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When you're doing research on the Landskneckt and you find that the main organisation responsible for teaching zweihander sword techniques to them was known as the "brotherhood of Our dear lady and pure Virgin Mary and the Holy and warlike heavenly prince Saint Mark", which was often shortened to Marxbrüder, or in English, The Marx Brothers.

I now have a completely different view in my head as to how some of the sword fights are to go.

Hmmm ...

Jan. 14th, 2009 03:55 pm
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I've just changed insurers for Richter; his current policy was going to be £200 and I've found one thats about £120 for much the same cover. So I rang his current insurers, Sainsburys, to tell them I wasn't going to renew.

Got through in about 30 seconds, didn't have to wait in a queue on the phone. Put straight through to their cancellations department where after the usual Data Protection related security, Gareth, the man on the end of the phone just said "sure - no problem, we'll get a confirmation that you haven't renewed out in the post to you."

What surprises me (apart from the fact that the whole process from dialling the number took about 90 seconds - something I'm not complaining about, by the way) was that he showed absolutely no interest in why I was not renewing.

Anyway, in other news, I've been pointed at a book by someone called Frank Ridley called Assassins - it was written in 1935 and is a look at the Hashashim from the point of view of Marxist historiography. SOAS has a copy of it, and I can join their library for free, so I may well pick up a copy on my way home.

This is, of course, preparation for a game.
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Ken Hite, LJ's own [livejournal.com profile] princeofcairo and one of the best RPG writers out there today, is going to be at Dragonmeet in Kensington on Saturday, along with Robin D. Laws.
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I put up a banner for an upcoming game a little while ago, which elicited a certain amount of comment.

I'd therefore be grateful for any comments (constructive if possible, adulatory if necessary :-)) on this - the first draft of the character sheet for Mind the Gap.

The underlying game system is Unknown Armies - the theme should be obvious from looking at the character sheet.
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Mind the Gap Banner

I think a couple of you ([livejournal.com profile] invisible_al and [livejournal.com profile] wulfboy in particular) might like to see the banner for a new RPG campaign I'll be running in about a month or so .... :-)

ETA: It's going to be Neverwhere meets Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels using the Unknown Armies system.

No player spaces left, I'm afraid.

Yes, I am an awful tease.
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As a fair few of you are Nobilis fans, and might not have come across this. R. Sean Borgstrom (who has now changed her name to Jenna, so keep an eye out for new RPG stuff) has released what she's written of Society of Flowers, then mostly finished Nobilis supplement.

It's available for free from the Eos website or for $5.00 from the Drive-Thru RPG site.

Up to the individual whether they want to pay for it or not, I guess.

And after the nightmare that was the Guardians of Order fiasco, Eos-Press are bringing out the third edition of Nobilis. It won't look like the Hogshead Great White Book, but it will mean that people who want to get the game don't have to pay stupid prices on Ebay for it any more.
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World of Warcraft inspired porn videos.

http://www.villagevoice.com/people/0809,ruberg,347182,24.html is work-safe, as long as your work don't mind you reading non-explicit news-stories about fantasy porn, I guess.
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More of a note to myself, but it's a concept that's has just rattled around my brainpan.

In a thread on RPG.net about Serenity, someone's just used the phrase 'Space Amish' - apparently the concept is used in a novelisation (of the film or the series? Doesn't really matter.)

And that just made me think - the Serenity setup would allow you to have normal Amish - once you're on a planet then you set up your homestead and you're good to go - in fact, from the series, most people on the Rim are not far above the tech level of the wild west anyway, so restricting yourself in the way that the Amish do isn't as big a deal as it is in the 21st C.

But what if you wanted to have Space-Amish who weren't bound to one place. What if, for whatever reason, they had to move around, had to use space ships etc? They could hire mercenaries, I guess, but that doesn't seem to be a satisfying solution - it's really not one that would drive the plot much in a game.

But what if the tech-users were like sin-eaters? They'd be trained, allowed by their community to use technology, but because of that, not allowed to be full members of the community. They'd be perpetually 'unclean', perhaps needing to go through long and involved penances just to be allowed back into the comfort of their community. They'd possibly be held to a higher moral standard than the majority of their community - after all, with the weight of all the sin on their souls, they can't actually afford any more.

Hmmmm .....
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An illustrated list, with citations, of Japanese monsters. It includes my favourite, the Kappa, as well as many others, including the Te-naga and Ashi-naga - that's a pair of demons; one with infeasibly long legs, the other with infeasibly long arms.

Well worth a browse.
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More a bookmark for myself again, but http://bankuei.blogspot.com/2006/02/flag-framing_03.html is an interesting idea on how to prepare for improvisation within a game.
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A while ago, there was an article on a role-playing website about playing a trading card game with the cards you get in phoneboxes in London advertising prostitutes?

I think it was either on Critical Miss or PTGPTB, but I can't remember which.

Edit: and of course, now that I've thought about it for 30 seconds or so, I've found it.
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Game geek, I'm afraid, but I was reading the article on Legends of the 5 Rings, and I found out that the US Olympic Committee successfully sued AEG to stop them using the 5 rings symbol on the back of the cards in the CCG, "because a special Act of the U.S. Congress gave them the exclusive rights to any symbol consisting of five interlocking rings".
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There's a cool article on character creation over at http://www.rpg.net/columns/building/building1.phtml - it's seven rules for building a better character.

