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The Gumby Cave/La Grotte de Gumby

Rantings of a guy with a cloth on his head

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Feeling Gumby
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July 10th, 2011

A Brief Game Design rant

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Gaming
[NOTE TO THE POTENTIALLY OFFENDED:  this is a rant about game design.  It isn't a rant about anything else]

mechanteanemone  has begun running a "Firefly" campaign using the mini-six system, and one of the design features of the system has me vaguely pissed off.

As with most RPGs these days, mini-six has some rules for giving characters disadvantages (or, as they are called in the game system, "complications").  Disadvantages for PCs have been around for a long time (I think that "Champions" was the first time I encountered them) so it isn't as though they are a new idea.  So why in the name of the great Gygax can't people put at least a little thought into trying to balance them out??????

Here's what I am talking about - in mini-six there are certain complications that require you to roleplay them during the course of an adventure in order to earn extra experience.  For example, my character has "Damned Fool Hero" that requires him to act like a damned-fool hero sometime during the adventure in order to earn an extra XP.  There are also certain complications that are largely under GM control such as "Enemies" that will earn the player an extra XP when they show up, but are largely out of player control.

But there are also some completely passive complications such as "bull in a china shop" that reduce a character's ability to use certain skills.  And these require no effort whatsoever to bring into the plot - they just automatically generate one XP per session! 

The problem with these complications is threefold.  First, they are boring - they add nothing to the plot, or to the character.  They are just a bunch of skills that the character is bad at.  Second, they are easy to work around because even without these sorts of complications there will always be a bunch of skills that any player doesn't intend for their character to use much - if you are a pilot you are probably not going to be big into knowledge skills for example, so it won't affect your character much if you are a little worse at them than you would be anyway.  Third, they are actually more efficient generators of XP than the more interesting, plot involved complications.  For plot involved complications you actually have to bring them into play in order for your character to earn the XP.  If you have one of these passive complications, you will get an XP every game whether you had to attempt a roll with one of the skills you suck at or not!

The thing is, players are smart.  They understand that if they suck at Dexterity skills they should avoid situations where Dexterity skills are crucial for success...  AND they should have alternate problem solving ideas ready that use their good skills for those times when Dexterity skills matter.  So normally, having one set of abilities that a character isn't good at isn't much of a hindrance - almost every character has a dump stat anyway, so the dump stat of a given character just gets a little bit dumpier.  GMs will generally find it difficult to put PCs in situations where they have to use one of their dump stat skills in order to succeed because a) PCs will always try to wiggle out of them by using some alternate ability, and b) Players really hate being put in no-win situations, so if you tell them "The only way out is to use that ability that you have 2d-5 in" they are going to feel like you as GM are railroading them rather than that you as GM are making them earn that XP for their disadvantage.

But really, I think that's the way it OUGHT to be- you should only get the point if it causes you some sort of inconvenience.

Really though, that's not what I am ranting about.  What I am ranting about is that by this point in the history of roleplaying, game designers shouldn't be falling into a trap this obvious anymore.  I realize that fine-tuning disadvantages is tricky (is "Damned Fool Hero", which is mostly player driven, worth more or less than "Enemies" which is mostly GM driven?) but certain things ought to be obvious by now:

1)  Disadvantages should be mechanically similar in operation.  If all your disadvantages are equal in terms of cost, they should all be roughly equal in benefit.  If disadvantages vary in cost they should vary in benefit.  But if they are all the same in cost then they shouldn't vary in terms of benefit.

2)  Disadvantages should hose the player's character, not the characters of other players.  This isn't a problem in mini-six, but I have seen it in other games.  A classic example is the old "Deadlands" disad "Bad Luck Betty" which causes every character BUT the character with the disadvantage to automatically roll the worst result possible on the Fumble table every time they fumble.  That sort of disadvantage is a recipe for inter-party conflict and bad feelings (made worse in this case by the fact that this disad comes from a random roll on a table, so it isn't even the player's choice whether his or her character has it).

Anyway, that's my gaming rant for today.

