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one dour badger

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Further Confusion. [Dec. 17th, 2008|04:53 pm]
one dour badger
Hooray for last minute planning. Anyone got beds available? 
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Oh. [Nov. 22nd, 2008|12:12 am]
one dour badger
 ...wait, what?
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(no subject) [Sep. 25th, 2007|03:40 pm]
one dour badger
Last night I glanced at the Ron Paul campaign website, and noticed that they were running a fund-raiser for the final week of the quarter, hoping to make $500,000 so as to significantly outdo their donations from last quarter. They've got a flash counter running with the current tally, and it was at about $160k when I looked last night.

Now it's about to break $25 million.

Don't get me wrong, I love the guy. I even bought my very first "Vote For X" swag because of him. But I'm waiting to celebrate until it's confirmed that this isn't a software error!

EDIT: Confirmed that it was a glitch in the flash counter. The real value is $250k. I left the browser open from last night, and at some point overnight they changed it server-side to count pennies instead of dollars... after reloading, there's a decimal point now.

Still, halfway to the actual goal on Tuesday isn't bad. :D
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(no subject) [Sep. 18th, 2007|11:38 pm]
one dour badger
(cross-posted from lapsing.blogspot.com)

A reptilian race, native to subtropical deserts. The term "alif" technically refers only to females; the much smaller male is an "alifit," and of lesser social status. The Great Alifeen Empire is the largest nation in the known history of Lith, and the Imperial Alifeen language is known by most travellers. The Empire's cultural and material wealth are universally admired, and a non-Imperial alif is a vanishingly rare creature.

The erva are semiaquatic reptiles, one of the two eldest races, and easily the largest. They are most at home in jungles and swamps, rarely venturing out into the uncomfortably dry lands of other races except to trade (or pillage). While they are as capable of art and compassion as other races, their insular tribal culture lets the outside world see little of this, whereas the fact that they are enormous carnivores is plainly evident.

Homa are mammals of clear arboreal origin, but entirely comfortable on land. Along with the erva they share the mantle of eldest race, but few homa even know this; whereas the tribal erva have kept ancient traditions alive through the ages, homan storytelling is usually about the teller, not the story. Their histories are quickly exaggerated into myths and legends, and wars are often fought over disagreement on the details. Still, they are politically savvy, and manage to form large and stable nations.

The youngest race rival the erva in physical mass, and are literally built for combat. With slave-armies of tazidye, created from a burrowing desert mammal by a council of alifeen magi, the Empire was founded. Their mentality was deliberately shaped to desire order and leadership. While this has not stopped some tazidye from fleeing alifeen subservience, their few independent settlements maintain a regimented environment; they are industrious, but rarely creative.

This creature's mother is an alif, and her father is an erv. She is not fertile, and never male. In the Alifeen Empire, where she is usually born and raised, she is pitied as the child of rape (even if this is not the truth, Imperial doctrine allows no legal conception of an uralif) and treated well for what she is, but she is certainly not treated as an alif. Many uralifee become hermits, or search for homes among the homa or even the erva, with varying degrees of success.
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FOTO [Sep. 2nd, 2007|10:27 pm]
one dour badger
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Seeking legal advice. [Aug. 23rd, 2007|09:40 pm]
one dour badger
(cross-posted from lapsing.blogspot.com)

Straight to the point: I want to be paid for my efforts.

I have already put, and will continue putting, large amounts of time into developing a game system, and a game world. I want them to be compelling and enjoyable. This necessitates feedback. Therein lies the rub. How do I expose game mechanics for review, without effectively giving them away for free?

Large corporations do closed testing under non-disclosure agreements. Is this the only safe option? Wizards of the Coast released much of the d20 system as Open Gaming License material, but not until after they'd published a finished product. If I expose my design process here in the name of active critique, what's to stop someone else from taking it and beating me to hard-copy publication? Even worse, possibly doing so with a half-finished and less than streamlined version, so that even if everyone recognizes that I'm the victim of foul play, the first general public opinion is poor, and willingness to try the finished (real) product is decreased.

Short of clamping down and revealing nothing publicly, is there any defense against this possibility?

And what about game world material? That, I think, is slightly better protected by implied copyright; but is there anything simple (and preferably free) that can be done to assert and secure these property rights when publishing on a public forum like this?

I'm hesitant to share much of anything until I know more about these subjects. Pointers would be greatly appreciated.
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Nice while it lasted... [Aug. 22nd, 2007|12:58 am]
one dour badger
Last week at GenCon, Wizards of the Coast announced that they will, next May, be releasing the 4th edition of Dungeons and Dragons. The D&D website has full coverage of the announcement, with links to video of the GenCon seminar on YouTube.

I'm not going to rant about everything I didn't like in their presentation, and let's not even get started on how quickly they decided to invalidate all the books I've purchased this time around, but a couple of things they said caught my attention more than the rest. One of them was "subscription-based," and the concerns this raises are obvious enough. But far more worrying to me was this:

"We're defining the roles of the character classes. Like a sports team, you're going to know what your character, depending on what class he is, is supposed to do in encounters and in the game as a whole."

