Mister Ed Signature

Woo! I have kept this blog going for a full year now.

Updates have obviously slowed down since I started the blog and as expected, I’m always posting fewer updates than I’d like to do. That was true even when I was on the one every weekday schedule as I occasionally fell behind.

There’s been a lot of variety of posts over the past year. Some stuff on science, some on games, some on everyday life stuff, and some movie reviews.

I also originally had posts on political charged events. While I’m still reading stuff along those lines, I haven’t been writing as much about it.

There’s a few reasons for that. Political stuff tends to offend people and I don’t want to do that. My viewpoint isn’t particularly original. Political stuff in general tends to stress me out. Other stuff like that.

There’s also clearly two groups of people reading the blog that I can tell from the stats page on WordPress. Those who like the social and science posts which are basically about what’s going on in my life. The second group likes the posts on games.

Do I need to focus more to please one of those groups and enlarge it? I don’t think so. My original plan was to have lots of content so that whichever group was reading would have something for them at least once a week. I’ve fallen off the once a week plan and gone towards a once a month plan, but the basic principle is the same.

Over the past year I’ve also been transitioning away from the blanket anonymity I had when I started the blog. My name and picture are present along with what town I live in.

That also means I’ve been transitioning away from the Mister Ed identity, a reference that few people get anymore. I’ve been consolidating a few of my other online identities into one as well.

The new identity is pretty simple. What’s the name of the blog? GoCorral. What should my identity be on the blog? GoCorral. A few other people have already been calling me that online, so I’ll just keep with the trend.

So that’s why I am abandoning the Mister Ed signature from now on in favor of the new signature…

-GoCorral

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Fake Chinese New Year’s Eve

My D&D group had our hangout with our friend in San Jose this weekend. Someone suggested naming the event, “Fake Chinese New Year’s,” because its an additional party after the official Fake New Year’s, just like Chinese New Year’s is in the USA.

I picked up my spy partner from the previous post and we went to our San Jose friend’s house together. After catching up a little we started the gaming off with a few rounds of Three Dragon Ante.

Three Dragon Ante is a game made by Wizards of the Coast for D&D. It’s meant to be a card game that the people play in D&D worlds. It’s a bit like poker with a three card hand, but with tons of other rules and suits thrown in. Each suit has a special effect when you put it into your flight (the hands are called flights because they cards are all dragons). The special effect only activates if your card is weaker than the one your opponent played previously. The person with the highest hand at the end of the round wins the pot. You can see that you have to balance between activating your effects or playing high cards to win the pot.

Three Dragon Ante has a nice flow to it and we played two games of it. After that we went to pick up some pizza and talked about which roleplaying system we’ll be using for my next campaign. I and a few other group member have gotten tired of playing D&D 3.5. We feel we’ve explored everything we can with the system. The new systems I’ve looked at are D&D 4E and Hackmaster. Hackmaster has a lot more appeal within my group so we discussed a few of the benefits of that system.

Our next game was Samurai, an old card game where each player is a samurai in feudal Japan. You attempt to gain honor by faithfully serving a respectable daimyo. The daimyos fight each other and there’s a lot of espionage and backroom deals to gain more power as well. I won that one, but just barely.

Another of our buddies showed up at that point. We switched to playing a new card game I’d gotten for Christmas, Villainy. Villainy is all about completing your villainous schemes as a super-villain like Lex Luthor. You have to gather a team of loyal henchman, commit nefarious crimes, complete your master plan, and finally defeat Fantastiman, Defender of Good and Justice. I played the nefarious Frog Tamer and attempted to decaffeinate the world’s coffee supply. Unfortunately, Master Asaurus Pain completed his vile scheme to release Fantastiman’s browser history before me, thus winning the game.

We went out for dinner at a Filipino place that served exclusively dishes with meat and eggs. We watched the final quarter of a football game between the Ravens and some other team. After that I had to head out. I dropped my friend off back at his house. On the drive home I listened to part of a Hardcore History on World War 1 that described what the USA was doing prior to entering the war.

And that’s the word on Fake Chinese New Year’s! I have yet to talk about Christmas stuff yet, but I’ll be getting there soon.

-Mister Ed

Gurutama Timeline Thoughts

I’m a bit at a loss for how to make my coming posts on Gurutama’s timeline interesting.

My initial thought is that the Gurutama posts are more for me than for whoever is reading them.

I’m using those posts as creative vehicles for the world my friends made. I’d like there to be more details for us to use and this is a way to force myself to write them.