June 8th, 2011

Banana Bread!

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Food
Here's my latest attempt at banana bread!

Ingredients
4 very ripe (spotty) bananas
1/3 cup melted butter
1/4 cup sugar*
1 egg
1 t. vanilla
1 t. baking soda
1 1/2 cups flour
1 T. poppy seeds (optional)
zest of one lemon, coarsely grated (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degress

Place the bananas, melted butter, egg, and vanilla in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth (about 1 minute).  Set aside.

In a mixing bowl add baking soda, flour, poppy seeds, and lemon zest.  Mix thoroughly.

Add liquid from blender to the dry ingredients and stir until smooth,

Place in a well-greased bread pan.  Cook for one hour.  Remove from oven, cool on a wire rack, and serve.

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*I think you can probably eliminate the processed sugar entirely if you use really ripe bananas.  The original recipe that this one is based on called for a full cup of sugar!

May 27th, 2011

I would like to announce once and for all - I will not cast a vote for Barack Obama in 2012.  It's over, kaput, done, finished.  If he's on the ballot for President, I'm leaving that section of the ballot blank.

I'm a big boy.  I understand that politicians can't always get everything they want.  I even understand that they can't always keep the promises they make.  We're not a one-party system, and any time Party A is in power, Party B will be doing its best to thwart Party A's agenda*.  I understand the idea of voting for the lesser of two evils.  I understand that yes, Obama may not be all that we hoped for, but even so he'll be a better President than Sarah Palin, or Mitt Romney, or Rush Limbaugh, or Harold Camping, or Hitler's dried scrotum, or whatever else the Republicans put on the ballot.

But I can't vote for a guy who signed an extension of the USA Patriot Act.  I just can't.

I didn't agree with the decision not to close Gitmo, but I understood that he was under pressure from Congress.  I didn't agree with his stance on health care reform, but I did understand that he was newly in office at the time and might not have hit his stride.  I haven't agreed with most of his stance on LGBT issues (though I admit I've seen some improvement there) but I know it's a thorny issue.  I haven't agreed with his economic bailouts, not because they weren't necessary but because they weren't sufficient.  Taken in aggregate, these would have made for a candidate I didn't like, but who I could hold my nose and vote for.  After all the bailout was better than nothing, and if he gets elected we might see some meaningful health care reform in 2014, and Bin Laden is dead,  and maybe he can do something about LGBT issues in his second term and perhaps Gitmo will magically vanish one day, carried off by good fairies.

But I can't accept the USA Patriot Act being enshrined like this.  Bad enough that we had it at all, but having two administrations, one Democrat and one Republican, support it really.cements it in place.

So I'm done.  No vote in 2012.

On the plus side I will probably be bitching about the President on Facebook (and here) a lot less.  After this I don't see the point.








___
*Unless Party B happens to be the Democrats, in which case they will dance and twitch like a spastic frog on a griddle.

May 25th, 2011

Musings on Heroquest

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Dear readers, the Glorantha bug has not quite passed me by yet.

Since last I posted on the matter, my interest in Glorantha has diminished from an obsession to a hobby level interest, and has broadened out into more thinking about the Heroquest system (in various incarnations, but primarily in the most recent one). 



