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Landicine Pumpkin

Just Micah's Journal

About this Journal:


I use this journal to discuss various topics from my life, work, and games. Please feel free to comment.



February 8th, 2015

Pretty Little Baubles

One of my favorite items from a past tabletop game was the Ring of the Darkhidden. The ring made my character invisible in total darkness. It sounds silly, especially given that lighting a match cancels out the ability, but since the character specialized in fighting skulking-see-in-the-dark monsters, it was actually really useful. I remember loaning it to laraclara's dwarf character, and she almost destroyed a character ten levels above her. I want items in games to be like that: mechanically-relevant but also quirky and flavorful.

In Ultima Online, I enjoy using the crafting system to make odd sets of armor for my utility characters, and I spend way too much time coming up with names to engrave on my main fighter’s swords. Artifacts are my favorite card type in Magic the Gathering, and Quick Gadgeteer is my favorite advantage in GURPS. I have spent a lot of time thinking about gizmos, gadgets, magical relics, cyberware, and so on. It is probably no surprise that I wrote a lot of item cards for TBC.

I talk about larp items in TBC more...Collapse )

February 6th, 2015

What I learned...

I have taken some strange lessons away from RPG campaigns. An update of a previous post.

Visions: Diamonds aren’t a girl’s best friend; silver bullets are.

Innocence Proves Nothing: Alien artifacts remain a fun way to lose an arm.

Return to Melanoc: Politicians remain less trustworthy than liches.

Life in the Donut: If at first you don’t succeed, fry up a disco doughnut.

Heroes of Bhurloka: Sometimes you need to put metaphor aside and just use a statue as an improvised weapon.

Legacy of Arnor: When a weapon does more damage to you than your enemies, stop using it before it’s too late!

The March of War: Never ever ever hire a Halfling.

Hell Out of Dodge:
Jacob: A minster should trust his flock, but not trust their aim.
Jeb: Some people are too stubborn to die.
Jonah: There are few problems that cannot be solved by gambling with evil spirits. For those, find a shapeshifter who can become a lion.

Heroes of a New Age: Apparently, people object to being melded into a griffin chimera abomination.

Private Eyes: There are better things to steal than chairs.

Salvage: Always inquire about a criminal syndicate’s disposal methods before using them to dispose of highly infectious corpses.

February 5th, 2015

Random larp mechanic rules I found in a random text file on my computer. Since it was last year, I don't remember why I wrote them down. Some of them are variations of things I've heard in panels, but the rest I think I came up with.
Random "rules"Collapse )

February 1st, 2015

The End of TBC

To Be Continued, the campaign larp I worked on, ended last weekend with three final days: a plot-light prom, final session, and wrap party. It was the first larp I ever GMed or wrote, and I think I underestimated how much work it was going to be. I wrote more than 190 thousand words for it, and two of the GMs, darkoni42 and staystrong62805, wrote more than I did.

More babbling on TBC...Collapse )

April 19th, 2013

I hope this is over soon.

I was woken up early this morning by the town of Waltham calling to tell us to stay in our homes until the bombing suspect is apprehended. The Fitchburg line is shut down until further notice. Apparently a lot happened during the night.

(Update: Apparently all service on the MBTA is suspended.)

I heard a campus cop from MIT died. That sucks. I have a great deal of loyalty to campus cops after Baltimore. They protect their campus and students.

May 7th, 2012



The protagonists of the last three things you read/watched/played are the members of your zombie apocalypse team. How screwed are you?

1. Miles Vorkosigan (Komarr)

Miles has a great deal of military experience and is a genius. If he could bring plasma arcs and needle grenades, I don't see any problem. Unarmed and alone, I still think he is a match for an army of zombies.

2. Phantom Reporter (The Twelve)

The Phantom Reporter  is a mundane superhero from World War II who slept for 60 years and recently gained fire powers. Zombies burn pretty well. That's useful, and considering how disappointingly this series ended, it would be no loss if he got eaten by zombies.

3. Peter Kingdom (Kingdom)

A kind-hearted British solicitor played by Stephen Fry is probably not the best line of defense in a zombie apocalypse. Still, every zombie hunting team needs someone to keep morale up.

