clarity of Seadog Tuxedo (you are Penguin Pirates, and Sun Shamans are coming up with wacky schemes to melt your icebergs) is out of reach.

Just needing a resource (blood, sacrificial victims, sweet sweet uranium) is something, but maybe doesn't provide enough variety. Oh, hey, since magic is a thing, what about a magical ritual? Not the "avoid wandering monsters for ten minutes and get a free spell" of D&D, but something between a heroquest and a lifestyle, that takes a year (or four) to go through all the steps. Each time interval, or by each astrological checkpoint, each group (club? grade? school?) has to accomplish some set of ritual actions: "Before Aldebaran sets for the last time, you must... (roll, roll)  defend  a/the  jeweled   princess  from/against a/the  first light ." Then you have to figure out what that means (a "Signs By Which Ye Shall Know Them" table?), and foil all the other groups who are simultaneously trying to foil you (even if there isn't only one "jeweled princess").

That could be a pretty awesome game! But I'm not sure it's this game. It doesn't seem like the right flavor of magic for even a fluffier Cthulhu mythos, even if I give up on the fire/blood/dream/star system. Bah!

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10 April 2017 - Monday

Monday.


Avalonhugs!


Speaking of SCOOS, there were a few mechanics I wanted to shoehorn in.

  • The tension/escalation counter being stars. I don't know whether the stars being more right should mean higher stakes, like Danger in Danger Patrol, or more power until you get too many and explode, like Exhaustion/Madness in Don't Rest Your Head, or something else entirely, but I'm pretty sure that once you get to one star, cell reception goes out.
  • The four kinds of magic:
    • Fire (electricity, alchemy, weather, the forces of nature, explosions, Cthuga)
    • Blood (bodies, shapeshifting, genetic crimes, healing, disease, zombies, Shub-Nigurath)
    • Dream (minds, visions, mind control, the Dreamlands, astral projection, Cthulhu)
    • Star (numerology, geometry, teleportation, time travel, intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, Yog-Sothoth)
  • Change Sanity to something less ablist. "SAN loss" in SCOOS is more like executive depletion anyway. "Chill"?

But before I can worry about any of that, I have to go back to first principles: Who are the PCs? What do they do? Classic SCOOS is pretty much TFOS, with a random mix of humans and all kinds of aliens monsters in high school, facing random nonsense (A giant space cat shoggoth has decided you are its offspring! An alien empire A swarm of mi-go takes violent exception to your kidnapping their people for your science fair project!) or sometimes school-related nonsense (Big football game but the quarterback has been abducted by a giant space cat shoggoth!), but I'm no longer convinced that random wackiness is the right way to make a comedy game.

So, who are the PCs? Humans? Human-monster hybrids? Vaguely humanoid monsters? Complete monstrosities? "All of the above" seems too unfocused now. And how does my view change after reading "The Litany of Earth" and "Winter Tide"?

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9 April 2017 - Sunday

Today, PAD&D5!

The Heroines of Redlarch and their captors make it to their destination without further opportunities for experience gain, and of course are completely vindicated, morally speaking. However, the law does not understand, and they are obligated to take an escort job for [SPOILER] at under the market rate, the difference going to pay off their fines.

Their escortee attracts trouble from her own enemies and passers-by, and the Heroines are of course hated by evil-doers whose comrades they have previously defeated, but after three battles they make it to the other side of the map and deliver [SPOILER].

Level UP!

All Lam gets at 6th level is an aura of +2 to saves, but apparently other classes do better, so maybe we won't be utterly crushed by whatever we encounter next (probably the rest of the [SPOILER] since we were arrested before we could finish).


Volume 3 of In/Spectre (Kyo Shirodaira, Chashiba Katase) is full of exposition, more than I thought warranted but maybe the intended audience isn't as steeped in genre. Also, the main character is still kind of a terrible person, but very amusing. I can't tell if the male lead is actually completely uninterested, or just taciturn to the point of opacity.

session write-ups by Jeremy (Wed Apr 12 16:32:13 2017)

Have I mentioned how much I look forward to these write-ups? :-)

I think Lam just got an aura of +2 to saves, AND a semi-autonomous ninja drone with ridiculous movement options. I'm really beginning to regret that ax (which isn't anywhere in the module, BTW).

