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You are… August 31, 2014

Posted by Conrad Hubbard in : Poetry , add a comment

You are so ridiculously beautiful to me that watching you move through the world is like seeing the launch of a thousand love stories.

Lunar Shapeshifting December 8, 2013

Posted by Conrad Hubbard in : RPGs , add a comment

In Exalted, Lunars are meant to be shapeshifters, but it always seems like the system doesn’t quite figure out what to do with that. The Tell kept it from being a perfect disguise, without Charms, but it still feels like a giant collection of Charms thrown onto the character for free, right off the bat. Just for being a starting character Lunar, one can fly, breathe water, generate any number of poisons, see in the dark, use sonar, disguise themselves from most targets, gain immense strength, fit into small places, resist heat or cold or lack of water, gain fangs or claws or horns, etc. And that is just the mundane animal kingdom. No, really, Etc!

Possibly an interesting system to investigate might be one where Lunars cannot shapechange into things which give them superhuman powers or disguise who they are without related Charms/knacks/whatever. Thus, a Lunar might not take on the form of a bird that can fly until she has a power that lets her fly – the learning of that power unlocks the flying capability of shapeshifting.

This could be done in a couple of different ways. You could let Lunars gain shapes of birds, etc, but be unable to actually fly without the required Charm. This would let them gather forms when the opportunity presented itself, and let them use them immediately, without giving the character the superhuman powers of every shape in and out of Creation. In a sense, it would also mimic the Tell situation a bit more. You can take these forms, but you cannot use them to their full ability. However, it might lend itself to some weirdness. Why is that fish drowning? Oh, it must be a Lunar who doesn’t actually have the water-breathing Charm.

Alternately, a Lunar might simple be unable to gain a new form at all if the form has abilities which they have not unlocked via some Charm/knack/whatever. A Lunar who does not have the flying power unlocked might be unable to gain the form of any bird that can fly. This isn’t as simple as it appears, however. Many animals, for example, can do multiple things that are beyond human ability. The Storyteller and players may not even know about some of these at the time when a form is initially approved.

My favorite aspect of the 2nd edition Exalted “knack” system was just that it eliminated the need to repeat the phrase “this Charm cannot be learned by Eclipse or Moonshadow” Caste Exalts. That could just as easily be accomplished by a Keyword, though. A keyword such as “Lunar-Only” or “Natural” or whatever could mean “you cannot get this Charm unless you are a Lunar” and that would eliminate much of what I think was gained by Knacks.

There is one other side effect of Knacks, though, and that is the fact you can give Lunars a number of them separately from their Charm count. This may be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your view of it. If you want the possibility of Lunars who are just not as good at shapechanging as other Lunars, and can spend their time learning other Charms, then Knacks somewhat limit this. Sure you can stop learning more of them in the future if you want, but you are stuck spending some of your “starting” powers on them. If you want the possibility of Lunars who intentionally focus on other things Lunars can do, then you maximize this by merging Knacks and Charms into the same power list. If you want Lunars to always have some baseline of shapeshifting that they are required to take, then you possibly maximize this by having a category of shapeshifting powers set aside, such as Knacks does.

From a viewpoint of trying to examine the total Lunar package, though, it might be easier to merge Knacks into Charms. If you can readily see where Lunars get access to flight, while you are writing up other Charms, then you might have an easier time painting the quicksilver image of their power trees. It would also potentially let certain shapeshifting powers be tied to other abilities. For example, possibly before being able to shift into the form of a god, you might need the ability to sense spirits in their dematerialized form. To fully use the form of a god, you might need the ability to dematerialize. Alternately, being able to dematerialize at all might be a Charm which had a god/elemental form Charm as a prerequisite.

Father’s Day Thoughts June 16, 2013

Posted by Conrad Hubbard in : The Chip , add a comment

Today, I worked in the yard. Not the most exciting Father’s Day, perhaps. However, other than calling my own father (which I definitely did), I think it was the closest I could get to experiencing fatherhood this day. Yardwork always makes me think of my ex’s little one, Deva, because she used to insist on helping “daddy” with it. She even had a toy mower she pushed around for a while. Eventually she insisted on helping push the real mower. Walking bent forward so a child can stand in front of you and pretend to help push a mower is hard work. I also always felt like I had to be extra cautious the entire time. I miss you, little one.

