I was President of the Drexel Smart House

About.
I’m an tech-savvy, entrepreneurially-spirited guy.
Currently, I’m a Site Reliability Engineer at Confluent, building out the hosted Confluent Cloud and helping put a streaming platform at the heart of Fortune 500 enterprises.
This is my personal blog.
Giving true meaning to the origin of the term, my blog is a catalog of my thoughts on various matters, ranging from technology tutorials to social commentary.
My goal is to create insightful, relevant content that you can put to work in your personal and professional life.
Some of this will be tutorials aimed at helping others solve problems I’ve had myself, while others will serve to build meaningful discussion around oft-neglected topics.
If you are in the early stages of your technical career and aspire to change the world, then this blog is for you.
I typically post once a month.
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I do not accept advertising, but do occasionally take on consulting and contract work.
Contact me if you’re interested in hiring me.
My Top Posts.
If you are new to my site, you might want to start with my most popular posts.

Custom JMeter Samplers and Config Elements

Automatic Model Validation using Jersey

Jackson, and Hibernate Validator.

Java SSL with Multiple Keystores

Finding Generic Type Parameters with Guava

Dropbox Referrals using Mechanical Turk

On Lifetimes Within a Lifetime.
You can also check my blog’s archive for a list of every post I have written or use the search function in the sidebar to find other posts that might be of interest.
Biography.
My professional career has been spent as a Software Engineer/DevOps/SRE while dabbling in entrepreneurial and investment pursuits (both inside and outside my day jobs).

I graduated from the accelerated BS/MS program at Drexel University

Both my undergraduate and graduate degrees are in electrical engineering.
My undergraduate concentration was in telecommunications and digital signal processing, and my graduate specialization was in controls, robotics, and intelligent systems.
Previously, I was President of the Drexel Smart House, a student-led technology incubator with a focus on smarter living. I spent two years in the Applied Communications and Information Networking center, a defense contractor focused on network-aware intelligent applications. You can learn more about my education and experience on my LinkedIn resume.

While leading the Drexel Smart House

I developed special interests in the areas of corporate innovation, sustainability, and education. My professional goal is to serve mankind’s critical needs through the fusion of business, design and technology.
Colophon.

My blog is built on WordPress 3.2 (self-hosted)

My theme is a (very) slightly customized version of BuyNowShop‘s “Desk Mess Mirrored.” Crowd Favorite’s Carrington Blog.
I did all customization myself.
My site is hosted by Dreamhost.
By 9:18 pm.
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because it is an excellent Zelda-style dungeon crawler

Ben’s Favorite Games of 2016.
Like in 2014 and 2015, I’ve made another list of favorites.
I hope you’ll find something cool that you would have otherwise missed.
Overwatch.
This choice is super obvious and there’s probably very little I could write about here that hasn’t already been said.
I love the lighthearted feel of the game and I love ridiculous fan art community that has sprung up around it. The incredible number of good design decisions hidden throughout the game are overwhelming at times.
I can’t wait to finish this list so I can go back and play it more.
Chronos.
If the Oculus had been more widespread I’m absolutely certain this game would have been on many end-of-year lists.
Sadly, I’m willing to be that they did not make their budget back on this.
This is too bad, because it is an excellent Zelda-style dungeon crawler.
VR makes the whole production feel alive and epic in a way that other games can’t replicate. The art and animation are stellar.
The levels require spatial awareness and careful observation from the player.

Just like classic Zelda dungeons

before the series got too hand-holdy.
And with the game’s stationary camera.

It’s one of the few VR games that won’t give you motion sickness

so you can actually play it for more than 20 minutes at a time.
Final Fantasy XV.

I loved the Final Fantasy series when I was a teenager

but lost interest after X.

I never believed I could get into a JRPG ever again

but sure enough, it’s happening.
XV weaves strong themes of friendship, camaraderie, and road trips directly into the game mechanics in a way that’s bold and honestly unprecedented.
Every part of the game, down to the most minor detail, was built with great care and craftsmanship.
I actually care about the characters and don’t mind the often clunky dialog one bit.

Final Fantasy is relevant again

Duskers.
You didn’t think I could get through this list without a roguelike, did you.
You pilot drones through derelict spaceships, searching for resources, hoping the whole time that your careful preparations and meticulous planning will let you slip by unnoticed by the horrible things occupying each ship.
One of the best examples of incredible atmosphere and verisimilitude, all in a super low-budget game.
A great, creepy, tense experience.
Dying Light: The Following.
This DLC for my favorite game last year is so huge that it might as well be a whole new game.
The drastic change in setting and new mechanics really do make the game feel fresh.
The car is actually fun to drive, .

And speeding away from Volatiles at night is uniquely terrifying

Forcing the player to go out at night to sneak into a Volatile nest is a brilliant design choice.
Steppy Pants.
I CAN’T GET THE MUSIC OUT OF MY HEAD.
GOTY.
Overcooked.
A wonderfully designed frantic co-op experience.
We need more games like this.
Even your non-game-playing friends will enjoy this, I promise.
Get it and four controllers for your next get-together.
It will go over well.
DOOM.
Another game that I can’t really say much about that hasn’t already been said.

A fantastic return to form for the now largely unrecognizable id Software

Large, sprawling levels are a high point.
Probably my favorite soundtrack of the year.
Just get it.
No Man’s Sky.
If this was released quietly, without Sony’s relentless hype, it would’ve been remembered as 2016’s most underrated game.
Playing it feels like being inside a concept album: a relentlessly curated, laser focused experience, surreal and dreamy.
The art and music are the game’s greatest assets.
Pony Island.
I really don’t want to say anything about this game.
It’s better if you don’t know anything about it when you go in.
It’s ridiculously cheap.
Just get it and play it with some friends.
Games I played this year that came out in previous years.
Bloodborne.
Wow is this game wonderful.

Feels like a proper follow-up to Dark Souls

Mechanics tuned to perfection.
Accidentally stumbling into huge new areas is still an amazing experience.
Metal Gear Solid 2.
I’m only 15 years late.
It still holds up pretty well.
Games of 2016 that I didn’t really get around to but look cool.
The Flame in the Flood.

A roguelike about traveling the American south

By former BioShock devs.
I’m sold.
Dishonored 2.
I’ve only played the first few missions, but I already love the game. Totally absorbing, with many opportunities for creative problem solving, which is my favorite kind of gameplay.
Titanfall 2.

The original Titanfall was my favorite game of 2014

but I’ve been so into Overwatch this year that I just didn’t have room for another multiplayer shooter.
These are the kind of problems you want.
Some random financial advice Horizon’s amazing photo mode Follow.
Ben’s Favorite Games of 2016.
Post to.

Lucía Egaña Rojas tiene formación en arte

English: Suturar los espejos rotos de lo imposible (Sutured Broken Mirrors of the Impossible).
Lucía Egaña Rojas.
This text seeks to contribute to the development of techniques for the emergence of speculative fictions around feminist imaginaries related to technology.
It tries to search for mechanisms to intervene in traditional narratives framed within a patriarchal and capitalist vision of the technological.
The usual visions and discourses around machines and machinations appear to us as a stitch punctured by violence (to the planet, the body, the voices).
From the perspective of feminist ethics, which does not disdain the aesthetics and poetics of the word, it is possible to trace the grooves that open up to more liveable spaces and to suture the symbolic and imaginary tissues.
Speculative, feminist writings in this way turn a problem into a potential solution, inverting the charge of violence through narrative agency to create exercises of healing re-appropriation.
My relationship with “the movie”.
Dressing in black is also a technology.
– Susana Pacara[1] If I lived within a text or a mainstream film on screens, on machines and technology, my world would be a clustered bomb field.

A Coltan mine in the Congo full of exploited laborers

and scenes of women and girls assembling delicate electronic circuit boards with their fingers.
Although an explicitly digital film, it would be illuminated with oil, wood, minerals, metal and lots of water.
Films depicting the technology and machine industry present to me as a horror movie; a fabric of reality pierced by the symbolic and material violence perpetrated against women’s bodies, the earth, and shared resources.
These pierced holes are the rape and pillage that a dystopian film is always talking about, from exhaustion; the brokenness of extractions.
A pornographic film, in which he puts in and pulls out, then takes the ground running, and in which the leading roles are experts in any insignificant matter.
This type of film builds walls between me and the other possible scenes and figurations, and thus establishes a wraparound cloak of imagery, an alibi.
Sometimes I visit the scenes of that film, and sometimes the film invades my space, creating a contaminated and impure space, but it is not constantly violated for that reason.
Sometimes some scenes of that movie visit me by entering my fingers while I type.
When I write, I think I create worlds, but I’m just copying the echo of the piercings.
They enter by the tips of my fingers into the body and my / our vision of what is (or could be) a world (and a body).
Thus, I do not write myself, we do not write, nor do I write against myself, but it is the film that writes against me, and I become the cover of its history, the husk of a dry and empty fruit.
I become a little bit of the film, too, stunned by the white noise of his script.
Epistemic Self-Defense.
Someone taught us to sew, repair, knit; we learned to twist the hand of the one who gave us the poison, to show our teeth and to take out bits of it, rabid, and not naive but rather exhausted from their penetration.
We were taught to draw the body and calm, the circuit and delirium, and the presence and heart.
We were undisciplined hackers and very unloving, a seamstress improvising, nothing more than that.
Close the holes to see the image that was (or could have been) printed on that canvas.
Patch the broken tissue that we have attached to the body, that we carry in our pocket, that web that would have to protect us with its imaginary potential, and that lies outraged by the dominant ideology, by the absurd and extractivist use of resources, our resources, our technological knowledge.
In short, to imagine ways for the creative, the voluntary and conscious closure of the holes left in our imaginary by the neoliberal patriarchy of serial production with closed code, that is the practice of hacking.
Example of an opposition technique for plugging (temporarily) holes.
I have always wanted to be both man and woman, to incorporate the strongest and richest parts of my mother and father within/into me, to share valleys and mountains upon my body the way the earth does in hills and peaks.

