23 September 2010

Hutts, and then some

Worked a little late tonight. My gym was closed all day. I've got a million things to do but I spent my night preparing for next Tuesday's Star Wars role-playing campaign. I could have done something more constructive, but the game won't write itself and it needs to be done before Tuesday.

A storyline just ended in my game. The PCs are now on their way to Hutt Space (one of the players is playing a Hutt). I've had to determine the current status of the Yuuzhan Vong invasion of Hutt territory, create numerous NPCs and work out some new game systems I hope will add something to the campaign. I've even sketched illustrations for three of the Hutt NPCs (perhaps I'll put them in a future post after I scan and color them).

Over the last several hours I've been exploring Wookieepedia and drawing up potential conflicts in the next phase of my Star Wars campaign. This weekend I'll be finishing some new maps and details of new star systems & species to locate into Hutt Space.

The PCs started out as Corporate Sector troubleshooters. They were involved in corporate espionage in the early days of the Yuuzhan Vong invasion of the galaxy. They even ran a mission into New Republic territory against the New Republic. As things developed they had a growing distaste for their employers and moved out on their own.

On top of that was the Cult of Splendid Ap and the secrets of Centerpoint Station. This kept the team busy on their own. With a Hutt joining the party, and their growing distaste for the New Republic the PCs are now on their way to take the fight to the Vong in Hutt Space. We'll see how long they stay in that neighborhood; hopefully it will be some time as the only things left after would be the Centrality or the Imperial Remnant.

Anyway, I had some fun tonight creating a number of Hutt NPCs and designing some aliens and ships. This weekend I'll finish the designs and come up with the Vong and Hutt orders of battle. Should be more fun.

Now I just have to make sure the players have as much fun playing as I had designing......

16 September 2010

The Last Week on Sims 2

After the September 15 deadlines at work I've had a little bit of extra time. I spent a little bit of that playing Sims 2 and continuing my Legacy Challenge.

First off, little Bobert Fugg has grown into a teenager. We threw a party for him and everything. He's turning out pretty good, a couple of his skills are maxed out and most of the others are more than half-way there. The problem is that I randomly rolled the Pleasure aspiration for him. Luckily his lifetime aspiration is to reach the top of the Slacker career path, not the worst he could have gotten. Still, I'd prefer an heir with the Finance or Knowledge aspirations, even Family wouldn't be too bad. Oh well.

The night after the party Albert spent the night stargazing again. And again he was kidnapped by aliens! Strange thing is this is the fist time I've had a sim kidnapped and haven't heard the little tune warning you that your character has become pregnant. I have slots for two more sims, unless having four dogs in the family is eating into the slots available for human characters. The large family size might make it more difficult to keep my dog legacy going as well. I'll have to look into that.

The final event of note in the recent playing of the game was a penguin invading the house. I hadn't even realized that winter had arrived, no snow on the ground and our family tree hadn't become dormant, I just tended it before nightfall.

Venus took a break from studying and went upstairs to pet the little critter. It seemed to like it, but then pissed on our floor and ran away. Silly bird.
I'll be back with more updates in the future...

06 September 2010

Time Flies

Four days off from work is coming to an end. Where does the time go? At least I got some things accomplished, it's just some of those things I didn't know I'd be working on if I was asked last Thursday.

1) Cleaning up some email boxes, old blog clutter, and taking care of other online issues was one. Backed-up some important computer files as well.

2) Played a couple of role-playing games. One of them did conflict with a playing of the combined new Axis & Allies Europe/Pacific game, but I was committed to the RPG before I got the invite to the A&A game. Still, neither activity was a waste.

3) Watched some old silent films with Lon Chaney, Sr. Good stuff, but unlike some television/movies that can be played in the background while I do other stuff, you kind of have to pay attention to silent films.

4) Put a dent in an audio book I'm listening too while taking care of computer related stuff mentioned in item #1.

5) Spent tons of time going over the new DC Adventures RPG and campaign notes for my old DC Heroes campaign. Started to make a couple of characters with the new system and began updating the history of my campaign setting to cover the last ten years.... Ten years? It can't possibly have been that long since I had run any DC comic related game.

6) Went to the gym.

7) Finished reading another book; Future Wars. Very interesting despite being published back in the mid-nineties.

I also took some time to take care of some other odds'n'ends so I'll be ready for the next time off I can take from work. I still have a lot I want to accomplish before the end of the year; including writing blog posts that are less sucky than this one.

04 September 2010

DC Adventures!

I finally had a little bit of money in the budget to pick up a new RPG book. I had planned to pick up a new Pathfinder players guide, even had it in my hand. Then I looked up on the shelf and saw the new DC Adventures Hero's Handbook! Holy cats! A new DC role-playing game.

I had loved the original DC Heroes RPG by Mayfair games back in the mid-'80s. I tried to like the one West End Games put out in the '90s based off their D6 Legend System. I knew nothing about this new game but knew I must have it.

It was the same price as the Pathfinder book I had planned on buying, but had a much smaller page count and slightly smaller dimensions than a regular RPG book, it was only a little larger in dimensions than a regular comic book.

