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A game in my head

There is a space between Hunter and Mage where my brain goes sometimes. It's a room where the music is the kind of electronic that makes serious use of strings rather than industrial drums, and a handful of people are preparing weapons that carry unique visual signatures - baroque brass pistols, knives with ornately engraved blades and such - getting their stuff together to go all SWAT team on something impossible and world-breaking. Not because they want to, but because somebody must, and the list of candidates is way too short.

I want the magical underground to be dirty and broke, but honest, or if not honest, at least doing what they can. I want the blue collar sensibility of Supernatural with the thoughtfulness of a well-loved library. I want the monsters in the shadows to be something that can be fought with will, knowledge and courage. Any man can stand against them, but not many will.

I do not want the fellow in the cubicle to be my enemy. He has a family. He works with cloth walls to keep them clothed and fed. Every day destroys his soul a little, but that's still better than it being destroyed all at once. This is not some rebellion against the cops or The Man or my dad. It's dirty work, not vindication of my secretly held beliefs that I am somehow smarter or better than those people who lack my vision. If I had to prove shit like that, I would be one of the dangerous things.

I want to remember that lives matter.

I want to know why magic is a bad idea. I want to wish I'd never seen what I've seen, and I want to understand to my very bones why I don't want anyone else to ever have to see it. I want to remember that nietzche's quite about monsters sticks with us because it's true, not because it's cool.

Escrazez L'Infame et L'Infernal.

Snowverkill, 2010

Just for context, this is where the snow is on our back door right now. Front yard is more like this:

It it still coming down, but for reference, these cars and driveway were clean last night:

Actually played Dragon Age

Cross Posted from here:

I ran a game of Dragon Age tabletop on New Years Day, and it went quite well. The positives I expected were there (as were the negatives) but I still ended up pleasantly surprised.

Random chargen started out interestingly as one of my players nailed an 18 on the first roll, in plain sight of everyone. At ten end, the final distribution was a little unkind, with respective total bonuses of 12, 10 and 7. I let #2 and #1 at 1 and 2 points to their total respectively - this was entirely outside the scope of the rules, but I'm ok with that.[1] They ended up going mage, fighter and rogue.

Onwards and sidewaysCollapse )


The Dragon Age RPG

I wrote a bunch about the Dragon Age RPG over at my other blog, but I wanted to sync it here in advance of an actual play post that I'm working on. I'm sort of testing the waters on syncing more regularly, but it'll be kind of crude for the time being.

Part the FirstCollapse )

Part the secondCollapse )



I am somewhat gobsmacked that did something very productive, and also exactly what it did.

So, if you start reading this thread, it is a complete and total clusterfuck for about 200 posts. Basically, someone saw the cover of a game by Outlaw Press and recognized the art as being work under copyright by someone other than the person given credit, and called foul in pretty strong terms. What follows is about 200 posts of people demonstrating which way their knees jerk and playing armchair lawyer. But then something very curious happened - an artist popped his head up and said "Oh, hey, those guys are using one of my pieces too." Then another on. Somewhere around post 251 someone put up thumbnails of a number of covers, which included art by Storn Cook and Ursula Vernon, as well as a bunch of other folks. Suddenly the clusterfuck became something practical and useful, with people identifying and contacting artists.

I had been reading that thread as a sort of masochistic reminder of why I don't go to the forums. It is nice to be suprised from time to time. (Tip of the hat to fade, thanks)


TV Nonsense

As far as I can tell, NCIS: Los Angeles exists to suck all that is good out of the franchise. Which is a shame, because the buddy moments between Chris O'Donnell and LL Cool J have some potential.

My blog on LJ

An RSS feed for my blog can be read on lj as user rdonoghueblog. Curiously, I didn't set it up, but when I went to set one up myself, it turns out that that username was already in use, so i checked it out and there it was.

Anyway, thank you to whoever set that up!

And for those lookign to use google reader or the like, try this as the rss address:

Where I've Been

I've been meaning to post this here for a while, but my cynical Irish side has convinced me to hold off in case of disaster. I've managed to distract him with beer and song long enough to pull this together.

About a month ago, I decided I needed to improve my writing. There was no specific catalyst for this, but rather an accumulation of small things. I didn't want to make a big deal of it, since it was more of a challenge to myself than anything else, but I was lookign to write more often, and more consistently, so I set myself the challenge of wring one blog post every weekday.

I'd made commitments like that to myself before, and I didn't want to sabotage myself, nor did I want to draw too much attention to it for fear I'd flub it, so i decided to take it over to my little used blogger account. The decision to go to blogger was one driven by two simple technical limitations. First, I can't reach livejournal during the workday, and with the kid at home, my evening access is spotty. Second, I needed to be to work on several posts at once, and schedule their release when appropriate. Those two factors demanded I use another platform, and choosing blogger over wordpress was more or less a coinflip.

Much to my surprise, I've been successful.

So, as long as I hold it up, I'm writing over there now. It's been a month, and while they're not all winners, I think there have been a few solid hits along the way. I'll still be hanging around here, and if I'm not a total slacker I'll try to start putting pointers up when something bears notice. I will also be finding my way back here for more casual writing - as I write more, I find it grows easier, but not everything I'd want to write belongs in the same place. Some things are just better suited to LJ, simple as that.

So, thank you all, and sorry about going silent for so long with no warning.

Internet is Back

After an extended outage, we have the internet back. Will be getting back to that previous idea ASAP.

What's on my mind

I was thinking about a bunch of different approaches to play and came back to a diceless model that is equal parts Amber, Bugtown, Mortal Coil and Best Friends. It takes the idea of relative superiority from Amber and Bugtown with some of the player-competitive elements from Best Friends and Amber, and marries it with some setting generating elements from Mortal Coil.

This is the shape it took. Going to go sleep on it now. Explanations to follow if it still makes sense in the morning.

(And feel free to blame these guys and their damnable thought-producing questions.)



Robert Donoghue

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March 2010



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