dorchadas: (Gendowned)
Like the question says, really. I originally had the tags only in Japanese, and then I added the English translations later so that it'd be useful for most of my blog's readers, who don't speak Japanese (or don't speak it well). But are they still useful? It makes it harder for other people to find the tags, they aren't in alphabetical order or even kana-based order--く comes before アfor some reason, for example--and a lot of the time when I'm writing, I'm in a hurry to find the tags so I just skip past the Japanese and read the English straightaway. Thus, a poll:

[Poll #1972984]
dorchadas: (Pile of Dice)
Today I was correlating a list of the thaumaturgical rituals in Exalted for a possible game (about which more later), and when I was flipping through all the books and looking for every ritual I could find, I saw this one:
First Greeting (1, Perception, 1, five minutes): This simple ritual is practiced in countless Threshold communities to name newborns. It must be performed within one day of an infant's birth. Beseeching the Maidens for their wisdom, the thaumaturge intently examines a newborn child, attempting to discern the name that would most fit the plans destiny has laid out for it. While it is debatable whether Heaven cares what any individual mortal is called, success on the ritual‟s activation roll grants the practitioner a flash of insight and a name. If that name is granted to the infant, the child enjoys a +1 bonus on all Resistance rolls for its first year of life.
On the one hand, that's fantastic. Assuming your generic child has Stamina 1 and no Resistance, then a five-minute ritual of prayer doubles their resilience against disease or other calamities. Even counting rampaging gods or man-eating dinosaurs, that means that the infant mortality rate in Creation is probably a lot lower than it was in pre-industrial Earth, which explains why the population can be approaching one billion even though the technology in most places is still bronze or iron level.

On the other hand, no PC would ever take that, especially if they're Exalted. Even in a God-Blooded or mortals game where one of the PCs is a village healer or wise woman... Well, I guess they might take it for backstory--I've spent XP on abilities or skills that I knew I wouldn't use because it was reasonable that I would possess them because of my character's previous history--but otherwise, even at only 1 XP, it'll probably never be bought. It's just a hunch, but I expect that the number of GMs who called for Stamina + Resistance rolls from the children in the characters' village to resist Bonebreak Fever is as close to zero as makes no odds.

I'm still glad it's there, though. Even if it isn't ever going to be bought by a character, its existence implies that NPCs have it and use it, and helps explain how the world works.

As another example, take Mass Effect (1, because that's the only one I played). As you're traveling around the galaxy, one of the sidequests you can do is scan planets for usable resources and survey them, and then send the data back to Earth for later use. Some of the planets let you land on them and roam around in a tank looking for minerals, but a lot of them you just scan them and check spectrographically for minerals or valuable gasses and then leave. The thing is, all the planets have an entry in the codex, even if it's just a paragraph. There's even a summary of planetary conditions for each planet, with entries like atmospheric pressure, orbital period, orbital distance, surface temperature, and so on. Here's an example:
An enigmatic terrestrial planet, Zayarter has a hazy atmosphere of nitrogen and argon. The surface is scorching hot, and mainly composed of calcium with deposits of sodium. Three times in the last century, ships stopping to discharge at Treyarmus reported geometric patterns of lights on the dark side of Zayarter. Attempts at further investigation proved fruitless; the lights disappear when ships approach the inner system.
Pretty much useless in the scheme of the game, since you can't land on the planet and certainly can't investigate the lights. There was no need to write blurbs like that for most of the planets, and surveying would have worked just as well without them, because that's how it worked in Star Control II. But having them makes the world feel more real.

There's also the fact that occasionally as you're surveying planets, you find ruins, or a layer of glass several meters down over the entire habitable surface of the planet, or overlapping rings indicative or massive asteroid bombardment. Here's one:
Helyme is thought to be the homeworld of the arthenn, a spacefaring species that disappeared approximately 300,000 years ago. Precisely what happened to Helyme is still under debate. It appears a global extinction occurred, wiping out all native animal life forms more complex than zooplankton. Plant forms were not affected, but the lack of oxygen-breathing life caused oxygenation of the atmosphere. Plant life was reduced after lighting storms ignited global wildfires.
Like Helyme, the examples always occur in multiples of 50,000 years, but it's probably just a coincidence.

How do you feel about content like this? Is it wasted space that should have been spent on rituals that the PCs would be likely to take, or more development time that should have been devoted to making the Mako sections more interesting? Poll included!:
[Poll #1945980]

Blog split?

2013-Jul-29, Monday 21:03
dorchadas: (Default)
I'm a bit tempted to shear off all the RPG stuff into its own blog. Would anyone keep reading it if I did so, or would that just reduce my readership to "me, and [Unknown site tag] when I remind her I posted something"?

[Poll #1926588]
dorchadas: (Broken Dream)
A while back, I did a series of journal entries called AD&D thoughts, where I lay out a lot of the thoughts I had about AD&D 2nd edition, and the changes I would make if I ran it again. As it turned out, I did run it for a while, until creativity running dry and some problems with the system that I could see coming up forced an end, but now I'm getting back into a D&D-ish sort of mood, but this time, I'm thinking about hacking together my favorite parts of d20 with 2nd ed and some of the other retroclones that have come out in the meantime--stuff like Wayfarers, for example.