When I finally got it home I started reading it. It was designed by Green Ronin, they make some good games a number based on the Open Game License. Wait a minute, this new DC Game was powered by the Mutants & Masterminds game engine. Certainly didn't look like M&M character sheets in the back. A little research on the Green Ronin website explained. They wanted to develop their system beyond its SRD (System Reference Document) roots and develop a better game. DC Comics didn't want them to just create a DC sourcebook for an existing game. This modified version of M&M suited both parties well.

Needless to say I didn't finish reading the book and analyzing the system. I started pulling up notes on my old DC Heroes campaigns and all the the countless adventures that were played out over the years. My mind began to wander into the DC Universe like it did in the old days when I was plotting that campaign. I had to remind myself I wasn't running this new game yet. In fact I bought almost no comic books over the last five or so years apart from Marvel Zombies and some Army of Darkness, I don't have any real idea of what the current DC & Marvel Universes are like.

Who knows, I might have to dust off my old DC campaign and get things rolling with a new group of heroes. It's been nearly 24 years since I first played the original DC Heroes, perhaps this new DC Adventures will be just as good.

03 September 2010

Overdue Legacy Challenge Update

I have been ignoring my Sims 2 Legacy Challenge updates in recent weeks. I’ll have to make it a point to update one a week from now on. Needless to say I don’t have all the free time I’d like, so after six months I’m still playing the first generation of the game.

After graduating college Albert Fugg moved to Belladonna Cove into the game’s Legacy Lot. He even adopted his first dog to begin the pet legacy as well. Money is tight this early in the game so nothing too fancy is purchased. He quickly invited Zoe to move in and married her.

After both Albert and Zoe each give birth (to Venus & Bobert) the game begins to pick back up. An old gypsy woman stops by and drops off a genie lamp! Albert is able to use his three wishes to get a ton more money for the family. After fixing up the house he used a portion of the money to buy a vacation home in Three Lakes. Once the kids are old enough, they will have their first family vacation there.

I’m not having any luck in getting Albert into the Criminal career track; he and Zoe are both in the Paranormal track right now. He has an aspiration to become a Criminal Mastermind… I don’t know if that will be really necessary since he earned his permanent platinum in college.

The family vacation is a success. I’ll have to be sure to upgrade the vacation home each time they visit it. During the Legacy Challenge I see frequent vacations being a useful tool.

In the time after the vacation Albert gets abducted by aliens again and gives birth to Xeno and Zoe get pregnant again giving birth to Cody. On top of that the family dog also has it’s first offspring as well.

A lot happened, and I’ve skipped over some details. That’s why I’ll have to give weekly updates on the game. On the weeks I don’t play much I’ll post character profiles or tips on playing a Legacy Challenge. I’ve even set up a page on this blog to organize all the Legacy Challenge posts into one place.

At this point the family has a value of §170,413.

Current Score: 17.25 (11.5%)

Legacy: 1.0Ghosts: 0Free Time: 1.5
Money: 1Business: 0Collections: 2
Friends: 3.25Family Breed: 0.5Master: 1
Impossible Wants: 1Seasons: 0Handicaps: 0 (3 potential)
Platinum Graves: 0Bon Voyage: 4Overflow: 0
Penalties: 0

01 September 2010

Swap A DVD

A couple of years ago I started renting DVDs instead of buying them. I remembered what a pain it was to deal with VHS rentals years ago so I was always more of the buy the DVD from the bargain bin instead of renting. I felt that by having a DVD to show for the outlay of $4 or $5 was better than renting stuff and having nothing to show for it. If you look at the options out there today, including streaming movies & television shows to your computer, etc. the need to actually own a huge library of DVDs/videos is actually very small.

Then a year and a half ago I looked up from my computer to the shelves containing the vast array of DVDs I had accumulated over the years. Many I watched only once and would never watch again. Others I liked but still hadn't watched in a few years. They were things I could rent if the mood struck me. I could get rid of nearly all my DVDs without any suffering. The question now was what to do with them.

That's where Swap A DVD comes in. Along with its associated book and CD trading sites I could trade my unwanted DVDs for books.

First I would post DVDs onto the site that I was willing to give away. I started with a few, and over the next year dozens and dozens were added. When someone wants one of them they ask you to mail it to them. When they receive the DVD you get a credit. That credit can be used to obtain a DVD from another member, or as in my case, transferred to one of the other sites. A DVD credit was worth 1.5 credits on Paperback Swap, so I transferred my credits there. I'm not sure what the exchange rate on the CD trading site is since I never used it.

Now I had tons of credits on Paperback Swap. While I believe Bookmooch has many advantages as a book trading site, Paperback Swap has its own.

While I found many books I wanted on these sites, I soon hit my saturation point. I had just gotten rid of the clutter of DVDs I didn't want to drown in hundreds of new books. There are other options for credits on Paperback Swap. One is giving them away, either to charities or to other members. The other option is to offer them for sale on the PBS Forums like a number of members do. You may not get much for them, but it beats trying to sell used books to some store.

In any case it has worked out great for me. I've cleared out some clutter, gotten rid of many DVDs, got a number of books, made some charitable contributions, and now sit on a small supply of credits to await the possible availability of books on my trading wishlist.

...and when you're done with a DVD or Book you can post it back up on the site. Of course you can also release a book into the wild through Book Crossing, but I'll discuss that more when I'm done experimenting with that website.
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