– Audre Lorde[2] The construction of normative imaginaries

like the development of capitalist technologies, is based on the standard use of predictable categories and sequences, associations that establish the repetitive imaginaries of exploitation.
For example, the association: extraction of Coltan in the Congo → looting and theft → assembly of micro-circuits by women and children→ capital gain→ sale in an Apple store in Barcelona→ credit card→ Google.
Google, Google→ data brokers→ opaqueness does not seem to be a logical narrative that escapes from what we know, a habitual, normalised and naturalised narrative despite its artificiality.2.
If we were to continue with the narrative in point 1, but proposing a mishap, an alteration of this sequence, we could obtain a reordered general point of view.
What happens if we introduce alterations that may cause a rupture in this scene.
The landscape, pierced by violence, rearrangedby the apparent confusion of misdirection, knitted over with patches of meaning, today a transgression.
For example, extraction of amaranth grains → flip over → I assemble liquid micro-circuits with women and girl fingers -> pleasure → orgy in Barcelona, in a secret and luminous place → soundcard → transparent circuit → data injection→ there is a future in the past that escapes linear time → etc.
The technique is:.
Make use of blank space, differentiate and assign categories for each space (the categories may or may not be drawn from traditional rhetoric).
Collectively fill the categories with as many simple elements as possible (do it in the simplest and most random way as possible, if such a thing exists).
For example: Uses; Adjectives; Functionality; Interaction; Space/Place; Material;  Ways of attachment; Resources, Emotions, etc.
Associate different categories between themselves, this is more practical than coherent: just do it.
Collect a combination of associations from others.
Articulate the associations: create a machine/being/entities from them.
Use this articulation to narrate your situation.
Write it.
Or draw it.
Or create a physical object using materials.

A possible next step: Create relationships between the different machines/being/entities

4.
Enact this whole process enlivened by the conjuring spirit.
Speculate upon the (im)possible in ways that challenge historical knowledge, and challenge the power of the statement “often and always used by the same and only” subject.
Speculate in turn the (im)possible and see how these speculations begin to relate to each other, how they become friends, grow united and grouped, congregating and repeating, closing gaps, recomposing scenes and creating new ones, impossible places of speculative congregation.
Write-power, write-amulet, write-spell.
‘Like women everywhere.

We talk in code.’ –Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz[3] In reality

given the hundreds of holes that are woven into the “real,” feminism has an opportunity to transform and narrate those who go unrecognized and whose existence is considered impossible.
It can suture the broken-ness of language that invokes the “real.” Feminism can suture the wound left by the distance between form and content, prose and poetry.
“We are your linguistic nightmare, your linguistic aberration,”[4] we suture the flesh of letters, and transform it into a horizon of possibility.
Our removal of our tongues made us experts in the sign, a voice of images, and into bodies desperate to paint.

I stuck my fingers into the Earth

and I momentarily became the umbilical cord.
My legs became an antenna to broadcast to my sisters on the other side.
We used waves, lightening, encryption.
We boosted a signal that flowed on the wind, which did not escape us.
Woven into complex relations, we had a momentary and spectral interface.
Apprehensive magnetism made our souls melt into the soilless gesture of writing.
Like text, the lifeless materials of meaning melted into air, we exploited it, it became water, wood, petroleum, stone, metal, mineral.
Text became durable because we were enchanted by it, and we territorialized that technology, to the extent that we spoke.
It was like a joyful vomit, the foam that sprouted, a vomit of mirrors and tissues that gave body to the violence of reparation.
Because for those who break and disintegrate everything, reparation is the worst misfortune that can happen to them.
And for those of us who vomit the rage that repairs, writing is the spell and the possibility.
This is the violence of healing.
Notes [1] Susan Pacara, personal communication with author.
[2] Audre Lorde, Zami: una biomitografía, trans.
María Durante, (Madrid: Horas y Horas, 2009).
[3] Gloria Anzaldúa, Borderlands/La Frontera, trans.

Carmen Valle (Madrid: Capitán Swing

2016), 253.
[4]Ibid., 109.
Bibliography Anzaldúa, Gloria.
Borderlands.
La Frontera.
Translated by Carmen Valle.
Madrid: Capitán Swing, 2016.
Butler, Judith.
«Actos performativos y constitución del género: un ensayo sobre fenomenología y teoría feminista».
Translated by Marie Lourties.
Debate feminista 18 (1998): 296–314.
flores, valeria.
Deslenguada.
Desbordes de una proletaria del lenguaje.
Neuquén: Ají de pollo, 2010.
Haraway, Donna.
«Conocimientos situados: la cuestión científica en el feminismo y el privilegio de la perspectiva parcial».
En Haraway, Donna.
Ciencia, cyborgs y mujeres: la reinvención de la naturaleza, 313-46.
Translated by Manuel Talens.
Madrid: Cátedra, 1995.
hooks, bell, Avtar Brah, Chela Sandoval, Gloria Anzaldúa, Aurora Levins Morales, Kum-Kum Bhavnani, Margaret Coulson, M.
Jacqui Alexander, y Chandra Talpade Mohanty.

Otras inapropiables: Feminismos desde las fronteras

Traducido por Maria Serrano Gimenez, Rocio Macho Ronco, .

Hugo Romero Fernández Sancho y Álvaro Salcedo Rufo

Madrid: Traficantes de Sueños, 2004.
Lorde, Audre.
Zami: una biomitografía.
Translated by María Durante.
Madrid: Horas y Horas, 2009.
Rivera Cusicanqui, Silvia.
«Más allá del dolor y del folclor».
Presented at PEI Obert, Macba, Barcelona, 22th June 2017.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cU5ZEIEE0jw.
epistemic hackingfeminismfictionspellswriting Lucía Egaña Rojas.
Lucía Egaña Rojas tiene formación en arte, estética y documental, y es doctora en Comunicación Audiovisual (UAB).
Trabaja temas relacionados con feminismos, relaciones norte-sur, postpornografía, tecnología, software libre y error.
Desarrolla procesos pedagógicos en ámbitos institucionales y autogestionados que, como su trabajo artístico, ha presentado y desarrollado en países como México, Uruguay, Chile, Alemania, España, Noruega, Ecuador, Colombia, entre otros.
The Weavers and Their Information Webs: Steganography in the Textile ArtsSuturar los espejos rotos de lo imposible (Sutured Broken Mirrors of the Impossible) Leave a Reply Cancel reply.
Required fields are marked Name Email English: Suturar los espejos rotos de lo imposible (Sutured Broken Mirrors of the Impossible).
Lucía Egaña Rojas tiene formación en arte, estética y documental, y es doctora en Comunicación Audiovisual (UAB).
Trabaja temas relacionados con feminismos, relaciones norte-sur, postpornografía, tecnología, software libre y error.
Desarrolla procesos pedagógicos en ámbitos institucionales y autogestionados que, como su trabajo artístico, ha presentado y desarrollado en países como México, Uruguay, Chile, Alemania, España, Noruega, Ecuador, Colombia, entre otros.
Lucía Egaña Rojas.

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5 Comments Filed under Tagged as

Tag Archives: chemistry.
Older posts December 11, 2014 · 7:21 pm.

I will remember 2014 as the Year of Quizzes

Since appeared on iOS on January 31, I have released more than 40 distinct quizzes.
In September, .

Most of them were published on the Google Play Store as well

And these quizzes were much more successful than my first apps released last year.