Darklord of Rookhausen August 19, 2012

Posted by Conrad Hubbard in : RPGs , 2 comments

Did you ever play in the Rookhausen chat, hosted by Sword & Sorcery, using 3rd edition d20 rules and the Ravenloft setting version published by Arthaus? I designed the original idea of that chat, although it was of course expanded by volunteer DMs and many players. I was kicking around some of the old web pages on my site, trying to give some of them the cleanup they desperately need, when I ran across these old hidden pages, which I had only shared with a select few back then.

Darklord of Rookhausen pages:
Janisar 3.5
Janisar 3.0
Curse of Janisar

This stuff was never official or canon. It was merely material designed for an online setting we hosted at Sword & Sorcery. Nonetheless, I thought some players out there who are Ravenloft fans might be interested.

Wiki Rather Than Blog? March 6, 2012

Posted by Conrad Hubbard in : The Chip , add a comment

I started thinking about that this evening. I wonder if I should simply start moving everything on my website into a wiki and stop doing anything in any sort of linear blog fashion. My site is currently split between: old hard-coded html files and images which have lots of archived but outdated creative efforts, a WordPress blog (that I rarely use relative to), a Wiki. Hypothetically, the blog setup should be inspiring me to write every day. However, it seems to fail in that regard, and I post to the Wiki far more often.

Silliness for Shane and Stacey on Facebook March 6, 2012

Posted by Conrad Hubbard in : Poetry , add a comment

Shane posted that he was watching a Real Housewives of Beverly Hills interview with Kim Richards, and Stacey said to him, “Could you possibly turn these thoughts into a poem and share it on Facebook?” I couldn’t resist.

Stacey Eustice
likes this Kim miss
wants a poem on it
will not get a sonnet:
Kim deserves the best in life
for being a real housewife
that captured fame
enraptured Shane
oh, I mistook that post,
Stacey’s Facebook roast,
as a real request
when it was just a jest.

http://www.facebook.com/swshanewallace/posts/361327247211275

Netflix Split September 19, 2011

Posted by Conrad Hubbard in : The Chip , 1 comment so far

Maybe they are doing this for publicity, in which case I guess they are winning. However, I do not understand the decision that Netflix has made to intentionally spin off their DVD division into some other company. For people who get both services: streaming and mailed DVDs, this seems like a reduction in ease of use. Having your queues, billing, customer service, etc all split up onto two different websites seems inconvenient. At very least, imagine having to login twice just to check the same stuff you logged into once. Netflix argues they are doing this to be better and more competitive with other streaming services. It seems to me that one way they could brand themselves as better would be to advertise that they also offer this huge DVD service in addition to their streaming one. Strange stuff. Maybe it will work for them, but I don’t see how, and I don’t look forward to the extra logins and credit card entries.

Happy Birthday Deva April 13, 2011

Posted by Conrad Hubbard in : The Chip , add a comment

Nine years ago, Deva Alyssa Winter was born, and I was there to witness it. I just wanted to say happy birthday, Deva. I wish I could say it in person, but for whatever reason your mom will not let me. I hope you had a good birthday anyway! If you ever want to talk to me, and you find this, feel free to contact me.

War Manses February 17, 2011

Posted by Conrad Hubbard in : RPGs , add a comment

I added a short article detailing an idea I had for how the War Manses might work in Exalted. The idea is meant to give the Manses a lot of power which does not derive from the N/A power attributed to the Imperial Manse.

Equality and Military Service January 16, 2011

Posted by Conrad Hubbard in : The Chip , 2 comments

Active military service has not been a consequence of mandatory draft registration since 1973. Nonetheless, every male in America must legally register for the draft within 30 days of the age of 18 or suffer serious legal penalties including lengthy imprisonment, large fines and lack of civil rights on a state and federal level.

I was reading an article today on CNN about the movement to “allow” women to serve in combat duties in their military service in order that they might be treated equally to their male counterparts. Frankly, I wish that nobody had to serve combat duty. However, there is a strangeness to this approach to “equality” in my view. To me, equal means equal for bad and equal for good.

As such, it seems that real equality is not limited to those who choose something when others are forced into something. To me, real equality in this case would require that all men and women should be required to register for the draft or that no men or women should be required to do so. All or none. Equal or not equal.