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Wherein the Autographed Cat Spends Money On Himself For A Change

Tomorrow is my birthday. Hooray.

Every year, I receive some amount of money for my birthday, since no one ever knows what to buy me. I suppose I could set up wish lists and the like as other people do, but they don’t really work. For one, I’m not a very materialistic person. (Good thing, since Kitty is, but that’s for another entry). There’s rarely anything in the world out there I just can’t live without, which makes it difficult to make lists of things I want When I want something, I usually just get it, so by the time an event like my birthday comes around for someone to look at the list, I’ve probably already gotten whatever was on it. So folks being long used to this odd behavior, just give me money or gift certificates and let me sort it out.

Most years, finances are such that I end up using my birthday money to do mundane things like catch up on bills. This year things are not quite so tight, so I actually allowed myself to spend a little money on myself. I went down to The War Room, a local gaming shop, and picked up the new 3rd Edition AD&D DMG and MM, which I’d been procrastinating on buying. I also grabbed the first collection of Nodwick along with the two most recent issues, which catches me up on that — I’d been reading them by borrowing them from a friend I game with.

Nodwick is a delightful comic book for anyone who has ever enjoyed fantasy RPGs. Nodwick is a henchman, you see. Those long suffering hirelings who tote and bail for the adventurers, lest the might warrior or the cunning mage have to do any actual heavy lifting. In this case, Nodwick is also easily the most sensible and intelligent member of the party. It’s got a very keen sense of humor, and is well drawn.

Regarding 3rd Edition AD&D: I’m still disappointed that it entirely failed to suck. When it was first about to come out, I’d been reading little snatches about it here and there, and was fully expecting it to be just awful. Then a friend loaned me a copy of the new PHB to look over and I started reading it. And not only did it utterly fail to suck, but many of the things they chagned were either house rules we’d been using for years or things that I’d always thought would make sense. In other words, they for the most part did what I would have done.

So my thursday night gaming group decided, after a little playtesting, to convert over to the new rules. And, sad to say, we haven’t regretted it for a minute. Damn. And now I’m starting to pick up the books needed to start my own campaign. For one thing, we’re going to visit my sister-by-choice and her husband in Tennessee, and they want to play again. Also, I’ve proposed running a fill-in campaign on Thursdays for weeks when B, who travels a lot because of work, is out of town. So I’ve got to sharpen the old DMing skills again. Should be fun.

Now to kick back, relax, and enjoy some orange sherbert. Yum.

Wherein the Autographed Cat catches up on the last week

Ah, vacation is a lovely thing.

Kitty and I went up on Tuesday to visit Shadow and Kender in their brand new house in Knoxville, TN. (Well, new to them.). Kender is the person I refer to as my “sister-by-choice”, because while we aren’t blood-related, she fills that need in my life for a sibling that I never had. She’s been commuting from Nashville to Knoxville (spending most of the week in her parents home in Spring City, an hour away), so that she could work on finishing up her PhD in Medieval Literature. Shadow finally finished his residency and got a job at a hospital in Oak Ridge, so that Kender wouldn’t have so far to go. They were just getting moved in when we came up, but she was still a marvelous hostess.

This was also the first opportunity I’d had since last year to see their daughter, who is now 3, and now capable of holding coherent (if somewhat disjointed) conversations. She really is a darling…there are times I regret my own childlessness. Not often, but sometimes…

I ran an AD&D adventure for Shadow and Kender, since they haven’t really had the opportunity to play since they left Illinois a few years ago. Everyone seemed to have fun.

Friday was another Monkees concert. This is deidrecorwyn‘s current obsession. I enjoy the music, but could really do without the obsessive nature of the fans they tend to attract. More on that another time.

We drove back down on Saturday afternoon, and I got back in time to run down to SFSummer to play some music with Harper. I got called home a lot sooner than I’d have liked, but I had a great time while I was there.

Hrm. I don’t seem to be very talkative today. I think I’m really not ready to air in public the things that are really heavy on my mind right now. Maybe later.

AD&D Silliness

Someone on the MUD I play posted this list of the 396 least useful spells for wizards.


