Rumination

Rather than make one mega-post with several different trains of thought, I think I’ll make a couple and try to limit each post so each is at least vaguely related.

For example, rather than writing a post that mentions thinking about my ex and recent developments at work and ongoing frustration with dating apps and, upon further reflection, probably other things, I’ll make another post in a bit about the recent work developments and this can be the, uh, non-work post.

There isn’t much! Surprising, right? All I do is work and relax and work and relax and work and…

Let’s see… my grandparents are getting older, which is hardly surprising, and there’s not much I can say about that. They’re 93 and 92, and as the recent passing of Queen Elizabeth (and just about any old famous person) reminds me, one day they’ll be the ones mourned.

I’ve been playing Rimworld again, so that has been fun, but it’s also approaching the point where I’ve burned out on Rimworld and am due to switch to, I don’t know, Dominions 5 or something.

As far as the ongoing frustration with dating apps, I don’t know just how much I can write that wouldn’t just turn into pointless rambling (as cathartic as it may be for me). I’m convinced that my previous relationship (being introduced by a mutual friend when my now-ex and I were both in college in a city) is like the easy mode, if not “easiest” mode, for meeting people (and perhaps starting a relationship in general), compared to these days. I’m not in college any more, I work at a convenience store in a small town, and while I could be wrong, I’m convinced that most of the people my age or within the acceptable age range for a relationship are either already taken or may have other baggage. I don’t think this is a bad small town, but I don’t think there’s much of a nightlife (and I don’t get out much, so I’m hardly to be trusted as far as knowledge of the singles scene around here).

Read more: Rumination

I did think it was funny yesterday to remember that today was the anniversary of my ex and I starting our relationship, but considering it’s been 4.5 years since we broke up and over 2 years since I heard from her, I’m not sure what the traditional celebration is. A few weeks ago when I was thinking of the anniversary of our starting to date I started drafting a blog post with a playlist of songs that reminded me of her, though I didn’t feel like polishing that and posting it tonight. Maybe another day (or I guess I could always save it for another day, like the anniversary of our breaking up).

As far as dating apps, I’ve never really used OKCupid much, but Tinder and Bumble continually frustrate me because people either write nothing in their profiles, don’t write much in their profiles, are unoriginal (e.g., “touch my butt and buy me tacos”, “I like beer and tacos”, “my dog needs a daddy”), or the pictures seem bad. Maybe I don’t have much room to talk, since I don’t claim to have great pictures on my online dating profiles, but some people don’t look attractive, I’m personally not interested in lots of body modification (piercings, tattoos, etc.), and the profiles where they don’t even use a picture of themselves seem less than helpful (as far as the whole superficial “judging on appearance rather than substance and then make a binary choice” goes). I have a theory that people who are more “open to experience” tend to be more present on online dating, since I’ve seen a lot of people with tattoos and piercings and I suspect people who aren’t “open to experience” probably just meet their husbands/boyfriends through their social networks.

The best recent thing I’ve seen on a dating profile was on Bumble, I think, earlier this week and it was a woman whose profile said something like “Men who are over 6′ who only go for girls under 5’7″- why do you want your kids to play JV?” I think her profile said she was 5’9″, but as someone who’s about 6′ tall I thought that was hilarious. Of course, I also just appreciate seeing something new instead of the same trite nonsense about “I’m terrible at writing bios” or “not looking for hookups” or whatever nonsense.

Resuming a train of thought from earlier, I suspect that trying to date amid a respiratory pandemic (and that’s not even bringing monkeypox into the equation) is probably a bit more challenging than dating pre-pandemic. Additionally, as previously mentioned regarding location, dating in a city of one hundred fifty thousand at least offers more choices in a smaller area than trying to date in a small town of around a thousand. Even leaving aside the local ramifications of gossip and social networks, based on what I’ve seen on dating apps, there’s a lot of people who are more than 20 miles away, which isn’t too far, but it does seem like it’d slightly limit scheduling (as opposed to someone who was actually in the same town, or at least within 10 or so miles). Additionally, as I’ve thought before, in contrast to my ex, who was a full-time student when we were dating that didn’t have many friends, I assume that any future women I date (assuming I ever do date anyone again, of course) will probably have a job and probably friends and some kind of social life.