I can think of better teams, but this could have been much much worse.

December 14th, 2011

What I learned...

I have taken some strange lessons away from RPG campaigns:

In the West: Shooting an ally in the leg to prevent her from doing something stupid is not a sound plan.

Welcome to Infinity: When providing the means to procure illegal hooch for an ally, make sure he signs a waiver.

Artifacts and Kalids: Changing your species to hook up is highly immoral and yet highly effective.

Forsaken Territory: Werewolves are not cuddly.

Castle Ravenloft: A poorly made D20 build can easily die three times in the same campaign.

Chrysolite: Do not waste time developing a biogenetic plague. Someone in the party will get cold feet about releasing it.

The Vacuum: It doesn't matter how much you get paid if your home city falls from the sky.

War of the Lance: It is best not to ask a warlock for clarification on where his powers come from.

Auspicious Beginnings: All the luck in the world won't save you from a nanite-infused super villain with no sense of humor.

Rangers of the Dusty Trail: If a member of your party sees things that aren't there, perhaps he doesn't get an equal vote in group decisions.

City of the Damned: Don’t get involved in family squabbles, especially when one of those involved is packing a dragon-fire shotgun.

The Sound of Drums: If it looks too good to be true, someone wants you dead.

The Golden Gatekeepers: When making wishes, perhaps it is best to take a moment and remember your cousin trapped in hell.

Contact: When purchasing bulk corpses, always inspect the merchandise.  

Tales of the Infinity Patrol: If the girl can be two-sides of a love triangle on her own, perhaps you shouldn't hand her a grenade.

Being Human: Creepy dolls make the most loyal friends.

Our Dear Departed: If the price of failure is to become a Lurker, don’t do it!

December 13th, 2011

Characters: Lies

blue magic
Playing a naive and honest Minbari this campaign has reminded me that I play a lot of liars. They aren't all bad people, but lies and secrets are a major part of who they are. Certain genres seem to almost require this. World of Darkness requires monsters to pretend to be people to avoid mobs with torches and pitchforks and assault rifles. Infinite Worlds, Shadowrun, and most supers settings all have lies, cover stories, and secret identities built into their themes.
It has been a little problematic with my Minbari when I start musing about which lie I'm going to tell and realize my character wouldn't lie. A Pakmara did not eat my homework, and I have indeed seen your laptop full of encrypted secrets.

It has been fun though. What is the worst thing I can say right now? Oh yeah, the truth...

November 6th, 2010

(no subject)

From an old talk on game design, Raph Koster mentioned that Robert Cialdini identified six strong persuasive characteristics in humans:

1. We like people who give us gifts.
2. We hate changing our minds
3. We imitate those like us.
4. We are suckers for those we like
5. We trust apparent authority.
6. We overvalue rare things.

In The Gift of Fear, Gavin De Becker mentioned some broad generalities about human nature:

1. We seek connection with others.
2. We are saddened by loss and try to avoid it.
3. We dislike rejection.
4. We like recognition and attention.
5. We will do more to avoid pain than we will do seek pleasure.
6. We dislike ridicule and embarrassment.
7. We care what others think of us.
8. We seek a degree of control over our lives.

It is amazing how often in online games these generalizations apply to people's good or bad behavior. A random holiday gift of "pixel crack" is an easy way to buy player good-will. Players won't change their minds on a system easily; this will keep a certain part of the population away from Felucca indefinitely. The "rare" EM rewards sell for crazy prices despite having no mechanical purpose and just being dyed common items.

July 14th, 2010

I write like...

That is a fun site that analyzes which author you write like:


I plugged in a bunch of random RPG writing and got a few different writers. The two that popped up the most were J.K. Rowling and Dan Brown. I always knew I was a hack, so no real suprises. Maybe some day I can aspire to be a good hack! I also got:

H.P. Lovecraft
Stephen King
Isaac Asimov
Kurt Vonnegut
Arthur Conan Doyle
Edgar Allan Poe
Chuck Palahniuk

So not only am I a hack, I'm an inconsistent hack!
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