So far I have 578k downloads for iOS and 215k downloads for Android

Total earnings are well higher $20k.
The most profitable iOS app: 50 US States – $4k The most downloaded iOS app: European Countries – 55k The most profitable Google Play app: Swiss Cantons – $650 The most downloaded Google Play app: Capitals of the World – 38k The most profitable and most downloaded iOS app: Inorganic Acids – $800 and 31k downloads The most profitable Google Play app: Chemical Substances – $66 The most downloaded Google Play app: Functional Groups – 14k So it’s clear that Geography is more popular than Chemistry and it’s likely that I’ll continue moving in this direction.
A funny fact for me is that the most promising app of recent months Flags of the World hasn’t won in any of 4 categories.
Let’s see how it will change in 2015.
Filed under Tagged as , , , October 2, 2014 · 3:03 pm.
Review of the app on the Pulse of Apps: (in Russian) Following the improved Android version, I updated the iOS version of.
Major changes are: – All flashcards are available for free – The new “Challenge” mode (multiple-choice questions about all 43 compounds) – Swedish localization – The updated app icon Filed under , Tagged as , , , , September 4, 2014 · 10:57 pm.
While I am busy with Android, my 47th iOS app has been approved (after 10 days waiting for review).
This is the collection of quizzes on 200 most basic chemical substances: both organic and inorganic.
With the beginning of an academic year, I see the growing interest to my chemistry apps.
The English description of the game is the following: Learn 200 chemical substances that are studied in introductory and advanced chemistry classes: * systematic and trivial names * structures and formulas * organic, inorganic, and organometallic compounds * two different quiz modes * 100 easy and 100 difficult chemicals ***** And it appears simultaneously on the Google Play: .

Acknowledgements: icons for buttons were downloaded from or were created with

Filed under Tagged as , , , , August 31, 2014 · 10:58 pm.

I continue adding my apps to the Google Play

Recently.

Two chemistry apps appeared there: : and : Filed under Tagged as

, , , June 17, 2014 · 8:39 pm.
It is the third time I update.
The major change is the possibility to open the third group of questions (“Honor”, “Difficult”) by giving 200 correct answers in other modes rather than by purchasing the IAP.
In my new apps, I rarely close any content behind the pay-wall and I’m going to reduce the paid content in my earlier apps as well.
Filed under Tagged as , , June 14, 2014 · 1:05 pm Steroids.
After geography apps, .

I briefly return back to chemistry with Steroids

They were the subject of my undergraduate studies and I suspect that it will be the most difficult topics among all my apps.
The English description of the game is the following: Steroids are an important class of natural products with various biological functions: hormones (estradiol, testosterone), vitamins (vitamin D3), lipids (cholesterol).
This app is designed for chemistry, biochemistry, and pharmacy students.
It provides you with a convenient tool to get acquainted with chemical formulas of the most important natural and synthetic steroids.
Many of them are top-selling drugs used for a treatment of asthma, baldness, prostate cancer, and as oral contraceptives.
* 40 steroid structures * flashcards * a multiple-choice quiz * a spell-the-name quiz ***** Acknowledgements: icons for buttons were downloaded from or were created with.

Leave a comment Filed under Tagged as

steroids April 21, 2014 · 2:26 pm Functional Groups.

Functional Groups had to be my first organic chemistry app

The topic is so general and fundamental for everyone studying organic chemistry.
However, it is published only now after several apps devoted to specific classes of compounds: , , , and.
The English description of the app is the following: The most important app for organic chemistry students includes 80 functional groups, the classes of organic compounds (hydrocarbons, ethers, esters, etc.) and natural products (amino acids, carbohydrates, lipids, etc.).
Take a quiz or use flashcards for memorizing them.
Start from the basic groups and proceed to the advanced topics.
***** The app has four sets of questions and a flashcard mode.
The mode called “Difficult” should actually be quite easy for a college student majoring in organic chemistry, .

Not saying about PhD organic chemists

I included only 80 classes of organic compounds and natural products and I can easily propose 80 more important classes.
It means that I have a lot of opportunities for the updates and all suggestions and comments are always welcome.
Acknowledgements: icons for buttons were downloaded from or were created with.
5 Comments Filed under Tagged as , functional groups April 7, 2014 · 12:56 pm.
For quite a long time, I didn’t like the app icon of.
It was too dark and the spacial formula was hard to comprehend that it is cysteine.
So I decided to prepare this update with a new app icon (proline has three-letter abbreviation Pro) and some other improvements in design and localization.
I can’t say that I’m completely satisfied with the resulting icon.
The formula could be a bit larger, especially its labels.
Maybe I’ll update Amino Acids again, but not now.
Filed under , Tagged as , , , , March 31, 2014 · 8:11 pm.
I was not very careful sending the previous update of.
Now everything is fixed and the app looks and works exactly as I wanted.
Enjoy.
Filed under , Tagged as , , March 26, 2014 · 1:44 pm.
The app was released on Monday together with and it was featured as a new free app in the Games/Word category for a couple of days.
I got 250 downloads yesterday that is very good for so specific topic.
Well.

If people in Apple like “smart” apps

I’m ready to create many apps about different chemistry topics.
We’ll see.
Acknowledgements: icons for buttons were downloaded from or were created with.
Filed under Tagged as , , Older posts.
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I’ve worked on a number of games which you will find in the games menu above.
At present, I’m mostly maintaining PZL, casually developing with Ogre Game Kit and trying various game engines.
Games I’ve worked on:.
Cassini Division   Space combat.
Global Warfare   Half-Life modification.
My First Planet  ???.
PZL  iOS puzzle game.
Speed Games  Several small games in various states.
Treebles  iOS platformer/puzzler.
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Tag Archives: Game Design.
Now that I’ve finally built the 4th play test deck of my card game and ordered it from both and [Affiliate Link], I wanted to share some of what I’ve learned.
I tried doing that via live streaming on the other night, but I made some minor missteps and it was not as helpful as I intended.
I will be making a YouTube video showing all these steps once I get the time to do that.
In the meantime, here is a blog post with a going over my experience and take-aways.
NOTE: I will be sharing a sample template on [Affiliate Link] for those wanting to create their own card decks and games.

I’ll include a PDF with some of my processes

I’ve used for all the prior play test decks.
It is easy to use, you just upload images in either PNG or JPEG format.
First you upload the back.
If all cards have the same back, then there is only one image needed.
If there are multiple backs, then you need to follow the naming convention they suggest for your files so it all makes sense once it is uploaded.
Then you upload the images for the fronts.
Finally, you specify the number of cards if any should be multiples.
also has templates for the card boxes and recommends a size of box based on the number of cards in your deck.
I have not built a box, since I’m still play testing.
So that will be a topic for another day.
[Affiliate Link] has a similar process of uploading the image for the back(s) and then the fronts.
Their naming convention to handle multiple backs is to have a back for each card with back001 to go with front001, etc.
While I have multiple backs for my cards that have rules and other explanatory information, I did not do multiple backs for either order to keep it simple.

[Affiliate Link] suggested I buy their [ Affiliate Link ] that is a flat $1.00

I have one that I use for the 3rd playtest deck from , and I ordered one with the 4th playtest deck I ordered from.
I like this box, my deck just fits.
It is 130 cards and the box is rated for 120 cards.
I like this because it means I don’t need to design a box.
While DriveThru Cards does print, they are limited to 120 cards.
While 130 cards will work in their large plastic deck box, I’m not certain it would fit in the 120 tuck box.

[Affiliate Link] that explains what they can do

NOTE: They only offer a PDF of the rules books and don’t offer that as a print option

They suggest putting the rules on a card, such as the front & back.
The big difference with [Affiliate Link] is that once you have all the images validated, the site builds a PDF of your deck in the form it needs to be if you build and upload a PDF according to the specs.

Based on how long it took to create the PDF and have it available so I could order it

it may be faster to build the PDF and upload it.
NOTE: With the PDF upload, .

It works the same way as uploading a PDF for a PDF only or POD product

My upload failed, and I’m not sure why.
I’ll have to do some checking to figure it out.

I ran into issues with my first attempt to build a PDF to upload into [Affiliate Link]

