February 24th, 2002


Centralia in D&D

Centralia, PA is the site of an fire in an underground coal mine that has been burning since 1962.

But my thinking about it for today is that with the identiying marks stripped off, it would make a great setting for an RPG. Vents of smoke, hot ground, and signs that people used to live here... it could really be a nice setting for a fantasy RPG, or a neat weird setting for a modern campaign.

http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/centralia.htm has some pictures and discussion.

(no subject)

Friday night was Kevin's GURPS game. It was a bad session.

We were bringing a new player (and character) into the group. So the session began with an hour of loafing around while the GM and the new player went off to discuss seekrit stuff. I would have liked to try mock combats with some of the other players, but the only other player who was interested in doing so had a character that Meat could easily defeat, and was someone I'd feel particularly averse to fighting IC.

Finally the GM comes back. We set off to the island, find a potentially interesting landmark, and go to check it out. We get distracted by noises. (It later turns out that this was the new character skulking around trying to lead us off our track.) We search around trying to find the cause, and finally give up. By this time, it's nearly dark, so we return to the beach to make camp.

As we make camp, we notice that Steve's character Zorith is not with the party. Meat felt very concerned, but knew that Zorith is inclined to go off and do stupid things (in D&D terms, Zorith is probably Chaotic Neutral with a large emphasis on the chaotic. It's mighty annoying), and knew that he would have little chance of finding Zorith in the dark.
Alaina's character Carynth takes the first watch, because she had seen suspicious things on the way back.

While she's on watch, this new character shows up. As Carynth is challenging him, Zorith shows up with him and saunters into camp. Carynth asks him what's up, and instead of being sensible and providing some explanation, Zorith gives some wise-ass cryptic remark.

Meanwhile, the stranger is speaking cryptically, which is pissing Alaina/Carynth off. He eventually makes some sexist remark (making it very clear that he was speaking in character), and Carynth lost it and attacked him.
Or tried to, rather: Zorith had prepared a Glue spell to lock her feet to the ground just as she lunged for the stranger.

As more reasonable people tried to talk with the stranger and figure out what was up, Carynth managed to break free and tried to attack Zorith. Zorith cast a Flash to temporarily blind her, but she still managed to tackle him.

As they tussled, Meat slowly walked over to pull them apart. I was hoping that Carynth would get a few good hits in on Zorith before Meat got there, but sadly it was not to be.

But even after Meat separated them, Alaina/Carynth would not calm down. Bleah.

And when Meat waggled an admonishing finger at Steve/Zorith, Zorith just turned away with a smug little smile. Which annoys me no end. Feh.

Net result: most of the evening killed because Steve/Zorith and Alaina/Carynth were being jerks in ways that encouraged each other's jerkiness.


(no subject)

Last night, we went to a Queria party at Mark's house.

The first part of the evening was dinner and conversation. Both were very good. The steak was particularly tasty, and social conversation with the Queriads is always nice.

After we had dessert (Lori's white-chocolate-chip cherry brownies were very tasty), a subset of us gathered to play Prairie Railroads, a game of railroads across Kansas that Mark had given to Larry for his birthday.

I wasn't really interested in playing the game; I had been enjoying the conversation. And since I had seen that the company was based in Pittsburgh (in Regent Square), I suspected that this might be a small-press game--and that carried an increased risk that the game might suck. But since I've been the person most likely to try to suck other people into games, I felt a social obligation to play with good will.

The game turned out to be much better than I had expected. There was a separation between the players (who own shares of corporations) and the corporations (who were the ones who actually build track) that I found quite novel. I don't think that the strategies that afforded were entirely apparent to all of us. In particular, it seems that two people working together on a well-funded railroad can make it do amazing things.

Raven was by far the winner; I came in second largely due to successfully riding on her coattails.

It was pretty good--I would happily play it again, and I might buy it.

(Random aside: I tend to do poorly at games about money--i.e., games with auctions, buying and selling, and so forth. I can usually play well, but not best. I'm not sure why I seem to have this sort of strategic blind spot.)