There are many things that I really like about the Heroquest system:
  1. The simplicity of it - I like the idea of using the same mechanic for resolving all sorts of conflict.
  2. Its applicability - you can use it for a variety of settings.
  3. It is reasonably inexpensive - at $30.00 it isn't as cheap as Savage Worlds, but you get a lot for your money, including some pretty good advice on how to build your own setting.
  4. Catch-ups - this is a brilliant addition to the new Heroquest, that relieves to a certain extent the problem of having a bunch of abilities on your character sheet that you never raise, which was a prominent feature of the older Heroquest
However, as with all things, there are some parts of Heroquest that I don't like as much -
  1. Hero Points - in general I dislike game systems that use the same mechanic to both boost rolls and provide experience.  I feel that it gives the players too much incentive to be selfish bastards and not enough incentive to be helpful, since spending a Hero Point to help another player robs you of an experience point and does nothing to benefit you personally.
  2. Hero Points (again) - one of the things about Hero Points is that they set up a sort of in-game "economy" - the more Hero Points you give out, the more players can spend to increase their successes, turn losses into wins, etc.  The difficulty with this is that there is very little discussion in the rules themselves about how to set up such an economy, the effects of giving a low number of Hero Points as opposed to a high number, etc.  This has, in the past, made it difficult for me to get the "feel" of my Heroquest games right, as it always seems to feel like the players either have too many or too few. - either they are plowing through the really difficult challenges by dropping 5 Hero Points at a time to turn defeat into victory, or they are desperately scrounging through the scenario with nothing left and have no Hero Points at the end for experience.
  3. Hero Points (what, again?) - one of the things I have found frustrating is the ability of PCs to simply buy their way to victory.  Since it only takes around 6 HP to take a contest from "complete and humiliating loss" to "utter and devastating victory" such changes in outcome are regularly within the grasp of PCs.  Army of Mordor threatening your city?  Don't bother summoning Rohan, send out Pippin loaded down with a toothpick and 6 HP and you will be victorious.
 


"We'll be right behind you!  No, really...."
In short, Hero Points bug the hell out of me.

BUT...

I also recognize that a mechanic that helps the players escape the tyranny of the dice is a good thing.  It totally and completely sucks when you finally, after many adventures, track down your arch-nemesis and all-around campaign level antagonist, only to get taken out by a critical hit in the first round of combat and have to lie there while the rest of the party beats up the guy that you have as a major background villain and have been itching to go toe-to-to with for 16 episodes.  Hero Points are a great way to deal with that problem.  I don't honestly even have a problem with one hero managing to defeat a rampaging army - that's the stuff that a lot of legends are made of after all. 

It just shouldn't be the sort of thing that happens every adventure.  "OK, Pipin has now slain the armies of Mordor, Isengard, and Rivendell; killed Shelob, eviscerated Tom Bombadil, curb stomped Gandalf, and having now burned all but one of the white ships is setting off to pillage the West...  FOR THE CROM AND THE SHIRE!"  What I have noticed in my games is that there is a very fine line between that and "OK Pippin, the Nazghul comes after you!  It rolls a complete victory!  How many Hero Points do you have?  None?  Um...." *hands player a new character sheet* "In the background, rampaging orcs begin looting and burning Minas Tirith".


"TOTAL VICTORY!"

VS.

"COMPLETE DEFEAT!"

Even one Hero Point can be extremely effective in Heroquest.  Typical "even" contests in the game (that is, contests where neither side receives a "bump" from masteries or circumstances) only rarely involves a result other than "minor defeat" which can often be improved to "minor victory" with only a single Hero Point spent (although comparing dice rolls can lead to a minor defeat moving to a marginal defeat instead of a minor victory in some cases).

To sum up then, I feel that Hero Points are overpowered in Hero Quest, and that they seem to have so much influence over success and failure that they often overpower the actual decisions of the players and the actions of their characters.  If a player manages to save up a few Hero Points it really doesn't matter how good Carmen San Diego is at hiding, the player's character will be able to find out Where in the World she is.


