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Messages - Slartibartfast

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Everything Else / Re: Youtube Video Bonanza
« on: July 28, 2009, 08:24:28 am »
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You know there's something wrong when William Shatner repeating you makes more sense then when you said it.

Try to remember the basic set up of the city. (A simplistic map.)

Figure out were you could find some better weapons and armor that are NOT in the direction on the massive goblin horde.
Likely locations include: city watch locations ("police stations"), various shops in the merchant quarters of the city, certain guild halls, homes in the nobles quarters (likely as decorations on the walls), temples to any martial gods (does magic healing exist?), and various seedy places in the low quarters. (bar decorations and "black market/thief guild" locations) 

Pawn Sell things you don't need: like the flamingos, trees, and most of your concrete lawn.


I sent you some questions Huckbuck, they mostly deal with my random event.  :o

So, what's the schedule for this one?  You're on vaction for twenty days?

I should be able to make a massive post and write the background story in that time.  *knocks on wood*  *shoots a black cat*

PC Games / Re: Blood Bowl
« on: July 12, 2009, 09:39:34 am »
Has anyone gotten this yet?

It's out in French and German, but for English you have to buy a digital download or wait until September when it will be released simultaneously on the PC and Xbox.

This guy is taping his matches against the computer and narrating them.  He's not very good, but it's interesting to me.

Storytelling and Roleplaying / Re: Vampire adventure
« on: July 12, 2009, 09:33:14 am »
Ask them what they are doing and run if they attack.

Think about it, they can't be looking for you.  You just woke up.

I'm adding in a recap, but I'm going to continue typing the story part if I ever find some time.  Even if they won't help me this turn, I need to get all of these scenes out of my mental buffer.

My hope is to be done by tomorrow.  Everytime I sit down to start something odd happens.  I didn't even get any days off from work this week.

Could I be cursed?

House 2.  It leaves more money for bills, upgrades, and whatnot.

Storytelling and Roleplaying / Re: Vampire adventure
« on: July 07, 2009, 08:06:19 am »
While trying not to turn into an animal that is a vampirical archetype is a good idea; flying squirrel doesn't seem like the best choice.
I would suggest a basic black cat, or if you insist on flying, an owl.

But first, I would suggest looking through your library to see what other information it contains. 

Trying to determine your location, previous identity, how long your eternal nap was, and a way to tell time could all be useful.

Year 2 -- Month 7

People: Danrathi (Those who stopped here.)
King(K): Malik
Queen(Q): Inaza
Heirs(H): Hadar(1st son - 17), Kari (Daughter - 14), Tarjo (2nd son - 13)

Village: Modarath (We stop here.)
Huts: 24 (22 Homes + 1 Storage + 1 Firehut)
Total Population: 80 (75 + 5 Royals)
Men: 27 (K + H + 25 )
Women: 26 (Q + 25 )
Children: 27 (2H + 25 )

Village: Ikarsute (Fisher's Refuge)
Huts: 5 (3 Refuges + 1 Firehut + 1 Storage)
Population: Transient.

Day before Task Day.  Malik is sitting in the shade of his own hut working on something and seems frustrated.  His now noticeably pregnant wife, Inaza, approaches.

"What are you doing outside the hut, beloved?" asked Inaza.

"Now that Fall is returning, so has the wind.  It is odd, how in the Summer it is like a missing friend, but in the winter it seems to seek our death."

"Is pondering the wind what frustrates you now, my beloved?"

Malik looked up from his labor and said, "Maybe a little, but mostly it is using this new wood shaper in its handle.  I seem to have mispondered this matter.  I've got the wood to hold it, but I can't shape wood with it very well anymore."  Malik hold it up for Inaza to view.

Malik looks at Inaza.  "What have you done to the bodywear and footwear you are wearing?"

"Oh this, I've just added more vines to keep them in place better.  Gargo nearly got his bodywear in the fire bending over it, so that seemed like something to fix.  I just added some vines for the waist, where we bend.   The hunters complained the footwear was sliding off their feet or their feet off it.  If the back vine was in front of the ankle it would slide off when they started running and if it was behind the ankle their foot would slide forward in it.  Luckily, no one was hurt by this.  They have started calling them 'shoos' for the noise of slipping was making animals 'to go away'.  I just added a vine for both sides of the ankle and hopefully, they won't slide either way now.  I'll show them to everyone tomorrow."

"Good, good.  Shoos." Malik shook his head.  "They should be called 'shoes' because they are 'used to go away.'  Malik said as dryly as possible.

Inaza looked at him oddly, then started laughing when she realized he was jesting with her.  "That is a bad jest, my beloved."

"It would seem I can't even jest correctly this month." Malik said half smiling looking back at the handled wood shaper.

"Well, let me take a look at it."  Inaza said holding out her hands for Malik to hand her the new tool, which he promptly did.
Inaza sat down and started trying to shave some wood off the large branch Malik had been practicing with.  After a little while, with little to show for it, she stopped.
"Malik, this just will not do.  Have you forgotten that wrists must be used to shape?  I can do 'push away' motions, but not 'pull toward' ones.  It's as big as my forearm and it would require me to stand up and move to change the direction of shaping.  The handle would have to be much shorter and easily held by one or both hands to even hope to improve the woodshaper."