Of course, in order to start talking to someone through these various apps, I’d probably have to start swiping right, wouldn’t I? Why would I want to do that?

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D&D plot ideas

I put on my robe and wizard hat

Actually, I’m not sure where my wizard hat is, and while I do have a robe in my apartment, the idea of wearing a robe over my work clothes seems silly.

Maybe I’ll write more about what I’ve been up to in another post. For now, a few recent Dungeons and Dragons-related ideas, though of course these (mostly) don’t require that specific system (or even genre).

I have had several D&D-inspired story ideas in the last 12 years, and while none of them have exactly resulted in a finished narrative, they’ve usually proven interesting to think about (until being overtaken by the newest idea). Briefly, last fall I had an idea for a story with a non-linear narrative, and a loose plot outline was as far as I had got before, as winter set in, I became interested in “Old Style Revival” games, specifically OSRIC, and reading about AD&D and other older editions.

Personally, I was introduced to D&D in summer 2009 by playing “Revised 3rd Edition”, or 3.5. I’ve never played 4th edition (or, for that matter, 5th edition), but other than 3.5 most of my other D&D experience has actually come in the form of Pathfinder (1st Edition), also known as D&D 3.75.

One recent idea I had was to run the game with different editions at different levels. For example, starting the game with 1st Edition AD&D rules, then after level 5 switching to AD&D 2nd edition or D&D 3rd edition, then after another 5 or so levels continuing to 4th or 5th edition.

I could see where this might be a headache for the players and game master, since it’d probably involve having to do some calculations (never mind spells and other mechanics working differently between editions), but on the other hand, some of the things I’ve read about older-style campaigns fascinate me. For example, instead of your game following only a small group of mercenaries, also having the party accompanied by a coterie of non-player characters to serve as wagon-drivers, guards, or other needed expertise (and, if needed, apprentices and backup characters) seems interesting, particularly after the party has gained several levels and establishes a power center which then needs to be defended, maintained, and potentially expanded.

If your party establishes a stronghold and you want to try a new class, that may be an opportune time (at least in this idea) to retire the old character, maybe allow some time to pass, and then begin a new ‘campaign’ in the same setting. Maybe 30 years have passed, the old adventurers have died, retired, or otherwise left the area, and the children of the heroes of old have to take up the swords (or wands or staves or daggers) of their ancestors and fight back some new threat (goblin invasion, orc warlords, horse-riding nomads, etc.)

At least in 5th edition, I think I’ve read something before about lower level characters (maybe 1-5) being local heroes, levels 5-10 being powerful and notable in a wider region, while level 15+ characters may be well-known over continental or wider distances. Somewhere (maybe in Pathfinder) I’ve also read something about how most people in the world do not achieve high levels in their lifetimes- I think OSRIC or some other book I’ve read mentions that few people are capable of achieving character levels.

Another idea I’ve had is to play with the “traditional” start to a campaign. Instead of the stock “you all meet in a tavern”, I’ve had an idea before where the party has to come up with why they’re all imprisoned at the start of the game. Did they break a sumptuary law and wear the wrong color or fabric, were they in a bar fight, or did they commit grievous crimes against King and Temple and are awaiting their immediate execution at dawn?

“You all meet at the tavern you work at, or at least the smoking crater that used to be the tavern you work at” has amused me as an idea in the past, though it’s been a long time since I’ve run a game. I’m not sure when my next chance to run a game might be, though fortunately, at least, I’ve recently joined a Pathfinder game that is currently planned to start at level 5. Other than playing a human sorceror, I haven’t decided on an alignment, personality, or much about the background, though I think most of my ability scores and equipment have been decided upon.

ex ruminations

When did I write here last? Oh well, it doesn’t matter.

I can’t particularly think of any recent major news in my life. I’m still working the same job (and not particularly satisfied), I’ve been playing The Elder Scrolls: Morrowind on my PC after buying it a couple weeks ago, and I’ve had a few social events, though unfortunately none this weekend. Last weekend, though, I had a virtual movie night with a couple friends and I went over to another friends’ house for some board games, and that was fun.