It was through my ignorance of the process and I will be making a template and a YouTube video to explain what I’ve learned and what works for me.
The biggest differences between and [Affiliate Link] the image sizes are identical 825 pixels x 1125 pixels, but GameCrafter wants the images in and DriveThruCards wants images in.
GameCrafters estimated 3-1/2 weeks for production, but DriveThru Cards is a flat 2 weeks.
GameCrafter has an option to expedite production, which is basically doubles the cost.
DriveThru Cards does not have that option.
Shipping options vary a bit, but one tier up from the cheapest shipping option is about the same.
GameCrafter does not appear to have a limit on deck size.
DriveThru Cards has a maximum deck size of 130 cards.
GameCrafter is more expensive for a single deck and one has to sell a lot to get the deck cost down to the cost it takes me to get a deck to review.
The only thing I don’t know is quality differences.
I might get the DriveThru Cards deck prior to GaryCon.
I know that GameCrafters has a good quality card.
If DriveThru Cards are a good quality I will use them to fulfill my.
DriveThru Cards should have printers in other countries like they do for [Affiliate Link], so it should make shipping affordable and save on that headache.
NOTE: Someone, not staff, answered my query on the DriveThruDiscord that cards are currently only printed in the U.
S.
I’m waiting for a link to a page that says this explicitly, as it’s not in the FAQ and so far I haven’t found it.
I’ll post a link to that if such exists.
That’s a major bummer, as I was hoping it would solve that issue.
I grew up near Kansas City, Missouri, so I googled and is based in Shawnee, Kansas.
That’s southeast of Kansas City.
One major problem that I thought I had solved.
This answer really ought to be on the FAQ page on DriveThruCards and NOT on a separate OBS (OneBookShelf page).
Make a list of all of this stuff in a spreadsheet with a column to track the BACK, Count, and FACE of each card.
This is useful in verifying that you have the correct number of each card.
My first attempt to order the 3rd play test deck from was short, because I put in the wrong count for several cards and had to order another deck with the right count.
Use a graphics program like (free) to prepare images.
If using Public Domain art, clean it up and get it in the right ratio of dimensions.
If buying art, have the artist(s) create it in the right ratios to fit.
The final “safe” space is 2.5″ x 3.5″ 2.5 / 3.5 = so the width should be 71.429% of the height so that it will scale properly.
I used to make the images for the front & backs of cards in my third play test deck.
Use (free) to make vector graphics for icons you may use on your cards, like spades, diamonds, clubs, & hearts, and the Numbers.
Save them in SVG format so that they are legible when resizing.
Use (c.
$50.00) to make the deck.
This allows you to make a master page with the card layout you need.
You can use one for the most common back and use it as the master page for all the odd pages.
Duplicate the master page for the backs before you add the image for the backs to it.
This assumes you have created two pages for each card, the odd number page is the back and the even numbered are the front.
Plan the layout on each master page where any icons will go, where numbers, text and other elements will go.
Set the Font for the document.
Understand how the layers and other features work to get the main image to the back and the text and icons over the image.
There are lots of.
Once each card has a back (odd pages) and a front (even pages) save it as a PDF with the specs from [Affiliate Link].
Review the PDF vs.
the spreadsheet with the order and count of each card.
What I like most about is that one simple change on the master page updates all the pages based on that master page.
Have all art for faces in the proper size ratio to avoid fiddling with it in Affinity Publisher when placing it.
Figure out your layout in for things that are common to all cards, groups of cards, or unique cards.
Don’t be afraid to start from scratch with a new layout if you are having speed issues or other problems.
Sometimes starting over is the quickest and easiest way forward.
That is what I have found.
I get faster every time I start a new file in from scratch.
I used one file and exported each card to a graphic image.

I uploaded those images to and [Affiliate Link]

I made a new file and use the images created by the first file to make each card, this made it faster.
That is something I plan to do AFTER I determine if the PDF I made in the format [Affiliate Link] wants will upload without issues.
If it does, I will definitely be working on a new file with all the layout.
Thinking About Ability Scores.
August 2, 2018 Leave a comment I started this post back on January 1, 2018 after spending some time the prior weekend thinking about ability scores and the classic 3-18.
This was prompted by the 1e/2e character sheet on Roll20, where it defaults to 10 on all the abilities.
Since the average on a d6 is 3.5, this results in 10.5 for 3d6, which rounds up to 11.
Player characters are generally considered to be “heroic” or above average, one could use 10 + 1d8, for 11-18 for abilities.
This will generate abilities on average of 14.5, which rounds to 15.
Now there is the problem of every character is way above average.
Some may not consider that a problem.
1e DMG p.
11 Methods 1-4 are presented.
I use 4d6 drop the lowest (Method 1) for character generation.
I have a House Rule for my 1e campaign to get to play a class requiring special minimum scores.
But I Want It:.
Players wishing to play a class in AD&D 1e who don’t roll the stats for it, can set the minimum stats for those ability scores that are pertinent, but all other stats will be rolled on a d4+8 making their range 9-12.
1e UA p.
74 adds method 5 where each class rolls a different amount of dice for each ability, making it more likely to get the scores needed to reach the minimums required for specialty classes, such as druids, rangers, and illusionists.
5e PH p.
13 – Roll 4d6, drop the lowest, or use 15, 14, 13, 12, 10, and 8.
(Score – 10 = x.
Divide x by 2 to get modifier.) Or use 27 points to boost scores that all start at 8, but can’t go higher than 15.
Then add racial bonuses.
A human could end up with three 14’s and three 13’s after applying racial bonuses, having three scores at +2 and the other three at +1.
With a barbarian, the first class in the book, it gets 4 chances to raise an ability 2 points, or two abilities by 1 point, with a max of 20.
So a barbarian that lives to level 19, has 8 points that can be added to other abilities.
So one of those 14’s can go to 20, and another to 16, for a +5 and +3 bonus.
Swords & Wizardry basically does 3d6 in order and 13+ is +1 and less than 7 or 8 is -1.
The exact score is not that important.
Skills.
This comes back to the issue, do you like a game where you need a high score to stand a chance of success, or a game where player skill negates the importance of the exact number on an ability.
At what point on the scale do skills fall.
Only class specific skills, but anyone can start a fire, not just rangers, or a comprehensive system that covers what a character can do.
My preference is that anyone can start a file, but rangers, druids, and someone with a secondary skill like hunter or forester can start a fire in the rain.
XP Idea.
I made some notes for an idea on making my own retroclone over a year ago.
Nothing organized, just some rough ideas.
How to handle XP is something all making a retroclone need to address.
My idea use a base XP chart that is used for all characters with the base “Adventurer” class.
Additional XP is required if you want fancier skills, like magic.
To have magic perhaps double the XP needed for each level.
Other skills like thieving skills use 1.5 times the base.
This post is already long, but the idea is to have categories or groups of abilities or skills that are a package to make one’s own custom character.
Since non-humans tend to have special traits, those would also require more XP to level.
Or a system with no XP and no level advancement.
How would you handle a character getting better at code breaking or fighting.
With practice, one gets better.
But how to gamify that in a simple way that scales and there is balance between characters of similar “level?” It comes down to how crunchy do you want your system.
The more I delve into trying to make my own game, the more I come back to wanting something light/simple/quick.
Basic, S&W, Delving Deeper, Black Hack, etc.
are looking more appealing.
The teaming masses of new players today, are focused on 5e, and the style of play that they see online in shows like Critical Role and Maze Arcana.
They don’t get what more experienced players know, The rules aren’t the game, and don’t really matter.
We just need a mutually agreed framework for generating consistent results when it comes to rolling the die.
I’m not sure I like the story game thing where you can override parts of the narrative you don’t like.
Yes, it is a game, and we should play what we like, but I think there should be a chance for complete failure or nail-biting success.
The idea of yes/and, or no/but is interesting, but how to model that for the style of play I prefer.
Points On The Spectrum.
Tables and charts necessitating reference to the book or a GM screen, or target numbers that are easy to calculate.
Bonuses and penalties that players need to keep track of and modify their rolls quickly, so that game play doesn’t halt while they figure it out.
Other Systems.
d7 system, the one live play I watched seemed interesting.
I need to know more about that.
I’ve read Maze Rats and like the super simple system there.
A new system more compatible with other OSR games and retroclones is in the works.
What other ways deal with skills.
d20/roll under stats or roll under stats on xd6/etc.
I’ve read some that use saving throws for skills, or replace saving throws with rolling under vs.
stats.
My desire for simplicity is twofold.
First, as a GM, I want a game where the rules are simple enough that all can grasp and it easy to run with minimal or no referral back to a book or screen during a game.
Second, simple is also better as a player.
This is especially relevant for those new to RPGs.
The fewer and less complex the fiddly bits, AKA the rules, the easier for new players to get into it.
I put out a call across my social media sites for what tips and tricks GMs have for minimizing what they need at the table.
I will pull that together into its own post soon.
Ability ScoresRetroclone Child’s Play – Monster Creation.
March 25, 2018 Leave a comment My granddaughter turned three in mid-January.
Last week she started a new game with me of “Talking About Animals.” She says, “Let’s talk about animals.” I ask what kind of animal she wants to talk about.
She says things like kangaroo, horse, hippopotamus.
I tell her something factual, and to her.
interesting and amazing about that animal.
Today, she wanted to talk about animals.
Unusually, she started off with cats that were blue, so I mentioned Persian cats that are sort of blue.
Then she decided to talk about dogs.
When I asked what kind, she said blue again, and I told her a bit about blue healers.  Next she said, “Monsters!” When I asked what kind, she said green.
When I asked what they ate, she said, “Ceilings!” I went with it and talked about being able to see the sky and the clouds and the sun now, and then the stars and moon tonight.
I asked where they lived, and she said in her shoe.
It was so cute and perfect I started up the web cam, made a test to make sure it had sound.
We made a perfect one take on three monsters, green, black, and blue.
Unfortunately, when I moved the microphone closer, I bumped the mute button, and a flawless take is a silent movie….
In the first take, she came up with the black and blue monsters,  their diet, and lairs on her own on the spot.
She looked around to see what was around my desk for the new ones.
She chose colors based on what she saw.
My computer is black, and I have baby wipes because she wants to play when she has sticky fingers or a runny nose.
I’ve managed to avoid the worst of what she’s brought home from daycare.
This simple exercise shows how easy it is to come up with ideas for monsters.
One can extrapolate the look around your desk, bookshelves, kitchen, garage, etc.
to come up with ideas for items, treasure, locations, NPCs, and more.
Also, as a DM/GM it is OK to change your mind about something.
For monsters, just make a variant that look alike/similar.  Don’t be afraid to GM.
You just create starting conditions for your players and as they interact with it, you modify the environment to present new challenges and opportunities to the players.
While it may seem artificial and awkward at first, as with anything, it gets better with time.
So below is the second take, not near as good, but lots of fun.
Below that, I will have simplified stats for her monsters.
Feel free to use her creations with attribution – Nikola Hamilton.
MONSTER STATS.
Green Monsters Lair: Shoes & Computers Size: Tiny Diet: Ceilings Number Appearing: Blockbusters.
(That’s a lot!) Black Monsters Lair: Grandpa’s jacket Size: Tiny Diet: Grass (not so much as to prevent grandpa from mowing the lawn.) Blue Monsters Lair: Cellphones Size: Tiny Diet: Used baby wipes ImaginationRPGs for Kids Play Testing Commences.
February 26, 2018 Leave a comment Today was an awesome day of gaming.
I usually either play or run on Roll20 noon to 4.
The GM for today had to call off due to illness.
I wasn’t worried.
I had an offer to play test my new card game idea at the FLGS,.
A new game I wrote about a couple weeks ago.
I just got the play test deck I ordered yesterday.
It is a game that I thought would work for 2-6 players.
I two person game is obviously different with the card flow, etc.
It took about 90 minutes with figuring out a couple workarounds for things that were unclear in the initial rules.
I ended up with valuable feedback, and a real basis to evaluate my game idea.
It amazed me that the game played almost exactly the way I imagined it.
I can see the play of this game in my mind’s eye.
I very rarely have such clarity with an idea, and even more rarely manage to execute it in the real world.
Talk about happy.
Thanks to Joel, Playtester #1.
Running Metamorphosis Alpha.
MA-Red Shirt Metamorphosis At One Well Brewery Since my chance to play on Roll20 got cancelled, my first play tester’s friends were free after 5:00 PM, so I went to a game friendly brewpub, One Well Brewing.

