Archive for January, 2013
Sometimes, you’ve got to get up beyond early to get to the airport. As someone on the West Coast who flies back east for things like Gen Con, I have a choice between catching the earliest flight in the day and actually getting some relaxation time when I land, or catching a later flight and feeling like I’ve lost my whole day.
I always opts for the former, which means a 6am flight. or thereabouts. Here are some tips that have helped me survive around 40 such trips:
- Make a packing list the day or two before. Include everything, even the number of socks and underwear you’re planning on packing. Once you’re done, don’t pack right away. Go and do other stuff — you’ll likely remember something you forgot to put on the list as you do, and you’re more likely to remember that if you aren’t also processing the list at the same time. (I always forget business cards when I fight make the list.) I use Wunderlist for packing lists, among other things.
- Pack the evening before. It should go without saying. Not mere hours beforehand.
- If you can get at least six hours of sleep, try to. If you can’t, and you feel like by sleeping you might not get up in time, then I still advise that you try to “rest your eyes”, but in a different environment: in a chair rather than in bed, lights on, and with your phone’s ringer cranked up and alarm on. Get people who will be up then (like other people traveling that day from the East Coast) to call you at a certain time if they don’t see you tweet that you’re awake.
- Know when the airline kiosks & security stations open.
- This last piece of advice is for the advanced class, and should not be taken if you are unfamiliar with the airport or shuttle situation. When you call for a shuttle, they’ll ask for a flight time, and tend to pick you up with plenty of time to spare. During the day, that isn’t so bad, but in the morning before everything is open and you’re forced to wait an hour before you can check your bag, that is a bunch of suck. For example, when I lived in Oakland, the shuttle wanted to pick me up three hours before my 6a flight, but the airport didn’t properly open until 5. Given that very early morning traffic is light in the area, and that I only lived around 10 miles from the airport, I would routinely list my flight time as between 7 and 7:30. Not once was I late to my flight, because usually they like doing the closer pick-ups last, so being told to be ready at 4 or 4:30 wasn’t a big deal. Still, I did that because I understood how the shuttles worked there, and could reasonably assume I wouldn’t be screwed out by that decision.
- Don’t drink caffeine. Don’t try to be alert while you’re waiting for that first flight, unless it’s crucial and you can’t otherwise be awake or you’re intentionally trying to cop with jet lag early. Let the time flying feel dull, and caffeinated yourself when you get closer to or at your destination.
What tips do you have?
Good news everybody!
I’ve incorporated all the errata found in the last couple weeks into an updated Mythender book: v1.01.
Edit: I’ve put it up on DriveThruRPG. It’s still free, but there you’ll get notified (if you want) of updates, can review it if you like, etc.
Thanks to a fantastic Mythender fan, Decivre, there’s a form-fillable Mythender playsheet & personal sheet!
And you can visit the download page to get some play aids: Battle in Brief, List of Gifts, Moments and Murder in Brief, and Mythmaster Key Techniques.
My friends over at The Walking Eye have started their Mythender actual play sessions. They’ve recorded and released the character creation session, so if you’re curious, take a listen! (Note: this isn’t a tutorial, so some things mentioned aren’t explained or explained later, so you might be lost if you haven’t casually flipped through the book.)
 If you read that in a Farnsworth voice, you are my tribe.
If you haven’t checked out the Fate Core Kickstarter campaign, it’s got a few hours to go. And I have three reasons that I think you should back this if you like RPGs:
(1) From a design standpoint, the major and most of the minor changes in Fate came from weeks of conversations and debates between Leonard Balsera & I about language in Fate, what we found ourselves explaining around or avoiding bringing up in con games, how language choices affect emotional resonance in a moment of story, etc. It’s one of my best works — if not by best work — even if I wasn’t there to finish it at the end. (Seriously, “obstacles” alone took I think three Skype calls to suss out.)
(2) $10 gets you a mountain of content. Go check it out.*
(3) Pledging means you believe in the following people: Leonard Balsera, Mike Olson, Jeremy Keller, Brian “Lord Danger” Engard, Fred Hicks, Rob Donoghue, Clark Valentine, Amanda Valentine, Brennan Taylor, J.R. Blackwell, Sarah J. Newton, Jason Morningstar, Shoshana Kessock, Lisa Steele, John Rogers, Filamena Young, Rob Weiland, Daniel Solis, Jess Nevins, Chad Underkoffler, Kenneth Hite, Justin D. Jacobson, and many others I’m sure whose names I don’t have readily on-hand.
To be entirely clear, I get absolutely nothing for pimping Core. This isn’t a cash grab for me. I just fucking well believe in the game I reforged with Lenny, and think the people above are pretty cool, so maybe Fate’s for you.
* Hell, I pledged at the $10 level.
I’m doing an Important (to me and hopefully others) Thing this coming weekend: I’m going to talk with Philippe-Antoine Menard about my struggle with mental health. This is something I’m passionate about, which anyone who knows me well or follows me quickly discovers. We did a panel at Gen Con, which…really, I should just have you hear him talk about it.
A year ago, I pushed things a bit further and successfully pitched a concept for a Pax East panel featuring gamers dealing with depression and anxiety. The idea was to outline, through life stories and anecdotes, how our respective tribes* were very powerful allies in overcoming the recurring hardships of those dealing with anxiety and depression.
The Pax East panel was a huge success. Along with my friends Brian Liberge and Melissa Lewis-Gentry, we shared poignant stories and hilarious ways that our tribe flew to our help in times of need. Many people in the room shared bits and pieces of their stories with us. Even a year later, I still get good feedback for it.
With such a resounding success, I planned an encore for last summer’s Gen Con. That time, we were graced by the presence of game designer and writer Ryan Macklin. Ryan shared a heart wrenching account of his bout with a condition that caused him so much physical pain that it drove him out of his mind with anxiety and the darkest of thoughts. His emotion-laden account had the whole room listen with rapt attention. Once again, many of those in the room hung around to share stories. A feeling of belonging, of not being alone pervaded the room.
We’re doing this as a Hangout on the Air this Saturday, February 2nd, at 6pm Pacific Time/9pm Eastern Time. Read Phillipe’s post for more information. Once it’s done and on YouTube, I’ll edit this page with the video embedded.
Edit: Thank you all for listening in. For those who want to check it out, it’s on YouTube:
Many years ago, I played Spycraft. I loved the first edition, and when Spycraft 2.0 came out, I snapped it up. And promptly never played Spycraft again, and not because I stopped loving the idea.
See, there were somewhere around a hundred little dials the GM could tweak for any given campaign, and many of them sounded awesome. I was paralyzed by choice — I suddenly wanted to run five different games, and consequently I ran none. Similarly, whenever I see a game boast something like “over twenty classes!” in a core book, I shake my head at it.
Here’s the issue: as a designer, you know the optimal choices, the impacts of various choices, and the interactions of compound choices. But that’s you; people new to your game have none of that. Reading all of those options can be overwhelming to some people, because now they’re playing the game of “make optimal decisions.” Others can get inspired with a host of ideas, that can be incompatible with the host of ideas that other players come up with — too many options and choices leads to an inconsistent world.
So, if you end up piling more and more into some part of your game, slow your roll. Strip some of it back. That will help your game get traction as you don’t have such a hurdle of overwhelming information. Pick your favorite half or two-thirds of that content, and hand to the reader what you really love about your game. Play with that — there’s certainly no science to this.
Now, nothing says what you strip away needs to be deleted. If your game takes off, you have more content to hand out, and as people gain mastery of your game, the new sets of choices are not as overwhelming as giving them all at once.