Hero Points
 

I have been toying with several rules modifications to deal with this problem.  Here are a few of my ideas.
  • Give the GM some Hero Points too.  This would allow the GM to be able to cancel out some of the players Hero Points, which would at least make some victories more costly.  While it does have the benefit of making the players more hesitant about using their Hero Points, it also makes bookkeeping more complicated, and makes the in-game economy a mess, so I have largely discarded the idea.  It might be interesting to give the GM one Hero Point per session or adventure, just to give the players a little something to worry about, but I think no more than that.
  • End-of-adventure cash-in.  At the end of every adventure, all the characters have to convert their unspent Hero Points into experience.  At the beginning of the next adventure they start again with 3 Hero Points and that's it.  This seems to me to be a reasonably good solution because it is quick and easy to institute, and does still allow players to amass enough Hero Points over a long, multi-game play session to be able to turn the climactic battle in their favor.
  • Institute a "1 HP per conflict" rule.  No matter how many HP the characters have, they can only spend one on any given roll.  This means that only minor changes in the outcomes of die rolls are possible.  It would take care of a lot of the really impressive outcome changes, but it does honestly seem to me that characters SHOULD be able to do this sometimes - just not very often.
So far I think the end-of-adventure cash-in seems like the best solution to the problem for my play style.  It does allow characters to occasionally pull off those completely balls-to-the-wall victories, but only late in the adventure,  I do still worry that the great, climactic confrontation might be spoiled by throwing a bunch of hero points at it (GM:  "You approach the gates of Mordor and they slowly swing open.  A huge army..."  Aragorn (drops 7 Hero Points on the table, "Yeah, yeah - we win."  GM - "Fuck.") but Dramatic Conflict Resolution helps that somewhat.

+

=
 
I have some other tricks that I am thinking of for Hero Points, ones more specific to the Glorantha setting, but I'll save those for another post.  For now, I would be interested in hearing from anyone else who might have come up with innovative ways to use Hero Points (or their equivalent in other game systems - the mechanic is pretty ubiquitous) in their games.

May 3rd, 2011

Thou shalt not....

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Feeling Gumby
It is as old as human civilization. 

In the code of Hammurabi it was punishable by drowning.  In the Torah and the Qur'an, by stoning.  In Christianity, merely thinking about it condemns one to guilt and sin.

It is illegal in 22 of the United States (though seldom enforced).  In the state of Michigan, you can be imprisoned for life.  In Wisconsin it is a Class I felony.  In Maryland you pay a $10.00 fee.  In the military it is a court martial offense.

In some places, such as Saudi Arabia, it is still punishable by death.

A survey taken two years ago by the University of Chicago's National Opinion Research Center shows that slightly more than 11 percent of women and 21 percent of men admitted to having done it during their lives.

King David did it.  Alexander Hamilton did it.  Tiger Woods did it.

I've done it.

I suppose that there are those who really do imagine when their young that they will, someday, commit adultery - but I have to tell you that it never occurred to me.  Even when it was happening it seemed surreal, like something being done by someone else.  I imagine that it felt that way to my wife too, though for her there was no other person around to take solace with.

I bring this up because I recently discovered that my ex-wife is still living in Eureka, and works as an artist here.  I could run into her any time - on the beach, at the grocery store, at the mall, at an opening, at an art fair, at the farmer's market.  Knowing this brought up old memories of that time when I was married to one person and having a relationship with another person.

It was the best of times.  It was the worst of times.

Best because I was in the middle of something miraculous (and yes, I used that term advisedly, particularly in light of the 6th/7th commandment), something truly outside my experience.  I felt heady and wind-tossed and free.  I felt like I had met a soulmate.  It felt so good, so right, like it was meant to be.

Worst because every moment with that new person, experiencing those new feelings, was betrayal of promises that I had made, and made in good faith, before the person I was marrying, before the community of my family and friends, and before God.

It is difficult to describe it as a whole - I just don't think there are any words in English to specify a feeling that is at once so gloriously moving, so spiritually uplifting, so powerful that it makes you want to weep tears of joy just to BE in that moment, and is at the same time so unexpected, so awkward, such a violation of your promises, your relationships, and even your self-image that you just want to hang your head and cry for the shame of it.  And because always, in the back of your mind you are thinking about two people you care about, and knowing that sooner of later you will have to tell one of them "I'm sorry, you aren't the one."

I remember one thing that preyed on my mind a lot at the time was the realization that someone in this whole thing was going to get horribly, horribly hurt - and that someone wasn't going to be me.  I had the win-win choice.  I could go back to the safe relationship, or I could embark on a new one.  I wasn't the one likely to be left standing alone when the dust settled - but I was going to be the one who got to choose who was.  I got to make a completely conscious choice about who of two people, both of whom I cared about, I was going to hurt and reject in the end.  How could I treat my new beloved, my soulmate, the woman who filled me with radiance, that way?  How could I treat the woman I had made so many promises to, had shared 10 years of history with, had entered into a special covenant with that way?