This does not appeal to me, not one little bit. I started playing D&D about the time 2nd Edition came out, and it whetted my appetite for roleplaying, but the rigid class definitions got stale the instant I first encountered a game which didn't have them. Starting with Palladium games (perhaps the stiffest system still on the market), and then moving to the likes of Storyteller, Legend of the 5 Rings, Earthdawn, the old d6-based Star Wars game, Ironclaw/Jadeclaw, and even Deadlands: I've seen a fair number of gaming systems, and learned a lot about what I like and don't like. And toward the end of the '90s, I had started working on a gaming system (and world) of my own, trying to gather together the good bits and avoid the bad from all the games I'd played.

D&D 3rd Edition was released in 2000. The core rules were pruned, multiclassing was simple and viable, and the skill and feat systems allowed a fair degree of character customization. It wasn't perfection, but nothing about it distinctly turned me off... and with the WotC marketing powerhouse behind the D&D trademark, it rapidly became the game that everyone knew how to play, which was the most important thing. Much as I resigned myself to Windows at about the same time, I've played almost nothing but D&D since 3rd Edition was released.

But now, as best I can interpret, we have been told that D&D is bucking for a slice of the WoW pie, and as such will soon become more rigid again. Maybe I'm wrong, maybe stronger guidelines won't actually hinder you straying off the path... but I think I'd like to prepare myself for things being just as bad as I expect.

I'm pulling my old project off the shelf. Expect updates.

This post, and others on the subject, will be mirrored at lapsing.blogspot.com.
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Letter to Ron Paul. [Jul. 27th, 2007|01:26 pm]
one dour badger
So people have been bugging me about my absence from LJ. It's been a while since I've had anything I really thought was worth posting for public consumption. Not that my life has been terribly boring or empty, it's just that the things I've been doing have their own dedicated forums. :)

Today, though, I wrote something that might spark some interest.

to: mail@ronpaul2008.com
date: Jul 27, 2007 1:23 PM
subject: Question from a pro-choice independent.
I find myself in strong agreement with Congressman Paul on nearly every issue he's spoken about, with one major exception: I am adamantly pro-choice. This does not have to be a deal breaker, though, depending on exactly how Dr. Paul plans to translate his moral position (which I respect and do not wish to debate) into governmental policy.

Ron, you have stated that you believe abortion to be a cultural issue first, because any law will simply be broken (just as it was before Roe v. Wade) if popular morality does not recognize it as valid. Here, then, is my question: do you propose, at any time, to enact any Federal legislation banning abortions outright? or, do you propose to simply eliminate any blockades to the States enacting such legislation on their own jurisdiction? The latter position is one I can endorse.

If in fact you intend to promote legislation, one other question is necessary. You have spoken in terms of the difference between one minute before birth, and one minute after birth. This is not so vital to me as the difference between one month before conception, and one month after. Are you equally opposed to early-term abortion, including chemically induced abortion, before the fetus has differentiated organs?

I'll note that I don't care about loss of Federal funding to abortion clinics; a central pillar of your platform is elimination of many Federal programs and the taxes which support them!

As an independent voter, I am on the brink of registering Republican this year to give Ron Paul my support in the primaries. Whether I do so hinges on this issue. I doubt I am the only voter caught in this dilemma, and a public statement clarifying the details of your agenda might be valuable.

- Lief Clennon
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(no subject) [Mar. 23rd, 2007|03:03 pm]
one dour badger
A meaningful study on relative drug dangers!

Substances were ranked on direct harm to the user, addictiveness, and harm to those other than the user. This particular article has a full chart of the results at the bottom.
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Hooray for libertarian sentiment, I guess? [Mar. 21st, 2007|02:32 pm]
one dour badger
[Tags|, , ]

Associated Press feeds us an opinion piece (not even thinly veiled) regarding the recent trend in banning things; trans fats, cellphones while driving, and headphones in crosswalks are given as examples. In the closing paragraph, a capital-L Libertarian is not-quite-quoted as seeing the validity of a ban one-handed driving, which is hazardous to others, but thoroughly disapproving of a ban on unhealthy foods, as it should be his decision whether he wants to trade donuts for years.

Here is the #1 reason I can't bear to associate myself with the Libertarians, despite holding strongly libertarian views myself: there is an omnipresent underlying assumption that it is the sole responsibility of individuals to educate themselves. This is contrary to human nature. We learn from the culture that surrounds us, even if we are never formally taught anything. Many of us learn that self-education is a valuable and worthwhile pursuit, but it must be strongly emphasized that this, too, is a learned behavior!

It is simply wrong to suggest that anyone who doesn't know that fried chicken can clog their arteries is getting what they deserve for being ignorant. I understand well the frustration that can come from trying to educate (or even work around) the willfully ignorant: those who refuse to be educated at all, or to let go of false ideas that block useful ones from being absorbed. Taking out this frustration on the merely uneducated is throwing out the baby with the bathwater. To further invest this paragraph in proverbs, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink." But if you don't do the leading, guys, you're negligent on your end.

I cannot stress enough that I believe any law which attempts to protect one from one's own behavior is absolutely wrong. However, this must not be generalized beyond a certain point. People place their trust in food providers; in the name of cheap manufacture and pseudo-addictive products, that trust is often violated, and this is not exclusively the consumer's fault. The point of structured society, after all, is so that we don't all have to watch our asses from every angle 24/7. Trust should be possible.

Suggestions specific to the food issueCollapse )

Jumping back to the full scope of the original article, here's my take on certain categories of ban laws: Read more...Collapse )
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