At a certain point, things should probably stop reminding me of my ex. Well, maybe not- it seems like a sudden hard and fast decision to make, to say something like that, and it has been close to three years since we broke up (and getting closer to that milestone by the day), but there are still reminders. I suspect if we were still on speaking terms, she might enjoy hearing that I still think of her occasionally. Or perhaps not- she’s married and pregnant and a homeowner now, so she’s sort of moved on, or at least on a slightly different trajectory than my current circumstances.

Last week, it seemed the main thing that made me think of her was driving back from playing board games at a friends’ house. Aside from this being the mutual friend who introduced me to my ex, driving from the small college town to home reminded me of the times I would visit during the summer and Christmas vacations, which would invariably involve making plans and going on at least one date in that small town during the few days I was in the area, such as going to see a movie and going out to eat, which also suddenly seems weird to think about amid the still-ongoing pandemic.

Earlier this week, I remembered the times that my ex would text me months after we broke up to, I presume, test the lines of communication. I probably shouldn’t have replied, but I did. Now of course she doesn’t have my phone number (and hasn’t for a couple years and two phones now), but even if she did I doubt we’d talk much. If nothing else, she once said that her now-husband didn’t like it when she talked to me, which is understandable.

Today, as usual, I was reminded of her when I logged into Netflix. Now, I don’t usually watch much Netflix, but the fact that I can see various movies and TV shows that I remember watching together seems- maybe not flawed, but maybe poignant. It’d be one thing if we had just broke up, or even if we were watching some shows together as friends, but considering it’s been 4 months since I’ve heard from her and over a year since we’ve talked about anything on Netflix or any shows or movies, it seems slightly ridiculous that I can see, for example, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind or the Trolls Movie or Star Trek: The Original Series or Supernatural and remember watching it together. Or, if you want “extra” credit, The Umbrella Academy, which she told me about shortly before we made plans to watch Netflix together in February 2019 and she canceled once the appointed time came. Apparently there’s a new season of that, though I first watched the show last fall, I think.

I suppose that could be an argument that I need to watch more Netflix to move some of those things out of my sight, and there may be options to change the selection available or hide certain series, but I also don’t see any particular reason to exercise that choice and find those options.

Of course, I also don’t have any expectation that anyone will be interested in talking to me any time soon, which is its own frustration, but I don’t really know what to do about that.

In other news, this morning two of our dogs woke me up after I’d had slightly over two hours of sleep so I could let them out at sunrise, as they’re accustomed to, and then I was never able to fall back asleep despite trying for a couple hours. Fortunately it hasn’t been much of an issue today, but I’d like to have more than two hours of sleep tonight. Insomnia is frustrating, though sometimes poor sleep hygiene (or caffeine or alcohol) is to blame. Lately I haven’t had too much trouble falling asleep, but when I do, it’s usually been due to caffeine or alcohol throwing neurochemistry (I guess) out of whack in contrast to my preference/desire of having conscious control over physiological functions such as “sleep”. Alas.

Victoria II

Victoria II is a historical strategy and economic simulator game from Paradox Interactive that was released in August 2010 and allows the player to control any country between 1836 and 1935. I purchased the game on August 22, and in 17.7 hours (according to Steam) so far I have finished two games. I haven’t bought any of the two expansions yet, but so far I’ve played one game as Sweden, where I successfully finished the game on December 31 1935, and the second game as Oman, which I involuntarily finished last night due to France invading and annexing me in 1919. Aside from my failing to Westernize because I was unable to get my military score high enough (I had achieved every other requirement long before 1919), another issue I had faced as everything fell apart and French soldiers overwhelmed my army was that I had a Communist insurrection in Mogadishu, my only remaining African colony. I don’t remember the exact sequence of events, but Portugal had taken most of my African colonies in the late 1830s or early 1840s, so I only had to deal with Mogadishu, and really I hadn’t had too many problems.

Once thirty thousand Somali farmers raised the red flag of revolution and overwhelmed the infantry brigade of three thousand men garrisoned in Mogadishu, though, I had a problem. I had been trying to retake my colony, and sending fifteen thousand men (some cavalry, infantry, and artillery) hadn’t succeeded and my invasion had been repelled, so I was working on rebuilding and reinforcing my army to try again when the French declared war and invaded. For some reason, in that game/timeline, France had invaded and taken over most of Persia before they annexed Abu Dhabi (or, as it’s currently known in our world, the UAE and Bahrain), which sort of stole my thunder as I had already conquered Nejd and was planning an annexation of Abu Dhabi before the French invaded. Dastardly imperialists.