I ran my  [Affiliate Link] scenario

Red Shirt Metamorphosis, that I have ran online a couple times, and at UCon a couple years ago.
I’ll next run it at Marmalade Dog at the end of March.
Four players new to [Affiliate Link] and several new to old style play or seeking old school simplicity.
They were not used to player knowledge and common sense questions being the way to approach the situation.
I gave them “hot stove moments” where they had missed obvious questions to ask.
There were too used to GMs spoon feeding them everything.
Once they realized the initial conditions I set was not 100% of the available environment, they got into it.
They “beat” the scenario by achieving the goal of a four hour convention setting in 3 hours.
They had more gear in spite of having worse rolls to set the initial conditions of the scenario.
We exchanged contact information and will work on setting up a game.
Play Test Number 2.
Play Test #2 After the game, I mentioned my card game and they were eager to try it.
So I had 4 players, and Joel, play tester number 1, was one of them.
With me, we had 5 players.
This made the game take about 45 minutes and we did a lot of talking and figuring out a few of the situations that arose to either adjudicate, or consider a rules revision.
Once again, I did not win, but I didn’t care.
People were playing my game.
Not only that, they liked it.
Each of them said if this was a Kickstarter, they would back it.
I suspected it was good enough for Kickstarter.
By that I mean, a solid idea that can have the rough edges worked out through more play testing.
If I do my job right and iron out all the details, a Kickstarter to fund art should easily fund, and could do better than I expect.
More valuable feedback was given.
The two best, or my favorite comments: From Jake from the second play test game, when I asked what he liked the best about it.
“Playability – You can pick it up and be playing quickly.” Joel, the most experienced player next to me, after two games said, “The light learning curve.” Jake was really excited, and knows a lot of student artists who might be interested in doing art for the cards.
I’m glad to consider new artists, if their art style is what I’m looking for.
If my efforts can get them exposure and regular work, even better.
I’m bringing my play test deck to Gary Con, and if you’re around when I’m not running or playing, we can definitely play.
I’ll be there sometime Wednesday, which reminds me I need to figure out travel plans with my roommate for the weekend.
We have yet to set a time to leave.
This is so cool.
Card Game Idea Strikes.
February 10, 2018 3 Comments Last year at Gary Con IX, I had an idea for a couple of card games.
I’m not a big card game player, mostly because I don’t have a regular in-person gaming group.
I have some rough outlines for those, but I need to polish them a lot so they are coherent and explainable to another person.
Towards the end of this post, I mentioned I had a card game idea.
Creative lightning strikes come unexpected and this happened to me last night.
A much simpler variation of one of the ideas from the last Gary Con came to me.
It was one of those, clear and almost fully formed ideas.
I hurriedly typed up the basics that came to mind.
This morning, I was filled with the ideas to round out the game, and typed out most of the rest of the rules.
I think it’s a playable game, and there are some twists and turns in it so it will be different each time.
My level of excitement and inspiration may not translate to others, but I think I can polish what I have for clarity, and mock up a deck in time to take it to Gary Con X.
There are so many creative gamers there, and the low-key atmosphere is a great place to hone game ideas.
If my game has merit, it will be evident from how others receive it.
A good elevator pitch will help.
I ordered 500 blank playing cards from Amazon [Affiliate Link ]last year, and started trying to mock up my original idea, but it bogged down.
Scribbling out the card faces and leaving the backs blank will work for a rough play test, but it would be cool to have a mockup with a printed back and public domain art to take with me.
I am very torn right now.
I REALLY want to work on this NOW, but I still have game prep to go for some of my games I’m running at Gary Con.
This sort of thing happens to me all the time.
I am in the groove with something, and some new idea/thing comes to my attention, and I have to be all about that new thing.
I may not be overly ambitious/optimistic about this, and I might actually be able to do a decent job for a professionally printed play test deck in time to have it for Gary Con.
The voice saying, “Do Eeet!” is very loud at the moment.
It’s almost as loud as it was last night.
I’d hoped typing this up to share my excitement, while I alternated with tweaking my rough rules, would dampen that desire.
I’m sure it would cost a lot to rush a print job, but part of me doesn’t care.
If I totally suck at manipulating art to make a single card image, that would greatly reduce my enthusiasm.
I’m going to have to try to make some cards, and if I’m lousy at it, then I can set this aside.
However, I know there are tools that make it fairly easy (I’ve done a lot of research.), and I printed a deck I bought online that I had to manipulate to work with the printer I chose.
So I may have something worthy of a rough deck that looks decent by this evening.
I have played a few DCC funnels at conventions and a few modules at the gaming table.
I’ve even been a player in a play test of a module.
I can’t mention that, but if my name shows up in the acknowledgements, you’ll know which one(s).
The Map Is Not The World.
June 16, 2015 Leave a comment I posted a review about two different published books of hex paper the other day.
I shared the post on the RPG Blog Alliance Community, and had this comment: “But then those hexes put an artificial constraint on mapping.
First map, then grid.” I started a reply, and it just got longer and longer, so I decided it made more sense to make a post out of it.
I’ve had the title for this post for several weeks, and was gong to write about it anyway, this just seems to fit.
Each DM must do what works best for them, when it comes to mapping. If making a map and then adding hexes, squares, or whatever it is you use, works for you, great.
There are two kinds of maps – those for the player and those for the DM.
As DM I need the hexes as I plot where things are to gauge accurate distances, etc.
I already have maps, the one drawn by my brother, the artist, after he saw my original map 25+ years ago, and was like, “Just, no….:.
He drew it on hex paper.
He chose not to see the hexes when he drew it.
The other(s) are a collection of maps I put together from zooming in, and I changed my interpretation of the original map.
I goofed and need to get one consolidated map to fix stuff I was just dealing with mentally during play.
That only works with the player’s in my in-person game.
For my start up of an online version of the game with the same starting point as the original players, I need to fix it.
For players, I can draw it however I want, and scale and accuracy don’t matter.
(Unless it’s a science fiction or modern setting where technology and accurate maps are easily available.) The players just need an idea of how things relate to each other.
For games, there are two styles of maps, accurate and properly scaled and artful maps.
Some have the talent to do both at the same time on the same piece of paper/computer interface.
I don’t want to do the map in Hexographer, for example, and then give it to players, they can guess where the hexes are, and learn things before they encounter them.
My chicken scratches on hex paper is so that I know at a glance what is where.
It is a tool for use in play.
For hex crawl style play, this is needed.
I have always played the hex crawl style, we just didn’t call it that back then.
We just called it play.
The player’s won’t see this map.
My player’s will only have maps that are available to the people of my world.
They also have to be able to find the maps, and try to get a peek, or beg, borrow, or steal them.
I am thinking of maps in the style of ancient and medieval maps.
Maps of large scale with close to the accuracy of modern maps did not happen until accurate clocks allowed tracking and plotting position.
If you have seen maps that exaggerate how big Florida is, you will get my point.
It changed size drastically as more accurate measurement of time and distance occurred.
Such maps give one an impression of the world that can have interesting repercussions if you follow them literally.
Even modern maps, such as flat projections of the entire planet skew the size of Greenland, and other places, to a ridiculous degree.
One has to use a very creative representation on a flat surface to get size, coastline, and distances accurate.
The best way to represent a planet is with a globe.
Even then, the kind with relief that indicates mountains and valleys does not have an accurate representation.
I have heard people say, and read it somewhere, that if the Earth were the size of a bowling ball it would be smoother than a bowling ball.
Also a bowling ball scaled up to the size of Earth would have ridiculously high mountains and deep valleys.
No matter how we try to map, we don’t have a way, that I know of, to allow a person to see a representation of the whole planet, that is accurate in all aspects and allows one to see the entire surface as with a flat map.
Unless our fantasy world is flat, we can’t make an accurate map.
We have two choices, spend a lot of time doing the math and adjustments necessary to account for distances as one moves North or South, or just fudge it.
I tend to be a detail oriented guy, but the level of calculation needed to do that and make it perfect takes a lot of time that I could be putting into more maps or other game preparation.
Even a science fiction or modern setting for an RPG with accurate map making technology and easily available copies, it is easier to hand wave certain things.
If a planet hopping science fiction RPG, I won’t map every inch of a globe, if there is a known location the players are seeking.
If they do a different planet for each adventure, I’m not mapping a planet and placing all the cities and towns, and then not using them again.
I may not make a map to share with the players, but just have a description of the atmosphere, continents, climate zones, and tech level.
If I couldn’t find an online generator, I would build a script(s) to quickly spit this out for me, or just roll like a madman, like it was back in the day.
Some people can spit out maps a lot quicker than I can.
For me, it is a challenge to make them not all look alike, especially dungeons.
I explain some sameness as a cultural thing of the builders.
Does anyone design a dungeon and then add the grid.
I don’t know of anyone back in the day who did it that way.
We all grabbed the graph paper we could find, whether 4 or 5 hexes to the inch.
My group favored 5 squares to the inch.
I use both sizes now.
My aging eyes have  a preference for the slightly larger 4 squares to the inch.
No matter what form of map we use to represent a solar system, planet, continent, country, city, village, dungeon, tomb, etc.
It is not an accurate representation.
Using the grid of squares or hexes to make an accurate plot, it only a two dimensional representation, height it missing.
With no grid and whether hand drawn and scanned and further manipulated or drawn directly to computer via mouse or stylus and tablet, and made into a thing of beauty, neither is an accurate representation.
Each only gives some of the information that is further conveyed by our descriptions of what our players see.
With theater of the mind, we can use a few apt descriptions and make those of us with less than fantastic map skills allow each player to construct the world in their own mind.
If we could generate directly from the mind what each of us “sees” for a certain world, I suspect that there would be very few parts of them match up exactly.
There is also another aspect to mapping.
Use at the table for one’s own group, and publishing a product, be it a module, or a setting.
For just a playable item, I can easily do it myself.
For a map in a published product, I would either spend the time to get really good at making maps, or I would hire someone to do it.
The audience for the map tells a lot about the requirements for the map.
I can have a few scribbles on paper, and I can run a game.
If I want to take that idea and attempt to market it, I have to put a LOT more into it.
For me to take my world, or one of the adventures of my players, and make a publishable product out of it that stands a chance of selling, will take a lot of development to make happen.
The few notes one can use to DM with quickly grows if one starts writing out what must be known to let someone else DM the same scenario.
Even all that extra work to let others into my world, in  whole, or in part, cannot begin to capture the way I see it in my mind.
There was an infamous Kickstarter for a megadungeon that, from what I have read online, illustrates this point.
What works for the creator to run his creation, is often insufficient for another to pick up and do the same.
Review – Star Temple of Saturgalia.
May 12, 2015 Leave a comment The first(?) available third party adventure for.