1 Acid Trip
2 Affect Abnormal Fires
3 Affect Normal Foyers
4 Air Breathing (land-dwellers only)
5 Airshape (like Stoneshape, but with normal air)
6 Airy Air
7 Alamir’s Freeway Breakdown
8 Alamir’s Fundamental Theorem
9 Algorhythm I-III (sp?)
10 Anger God

Read More


An interview with Don Woods, one of the original authors of the Adventure text game!

Thanks to hitchhiker for the link!

Weekend Part Two: Welcome To The New Addiction

I want to preface this post by placing blame, where it is appropriate. First, blame must be given to bedlamhouse , whose glowing praise — and the promise of an occasional companion on the journey — was what finally overcame my last objections. Some amount of blame must be laid at the feet of my boss, Scott, whose descriptions of it had also intrigued me, and who had addressed my most common objections to this sort of thing. But most of all, blame must be give to the lovely eloren , who has tempted me for four years and finally seen my will crumble like powder before her.

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The More Things Change

So yesterday, the dev team released a big patch for City of Heroes. To read the message boards, you’d think the world was ending.

“They broke this!” “Blah used to do X, and now it does Y.” “They ruined my favourite class/power/whatever.” “This sucks, I may as well just quit!”

All of the complaints tended to boil down to the same sentiment: “The developers hate the players and only do this to f**k with us.”

While it’s all very tedious, it’s also a bit bemusing. See, I’ve been a member of the admin of a text-adventure mud, Jedimud, for the last 12 years. Every time something changes, whether for positive or negative, there will be a vocal minority of players who scream bloody murder and insist the sky is falling.

At least half of the time, what they’re complaining about is some bug or exploit they were using to their advantage being repaired, or some feature which was seriously out of step with the rest of the game that had been scaled back. (A smaller amount of the time, they’ll complain because something a class they don’t play has got better, and now they’ll be less prestigious.)

I’ve often wondered what people who do this actually get out of gaming? Despite the fact that I’ve been playing games of some sort or another my entire life, and I identify myself as a “gamer” as a part of my overall fannishness, I’ve never been a hardcore gamer. I don’t live, eat, and breathe the games I play. They’re diversions, distractions….it’s entertainment. I’ve never quite managed to wrap my head around the hyper-competitiveness that some people bring to the table.

The other common refrain amongst the complainers is that the developers are “smug and superior” and don’t understand the players. Having been a part of a game development team, I know perfectly well that the dev team doesn’t always know “better” than the players. Quite often, though, they know more than the players, and generally the decisions that they make are not arbitrary. If something got altered, there was probably a pretty good reason for it being done. (JediMUD has over 60,000 lines of code, and it’s several orders of magnitude less complicated that something like CoH. Trust me when I say that the developers aren’t going to touch any piece of code they don’t have some compelling reason to touch. It ain’t worth it.)

Of course, all the whining is isolated to the boards and not in the game itself, which does at least make it marginally better than on Jedi after a big game update. It’s easier to ignore all the noise when it’s not going on inside the game. 🙂

Amusing Moments in Gaming…

Every Thursday, I play AD&D with bedlamhouse, surrdave, and a few other folks. I keep meaning to write about those games, and even had a spiffy LJ icon set aside for it, but I never seem to.

Couple of amusing moments last night I had to share, though. We came across the high priestess of the local temple bound and gagged behind the alter of the chapel, immediately after having ransacked what we later found out was her chambers for valuables.

Don: So what you’re saying is that I see a beautiful woman tied up and gagged by the alter.

DM: Yes.

Jeff: Put her in the loot bag!!

Later in the adventure:

DM: Ok, so what is your AC without your Dex? Is it still 16?

Me (looking forlornly at my character sheet): Uhhhh, no.

NEW SONG: Small Town Dungeon

This was inspired in stages. First, there was Tuesday night’s Munchkin game, where the statement “You ran away” attached itself to the obvious tune. Then, there was Wednesday’s Home on the Strange, which got me to thinking about AD&D, and the fact that most of the songs are of epic adventures, and very few are about the first steps into the dungeon, and….well, this just sort of wrote itself from there.