Half the fun of Victoria, if you ask me, and arguably any Paradox strategy game, is seeing the alternate history hijinks ensue. In my Oman game, for example, Mexico colonized Oklahoma, and the US never took California, New Mexico, Arizona, etc. from Mexico, as happened in our timeline. I’m not sure why. I think it might have been the Oman game, but at one point I saw Communist Liberia, and in my Sweden game Krakow and Wurttemburg fell to the Communists. At another point in the Oman game, Bolivia had become an absolute monarchy before some rebels turned it into a democracy.

As of now, my plan is to buy the expansion packs at some point in the very near future (I get paid Friday) and continue 19th century imperialist and/or industrial hijinks. I haven’t decided who I want to play as next- I’ve been thinking about playing as the Federal Republic of Central America and trying to keep that united, but I also like the idea of playing as the US or some other country that’s slightly more powerful and has more resources. Oman, for example, produced mainly opium and agricultural goods, which is fine and dandy except for when you want to industrialize (or can’t because you’re “uncivilized”, but I digress). Sweden, at least, produced timber, coal, and steel (among others) which are significantly more helpful when you’re wanting to industrialize.

Since I’ve played in Europe and West Asia, maybe I ought to give the Americas a try? Brazil or Argentina (or both) could be interesting. Of course, there’s also the US or Mexico, but it might be too easy as the US, and Mexico would have to deal with the US and Texas one way or another. If I really wanted a challenge, I suppose I could always try Texas.

 

After-Action Report: Aurek-28

Star Wars: Empire at War is a computer strategy game released in 2006 that allows players to play land or space battles as either the Galactic Empire or the Rebel Alliance in the Star Wars “Galaxy Far, Far, Away”. In terms of chronology, the original game (as opposed to its expansion pack) covers a short time before the destruction of the first Death Star at the Battle of Yavin and could go as late as the Battle of Hoth, more or less, three standard years later.

Earlier this year, after not playing it for some time (probably a few years, minimum), I installed my copy on my Windows PC and rediscovered it.

After moving back in with my parents last month and getting my Windows PC set up again, I’ve been playing Empire at War again sporadically for the last, oh, couple of weeks or so.

After finishing the Imperial “Galactic Conquest” game I had started in May, I decided to try my hand playing as the Rebel Alliance. It has gone… poorly.

As of right now, I control only a few planets and have a meager credit income, while my AI-controlled Imperial opponent can bury me in Stormtroopers, AT-ATs, AT-AAs, Broadside cruisers, and Tartan patrol cruisers.

So, it’s pretty accurate to the “canon” Galactic Civil War!

I’ve been getting increasingly frustrated of late, and earlier I was thinking that, instead of continuing to play and getting increasingly mad, I could instead abandon that game and start a new one at a lower difficult level. Instead of “medium”, I could try “easy” and attempt to learn from my various mistakes. Originally, this blog post was going to be a pseudo-fan fiction ‘after-action report’ from the perspective of a Rebel officer discussing the failure of this particular simulation and lessons learned.

Among my mistakes, in hindsight, has been a failure to play in accordance with the differences between Imperial and Alliance doctrine and strategy. Continue reading

Life, uh, finds a way

It’s been a minute since I’ve written here, it’s true. For the most part, I’ve been well- global pandemic and the presence of COVID-19 in the area for almost a month aside, I’ve thought that seeing how people react has been weird. Among other things, I’ve thought it funny that all the commercials I’ve seen and heard these days (at least from local businesses) seem to fall into the categories of either “we are temporarily closed and look forward to serving you once this crisis is over” or “we’re still open, and we’re taking special precautions to continue to serve you!”

There have been a few changes at work- as a convenience store “team member”, I apparently count as an essential employee, so that’s been fun*! I can write more about that another time, though. Fortunately, I guess I can count my blessings that at least I still have a job, and since I was already taking an online class this semester Before Everything Changed, there haven’t really been any major disruptions. I was already socially isolated before it was cool! Er, wait. Hahaha.