In the end, of course, I chose.  But thinking back on that choice now still makes me queasy.  It simply wasn't and isn't part of my conscious picture of myself that I can be the sort of person who makes choices or takes actions for my own self-gratification that will result in such hurt to another person. 

Over the years I have tried not to think about it too much.  It seemed to fade into obscurity, particularly when I was living in Seattle.  But being back here brought back memories of that time, even before I discovered that my ex-wife was still living here.  I've been thinking about it for a week.   And here's what I have decided.

1)  the past is past.  Everyone makes mistakes, and even when we make the right decision that is sometimes going to hurt someone.  If I had a time machine and the ability to go back and do some things from that time differently I might do so - make the transition easier, be more compassionate, I don't know.  But it's moot - what's done cannot be undone.  I am sorry that I hurt my ex-wife, I really am.  But I am not sorry that the situation worked out the way it did.  I may not have made the perfect choices, but I made the right choices for myself.  

2)  Continuing to feel guilty is a suckers game.  I don't mean that I should forget that time because I don't think I shouldm but letting the decisions of the past crush the present and the future is a waste.  For me to fail to make the best of the situation doesn't improve anything, it only means that whatever hurt I caused, whatever pain I inflicted, ultimately was in vain.

3)  That said, it's better to know.  I don't know what has become of my ex-wife in these last years.  I can postulate scenarios all I want, but in the best way to resolve the situation is to find out.  I have a website for her - I should contact her.  Maybe not right this moment, but soon.  Even if she wants nothing to do with me, despises me and hates me (and lets be clear - it is her right to feel that way if she so chooses) then at the very least I am letting her know I'm around so that she doesn't get blindsided by ME in the grocery store sometime.  

So there it is.  I have, in the past, done a bad, bad thing.  But everyone in their past has done some sort of bad, bad thing.  Maybe some people reading this will think less of me for this one, and it is your right certainly to do so.  Perhaps you have been wounded by this sort of thing in the past and still bear the hurt.  Perhaps your religious views speak out against what I did, and mark me as an immoral person.  Perhaps you just grew up in Wisconsin. 

Regardless, this is part of who I am, and I may as well accept it, integrate it, learn to live with it, and learn from it.  I adore my wife.  I wouldn't trade my relationship with her for anything.  My ex-wife too retains a special place in my heart and I wish for her only good things and happiness.  I regret, deeply, the hurt I caused her.  But I cannot regret the outcome, except perhaps in some of the finer details of its execution.

Our Clan

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Gaming
Here are the final results of the "Build a Heortling Clan' poll. 

First - about the poll.  Each answer to each question was a vote for one of the particular characteristics of the clan - Wealth, Diplomacy, Morale, Military, and Magic.  Because I didn't want people to figure out the system, I mixed up the answers somewhat, and because I didn't want people to focus only on a single characteristic, there were only four of the five possible characteristics available as a choice on any given question.

Ranked in order, the characteristics for the clan are
  1. Diplomacy
  2. Wealth
  3. Morale
  4. Military
  5. Magic
Lets break these down and look at each more closely.  Under each heading I have listed a general overview of how members of the clan might perceive that particular characteristic within the clan, as well as some particularly important specific aspects for which the clan is famous (chosen by any particular answer that got 5+ votes in the voting).

Diplomacy:  the clan survives based on the treaties and agreements it has made with other clans and tribes, and with the skill of its negotiators.  Its success in remaining free of complete Lunar domination has come from silver tongued thanes negotiating for generous terms on tribute payments, not from any sort of skill on the battlefield or the God Plane.  The clan has many friends, and few enemies (though it is likely that those enemies hold bitter grudges).
  • The clan chief is a wise and canny negotiator, and is known, along with his most trusted thanes, for managing to broker treaties with the Lunars that have kept the clan free of occupation, and not unduly burdened by tribute and taxation.
  • Although the clan is actually rather weak militarily, this is not widely known because of the fearful reputation of the clan's champion, whose presence strikes fear into the hearts of any who might take the field against the clan.
  • It is well-known that the clan's ancestors are particularly active in negotiating with the ancestors of other clans on the God Plane, and give the clan favorable influence in negotiations due to their wisdom and many connections.
  • Many of the other clans still remember how this clan helped to rally and organize them to fight the Lunars a generation ago, as well as how it assisted those who suffered losses to the losers, and helped aid those who had lost their lands.