Small-Town Dungeon
by Rob Wynne
TTTO: “Dollar Fifty Movies” by Ookla The Mok (by way of Puzzlebox)

What can you do when you’re all broke and you’re out of work
How can you score some easy gold
The stairs led down, I lit a torch and I went in
Into the darkness and the cold

I’m going to the dungeon
That little small-town dungeon
A small-town dungeon won’t hold a lot
I’m going to the dungeon
That little small-town dungeon
A +1 dagger’s all that I’ve got
But a +1 dagger, that ain’t a lot
To fight your prey

I can cast a single spell
Then my use is shot to hell
I searched my tomes and learned them well
I packed my candle, book and bell

I’m going to the dungeon
The little small-town dungeon
A small town dungeon won’t hold a lot
Finding lots of treasure is always such a pleasure
When a +1 dagger’s all that you’ve got
And you tried to sneak through but you got caught

You hope the guards are kobolds
‘Cause you aren’t feeling too bold
And a troll is more than you want to face
You wouldn’t mind a goblin if he’s hurt and kinda hobblin’
And the cleric knocks him out with a mace
Just bops him on the head with a mace

There’s power when you find a new wand that shoots fire
And the chest of gold that’ll bring you the comfot you desire
When the monsters are defeated and won’t give any grief
To a wizard, a cleric, two fighters and a thief

Home from the dungeon
The little small town dungeon
We brought back the loot they said was so grand
It was eighty pounds of silver, a magic bow and quiver
And a ring of elemental command
And this thing that looks like Vecna’s left hand
We’ve got it made!

Nothing to loot and nothing to slay
We’ll have to come back another day
When it fills back up with prey
We’ll come and collect our pay

We’re not going to that dungeon
That little small town dungeon
Cause that little dungeon don’t hold a lot
We’re not going to that dungeon cause a bigger one is more fun
And by this time my level’s gone up a lot
And when we stagger out, I’m left with one thought
We got away!

Song: All For Me Swag

This isn’t a new new song, as it was actually written back in April and premiered at the Gafia housefilk that month. bedlamhouse and I wrote the entire thing over IM during a dull afternoon. It wasn’t posted at the time because we’d offered it to Lee Gold for Xenofilkia, and wanted to give it a chance to appear there first. Since it was in the June 2006 issue of Xeno, I now present here for you as well. 🙂

All For Me Swag
by Bill Sutton and Rob Wynne
Music: “All For Me Grog” (trad)

It’s all for me swag, me jolly, jolly swag
All for me hoard and me treasure
Well, I spent all my g.p. on a brand new sword +3
So its down into the caverns I must wander

Where are me boots? Me seven leaguer boots?
All for me hoard and me treasure
Well, they gave me a long stride and they split me underside
So its down into the caverns I must wander


Where is me helm? Me magic, mystic helm?
All for me hoard and me treasure
It protected me from pain till the flayers ate my brain
So its down into the caverns I must wander


Where is me mage? Me wimpy little mage?
All for me hoard and me treasure
To beat the troll she planned to use a spell called ‘Burning Hands’
So its down into the caverns I must wander


Oh, where is me thief? My sneaky halfing thief?
All for me hoard and me treasure
Well he snuck off in the night with the loot from our last fight
So its down into the caverns I must wander


Oh, where is me dwarf? Me sturdy fighting dwarf
All for me hoard and me treasure
Well, he took a fireball hit, and it blew him all to…….heck
So its down into the caverns I must wander


I’m stabbed in the head, and I’d rather stay in bed
To finish healing from our last adventure
But I spent up all me dough, raising everyone I know
So its down into the caverns I must wander

Today’s timewaster: 3-D Tetris

Seen over at John Scalzi’s By The Way, Tetris in 3-D:

http://www.3dtris.de/ (Requires Flash)

This could eat my day if I let it. Good grief. I still remember hejira2006‘s description of the original Tetris: “It’s the most boring game I’ve ever played for hours and hours and hours.”

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