Anyway, I have been glad that at least I haven’t had to deal with transitioning from physical meetings to online classes (I’ve seen it written somewhere that this has been the largest distance learning experiment in history, which I think makes sense- I doubt that schools everywhere would try this on such a large scale without some major incentive, like, oh, I don’t know, a pandemic!), and while my current living situation may not be “optimal”, at least I don’t have to worry about any kids, roommates, or significant others adding stress. I can certainly and unfortunately imagine that if something like this had happened a few years ago, either my then-girlfriend would have exerted additional pressure to move in together, or I would be juggling having to stay in contact with her and worrying about her health in addition to my own stresses. Of course, another possibility I’ve contemplated is being stuck living with a significant other and wanting out, but again, fortunately I don’t have to deal with that.

Anyway, brief life update aside, recently my hours at work have been cut, so it’s been nice working a bit less. Working half the hours that I was working a couple months ago, well, that’s less ideal from a financial perspective, but oh well. This past weekend I spent some time tinkering with a computer so I could work on an assignment, and I got it set up, as well as reinstalling Victoria: An Empire Under the Sun, a grand strategy game made by Paradox Interactive back in the early 2000s. I don’t remember offhand when the game came out- maybe 2004? Anyway, I’ve been playing it recently, which has been fun. Unlike, say, Hearts of Iron or some of their other games, Victoria primarily focuses on economics and politics, so war and military technology isn’t as much of a focus. Sure, there is some, but the basic unit types are infantry, cavalry, dragoons, heavy ships, light ships, and transport ships- the main differences are in their stats, not necessarily their appearance. If you’re looking at the game when it starts in 1836 and near the game’s end in 1935, it’s going to look pretty similar, and you’d have to drill down a little bit (or look at the animated unit icons for your navy) to notice much difference between the Napoleonic flintlock muzzle loader-armed army of 1835 and the interwar bolt-action rifle and machine gun-armed army of 1935.

My first game Sunday night was playing as Persia (Iran), which was slightly fun. I didn’t do much, but I “westernized” fairly early, and aside from crushing frequent rebellions, not much happened. I stayed out of war for the most part, aside from joining a Russian war against my Ottoman neighbors in the late 1910s, and near the end of the game I did expand a little bit (taking half of Afghanistan and a piece of the modern United Arab Emirates, for example). Since I was mostly watching time pass, that allowed me to occasionally catch glimpses of what happened in the rest of the world, such as the US going fascist after the fascists won an election in 1921, the socialists winning several US elections in the 1800s, Denmark and Sweden uniting to form Scandinavia, the United States of Central America staying united, and Italy colonizing a vast area in Africa. Also, apparently Italy was unified from the south in that timeline, rather than the north.

The second game I started yesterday was playing as the United States of Central America, which historically fell apart after civil war in the late 1830s. I had a similar thing happen in my game, as when I’ve played as Central America in the past, but this time I managed to survive, and after the reactionary aristocrat rebels took the capital, they apparently decided to install a monarchy, which then somehow became a constitutional monarchy (not sure why, maybe the events fired at the same time or something). Anyway, alternate historical weirdness like this is what I always enjoy about historical strategy games like this (“what if Germany didn’t unite? What if the US joined Texas in a war against Mexico in 1836? What if Scandinavia united in the 1800s?”), and after playing that game as Persia, aside from wanting to play a game of Victoria 2 (which I don’t own yet, but I’ve been thinking about buying now that I have a Windows computer), I’ve been thinking that I have these settings, but I don’t know how to use them.

There probably are stories that could be told in that world (an alternate history fiction where, e.g., Russia controls half the Middle East and the other Great Powers are trying to protect their interests in Asia), but I don’t have any particular ideas at the moment. Of course, I have a few other ideas that I’ve been wanting to pursue, and at the moment laziness or distraction seems to be my main problem, particularly since I’m currently down to working less than 20 hours a week rather than almost 40.

Of course, there’s also always the job search which I should be working on, as I’ve been saying for months.

My birthday is later this week- perhaps I’ll write again here later.

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.

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.