Recent doings and thoughts

I don’t know where to begin.

This schedule, instead of working Wednesday through Sunday, I worked Wednesday through Saturday last week, Sunday and Monday this week, had Tuesday and Wednesday of this week (yesterday and today) off, and then I work Thursday through Saturday. I think the reason for the slight change in schedule is one of the assistant managers at work taking a vacation this week, so I got to work a Monday night for the first time in… I’m not sure, but a while, anyway. Maybe at least 6 months.

Last weekend my sister came down and we went kayaking at a state park. That was fun- I hadn’t been there before and it was a lovely day to be on the water. It was good to see her for the first time in a few months too, though she’s been doing a lot of driving lately. I guess that’s what happens if one is fitting an entire summer into 2 weeks, though.

On my days off this week, yesterday I had lunch with a friend, went to return a couple library books, checked out more books, and messed around with some Pathfinder character ideas and started on some monster stat blocks.

Last week, I re-installed and played Master of Magic for the first time in a long time. I don’t remember if I’ve written about Master of Magic before here, and maybe it was long ago, but it’s a turn-based strategy game from 1995 where you control a wizard trying to defeat your opponents, who are also powerful magic users. The flavors of magic are similar to Magic: The Gathering (Sorcery, Death, Nature, Life, Chaos), and you can choose to begin play as one of several races. Additionally, the game features two “planes” you can try to conquer- Arcanus, which is similar to Earth (aside from the existence of magic, fantastic creatures, and various fantasy races such as high elves, halflings, orcs, gnolls, and several varieties of human), and Myrror, which is more magical and home to magical races such as dark elves, dwarves, trolls, draconians, and beastmen. I had created a game playing as a wizard specializing in death magic ruling a city of halflings and had played about 11 years (if my math is right, about 100 turns) before I quit, but somehow I haven’t got that game to work since. Naturally, I’m not playing a game from 1995 ‘natively’ – I bought the game several years ago online, and that came with an emulator (DOSbox), but for whatever reason it doesn’t work very well. I don’t know if that’s due to 32-bit vs. 64-bit differences, RAM, CPU cycles, or what the problem is, but I remember tinkering with it and somehow getting it to work fine last week, but it’s been painfully slow whenever I’ve tried since then.

Anyway, in that last game of Master of Magic, I hadn’t encountered any other wizards yet, but I had established a few other halfling cities and conquered a neutral city of High Men. As a result of that game, I’ve also been thinking a lot lately about undead, halflings, and Pathfinder again.

I may have already written about it in a recent entry, but a couple months ago I had some ideas for a D&D-inspired fantasy story, and earlier today I was thinking that, if a city had been taken over by an evil necromancer, its neighbors would probably react- perhaps the natives or their sympathizers might try to overthrow the necromancer and restore the original government (or a continuation), while less savory types (such as bandits and other troublemakers) might try to curry favor with the new dark lord by attempting to join their service or prove their worth (by wreaking havoc among the neighbors).

This, I thought, seemed like good potential for a plot for that story (or a tabletop RPG campaign). If the party is fighting some bandits, finding a link between the bandits and the evil necromancer that has recently taken over a nearby city would set things up for further confrontation with the necromancer or his minions.

Earlier today I went to get frozen yogurt and, after eating it, I went to a liquor store and bought a beer, a bottle of mead, and a bottle of vodka. Earlier I bought a BBQ Frito pie from the food truck that my apartment complex brought in this week. I’m used to working Wednesday nights, which has usually been when they bring in the food truck, so it’s different actually being able to buy something instead of having to leave for work 15 minutes before they open.

In other news, I’ve been occasionally thinking about my ex-girlfriend, though that seems increasingly pointless as time passes. I realized a couple weeks ago that it’s been a year and a half since we broke up, and that realization was like a week after the actual date. Maybe this is a problem that lasts until the next relationship, or maybe I just need more of a social life. I’m not sure, but it would really help if I could just get another job, and I don’t know how to make that happen without submitting a bunch of job applications and someone finally taking a chance on hiring me. Unfortunately, “I’m fantastic, hire me!” isn’t quite sufficient, or at least I don’t think it would be. It’d be nice if it was enough, though.

My brother is getting married in a month, and in slightly over a month the fall semester will start. At this point, it seems unlikely that anything will have changed since then. As I think I wrote last time, it’d be nice if some things changed, but I don’t see a way for them to change without more effort on my part and somebody finally showing interest in me, whether my job application or my half-hearted dating app profiles.