Up until now I’ve been able to drop a picture of some kind into each post either of the area or the race I was focusing on for that post.

What pictures can I use for a timeline though? I don’t have anything already made and scouring the internet is far less likely to produce something appropriate (or legally usable).

I could draw something myself, but that would require far more time than I’m willing to commit to the project.

I should just accept the timeline being pictureless, but if I do I want there to be something else cool in each Gurutama timeline post.

I can’t think of what that cool something should be just yet though.

As for what I plan to do with the timeline posts, that’s pretty easy.

While we were playing Dawn of Worlds I kept track of events and created a rough timeline of what occurred.

The rules of Dawn of Worlds split the actions into three distinct ages.

The rules suggest that a turn in the first age takes 500 years of time within the created world. A turn in the second age takes 100 years and a turn in the third age takes 10 years.

This allows the initial events to be slow just as initial developments on Earth were slow, but then speed up later on. It also reflects that the presently living people in Gurutama will know more about recent history than centuries old history.

The timing rules present a problem though. One player can do something on turn 1 in the first age, but than another player can’t react until turn 2 which is 500 years later.

This means that sometimes counterattacks within early wars will take centuries to formulate!

Obviously that can be explained away within how the timeline is worded, but that wording does not exist as of now.

As I go through and present the timeline I need to fix those errors and add clarifying information where it’s needed. I plan to also add extra fun stuff when I feel like it to spice up the world.

There’s the plan!

If you think of anything cool that will make the timeline posts more interesting, let me know please!

-Mister Ed

My Campaign World

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That’s a map of my campaign world which is physically based in a completely altered landscape north of the Caspian Sea.

Keeping with the theme of D&D Mondays, here is an introduction into the decisions I made while designing the campaign world that my players currently use.

The initial impetus for creating my campaign world came from the gods that are present in the D&D manuals. D&D has a few of its own pantheons and none of them make a great deal of sense to me when compared to real polytheistic religions.

Real religions have gods with relationships between each other. They are often members of the same family with a well known family tree. Stories and personalities exist for each of the gods.

D&D has no such relationships. Each god appears to be its own religion, making the pantheon of gods somewhat irrelevant. There is no well established mythology, and the bare facts that do exist will change based on which edition of D&D is played.

I much prefer the Greek pantheon. They were all related. They had stories about them. I understood why they did things. Best of all, everyone already knows about them! It’s actually required in USA schools to learn about them.

The problem with using the Greek gods in a D&D campaign is all the stuff associated with Greece in the myths. I didn’t want to switch to a real setting, only more realistic gods. So I changed the location of the gods.

Within my world, after the Trojan War, the gods realized that the Greeks couldn’t really handle the gods fighting over them. The gods moved west to the area around the Northern Caspian Sea and created new races to play with.

Elves, dwarves, halflings, and orcs were made for the gods to mess around with along with monsters and more humans. The new races were given far more magical power, so they could survive the gods’ attentions.

I significantly changed the geography around the North Caspian. I didn’t have any reason to do this beyond creative freedom. The name of my campaign world and the area north of the Caspian is called Cimmeria. This is actually what the ancient Greeks called it, so why not keep the name?

The current year in my campaign world is 396BC. The characters wouldn’t actually call it that, but for the sake of unambiguity, we’re using the Christian year system.

I simplified the month system. Every year lasts 360 days and every month lasts 30 days. The full moon is always on the 30th and the 1st of every month and the new moon is always on the 15th and 16th of every month. There are no weeks, instead there are “tendays.” This is just to make it simpler for me, so I don’t have to keep track of months, weeks, and moons. Also, yes, this is the way the world actually works in my campaign. The year is literally 360 days instead of just being measured that way.

Other pantheons do exist in my campaign (Persian, Egyptian, Indian, Norse), but don’t appear very often. Other cultures also exist outside of the ones in Cimmeria, but these other cultures are rarely featured in the sessions of the campaign.

The world is flat and the sun god’s chariot goes around the Earth every day. The other side of the world is inhabited by scary monsters and Atlas, who holds up the world. The planes (those other dimension things) are laid like pancakes on or around the earth. The typical image of Hell below and Heaven above fits very well.

Most of the cities in Cimmeria are city-states, but there are two exceptions. the Xorian Empire and the Aractrash Kingdom. The Xorian Empire has been expanding over the last hundred years. The Aractrash Kingdom has several cities within the Aractrashan Jungle. The jungle was united under one king around one hundred years ago.

That’s all the basic information of my campaign world. More to come later!

-Mister Ed