I was kind of thinking about starting a new blog to detail it, but honestly, I don't think there's much point. I already have enough stuff on my plate with all the Goodreads reviews I write, and I doubt I'd be able to keep up another blog for very long before I left it to rot. So, I'm curious about whether I should put things here. I'm not sure who, or how many people, still read this, but to make it easier, here's a poll:

[Poll #1908424]

Let me know. (^_^)
dorchadas: (That is not dead...)
But first, a poll!

[Poll #1678438]
It came to me in the shower. (^_^)'''

I think I eat too much. And not in the "I'm getting fat" sense, since while I did gain weight when I worked at Suzugamine, that was mostly attributed to stress and a sedentary lifestyle. I'm still pretty sedentary (more than I should be...), but all the stress weight is gone now. No, I think I eat too much because we spend a lot of money on snacks. One problem is that I eat way too fast, so I tend to eat more than I, strictly speaking, need to. The easily-implementable solution to that is to put the fork down every couple of bites to stretch things out and also to not let things go until I'm starving before I eat. I should also look into whether there's some vitamin or something I'm not getting enough of that's making me hungry.

I've been reading a manga called Addicted to Curry lately (in Japanese, 華麗なる食卓 karee naru shokutaku. Literally "The dinner table that becomes splendid," or more naturally, "The Splendid Table," but there's an obvious pun based on 華麗, which is pronounced exactly the same as カレー, the Japanese word for curry). It doesn't have an amazing plot (high school girl and young curry-obsessed chef try to save the girl's father's curry restaurant, and while the art is pretty good, the real reason I read it is because it's about curry. (^_^)''' I always answer "curry" whenever anyone asks those, "If you could only have one food for the rest of your life..." questions, and nearly every volume has a curry recipe in it. We haven't gotten a chance to make too many of them because it's hard to get ingredients for non-Japanese curry here, but I'm saving them for when we get back to America or whenever we go into Hiroshima and have a chance to pick up more ingredients.

I've been studying kanji for a while today. It gets pretty frustrating, but I try to remind myself that, for example, I can look at through, rough, though, aghast, light, cough, draught and ugh and instantly know how to pronounce the 'gh' in each of them. There are times in learning where there are no tricks or shortcuts and you just have to memorize a ton of things. This is one of them.

We had Chiharu (one of [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd's fellow teachers, but younger than her) over for dinner last night. Last time we had Mexican food (which she had never had. That's completely outside my experience, but I suppose Japan has fewer Mexican immigrants than America  photo emot-3.gif), and this time was Italian, mostly prepared by [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd--I did the salad and bread pre-meal course, she did the pizza and pasta. Chiharu had never had olive oil with bread before. I guess I shouldn't really be surprised--bread as a cultural concept in Japan is a lot different than in America, being mostly composed of dessert breads, breads with filling, and so on--but it still caught me a bit off guard. Then again, I suppose people are going to be really surprised when we have gari as a side with our meals in America and eat a ton of stuff with chopsticks. :p

One random thing is that I really wish I had Chiharu's courage for speaking English. She doesn't speak it that well (for an English teacher--her English is far better than my Japanese), but when she comes over she brings a notebook so she can write down anything we say that she didn't previously know, and unlike my students used to, she writes it in English without trying to put in furigana for pronunciation. If we define something using Japanese, she writes the Japanese, but that's only natural, really. I have been studying a lot lately (at least an hour a day, usually more, not counting any time I spend out and about talking to actual people or reading signs), but I need to really buckle down if I ever want to learn it to conversational level.

Another sleepless night...I guess I'll try to nap when Rachel wakes up.

Weird poll

2007-Jul-14, Saturday 14:02
dorchadas: (Gendowned)
[Poll #1021409]
dorchadas: (Angst)
...which is why I haven't posted in a week. There's stuff coming up this weekend, though, so I should have another post after that. I'm going to spend a day in the city with [ profile] softlykarou and see Wicked. ^^

I had a big angst rant prepared but...well, you've heard it before, so I'm going to skip it. Instead, I'll pose an ethical question to you. This question is based on X3, but really, you don't have to have seen it to answer it. Here we go:

[Poll #744027][Poll #744027]

Any explanation you leave in comments would be helpful ^^

My opinion )

Finally: Judges orders arguing lawyers to settle dispute with rock, paper, scissors.
dorchadas: (Do you speak Elvish)
So, I used to post almost once (or more) a day, and now it's about once a week or so. However, I think I have a good reason for that. While listening to someone whining about their misery is annoying, listening to someone brag about their happiness is far more annoying.

So, a poll:
[Poll #726406][Poll #726406]

I'm going to assume those are the only two choices, because obviously if I including something like "Harry Potter" as a third choice, everyone would vote for that (and I don't blame you) and the poll would be meaningless :-p

Oh, and ACEN was awesome. I got to dress up (pictures forthcoming), dance, wander around, learn how to play Go from a ridiculously absent-minded old man, and learn about exciting websites like Guro-Chan (Note: if you value your eyesight and your very sanity, for the love of God, do not click on that link). And I'm going to Otakon in August!

End of line.


dorchadas: (Default)

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