I wish things were different, but I don’t know what I can do to rapidly and immediately change them.

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Pathfinder-inspired pondering

Pathfinder is a tabletop roleplaying game based on Dungeons and Dragons revised 3rd edition (or D&D 3.5).

Last night at work I was remembering the game of Pathfinder I ran when I was dating my ex-girlfriend. The party was composed of my ex (playing a half-elf sorceror), a couple coworkers (I think one was a ranger and the other was a paladin), and the human bard I was running in addition to acting as DM/GM.

The plot was that a group of bandits had been causing trouble in the area, and the captain of the city watch had tasked our party with taking care of the problem. The reward was a few hundred gold pieces each, I think- I don’t remember if I said a firm number, but I mainly seem to remember not thinking about a reward until someone asked what the reward was. Oops, the perils of being a novice DM.

At one point, I had this idea that a human adept could be in a relationship with the bandit leader, and that she could escape the party’s assault on the bandit HQ (an old mansion in the forest) and become a recurring villain causing trouble for the party in the future. This plan didn’t work out- if I remember correctly, the ranger got a good attack roll and shot her with a longbow. In any event, she didn’t survive to escape after the party stormed into the mansion, so I think my loose future plans adjusted to make the adept’s sister the possible future villain.

Anyway, thinking about that game reminded me that I still have the character sheet for the half-elf sorceror my ex had made, and I think when we broke up I asked if she wanted her character sheet and she didn’t, so I put it with the rest of my notes from that game and I haven’t looked at it since. Continue reading

“What D&D Character are you?” results

I Am A: Neutral Good Elf Wizard (4th Level)

Ability Scores:
Strength-13
Dexterity-13
Constitution-13
Intelligence-16
Wisdom-15
Charisma-12

Alignment:
Neutral Good A neutral good character does the best that a good person can do. He is devoted to helping others. He works with kings and magistrates but does not feel beholden to them. Neutral good is the best alignment you can be because it means doing what is good without bias for or against order. However, neutral good can be a dangerous alignment when it advances mediocrity by limiting the actions of the truly capable.

Race:
Elves are known for their poetry, song, and magical arts, but when danger threatens they show great skill with weapons and strategy. Elves can live to be over 700 years old and, by human standards, are slow to make friends and enemies, and even slower to forget them. Elves are slim and stand 4.5 to 5.5 feet tall. They have no facial or body hair, prefer comfortable clothes, and possess unearthly grace. Many others races find them hauntingly beautiful.

Class:
Wizards are arcane spellcasters who depend on intensive study to create their magic. To wizards, magic is not a talent but a difficult, rewarding art. When they are prepared for battle, wizards can use their spells to devastating effect. When caught by surprise, they are vulnerable. The wizard’s strength is her spells, everything else is secondary. She learns new spells as she experiments and grows in experience, and she can also learn them from other wizards. In addition, over time a wizard learns to manipulate her spells so they go farther, work better, or are improved in some other way. A wizard can call a familiar- a small, magical, animal companion that serves her. With a high Intelligence, wizards are capable of casting very high levels of spells.

Find out What Kind of Dungeons and Dragons Character Would You Be?, courtesy of Easydamus (e-mail)

Thoughts

I completed my bachelor’s degree last semester, and this semester I only registered for one graduate class- computer forensics.

The job search is underway- I’ve submitted a couple job applications, and I need to submit a few more. One of my coworkers has been promoted to kitchen manager, which is fine, since I’ve not been interested in being a convenience store manager, but I do need to find something better. Another coworker, who has been wanting to be kitchen manager, is predictably annoyed by this development.

Nothing happening on the relationship or meeting people front- I deleted Tinder off my phone and reinstalled Bumble, but other than a few ‘likes’ nothing has happened. I suspect my pictures might be part of the problem, but I also wonder if the religious beliefs (or lack thereof) and politics are a problem. Maybe I notice it because it’s in contrast with me, but it sure seems like I’ve seen a lot of “Christian” and “Conservative” in contrast to my “Liberal”.

Anyway, the main purpose for this entry is writing about a Stellaris game I’ve been playing. Recently I’ve been playing with the idea of specializing planets to produce particular resources- an energy planet, mining planet, farming planet, industrial planet, research planet, etc. which seems like a good idea, to take advantage of bonuses, but I’m also hesitant to put all of my figurative eggs in one basket and have to deal with resource deficits if an enemy occupies the planets. On the other hand, my recent games have been at the lowest difficulty level, and it’s not hard for me to pull ahead of the AI, so maybe I’m just being overly cautious.