Star Temple of Saturgalia is a six page PDF

that after the cover and OGL leave four pages for the adventure.
This was billed as an introductory adventure.

Nowhere in the PDF does it indicate that is is for low level characters

It is obvious from a reading of the text that it is for a group of low level characters.
The method of handling encounters almost guarantees that there will be three space encounters en route to the planet.
Instead of a 1 in 6 chance of there being an encounter, there is a 1 in six chance of no encounter.
The odds of the encounter ignoring the players or being friendly combined are 50% or greater.
So even if there is an encounter, it does not guarantee a chase or fight.
The intent of the designer is to have tension.
If one is playing up to the tropes of the genre, this is understandable.
However, the GM is free to handle this his or her own way.
Once on the planet, there are two encounters, potentially competition from an NPC party, or natives are the greatest possibility.
A natural disaster or a creature encounter are also likely.
The use of bumble dogs, or a new creature, the gindo, introduced at the end of the module.
This is a very basic outline of an adventure.
With the near guarantee of one or two ship encounters, plus two encounters on the way to the temple, it will stretch out the adventure.
If you go by the roll of the dice, and there are no space encounters, and the planet side encounters are neutral or friendly, this could be a quick one maybe two hour one shot.
It is an interesting idea, and has enough meat on it that an experience GM could make an evening of it.
If you don’t have a list of natural disasters, you will need to make your own table, as the author only gives a couple of suggestions.
The temple itself is a basic dungeon crawl, and it an interesting twist.
The map is he standard square rooms and passages, which server to get the point across.
The fonts used for the room numbers are not clear, so that some numbers look like each other.
I assume that the rooms and areas are numbered in a clockwise fashion, so it is easy to make sense of it, but it still takes a moment to be sure of this.
There are also a few grammatical errors, indicating that the text needed a quick review by a new set of eyes or to sit for a few days before finalizing.
A suggested description of the natives of the planet, if not a new race, would be interesting.
At one dollar, the items, tables, new creature, and other ideas presented can make an interesting one-shot introduction of the rules to new players, and a skilled GM can easily expand it to be something more substantial in their own campaign.
If you need some help for prepping last minute, this module only needs a few things to be ready to play on short notice.
, is a section pulled from the.
DayTrippers is an RPG game by Tod Foley of As If Productions.
I had not heard of this game, but this is one piece that many complain is not in the framework.
It is a nice piece to have if you don’t have another ruleset to borrow from, or don’t wish to create your own tables.
It is a system agnostic method for generating star systems from the size and type of star, to the number and size of planets.
It is reminiscent of what I recall from other science fiction games back in the day, most likely , but perhaps also.
At 50 cents, it is hard to say no to this.
of has produced , an interesting set of 6 new classes compatible with.
At $1.49 it is very affordable.
The lost worlder is a “barbarian in spaaaace!” The don’t use high tech gear, but have a chance to randomly push buttons to make something work, with an equal chance of catastrophic failure.
One of the abilities is extra resistance to disease and poison, with a bonus on such saving throws.
I am reminded of , and similar such characters.
The simplicity of each class fits right in with the overall theme of.
If you want more classes, or ideas for modding or making your own classes for , or , this is a good start.
2 14 Next →.

Here’s my presentation at Games in Education 09

Where gaming and education converge.
is underway.
Already, incredible ideas and resources are being shared by educators from across the country who are bringing game-based learning to their students.
Today, I’m presenting on a new project,.
It’s always my goal to give teachers resources they can use to get started with games in their own schools when I present.
All of the links and resources from today’s presentation can be found here:.
August 2.

2012 | Posted in:

| Tags: , , , , | Today I was privileged to work with and in a three-hour, hands-on workshop for educators at the , and what an awesome group they were!  The workshop began with Peggy giving most of them their first-ever experiences in followed by Marianne’s great lessons on using the screen capture program, , to capture scenes for creating machinima.  Then I led the group into .  We explored character creation, basic movements, questing and leveling.  The real challenge, though, was could this group survive the journey from the starting area to Ironforge?  The group assembled and we began our exodus.  It was a journey not without peril.  Ravenous wolves, angry troggs, and the ever-present lag monster (latency) plagued our every step.  Fortunately, members of the guild (my students!) came in to escort the throng to the steps of Ironforge.  We assembled on the steps and congratulated ourselves on accomplishing our goal.
August 6.

2009 | Posted in:

, | Tags: , , , , , , | Learning With the Lich King – Games in Education 09.
Here’s my presentation at Games in Education 09.

Be sure to visit Slideshare.net to be able to view my notes for each slide

Learning Lich King View more from

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| Tags: , learning with the lich king, , , | No Comments ».
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Mutants in the Night TRPG public beta cover

Category Archives: Interview.
Interview “The Wave Is Building” – An Interview with DC.
June 16.

2019 Evan Torner  “It will be unfair

it will oppress them, it will hurt the people they love.
Mechanically, they can’t solve the real issues.
That’s what really makes it work.
You can’t solve a damn thing.
You can only walk into the goddamn trap and eat your carrot.” Small-press tabletop role-playing games (TRPGs) have experienced major shifts in the last several years.

Older TRPG discussion forums such as The Forge

Google+ and (soon) Story Games shuttering means that more designers now turn to the fraught spaces of social media and private Discord channels to organize their games.
The normalization of live-streaming, podcasting, and crowdfunding means that tabletop RPGs have new audiences consuming the medium and higher stakes for designers and players to attain.