Wealth:
  the clan has unusually large herds of cows, owing to its superior grazing lands, the skill of its head priestess in blessing the crops and herds.  In addition, the skill of the clan Trade Thane, who travels far and brings home many goods, contributes to the clan's wealth, as does the pride and skill of the clan Carls.  Finally, the clan trades with the wealthy Lunar Empire.
  • The size of the clan's herds is remarkable, and something for which the clan is famous.  The very first thing that most other Heortling clans think of when they think of this clan are its many, healthy, valuable cows.
  • The clan Trade Thane is noted for his many travels, and the clan's wealth in part consists of exotic items from far away places (and it's skill at selling them)

Morale:  Clan morale is good, but not fantastic.  Though things seem well on the surface, there are strains starting to appear in clan society, as the influence of the Lunars grows and the ways of the clans begin to fall out of favor among some.  It is a time of great change among the clans, and morale is suffering a bit because of that.
  • Asrelia and Ty Kora Tek have larger than average followings within the clan, and are believed to favor the clan by protecting the many good things that the clan has (its large herds and many friendly clans, for example) from confiscation by the Lunars.

Military:
  the clan fyrd is strong and successful at defending the clan's lands, but there is little left over.  The clan has few real warriors left to take any fight to the enemy.  For now the clan lands and herds are secure from raiders and bandits, but should war break out, the clan will be at a disadvantage.

Magic: 
the clan's magic is desperately weak.  The power of the Red Moon is growing, and the Storm Pantheon does not answer prayers as it once did.  It is becoming increasingly difficult to access the Storm Plane for the yearly rites, and the ancestors whisper of danger and defeat.
  • Esrola, the Mother, is the primary source of the clan's magic, and is the most powerful cult in the clan.  The voice of her prists and priestesses can often sway even the followers of Orlanth.
But these are just my ideas.  Anyone want to add anything?
1 1/2 cups flour
2 T. soy flour
6 T. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
2 t. ground cinnamon
1/4 t. ground cloves
1/3 t ground cayenne pepper
1 T. whole milk powder
1/2 cup coarsely grated Mexican chocolate
1 T. wheat germ
Two overripe (spotty) bananas
2 eggs, separated
1 c. buttermilk
1/2 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease 12 3" muffin tins and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl place flour, soy flour, milk powder,, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder, cinnamon, cloves, and cayenne pepper, and chocolate.  Mix well and set aside.

In a blender or food processor, place bananas, buttermilk, melted butter, egg yolks, and wheat germ.  Process for 30 seconds.  Add liquid mixture to solids and stir until blended.

Whip egg whites until stiff, but not dry, and fold into mixture.

Divide mixture between the muffin tins.  Cook at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes.  Remove from muffin tins to a wire rack and let cool.
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April 21st, 2011

The experiment continues -

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups flour
2 T. soy flour
1 T. whole milk powder
1 T. wheat germ
1/4 cup sugar
6 T. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
2 t. ground cinnamon
1/4 t. ground cloves
1/4 t ground cayenne pepper
2 eggs
1 c. buttermilk
1 ripe banana (the riper the better)
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup coarsely grated semi-sweet chocolate

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Grease 12 3-inch muffin tins and set aside.

In a bowl, mix flour, milk powder, wheat germ, soy flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and cayenne pepper.  Set aside.

In a blender or food processor, blend the eggs, buttermilk, banana, and butter.  Pour into a large mixing bowl.  Add dry ingredients above and stir until just blended.  Fold in the grated chocolate.  Spoon into muffin tins.