In the game I was playing last night, I was playing as the Holy Cevantian Empire- a militarist xenophobic spiritualist theocratic monarchy of ‘space elves’ that are native to the alpine world of Cevasia.

Near my northern border with a spiritualist “fallen empire”, there’s a desert planet that has a strategic resource- volatile motes, which I currently have a slight deficit of due to having 1 unit per month income and some industry that uses slightly more than 1 unit per month

It’s slightly funny to think about what that colonization project would be like- I can’t imagine getting a few thousand people to colonize a planet that is marginally habitable (a desert planet when you’re native to a cold, mountainous world), in addition to being far away from the other planets in the empire (6-8 hyperlane jumps, depending on your route, so that’s like a minimum of 6 months travel from Cevasia).

The Empire is, after all, a theocratic monarchy, and I imagine there would probably be some element of a “command economy”, as in “Congratulations, the Archprophet has chosen you to colonize a new planet”. Even if it’s not direct conscription, there would also probably have to be some incentives, like subsidies to lower the price of imports or lower taxes or some other, boring, financial/governmental bureaucratic measures.

I don’t have the technology yet for a prison colony (the most recent patch added the ability to designate a planet as a prison colony), but it’s also amusing to imagine this desert planet serving as a sort of prison colony or like the Soviet gulags or something.

Realistically, due to it being the closest to another alien empire (as well as the distance from the capital and home to a strategic resource), my plans for this planet, other than building the strategic resource extraction facilities, are to add fortifications and other buildings to ensure the populace doesn’t stray too far from the Holy Imperial Government.

In other news, we got a bit of snow this morning, but I don’t think the couple inches we received will stick around for very long. It might be a hassle to drive to and from work today, but I imagine before long the snow will melt.

Stubborn

The theme of my gaming this weekend seems to be “Endurance”.

Europa Universalis 4:
I started a game the other night as Portugal, which starts with the territory of modern Portugal (Portugal, the Azores, and some other islands) as well as Ceuta, a single province in modern Morocco that was conquered by Portugal in 1415 and, in our timeline, became Spanish territory in 1668.
After starting this game recently (possibly Saturday morning?), Sunday night and early Monday morning I played as the Kingdom of Portugal from June 1, 1450 to July 1, 1480.
At one point, Burgundy attacked my ally England to seize Calais (in northern France), so I joined the war to aid my English ally.
To make a long story short, somehow about 20,000 Burgundian and Dutch soldiers appeared in Portugal (I don’t know how- possibly they marched through France and Spain), I tried attacking them and lost, and at some point made peace in exchange for a lot of money.

In 1455, Morocco declared war on me wanting Ceuta. Unfortunately my English and Castilian allies dishonored our alliance and did not join the war. I think England was still at war with Burgundy and Castile was at war with France. Anyway, the ensuing war lasted 22 years and resulted in 81,000 Portuguese casualties and about 60,000 Moroccan casualties. Highlights include Portugal winning victories at sea (I only lost 1 heavy ship and captured several transports) but being unable to win in Morocco- I’d occupy a province, or even a couple provinces, but then the numerically superior (and, at one point, technologically superior) Moroccan army would stomp my army, and it was very frustrating. After taking out a bunch of loans and debasing my currency (both of which earned me 62 ‘ducats’ each time, but with varying long-term effects), finally Morocco offered me a “white peace” where neither side gained or lost territory (despite me being at -60 war score). Before that peace offer, every peace offer they sent would have resulted in my ceding Ceuta and Algarve (southern Portugal), and I refused to cede Portuguese territory. I was willing to give up Ceuta if I absolutely had to (if nothing else, it would probably allow me to focus on the exploration and colonization game), but I didn’t want to give up any Portuguese territory just because Morocco had fabricated a claim on southern Portugal.

Portuguese victory was also aided by rebellions breaking out in Morocco- a peasant revolt and a pretender revolt. I supported the pretender rebels, and both rebellions occupied several provinces. Shortly after the Moroccan-Portuguese peace, there were notifications that Morocco had gone bankrupt and the rebels had broken the country. The pretender rebellion won, though the new Moroccan regime still hated my guts (despite my support after they had rebelled).

After the war, with the explorer I started with and continuing technological development, I’ve begun to explore off the coast of Africa and North America.

