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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It’s time to ramble on

I don’t know why I feel like I should write something here.

Obligatory “It’s been a while”. The end of the semester is nigh, and of course that means there’s papers and projects to do, tests to take, and all sorts of other fun things.

Meanwhile, at work, I can’t think of any particular upheaval, but there’s some schedule changes due to people moving to different shifts. I am unaffected, thankfully, but it’s different. Change is the only constant in life, I guess.

I have less than two hours before work, and I don’t know that I feel like writing about recent interaction with my ex-girlfriend right now. I might make that my next entry. We’ll see.

As far as relationships go, I don’t know if I feel like life would truly be easier if I had a girlfriend right now, but it would be nice to have someone to talk to and cuddle with. I don’t remember if I’ve written anything here about the girl I went on a few dates with – that can also be something I write about in the near future. Heh.

This seems like a particularly scatterbrained entry with no point. Suffice to say, I should probably be productive instead of thinking about story ideas. At the moment, I have three main projects in mind: finishing the Stellaris AAR I started a couple months ago, writing a story set in the post-apocalyptic Ozarks (inspired by a CK2: After the End game), and possibly finishing another Stellaris AAR I started last summer.

Gods, that seems like a lot, and that doesn’t even include all the junk I need to do before the end of the semester. I know I’ve been thinking about including things from recent interaction with ex-girlfriend in a story, though I’m not sure how I could (to say nothing of it seeming, while not unoriginal, maybe too personal?).

Anyway, expect more posts in the near future. I like the idea of trying to make another post this week – maybe even two.

 

So long (in various senses)

Once again, the time has come for me to write here. I hadn’t realized until I logged in and read my notifications that my last post was nearly a month ago- I guess I forgot.

Near the end of last month I realized that my summer was about half over, which was somewhat sad, and I have about a month and a week until my fall semester begins August 21, so that doesn’t help. Unfortunately, my computer has not been working for roughly the past two weeks, so my plans to play many hours of Stellaris have hit a roadblock and I’ve been badly suffering from withdrawal. Well, not really. Unfortunately, my most recent game of Stellaris (featuring my custom empire of theocratic xenophobic militaristic Space-Elves, and the story I had/have been planning based on the game) has suffered; I hope that I won’t have to completely reboot, but it’s possible that I may have to format the hard drive that all of my personal files were installed on, and I may end up losing some things. Continue reading

Current writing projects

As promised, I’ve decided to briefly write about my current writing projects. Unfortunately, being a full-time student and working part-time interferes with my productivity, though doing one or the other would probably be manageable. Of course, if I didn’t work I’d have to find some other way to pay my bills, and that might be an issue from a financial standpoint.

Crusader Kings 2: After the End mod

I’ve written here before about Crusader Kings 2 and the After the End mod, which takes the feudal mechanics and gameplay of Crusader Kings 2 from medieval Eurasia and North Africa and throws them into North and Central America and the Caribbean, starting in July 2666. At present, I have a couple projects related to this setting, as well as ideas for more.

The Americanists, who worship the Founding Fathers and other important figures from Old America (i.e., the United States before civilization as we know it ended about 600 years before the game starts [somewhere between 1945 and 2077]), have believers scattered around America, including near Mount Rushmore, in Texas, and are the predominant religion of Central Florida, Virginia, Maryland, south New Jersey, and parts of Pennsylvania.

The project I may have made the most progress on thus far (even if only in terms of game progress) is my as-yet unnamed game as Elias Waltney, who is Chief of the Mouse in central Florida when the game starts, and (soon) his successors. I have yet to actually start writing the “history”, but in-game Elias Waltney is in his mid-60s, and so probably within a few years of passing away.

The other After the End project I’ve been working on lately is a game as the ruler of Springfield, Missouri. This is, admittedly, primarily because I’ve lived here for a couple years, and I’ve already played a game as the ruler of where I’m originally from (a few versions ago, I admit, but that game is the Chariton game I post about here on occasion). A slight difference from “the Florida game”, as I’ve referred to it, is that I’m trying to write this as a narrative, from the perspective of various characters, as opposed to a more historical and scholarly perspective.

Europa Universalis IV: Super States mod

I don’t have many projects currently going for this game and mod. My current project is as California, which (as of the 1460s) has annexed Baja California and quashed a Baja Californian rebellion, in addition to various other entertaining oddities such as Washington conquering Oregon, New York conquering Vermont and northern New Jersey and northern Pennsylvania, and Minnesota losing land to Iowa, Manitoba, and South Dakota. I’m not sure if I’ve firmly decided on an end for this one, but I think, and have thought, that a history of North America between 1444 (when the game starts, shortly after the American, Mexican, and Australian states and Canadian provinces found themselves thrown back in time) and European contact (1494? probably the 1490s, anyway, assuming a roughly historical timeline).

As with the After the End mod for Crusader Kings 2, ideas here are fairly easy to come by. I’m a Missouri native, so I think playing Missouri at some point would be interesting, though unfortunately in-game Missouri is rather boring and only produces Grain (while California, for example, produces Wine, Naval Stores, Grain, and possibly a few other goods). My current idea is that I might try Missouri in either the next version of the mod or after I’ve made some significant headway on California – maybe after a halfway point is reached or something.