The #MeToo movement emboldened many in the TRPG to take a stand against powerful

abusive individuals in the community.
Creator-driven platforms such as Patreon and itch.io connect game designers around the world with their respective niche co-designers, one $2 game jam purchase at a time.
And players and designers from marginalized backgrounds.

Primarily queer people and people of color (PoC)

are speaking their truths, whether it be on the Internet or in the mechanics of their work.
At the center of this activity lies one crucial figure: DC.
DC is a black, non-binary, queer American game designer hailing from Seattle, WA.
They distinguished themselves as an expert player within TRPG streaming communities as well as designer for their own Forged in the Dark game Mutants in the Night and the one-player mecha game plot ARMOR.

As a powerful new voice in TRPG design

their uncompromising and consequential work will continue to ripple through the community.
Evan Torner, representing Analog Game Studies, was able to ask them about a little bit of everything.
Image by DirtyRobot, Twitter: @1SLES Evan Torner: You are considered a TRPG polymath in many circles: a designer, streamer, community moderator, activist, and theorist.
Tell us more about yourself.
DC: My story is nomadic.
I’ve been moving around since I was 18.
Different couches, apartments, sometimes houses.
For a long time, I never felt comfortable in one spot for too long, even if I was set up with a job and a decent social life.
I always had a lack of passion.
Or at least I thought I did.
I’ve always been passionate about people.
I have a pretty scrambled education.
I went to K-12 like most people, but I’ve mostly been a “0 or 100” kind of person.
If something has my interest, I dive into it.
Even if my interest is brief, I really want to absorb and explore as much as I can.
I used to be pretty single-minded; [going after] one goal, usually something much bigger than me.
There was always some sort of plan to do something.
It was never about making money or acquiring fame.
It was always about pulling something off: a flawless team or achieving something that seemed unlikely to other people.
Times where I put myself to the grindstone in order to elevate myself just never worked out.
I hate capitalism.
It’s made my depression worse, it sent me into a spiral of drinking once, it made me value people less at times.
Or I should say, it gave me the choice to [value them less], and I took it.
I have depression and general anxiety.
I spent the time between 18-28 figuring that out, dealing with a lack of education surrounding treatment, being on bad meds, moving around, gaining and losing money (mostly losing), and trying not to die, even though that desire was the only consistent thing in my life.
But while all that was going on, I used my skills.
I learned about people, history, and music and how to do things that need to be done; how to wake up at 3 am to bike 4 miles to work; how to communicate the way I wanted to.
I didn’t really care where I was.
I cared about what I was absorbing.
It’s strange because I feel like I’m talking about a different person, and I kinda am.
I didn’t know myself too well.
It was all sort of building up to me finding myself.
Things haven’t been the same since.
I figured out that I’m non-binary and queer.
And I figured out how to live instead of just trying not to die.
And I figured out how to focus all of myself into my own hands, my own feet.
How to move the way I want to, so to speak.
The immortal edgelord in me is saying, “I’m my own sword.” I’d have to agree.
Life still isn’t easy, but it’s mine.
I chose most of this.
Wouldn’t have it any other way.
itch.io cover of plot ARMOR by DC ET: You identify as a non-binary, queer designer.
How does that inform your design decisions.
Would you say that queer folx constitute a core part of your audience.
DC: Being non-binary and queer definitely influence my design, and yeah, my core audience is hashtag “the gays.” Mostly because I’m thinking of them when I design.
I bounce almost everything off of my communities, whether directly or mentally.
I want the gender binary to fuck off, and I want every queer existence to be validated.
But the realness comes from the fact that my identities intersect, and reveal empathy for communities that I’m not a direct part of.
The disabled community and the asexual community as examples.
I’m definitely a beginner when it comes to knowledge, but I have places to start.
Queer people are really good at giving a shit about other marginalized people (mostly if they’re PoC lol).
ET: Who are your role models in your struggle.
Is there a type of person to whom you tend to gravitate when you need guidance or inspiration.
DC:  I don’t know if this sounds conceited, but I look to the version of myself that I want to be.
Role models are kind of a strange concept.
I don’t want to depend on my mental version of a person’s good actions or behaviors.
I want to be taking a step forward toward being someone I want to be, instead.
I appreciate people and the amazing things that my friends do are wildly inspiring.
I can’t be perfect, or often even the person I’m striving to be in these cases.
But it feels like a more healthy goal.
Mutants in the Night TRPG public beta cover.

ET: You are working on a commercial release of the RPG Mutants in the Night

a game about post-apocalyptic mutants or, as you put it, “a game about finding.” You explicitly state in the game’s dev notes that “the setting provided was inspired by the plight of marginalized people around the world.
Mutants hold the key to representing folx of all marginalized backgrounds, and direct representations of current (yet archaic) laws that pressure and misrepresent those who are targeted by them.” How does the setting provoke discussion of the marginalized, and how do you support that with the game’s mechanics.

DC: People ask this question a lot

I like it, because it’s my favorite part about my game (or one of).
People know themselves better than I know them.
So designing is kinda like setting traps.
If you’re trying to catch a rabbit, you might lay down a carrot under a bin or some shit, and wait for a rabbit to come eat it.
Then you snatch the fucker and you got a rabbit.
To me, that is linear storytelling.
You got yourself a charming white guy with a decent tan, you put him on a tank or in a car and next to some woman who is literally only there to be hot and hetero, and you’ve got yourself a story.
It’s boring.
If you want to catch a specific rabbit rather than just any rabbit, you tell a specific story.
Layer two.
Salt and pepper the carrot to taste.
Salt-and-pepper-loving rabbit comes and has a fuckin’ blast.
You catch salt-and-pepper rabbit.
This is what I see happening in the space of younger designers.
Making games for their people.
This is where I started, and it’s a damn good place to be.
Where I ended up, though, was almost an accident.
Or maybe it was subconscious, because some layers were just side effects of my main mission.
It’s when you let each specific person choose their own bait.
But it only works with shared circumstances.
The shared circumstance is the trap itself.
We’re all stuck in the shit.
We’re the fuckin’ rabbits.
If you lean over to someone and say: “How’d you get stuck here?”, then you’ve got their hook.
So I designed a space where the beginning is why you’re going to be caught.
You’re a rabbit.
“It’s wabbit season!” The end is that you’re probably going to be eaten.
As rabbits, we know this well.
We share this fate.
So don’t ask a question.
Leave a blank.
If that made any sense at all — which it very well may have not — then you’ll see what happens with Mutants.
People know marginalization.
I just point to it and say: “Hey, you know that shit.
It’s that.
You know it better than anyone.” Then I say: “We all know that whatever we do in the time we spend will not end it.
We may push over a domino, but we won’t see the last one fall.” So all that’s left is to say: “It’s your time.” People mirror cities that they know, putting in direct forms of legal marginalization, as well as its lasting effects, right into their fictional communities.
They put in redlining, they put in colorism, they put in xenophobia, they put in police violence, they put in all of the evils that they see marginalized people deal with every day, and/or that they personally experience.
That’s why it’s still a viable game for white cishet dudes to play.
They know what marginalization looks like.
They don’t see that part as a problematic thing to deal with, ever.
It’s being there and only knowing the fictional, offensive, and vile representations of the people they now play.
That’s what makes them uncomfortable.
But the game teaches them reality, even if they play it through tropes.
[The game] will be unfair, it will oppress them, it will hurt the people they love.
Mechanically, they can’t solve the real issues.
That’s what really makes it work.
You can’t solve a damn thing.
You can only walk into the goddamn trap and eat your carrot.
“Catching your rabbit 3” by peganum CC-BY @Flickr ET: I like the way the system in Mutants grants player-characters agency without either fulfilling some kind of power fantasy or arbitrarily subjecting them to the will of the gamemaster.
What is a memorable anecdote from actual play of this game.

DC: My favorite parts of the AP (F L A R E) are scattered across so many moments

The ability for all the black people at the table to enjoy cultural references that were only for us, while the two white players were just enjoying us enjoying ourselves… those were some sweet moments.
That’s how it could be much more often in all walks of life.

ET: You have recently assembled a data trove on the business side of TRPGs

In addition, you have been a strong advocate for TRPG and larp creators earning revenue off their work more reflective of the actual labor that has gone into it.
You have organized many designers of color around making a fair wage for their original work and freelance work for others.
What are some striking findings you’ve made in this advocacy work.
DC: Something that became clear very quickly is that white people are so fucking scared.
Like, actually in fear of losing their whiteness.
It doesn’t matter how liberal they are.
If they haven’t come to understand that whiteness is not their culture, and that it is literally a brand given to them that means “you don’t have to deal with this shit,” then they reflexively become afraid of losing it once PoC start thriving.
And they do this because they know capitalism.
If we’re making it, then they’re losing it.
That’s how people see it; big time.
That’s why they’ll have us as guests at cons to show us off, as one or two skin colors on their [actual play streams] (APs), as signs that they don’t have that reflexive fear.
But most of them do, and it’s easy to see now.
Clear as day, in the face of the sun.
ET: What are some of the challenges you’ve encountered DC: Whew.
PoC are scared too.
This fear is reasonable.
I’m not a messiah.
I’m not better than the last black person to get up and say something.
Historically, the US has made it clear that leaders get killed.
It’s literally why [Black Lives Matter] doesn’t have a singular social-facing figure or leader.