Re: session write-ups by Trip (Thu Apr 13 09:50:45 2017)

Success!

Lam has never actually used the illumination-changing power, so there's no retcon required if you want to nerf redefine it.

Re: session write-ups by Jeremy (Thu Apr 13 19:31:09 2017)

Nope, I made my bed and will have to lie in it.

And whine a lot, and write up some suitably creative opposition. :-)

Re: session write-ups by Trip (Fri Apr 14 11:35:36 2017)

Your commitment to the shape of your doom is commendable!

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8 April 2017 - Saturday

Useless! After the cleaners left, I spent all morning and much of the afternoon sitting in my room reading. I did not go grocery shopping, I did not even get lunch. Completely useless!


I did go to anime, at least.

  • My Little Pony 7: Don't mess with Fluttershy's friends!
  • Durarara!!x2 7: Mysterious villains attack! Also, Kida has some kind of weird idea in his head about saving Mikado from himself, I can tell.
  • Vision of Escaflowne 13: The final battle for Freid. :(
  • Otorimonogatari 3-4: That is not how I was afraid this arc was going to end!
  • Steven Universe 2.6: Guitar Dad!
  • Steven Universe 2.7: I wonder how many straight guys thought Garnet was being unreasonable? I wonder how many girls will take it to heart anyway?

Phantom Pains (Mishell Baker) is the sequel to Borderline, in which everything we thought we knew about Faerie and magic is turned upside-down. Our main character is still a huge mess in many ways, but she is really doing her best, and succeeds in both making things better and being better herself. I didn't like it quite as much as the first one, possibly because less novel, but it did a good job of turning everything upside-down.

Perilous Waif (E William Brown) is pretty much a more modern Citizen of the Galaxy: a young person starts off in an orphanage on a religion-blighted backwater planet, talks her way onto a starship, and has amazing adventures which raise her status greatly. However, this young person is in a society with Eclipse Phase levels of AI, custom bodies, and variant cultures, and is heavily augmented herself. In fact, her augmentations are one of the central mysteries of the book, only explained towards the end. This is allegedly the first book of a series, although I'm not sure where it can go from here that isn't ridiculous.

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7 April 2017 - Friday

Yay, it's Friday! Will I manage to sleep?


We Are Legion (Dennis Taylor) is fundamentally terrible, because nerdy white guy fixes everything, but at least the white guy had to get killed and turned into the AI for a von Neumann probe first. He is reasonably well-intentioned and does not think fixing things means killing all the brown people, either, so for a random self-published book on Amazon, that is doing pretty well! (Also, being a mainframe, he does not get any girls.)

Will Save the Galaxy for Food (Yahtzee Croshaw) is part parody of pulp space pilots flying around and having adventures with alien princesses and whatnot, but also about people who used to do something meaningful being reduced to ferrying tourists around for staged thrills because Progress. And gangster admins. It was okay funny, but it treated the pulp space adventure as a joke, which reduced the impact of its loss.

I bought Uprooted (Naomi Novik) some time ago, but failed to read it until just now, when Ayse reminded me. That was foolish of me! It is a very good fantasy adventure, not quite a fairy-tale but definitely on that side of fantasy. There is even a prince in shining armor, who is neither perfect nor terrible (well, not more terrible than the base level for aristocracy), but the best supporting character is the Wood, which is way creepier than most unknown terrors. The wizards are also good, because all of it is good.


I don't seem to be getting very far with EPWorld, so on the walk home I thought about other games I have tried to design and failed because I didn't have the Power of the Apocalypse (or just because I suck at game design).

Peking Space Opera Blues is probably not different enough from other space opera to be worth reviving. Using common personal energy shields as a gimmick to make martial arts combat favored over blasters is nice, but really people should be sticking each other with fusion-powered tasers or shark sticks, not just punching each other. There are games where one-hit kills are the default (The Gaean Reach), but I don't think anything descended from Feng Shui should be like that.