The Fall of Summer

Meteorological autumn is upon us! Not that you would know that from the weather today, but it does tend to take at least a couple weeks for the weather to start cooling down (or, conversely, warm up in the spring and summer). Of course, in about a month it might be more autumnal and significantly less summery. In any event, I’m looking forward (as I have been since probably March) for the weather to cool down again. Fall and winter are, by far, my favorite seasons, because I’m not a fan of being outside, I don’t like warm weather, and there are significantly fewer annoying insects in the dead of winter than there are in the “dog days” of summer.

Weather discussion aside, it seems like I usually feel a desire to start some kind of new project as a month ends and a new one begins. Today I’ve thought it was interesting that I haven’t really been thinking about anything along those lines recently, though I suspect there may be a few potential causes (existing projects, being busy with classes and work, spending time with “F”) for recent preoccupation.

As far as existing projects go, there are certainly options if I feel like working on one for a time.  Continue reading

summer and strategy

Apparently I haven’t written any posts here for almost two weeks. I suppose I should change that, shouldn’t I?

I don’t know that I can think of anything recently that’s particularly exciting, since I’m still working, taking a writing class, and corresponding with F (the young woman I’ve been texting since late February).

The night of the 4th of July wasn’t as busy as I had expected it to be, but of course the next day, when I had the kitchen to myself, was the day that more people decided they wanted pizza. I managed, and I’ve heard that my hard work is appreciated, so that’s always good to hear. Days off are always nice, particularly this week – I had last Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday off work, worked Friday and Saturday night, and then I have three days off this week, which I just realized are about half over, since I had Sunday (for once), Monday, and Tuesday night off.

Last Tuesday I drove to campus and sat outside the classroom for several minutes before one of my classmates pointed out, as he was leaving, that there was a sign posted that class had been canceled. I had received a wake-up call from my mother that morning, which meant I was awake 45 minutes to an hour earlier than usual, and I later saw that the teacher had sent the e-mail canceling class around 8:30 that morning. Driving to campus only to find out that class was canceled was slightly frustrating, but it was nice having class canceled on a day off (even if I had trouble imagining being ill in July, as the teacher apparently was).

I don’t remember if I’ve mentioned Europa Universalis 4 or the Super States mod here before, but I’ve been thinking about it lately. Europa Universalis 4 is a game from Paradox Interactive (the company that makes Crusader Kings 2) that allows one to play as any country between roughly 1444 and 1820. About a year ago, I discovered that someone had made a mod (the Super States mod) that allows you to play as a US, Mexican, or Australian state or Canadian province that somehow wound up in 1444. Now, of course, there are a few additional scenarios, but playing as a US state thrown back in time has appealed to me. I’ve thought before that it would be interesting to play a game with that mod and then write a history from “the beginning” (1444) to European contact in the late 1400s/early 1500s. European interaction with the new world would be very different if there are equally advanced states of European descent occupying the New World.

Previous ideas for writing this “history” have included Missouri (because I’m a life-long native of Missouri) and California (because it offers more interesting opportunities, like the possibility of having a navy and Pacific colonization and exploration). The creator of the mod, however, has been busy with vague “real life” issues, and has not been able to keep the mod updated for the current version of EU4, since several expansions had been released since the last mod update. However, an update for the mod was released on July 4, which unfortunately wasn’t working but did get me thinking about the interesting possibilty of a strategy game, like RISK or Diplomacy, set in the United States. Or perhaps I should say the Divided States.

Initially I thought it would be interesting to have the players playing as different states, and that led to the idea of having the players start by fighting over a particular state, uniting it, and then moving on to try uniting the States in their image. I drew a few rough maps of Midwestern states (Missouri by hand, Iowa and Nebraska on the computer) for this game, but it’s somewhat hard to do that when you’re not familiar with an area of a state and there’s not much in a region. It’s fairly easy to designate a metropolitan area as a “territory”, or to draw a shape around a town that’s obviously going to dominate an area due to having the largest population in a particular area, but beyond a certain point I feel like it would be difficult for aspiring governments to hold on to territory beyond a certain distance if they’re limited to pre-modern technology.

I’ve also been thinking about the After the End mod for Crusader Kings 2, probably because thinking about the Divided States and pre-modern technology reminded me of it. Lately, for some reason, I’ve been thinking it would be interesting to play in the southern US – I’ve never been east of Chicago, but lately I’ve been thinking Florida, the Carolinas, or Virginia (among other places) might be interesting to play because of the possibility of naval combat. Who doesn’t like ships, right? At the moment I’m considering a project, similar to my Chariton after-action report, for somewhere in Florida, but I don’t think I’ll start that until some time after the Horse Lords expansion is released tomorrow and the After the End mod is updated with whatever new mechanics they decide to integrate.

Summer is a-coming in

I haven’t been doing anything particularly exciting of late – work, occasional writing, playing computer games, and so on. Of course, now that I say that, I can think of a few different ideas for potential posts, like being called in to work last Friday five minutes before a tornado warning went out, or some tabletop roleplaying ideas, or recent interest in the After the End mod for Crusader Kings 2, specifically the tribal game I recently re-discovered. For that matter, I could also write about the dream I had this morning.

Maybe I’ll do a bit of each. Continue reading