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Oudjou’s Eyes and Treats in the Mail

Yesterday, when picking up Oudjou from daycare, I discovered that he had a red, puffy, and itchy left eye. The teachers weren’t sure what if anything had happened. It seemed to get a better throughout the evening but this morning it was red, watery, and very itchy again. We took him into the walk-in clinic and it turns out he’s got eye-allergies. So now I’m going to look around to see what pollen is out in force starting yesterday. Hanjeong has a similar itchy-eye allergy. Hopefully the antihystemine eyedrops will do the trick.

‹edit: added pollen chart›
Pollen forecast for Hamilton: Tuesday April 17 2012

I was happy to find some mail waiting for me today. Today the theme is progressive, with two CDs: 
  1. Champignons - Première Capsule. - psychedelic -1972 from Québec.Champignons - Première Capsule
  2. Wigwam - Fairyport. - jazz fusion - 1971 from Finland                       Wigwam - Fairyport
I think we’ll put the mushrooms on first.

Also, my long awaited copy of Wolfgang Steinitz’s 1955 “Geschichte des Wogulischen Vokalismus" showed up today. This was a major source for my 2011 phonology paper on Ob-Ugric Reconstruction using the Contrastivist Hypothesis. This book has become an old friend and when the U of T library claimed it back I tracked down a copy from Versandantiquariat Buchwelten in Hohenthurm Germany. It’s almost worth learning German just to read it. Fortunately, the sound change formulæ are readible in whatever the language, and google translate is your friend.

One thing that’s neat is how we get so used to conventions that any alternative seems bizarre (think about driving on the right- vs the left-side of the road). These days, we put high F1 at the bottom of the vowel chart, and high F2 on the left. So the vowel with the highest F1 and F2 [æ] is at the bottom left. In Steinitz and other Central European works on the Uralic family, [æ] shows up at the top right. While we’re all used to the current layout, the one in Steinitz and others makes more sense as it charts the vowels according to increasing formants. 

Chaivora campaign comes to an end.

  • Upon completion of our first Chaivora, I thought it would be good to look back and analyze how the game went. Not so much what happened “in game”, but what we liked and what we didn’t.

Mongoose RuneQuest II

  • I think the consensus was that this isn’t the system for us. I’d say some of the gang are what you could call rules lenient, and by that I mean that drama, atmosphere, and moving-along take precedence over adherence to a ruleset: cinematic- and setting-focused. RQII is a game of many dice rolls, I was counting between 4 to 6 rolls per attack, and each combatant could have 2 – 4 attacks per round. By the time we had finished all the rolls, coming up with some interesting description of the manœuvre just seemed like more work (I’ve had similar experience with RQ supplements like Empires). A number of our battles ended up with everyone massively wounded an incapable of landing a hit on each other, and combat lasted so long I never added any random encounters because they would blow the night.
  • For for the last couple of sessions, I massively simplified task resolution by getting rid of hit locations, combat manœuvres, and some other stuff. I think it helped us get through the final battle in one evening – I shudder to think how long it would have taken rules-as-written. Nevertheless, the damage was done so to speak, and our group decided to leave MRQII behind.
  • I don’t think I’m that adverse to playing or even running MRQII again or the new RQ6, but I now know what to expect from a BRP-based game. It’s a venerable system with lots of meat behind it. GMing: I found NPC/monster generation to be a hassle at first until I streamlined the process to just include skill values, HP, and Armour. I would go with my quick combat rules, take the randomness out of advancement, and magic would need an overhaul as sorcery and spirit magic weren’t that intuitive... on second thought, any d100 game I’d run would probably be OpenQuest. But it was in reading the MRQII manual that I was inspired to create Chaivora, so it seems that there may be some heavy voodoo in the system and my thanks go out to the authors of the game.