For ages I have wanted to do a 1930ish space game and I even have some bits for it (Death Squids from Alpha Centauri! Antarean Wasp-Soldiers!) but I keep foundering on how to make spaceflight that allows for some kind of exciting interaction between ships (even if not actual dogfighting) and could be done sans computers while still respecting or at least acknowledging the distances of space. Reactionless inertialess flight from one planet to another so ships only interact in atmosphere? Hyperspace tunnels filled with some kind of atmosphere for swooping? Nothing seems quite right, and the Apocalypse will not help me here.

For a less long time I have wanted to do something combining magical girls and dungeon crawling, but I don't really have a premise (Who are these weirdos? What do they do?) yet. I'm not even sure what the theme for the transformations is! Only a brain could help me.

And, of course, SCOOS, my only game complete enough to make it onto RPGGeek but still ancient and horrible. Wait, those are features, not bugs! But I would still like to redo it. Except I'm not sure I can because what I think of as high school hasn't existed decades. Movie 80s high school never really existed, but these days, if a kid steps out of line, they get clubbed to the ground by fully-armed riot cops and dragged away. People have said that Call of Cthulhu is a work of sublime dark comedy because it is written as serious horror, but...

Mmm, peanut butter ice cream. (Ice cream not included, but at least it's icy and creamy.)

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5 April 2017 - Wednesday

Gaming dinner tonight was Korean fried chicken, which was very tasty but not as filling as I hoped. Maybe I should have ravened more, but I always worry about leaving enough for other people.

This week in 13th Age, we had no Mike, so K'Tangs was busy negotiating with vampires while everyone else wandered off into the comedy plotline. There were silly disguises, a flaming skull trying to pick up on the skull Anwë was carrying in a birdcage (it had the directions to where K'Tangs had divined the Emperor and Mrs Li's arm were), and a staged sealed-room murder mystery where Anwë got to sweep over Mr Decapitating Triple-Wraith (of the Blasphemous Laboratory Triple-Wraiths) in her flowy white necromantic-servant robes and leave nothing behind. One of the undead in the murder play was using Mrs Li's arm as a prop, so they figured the Emperor couldn't be far away, and sure enough, he was in luxurious house arrest at the top of the tower while bride candidates were presented to him. Anwë got to the front of the line and vamped the Emperor to get the Lich King's guards to move away to give them some privacy, and then Fay grabbed him and jumped out the window with her Koru Barbarian hang-glider.

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4 April 2017 - Tuesday

Far office again, for briefing on all the exciting features of the new release, but at least there was Indian food. (I ate way too much naan, but it was so tasty.) Also people admired my pink shorts, but did not call them fabulous.


Avalon-hugs!

Winter Tide (Ruthanna Emrys) follows on from "The Litany of Earth", as Aphra Marsh gets drafted by the FBI to help with an investigation again, this time closer to her ancestral home of Innsmouth. It's an extremely anti-othering spin on the Mythos, which is not to say that everything is fluffy and made of puppies. There are still things that are fundamentally inimical to life-as-we-know-it, and plenty of things that are life-as-we-know-it but still jerks (like the old white guys at Miskatonic, who somehow come off as less than heroic this time).

The Internet tells me there is to be at least one more book, and there are definitely enough interesting new characters for a long series.

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3 April 2017 - Monday

Ew, Monday.


I read some OSR adventures, for no really good reason.

  • Castle Gargantua, a randomized giant castle full of traps, transformation, illusion, and grotesque death.
  • Blood in the Chocolate, industrial espionage in the secret factory of the Netherlands' foremost chocolatier. Plenty of grotesque death.
  • Misty Isles of the Eld, LE elves from hell and their horrible bio-/psycho-tech machinations. Death, grotesque, probable.

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2 April 2017 - Sunday

Today, I did nothing that was of any use to anyone!


Decrypting Rita (Margaret Trauth) is about a robot in a transhuman future who accidentally gets distributed across multiple timelines (which may or may not be real) and must save the world in all of them. It is awesome, and visually exciting. Read it in a good light, though.