PoC take a long time to get to trust a movement

We’ve been burned by the system, by these white people who don’t understand the stakes for us at all, and by each other.
I’m not talkin’ about life and death.
I’m talkin’ about the courage it takes to step out and put yourself out there.
Whether or not you want it, people are going to judge you.
White people will say the same things in a seemingly harmless place like TRPGs (ha) that we’ve heard in our traumatic life experiences.
We’ll get the same treatment that we get any time we show up in a majority white space.
Being paraded around for a bit for liberal cred points, gaining little or no pay, or progress, and then pushed behind some mediocre white person.
And we say mediocre because if you open up a professional TRPG that you think sucks dingleberries, the credits will be full of white dudes who have done the same thing in tons of books.
So I get tons of pushback on certain things, from a place of true concern for both me and them.
“Don’t fuck up the money,” “You can’t say that,” “Will this even work?” etc etc.
I’ve been crushed by people dissecting my work’s possibility of failure with essays of personal fears.
I’ve dealt with myself getting mad at others getting mad, and we’re both mad because we know how hard we’re all dealing with shit.
So it’s just anger with no real release.
That’s a real challenge.
Being good enough for people to believe in me, so that I can transition that belief into belief in their own self and their community’s functionality.
It’s ridiculous (that this is how society has taught us), but the higher up I get in social capital, the more people will believe me when I say that they’re amazing.
So I have to keep climbing as people try to see me as less and less of a human being and more and more as some celebrity or persona.
I don’t want any of that stuff, honestly.
Fame and pride are mostly counterproductive to my goal.
I have to deal with it more from other people than I have to do from myself.
I know what I want.
I want enough money to have a nice place to live, to pay my Mom’s rent, and to not have to worry about survival.
And I want everyone else to have a path to that same future.
The last challenge is, funny enough, turning all of this work into opportunity.
I work for myself right now living off of the BLESSED purchases of my games, my patrons (y’all are a fucking godsend), and my will to raise all boats.
I need to sustain myself with stable work and a better self-care routine (apparently I’m a workaholic).
I’m getting better at the things I have control over, because I have a choice and I know what I want.
But with all the accolades that people see me get, the big fish don’t really give a damn.
I’m supported 100% by my community.
That’s not going to last, and it’s really important that the money I’m getting is redistributed back into the community.
A lot of people and organizations need it.
So I want to relieve everyone of their chosen duty to support me.
And I wanna pay my Mom’s goddamn rent.
Anibal Quijano.
Photo from Universidad Ricardo Palma ET: Anibal Quijano, a Peruvian sociologist who just passed away last year, describes something he calls the “coloniality of power,” in which the history of capitalism is absolutely interwoven with racism and exploitation.
The inequalities we see in the present are by design in many ways, and much of white fear revolves not only around loss of power and privilege, but also around (justified) equity and restitution after centuries of injustice.
No one wants to own their ancestors’ and contemporaries’ crimes, and especially not their consequences.
How do white progressives unintentionally collude with systems of marginalization and exploitation, from your perspective.
DC: This is a good question.
White people need to realize a few things in order to actually start seeing what being white really is.
It’s not watching PoC, honestly.
That’s a part of it, but understanding whiteness in a way that allows people to pass through the door of being an actual good person comes down to understanding what whiteness is.
Whiteness is a creation, a label specifically made to say: “These are the people who have rights and who are prioritized in this country.
Everyone else stands at our will.” No white person traces their family tree back to Whiteland, WL 90210.
The actual identity of white people is taken away and traded for privilege.
Italians weren’t white.
Irish people weren’t white.
Jewish people aren’t white, even if they have some white privileges.
It’s the reason that no one bats an eye at St.
Patrick’s Day or any Jewish holiday, or celebrations of actual cultures with actual heritage.
White people, as soon as “white” became a legal term, only have a record of doing harm to non-white people.
That’s literally it.
You can’t choose to stop being white, but you can choose to stop aligning with whiteness on a personal level.
How.
Actively stop resting on the laurels of whiteness and step out to learn.
From books and articles and recorded talks.
Because people usually ask PoC, which is the peak racial irony of this country.
ET: What trends on Twitch, itch.io, Kickstarter, and other gaming-related platforms do you see as having a seismic effect on the TRPG communities right now.
DC: Less gatekeeping.
itch.io game jams accept everyone.

Regressive TRPG personalities are too caught up in their own scams to deal with Twitch

itch.io really is setting a better standard for pricing games.
It’s become the culture of the community, and it’s absolutely beautiful to see.
There’s a lot more work to do, but at least we have a solid foundation.
Twitter has been changing.
More people have been confident in speaking their truths, and to find one’s self laid bare in a new space, and then to be surrounded by people who support you.
Who feel similarly.
That opens doors, inside and out.
Communities, or even just friendships and new channels of respect are opened.
[My] goal is to show everyone that they can do what I do.
Not in the unhealthy workaholic way, but they can speak out and be heard.
They can form communities, turn their brilliant ideas into realities, and make some damn good games.
The wave is building.
People are gaining strength through community, and that strength is greater than one singular person will ever be.
They’re going to do things most people will never be bold enough to accomplish, because they’ll continue to work together to raise all boats.
At that point it’s a goddamn armada.
http://plus.google.com screenshot, taken June 8 2019.
ET: From a fellow community-builder perspective, I absolutely agree that the goal is to show others that they can do it too: design games, foster communities, support each other into greatness.
One thing I’ve noticed over the years is that these communities are often bound to specific platforms: certain gaming conventions, to be sure, but also mailing lists, forums, private servers, streaming services, group chats, and so forth.
With the collapse of Google+, the indie TRPG scene is thinking a lot about how a community connected to a specific platform is born, develops, and dies.
Twitter is serving you well as of late, coinciding with the exodus of indie TRPG creators from Google+ starting last year (and our accounts were deleted on April 2) and from Facebook since the past three years.
How do you deal with this ongoing platform dependency.
Are our interfaces and algorithms a big factor in determining who we are.
DC: We’re locked into the system of social media.
Google+ became what it was by chance, not by design.
We have platforms which have similar functions but the culture has to be born, not created.
Whatever we try to create is really just a guideline to follow, as whatever platform truly formulates how we participate.
Take Discord for example.
I’ve done a lot to try and make a Discord server full of over 500 people to be a place where everyone can communicate, but it’s not.
It never will be.
The more people are talking, the faster things get shot up the channel’s message board.
It’s hard to follow.
Twitter only gives us 240 characters, so people end up making long threads.
A system that has a character limit makes it hard for conversations to happen.
Replies can go all over the place if someone doesn’t chain them.
Notifications are a mess since if you screen for mentions only, it doesn’t account for [retweets].
On top of all of that, you might not even see Tweets from people you’d like to because your settings are set a certain way.
Nothing beats in-person conversations.
The nuance of humanity is lost online.
Most of what we build is parasocial until you really dive into getting to know someone.
These are the only things we have, so we do our best.
But Twitter is like a slowly spreading poison for our community, and for people in general.
Discord has a great deal of exclusivity and size problems.
I don’t think there’s any other way right now, however.

ET: What sorts of TRPG theory do you find the most useful for your designs

DC: I don’t fuck with theory.
At least not formally.
There’s probably a lot of value in the dissections of xyz, but it’s just not how I learn.
I like to have conversations and play games.
Or even just read them.
Not a lot of people know, but I haven’t played Blades in the Dark.
I’ve played a good number of hacks, but that was after being about half way through designing Mutants.
My point is that the theory is clear on paper when I read it.
It’s one of my two strong design skills.
Being able to read the code and not just the words.
Nothing beats seeing it in action though, because people can manipulate that code in ways I’d never think of.
Time and time again.
My theory is to build toward what you actually want.
Push hard to find out what that thing is, but once you know you can just build toward it.
Every piece you place is there to say another thing or to open another door.
To highlight and hint and guide and allude to.
The rest of theory is probably really valuable, but for now this is all I think about designing games.
Textbook slacker.
Featured image [Untitled] by rein -e- Art CC-BY @ Flickr Evan Torner is Assistant Professor of German Studies at the University of Cincinnati, where he also serves as Undergraduate Director of German Studies and the Director of the UC Game Lab.
He is co-founder and an Editor of the journal Analog Game Studies.
To date, he has published 9 co-edited volumes and special journal issues, as well as over 40 articles and book chapters in various venues.
His primary fields of expertise include East German genre cinema, German film history, critical race theory, and science fiction.
His secondary fields of expertise include role-playing game studies, Nordic larp, cultural criticism, electronic music and second-language pedagogy.
African-AmericanAmerican indie RPGsBlades in the Darkcritical game designDCDungeon Commanderevan tornerForged in the DarkmarginalityMutants in the Nightnon-binaryplot ARMORqueerrole-playing gamestabletop role-playing gamestabletop RPGs 2 4 Next →.