  • I got positive feedback on the game world from the players, enough so that I will continue the campaign world. More on Chaivora some other time, but a few thoughts:
  • One of the central aspects of the mesolithic and neolithic worlds is that the line between “reality” and “the world of myth” is fuzzy at most, non-existant in many cases. The players at times seemed to have a bit of trouble with the concept, asking things like “so in the myth the evil shaman is gathering those glowing green plants, but in the real world what is happening?”. In my mind, the question doesn’t really make sense, i.e. there is no duality of worlds (myth vs real) it’s a question of perception. In looking further into questions like that, I think we learned much about the mind-set of the Chaivora people. It was interesting seeing the ways each of us handled the idea of myth, and in the end, like any good myth, each of us interpreted it in our own way.
  • The method I used to create the different sapient species was to imagine: what if intelligence evolved under the auspices of a RQ rune. So pẽvai and gerai are humans based on MAN, the arzirm are based on PLANT, the troria are based on DARKNESS, and so on. So, looking at the arzirm, I thought of vines/ivy which lead to keywords like: independent, not-team-players, success = best resources, dominate environment in large numbers. For the troria, I came up with: light aversion, long-term memory - which led to a focus on history and treaties/contracts. Some players commented that the other species were truly other, which makes me happy. Humans with bumpy foreheads wasn’t what I was looking for.
  • The campaign was built as a sandbox where events in the world evolved and which tried to incorporate aspects of each character’s history into game play: T’voran’s history had an incident where his brother stole a sacred blowpipe, so he had an opportunity to regain it. Seravin’s history was a simple one of a family plagued with bad luck – I interpreted this to be that his family had no ancestors to look over them, so he had an opportunity to find a long lost ancestral hero. The party had the entire region to explore, and visited several locales and chose to bypass others. There were many paths leading to the final confrontation, and one player commented that the flow did not at all feel railroady but that there was a palatable world happening around them, which makes me happy. This is the first sandbox / investigation-mystery I’ve done and I think I’ll do more of the same.

Coming up next

  • So we’ve shelved RuneQuest. What’s next for Chaivora? Right now I’m refitting the Heresy system (Victoriana, Airship Pirates) to a neolithic fantasy world. The biggest addition I am working on is magic, it’s much more ubiquitous in Chaivora (all characters have magic) than in Victoriana, and the spell system needs to fit the Chaivora culture. I’ll be basing magic on clan powers. I think the game mechanics will work really well for our group’s style and fun, combat especially. I gave it a lot of thought and hopefully Heresy will do it for us.
  • I’ll have to see whether the gang wants to keep their characters, or whether we make new characters – perhaps the children of the first campaign PCs. The next party will be somewhat experienced regardless of which characters we go with.
  • Where they go is up to them, though they might want to track down the evil shaman and the paradisers cult...

The Gang

  • Perhaps it was coincidence, perhaps it was fate, perhaps it’s the anthropic principle, but I was fortunate to have moved to a neighbourhood with a gamer neighbour (Ben) who, together with his colleague (Guy), got me back into a passion that I left behind long ago. Then, fate struck again when I sat down at WFRP table at Hammercon with doc_mystery – the game went well enough, but I decided then at the table that here was the person I hoped would be able to join my nacent Chaivora campaign. He asked if his friend shadow_maze could participate and we were off... after a couple of months of preperation and schedule juggling. Each of us brings something unique and fun to the Bunker, and certainly Chaivora would not have been the same without each one’s contribution – it really was a collaborative effort in the great ol’ tradition of RPGs. I look forward to more play and GMing with my friends the Bunker Gang for many years to come.
The Exploding Train

Arright. I'm way late in posting our last episode, so I guarantee that I'll forget things or get stuff wrong. Be sure to comment about what I neglect or mess up on. There were a few instances where I wasn't sure on the timeline or the order of events. Again, if you're planning on playing in a future iteration of HEX, read at your own peril. If you'll be joining our group this week, here is episode 2...Adventure SynopsisCollapse )
I'm going to use this space to talk about the exploits and adventures taking place in some of the role playing games I'm either running or taking part in. If you are planning on joining our campaign a bit late, or you've had to miss a session, this play-by-play will help you keep up-to-date with what is going on. If you are planning on starting (from the beginning) a Hollow Earth Expedition game with me some time in the future, stop reading now or you will ruin the surprise. Honestly.

Adventure SynopsisCollapse )