Speaking of transhuman futures, I need to figure out how to handle mercurials in EPWorld. The simple and obvious solution is to make The AGI and The Uplift playbooks, but I don't know that it's the right solution. Is being an uplifted octopus as central to a character as being a xenolinguist or a Martian Ranger or a mob hacker? Either "yes" or "no" is a valid answer, but probably I have to pick one. If the answer is "no", then probably each ego playbook needs a space to check Origin and get a minor move, like the way Dungeon World handles races.

A moderately-fine breakdown of Origin would be: human, AGI, simian uplift, cetacean uplift, avian uplift, cephalopod uplift. (Folding all the uplifts together would be Cephalopod Erasure!) Am I missing some? Are there finer divisions of AGI? Can simian uplift be folded into human? I guess I need to go back through Eclipse Phase.

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1 April 2017 - Saturday

Today it was nice and sunny, but breezy enough that it was somehow not too hot, which doesn't happen very often here in California, but should happen more!

In the afternoon, I walked through the lovely weather to birthday sushi and nommed it with many of my friends, including Brooks and Kelsey who I normally only see at 13th Age (only Dave came from the PAD &D5 crowd because everyone else was busy doing things not related to ME). Hurray!

Since we had Earl and Cat, after everyone went back to Ayse and Ken's place and hung out a bit and put kids to bed (I have been replaced as Nonny's favored bedtime story reader, oh NO!), uninvolved people went back home and we watched...

  • Nirvana in Fire 13-14: Sheesh, those other people trying to plot when Chang Mei Su is already plotting in this kingdom! Also, ninjas vs eunuchs!

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31 March 2017 - Friday

Our documentation contractor is leaving for a full-time position, so we had a going-away party with a cake. Today is our CEO's birthday, so we had a birthday party with a cake. Our exciting new product version will be released any minute now, so we had a release party with a cake. Parties can be combined, but cakes cannot.


Red Knight Falling and Glass Predator (Craig Schaefer) are books two and three in the "Harmony Black" series, about a heroic(?) FBI agent in a world of occult conspiracies and horror. (It's a spin-off of Schaefer's first series, about a criminal sorcerer in Las Vegas, but not exactly the same genre.) The plot of book two is not entirely dissimilar to one arc of Hellboy, so that's good. Book three dives deeper into the government conspiracy angle, because letting three-letter agencies have access to magic is even worse than letting them have access to computers.


This might not be quite how it is in Eclipse Phase, but in EPWorld, uploading from a meat brain means destructively analyzing the brain neuron-by-neuron. The stored ego might not be a raw synapse map, but it's not much more abstracted than that. A cyberbrain, then, is not just a small computer but a single-purpose device that doesn't do anything except simulate a brain based on a stored ego. Since the ego isn't code, you can't hack into it to change what it thinks or remembers except with very sophisticated attacks like basilisk hacks or language. You can get into the sensory, motor, or endocrine interfaces through the muse, but you can do that on most meatbrains as well, since who doesn't have a muse?

I'm not sure where this leaves AGIs. Do they have to be neural nets too? Or do they request a morph with a compute core rather than an actual cyberbrain? That would mean they can't load into a meatbrain at all, so maybe they are neural nets.

Ape-based uplifts are probably pretty close to human in brain architecture, but cetacean ones are less so, never mind avians or even cephalopods. That's why cyberbrains run the simulation at such a low level. (There are probably proprietary inner-system ego formats and cyberbrains that run better but assume human architecture, because uplifts and AGIs don't deserve nice things, and separatist systems similarly optimized for specific classes of uplifts or AGI codebases, but that is probably too much detail for a game.)

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29 March 2017 - Wednesday

How do we play 13th Age, again? Apparently I have forgotten, since Anw&emul; was actually useful in a fight this time! And a good thing, too, since we were facing both a mind flayer soul flenser and something that claimed to be the offspring of two icons. Fortunately after we took the soul flenser down in one round, the other guy decided not to mess with us right then.

Then, while assaulting the Necropolis, Anwë ran into a trap that externalized all her good memories and self-image to attack her, so she had to murder her vision of herself as a high elf. I'm not sure exactly how that's going to end up, but I did take one relationship die away from the Elf Queen and add one to the Three (technically, the Four, since she has the blood of the Green inside her). Perhaps K'Tangs will manage to get the dracolich of the White out of the Necropolis on this trip, and it can be the Five again! Or the Rainbow Wyrm!