Mount and Blade: Warband

In my current game of Mount and Blade, I recently entered a mercenary contract with the Kingdom of Swadia, which is currently at war with all but one of the other kingdoms in the game. As a condition of my contract, I’m supposed to serve the Kingdom of Swadia for a month.

There have been a couple occasions where I meet a superior force and, by sacrificing a few men, am able to escape.

My proudest moment of this weekend was fighting a battle against a nominally equal foe- I had 42 soldiers against 37 (I believe they were Rhodoks). If I remember correctly, I lost 5 men and had several wounded while killing 32. Granted, I think I’m currently playing on an easier difficulty, but absurd odds like that are always enjoyable.

I haven’t been defeated and captured yet, though I’ve had a few defeats and, like I said, a few times where I’ve had to sacrifice a few men in order to escape.

Empire: Total War

This is the first time I’ve played Empire: Total War since July, if I remember correctly. In my last game I was playing a campaign as Sweden and had taken Moscow and was working on defeating Russia, Denmark, and Poland-Lithuania.

In the campaign I just started, I’m playing as the Ottoman Empire. I just defeated Georgia, making them a protectorate after defeating their army when they tried to break my siege of their capital, but I’m still at war with Venice (who has sunk most of my fleet), Russia (I’m not sure if I’ve actually faced them in battle yet), and Morocco.

I’ve defeated the Venetians in southern Greece, and I’m currently laying siege to the capital of their holdings in southern Greece. Unfortunately they have a more powerful fleet, and I’m not sure what I can do about that short of spending treasure and several turns building up an equivalent or more powerful fleet. Unfortunately, I haven’t quite got the hang of naval battles in Empire, but it’s particularly annoying when the enemy has a superior fleet and you don’t know what to do about it. Venice had 2 frigates (1 5th rate and 1 6th rate), several smaller ships (brigs and sloops, maybe), and a couple galleys, while I had 1 frigate (my admiral’s 5th-rate flagship), a galley, and 2 light galleys, for a grand total of 50 guns and about 250-300 men against Venice’s couple hundred guns and several hundred men. After losing my galleys in the Black Sea and retreating, I lost my flagship when Venice caught up with my admiral’s flagship and a sloop in the Aegean Sea.

Saturday night’s all right?

I don’t know what to write, but I feel like I should write something.

The semester started the week before last, and the two classes I’m retaking this semester shouldn’t be too challenging. I’ve taken them before, I basically know what’s expected, and I know what my mistakes were last semester- I just have to get them done, and hopefully get good grades. We’ll see how that goes.

I’m working on the job search front, but no progress yet.  Continue reading

Fortunes for the Bold: Part 1

Current AAR project: Stellaris 1.9 with assorted mods
Here follows the state of the Vrinn Consortium at the beginning of the 2220 CE elections for Chairman, which resulted in the re-election of Chairwoman Vikal Taras (born 2165) to her second 20-year term.

The Vrinn Consortium

Ethoi: Pacifist Materialist Xenophile
Authority: Oligarchic
Government: Trade League
Civics: Corporate Dominion, Mining Guilds


Planets

Jara (Jenisha I): Vrinn homeworld and capital of the Consortium
Type: Tropical
Size: 18
Population: 12.2118 POPs (approximately 12 billion Vrinn)
Economy: +17 energy, +10 minerals, +3 unity, +2 Physics, +7 Society, +6 Engineering,
+2 food per month
Industries: Agriculture, finance, light and heavy industry, research and development, education, energy, culture

Malh Toledurk (Rijin III)
Type: Tropical
Size: 23
Capital: Enterprise
Colonized: 2206.6.13-2208.7.1
Population: 3.6925 POPs (approximately 615,500 Vrinn)
Economy: -0.4 energy, +2 unity, +2 food per month
Industries: Agriculture, culture and tourism

Vi Talas (Bisanavi II)
Type: Ocean
Size: 25
Capital: Vikal’s Landing
Colonized: 2210.3.16
Population: 2.9601 POPs (approximately 194,000 Vrinn)
Economy: +0.6 energy, 1 food per month
Industries: Agriculture

Valk Goram (Bivham II)
Type: Desert
Size: 22
Capital: Endeavor
Colonized: 2217.12.22 – 2219.8.1
Population: 1.1242 POPs (approximately 15,000 Vrinn)
Economy: 1 energy and -1 food per month
Industries: None of significance