It fits a lot of what I try to do with game contracts, and is not a bad framework at all to look at when starting a campaign. I don't agree with it 100%, but it's worth a look.
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I have a particular blind spot when it comes to Ars Magica - I can never remember all twelve Houses at once. I can always get to eleven of the twelve, then wave my hands ineffectually in the air to remember the last one.

However, the particularly irritating thing is that it's never the same house I'm missing - like that weird circle of stones, I can say to myself - "Jerbiton, remember Jerbiton ..." and then find I've forgotten Flambeau.

So, gentle reader, for those of you that visit over the next few months, you now know what the large piece of paper with twelve names written on it stuck to my desk is for ....
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[livejournal.com profile] valkyriekaren just posted a link to the Continuing Education pages at Birkbeck college. She's more interested in Victoriana, but it's the medieval history diploma that caught my eye.

Especially this course (careful - that's a pdf ...)

It will come as no surprise to many of you that I read the syllabus for this 24 week course and thought to myself "why isn't this entitled Ars Magica Background: 101?"
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As part of a thread on Pagga, Nath (yes, that Nath) whinged at the prices that get charged IC in certain LRP establishments for a slice of cake, given the low cost of wheat in game. [livejournal.com profile] scary_lady responded thus:

" [QUOTE=Nath]"It is a general 'bug' that food sold for IC money (not by anyone in particular) goes for absurdly high prices, even accounting for the inflation you would expect at a big fayre for important people."

*shakes head* I don't think so. How much is a ton of wheat in the UK? How much is a cake in a supermarket? And lastly how much is a slice of cake in Starbucks? Cake isn't sold as a fraction of a ton of raw materials anywhere - it is priced according to what you need in order to cover overheads (which are high in retail and higher still in service industries) and leave you with a 40% net profit margin. If anything I reckon we are significantly undercharging "

Because I didn't want to derail the thread (which is about something else entirely) but was interested, I went to do some digging.

According to http://www.foodqualitynews.com/news/news-ng.asp?n=56088-poor-uk-wheat (which is reporting on last years harvest)

" Market centre bread wheat prices were last week estimated at £85 per ton across the UK, with a spot price of £102 per ton delivered to Liverpool, and have almost risen as much as they can before it becomes more economical for millers to use imports instead, according to HGCA economist Josh Dadd. "

The report goes on to mention that these are high prices, given the poor harvest.

Starbucks is, what, £1.50 / £2.00 slice?

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[livejournal.com profile] ysharros - you were asking about the write up of the Amber game I did? It's here - just remember it was written over the course of several years so it doesn't hang together as a single story in terms of voice. Still some bits I'm happy with, though.

The world in general: $70+ for an FTP package? Blimey. WS-FTP has changed since I last had to download it .....
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I'm writing up some background for the Amber game that I'm involved in, and it's fallen to me to describe the canal district of the City of Amber. (Long, involved story which will be going up on my website shortly ...)

Anyhow, rather than going the full on Venician, I'm looking more at medieval / restoration London - the boatmen are called Waterspiders, for example, and row boats rather than gondalas through the canal.

(EDIT for clarification: the area is a strange mixture, much like the East End of London in the present day; lots of rough areas, but also lots of art galleries, small theatres and street life - the sort of place that the middle classes would be happy to visit for the evening, and would be even happier if they came away with a slightly risque story to tell their friends, but they definitely wouldn't want to live there.)

Anyway, my dilemma is that at present, the best idea I have for the name for the region is the Basin, which really isn't floating my boat, if you'll forgive the metaphor.

So, any ideas?
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I am the very model of the perfect Pagga pugilist
I’ve information vacuous and arguments no more than gist.
Opinions I’ve in plenty but facts I don’t possess a lot
But that’s okay I’ll just restart the story vs player plot …

On pulling blows or sexist foes I’m full of righteous fire and vim
I want new players trained but I am not prepared to put work in.
When fault is laid it’s always never me but them, it’s all their fault
And ‘jiggle’ is a call that can be deemed legitimate as ‘halt’.

In short in matters bickering. pedantic or assertavist,
I am the very model of the perfect Pagga pugilist.

Blame [livejournal.com profile] ephraim.
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Give or take.

Given that the Amber game I've been playing in a couple of times a year for the last 3 years has come to the end of an arc, I decided to concatanate the various diary files I've submitted to Steve, the GM, together into one file. I could do some more writing, but there's plenty of time today - it's a day for pottering and doing little tidy ups of things.

Anyway, I grabbed all the Word files, copied them together in order, applied a style across them and generated a TOC, just because, you know, I can.

And then I ran the word count tool and found that I've written 14,500 words across the years. Approximately 30 sides of text.

It's patchy, given the time that stretches from one end of the file to the other. The authorial voice isn't clear, and I'm certain that I've shifted tense at least a couple of times between chapters.

But there's some good writing in there, and some nice turns of phrase.

I'm not sure it's ever publishable, given that its completely derivative of both teh Amber RPG and Steve's game, and I'm not even sure it would make sense to anyone who hasn't played in the game. After all, what is it other than 14,500 words of "Let me tell you about my character!".

But I'm quietly proud of the achievement.

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