The Collapsing Empire (John Scalzi) is roughly what it says on the tin, although in this first book we only get to learn about the impending collapse, and see the poor schmoes who will have to deal with it. They may even be hapless, some of them, because even though the doom is real, Scalzi is inherently a humorous writer. Bonus points for the importance of peer review!

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28 March 2017 - Tuesday

The weekly all-hands meeting actually happened this week, so I went to the far office and ate strange objects with Asian protein filling between two flat rice(?)-based bun things. Then I commuted all the way back to San Jose, bleah.


The last episode of ACCA has simulcastalated, so Marith came over and we finished the series. That was not the ending we were expecting! Also I'm not sure it was sufficiently set up in advance. Then we tried watching the first episode of Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu, about an ex-con who wants to become a rakugo comic storyteller. It's a little like a martial-arts anime, with the obstreperous master and the rival master and the rival master's daughter, only without any direct competition. (Being an ex-yakuza is really no help at all.)


Mary: The Summoning and Mary: Unleashed (Hillary Monahan) are about some teenage girls who call up that which they cannot put down and suffer ghostly attack, trauma, death, and historical research. They are not that great, but I think they are the first books she wrote.

Hillary Monahan is secretly Eva Darrows, and thus the author of Dead Little Mean Girl, which I liked much better, even though it is also about teenage girls not getting along. The protagonist gets a surprise step-sister, who tries to ruin everyone's life by being terrible in every way and then dies. (She does not return as a zombie.) Feelings may feature prominently in this book.

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26 March 2017 - Sunday

PAD&D5! The Heroines of Red Larch investigate the underground part of [SPOILER], but after winning the first encounter they have to retreat back aboveground, where they are promptly captured by [SPOILER] for the horrible crimes commited in a previous episode. (These crimes were in fact so horrible even the diabolist had to frown, although Lam still maintains they were totally asking for it.) After some interrogation which is foiled by my complete inability to remember what happened last month, the HoRL are hauled away by their captors to stand trial. On the way, they are attacked by a bunch of [SPOILER], but since we got to run one Heroine and one captor all working together to fight them off, it was not too difficult.

Next session: [SPOILER]!


Kase-san and... (Hiromi Takashima) is very cute high-school yuri manga about a clumsy girl who likes flowers and a tall athletic girl. It reminds me of Whispered Words a little, but is even cuter.

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25 March 2017 - Saturday

  • My Little Pony 6: That is a pretty awesome monster. Also, Twilight Sparkle is more terrifying every time her horn lights up.
  • Durarara!!x2 6: He may be terrifying, but I think he's outmatched.
  • Vision of Escaflowne 12: Genetic drama! Also, invasion!
  • Otorimonogatari 1-2: That is the most obnoxious apparition yet. Not the most dangerous or upsetting, perhaps, but definitely obnoxious.
  • Steven Universe 2.4: The "Uncle Grandpa" crossover episode. Buh.
  • Steven Universe 2.5: Aw, so cute! But there is something about Rose Quartz's voice.

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24 March 2017 - Friday

Today I read some random short pieces from Tor.

"Come See The Living Dryad" (Theodora Goss) is not actully SF, but is a retroactive murder mystery kind of. "The Deepest Rift" (Ruthanna Emrys) is definitely SF, with alien language and bonus poly. "Extra-Curricular Activities" (Yoon Ha Lee) is awesome because it is in the same setting as Nine-Tail Fox and full of skullduggery and conflicting strange customs and conspiracy.

I also stayed up too late finishing Infinity Engine (Neal Asher), which is the conclusion to the trilogy about the malevolent(?) AI Penny Royal and its extremely complicated plan. It suffers from many of the allegedly superhuman intellects not coming off as smart enough, but is generally action-packed space opera, in which many of the people who end up dead had it coming.


Eclipse Phase has a bunch of pregen characters, but I think they're too specific to use as playbooks. "Academic" might be too broad for a playbook, but "Xenolinguist" is probably too narrow. Blargh.

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