Bake about 15 minutes.  Remove from tins immediately and let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

NOTES
Soy flour, whole milk powder, and wheat germ enhance the nutritional value of the muffins considerably.

I tried using barley flour instead of wheat flour this time, and it seemed to work fine.  (Barley flour is produced locally and wheat flour isn't).

You can vary the cayenne pepper from 1/4 - 1/2 t.  I recommend 1/2 t. if you use buttermilk, and 1/4 t. if you use regular milk.

One very ripe banana is not enough to compensate entirely for the sugar.  Next time I will try 2-3 depending on size.

You can substitute 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips for the grated chocolate if you want.

Next up on the experiment list - whipping the egg whites.

 
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April 17th, 2011

During the couple of weeks that I was without internet, my Glorantha fever ran its course.  Mostly, I'm better now.  But I did put some work into an idea that I came up with while down with the Glorantha fever that I hope you loyal readers might help me out with.

In the original "Heroquest" rules under Community Support there is a suggestion that when you are designing the community, you should set up a questionnaire for the players to answer, which will give you an idea of how  to rate the community in five different areas - wealth, diplomacy, morale, military, and magic.  For fun I started working up such a questionnaire for a Heortling clan.  It proved to be a larger effort than I had initially planned for, but I got it done this weekend and thought I would post it to see what people came up with.

I tried to make the questions clear enough that they would be mostly self-explanatory, but here's a brief overview (info on the world of Glorantha is also widely available on the internet):

Heortlings are a tribal/clan society in Greg Stafford's world of Glorantha.  They are a cross between the Norse and the Scots.  Their society revolves around ideas of personal freedom and responsibility towards one's family, clan, and gods.  They are extremely close to their gods, and god magic is a part of everyday life.  For the last several generations the Heortlings have been increasingly involved in difficulties with the powerful Lunar Empire to the north, which came to a head a generation ago when the Lunars conquered most of Heortland, restricted or banned the worship of several of the Heortling gods, and instituted slavery.  Since then the Heortlings have tried several times to throw off Lunar rule, but have failed each time.

The questions below are designed to create a clan which is within the Lunar sphere of influence, bot not directly occupied by the Lunars - yet.

Poll behind the cut!Collapse )Please take a few minutes to fill out the poll.  You don't have to know anything about Glorantha - really you don't even have to know anything about roleplaying, just pick the response that seems interesting to you.
 
 

April 14th, 2011

Found Treasure!

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Cleaning up the office I finally decided to go through the big pile of 3-ring binders that had been lying around awaiting attention since the box they were in got soaked when the washer overflowed.  And I struck treasure!
  • My old "Werewolf:  the Apocalypse" GM's binder
  • The photocopied Mutants and Masterminds "Mastermind's Manual" that we got for KP's Mutants and Masterminds campaign (that lasted what - 6 sessions?  Poor Doctor Steel - you will be missed!)
  • A notebook full of old character sheets and stuff, including some early drawings by mechanteanemone 
  • The write-up for my Iron Kingdoms game using True 20, complete with all the character sheets!!
  • Another notebook with enough sheet protectors to last me until my dotage (which really isn't THAT far away!)
  • A notebook full of articles on Japanese lore and society.  It clearly isn't my handwriting in it and I hope that someone gave it to me.  If its yours and I never gave it back, let me know.
  • The notebook for my OLD Fantasy Hero "Edworld" campaign.
  • A photocopied "Mutants and Masterminds" 2nd edition that we also got for KP's M&M campaign (dear Green Ronin:  please don't hate us.  We did buy a copy too!)
It was rather fun - and sometimes a bit embarrassing - to look through the notebooks of some of my old campaigns, but it brought back a lot of good memories too.  But those paled in comparison to -
  • A notebook filled with correspondence between Sophie and I when we were dating.  That brought back some memories.  It was a wonderful time in my life, and it was scary as hell, and it was wonderful!

Of course I wasted WAY too much time looking through them and not cleaning up the office, but I was trying to troubleshoot the modem at the same time, so I really was multitasking.
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