"But that would limit us to branches still." said Malik in a voice hinting at dejection.

Inaza leans forward, "This is about making bowls out of trees, isn't it?"

"Yes, I suppose it is, but I see finding easier ways to shape wood will lend it self to other things as well.  Wood has many mysteries in it.  I can feel it."

"Using this palm sized rock to shape a tree does not sound wise and would require greater effort than I can imagine.  It's a wood shaper, not a hatchet."

Malik got up and went inside to Hadar's sleeping area and got Hadar's hatchet.

"What are you doing Malik?"

Malik sat down and started moving the handled wood shaper around with the hatchet next to it, as if it were following it.


About that time Tarjo came around the side of the hut behind his Father.  He didn't say anything, but waited to be addressed.

"Maybe . . . maybe . . . if I put a handle on it." muttered Malik to himself.

"We already know the hatchet handle can't hold the wood shaper, remember beloved?"

"But could it hold the handle that holds the wood shaper?"

A look of surprise came to Inaza's face.  She spoke very calmly and said,  "Malik, remember when you told we to warn you if you where pondering something too deeply, and possibly wrongly.  This may be one of those times.  You want to put a handle on a handle.  Doesn't that sound a little silly; like poking a hole in a hole?"

"It will not be silly if it works, but you could be correct.  I'll have to examine all of my techniques again."

"Maybe you will need new techniques.  Surely rubbing and banging things together, sharp edges, poking holes, and binding things together can't solve all our problems."

Malik looked at the hatchet and what Inaza was wearing, then toward the firehut -- he thought about the windbreak wall, because he could not see it from where he was sitting.  "I will not be quick in judging the matter." said Malik cautiously.

"Maybe you just need something new to think about.  Possibly Tarjo has brought us such a thing, as he is prone to doing."  Inaza leans to one side to look around Malik; Tarjo steps out of the hut's shadow behind his Father, into the light.  " -- like why his hands are green!" a surprised Inaza proclaims.

Malik lets go of the tools and spins around in place to look at Tarjo.

Tarjo raises his hands in nervous truimph.  "I got the color out of the grass."

"We can see that you have done so.  How did you do it?" asked Malik.

"Come with me to the rock pile and I can show you."

Malik stood up and turned back to Inaza, "Do you wish to see too?"

"No, I must get back to the crafting circle.  I had only taken a break to check on you."

"So, be it then."  Malik helped Inaza up, picked up his spear, then went off with Tarjo.

Inaza looked down and noticed the tools on the ground, then bent over and picked them up.  'Boys' she thought.  She just placed them all in Hadar's pile before returning to the crafters.

Upon arriving at the rock pile, Malik noticed there were little traces of color everywhere but lots of green on the largest stone.

"So, what have you pondered into action my son?"

"Well, I noticed I could get a little color out of a few flowers or blades of grass last month, but not really enough to draw with.  Some methods produced more than others, but were slower and speed is very important to this task.  The colors start wet, but become dry very quickly.  I collected as much green grass as I could -- with the help of some friends and the permission of the teachers -- and tried crushing and grinding it out of them.  See."  Tarjo pointed to the other side of the big stone and Malik looked over it.

"Currently, its all over my hands, but with enough grass and time, one could gather enough color to color a hut's walls in finger drawings."

"You've been rubbing that rock against that stone for a month in this heat?  I'm impressed."

"I didn't do it all month.  Just a little every few days when I had gotten enough grass.  I was tiring the first few times, but I seem to have gotten better at it."

Malik looked around at the interesting mess and noticed what appeared to be a pile of brownish-white hair.  "What is that?  Did you strike down a large mouse and not dispose of it in the wastepile?"

Tarjo looked confused and then looked at where his Father was pointing.  "Oh, that?  That is just . . . grass' secret hair, I guess."

"Secret hair?  Explain."

"Well, last month I tried the 'squeeze method' on the grass and while the green color came out, that stuff was left behind.  The squeeze method didn't really work because it would dry out almost as fast as it came out."

"You're saying grass is full of hair?  And you didn't mention it to me?"

"It's really weak hair Father.  I didn't want to bother you with it.  Watch."  Tarjo picked some up and tore it apart easily.  "See, it's no stronger than the grass it came from."

Malik picked some up and tore it apart too.  "It seems about as strong as a handful of grass of equal size.  Do you see what that may mean?"

Malik stood there waiting, hoping even, his son would understand.

Tarjo stood there looking at the hair, and the color, and his Father, trying his best to ponder what his Father was pondering.  'Color.  Hair.  Color.  Hair.' He thought. He glimpsed at the grass growing nearby.  'What else is there?  Wait, there isn't anything else!' he realized.  "Father, are you saying the hair isn't any stronger than the grass because it's what gives the grass it's strength?"

"It would seem so.  I wonder if there are other secret hairs in other things.  Stronger things."

"Like in what?"

"I'm not sure, my son.  I'll mention it to the people and have them look about.  Is there anything else you've noticed but failed to mention?"

"Only a pondering about the mud turning into a false rock near the fire."

"Please enlighten me with your answer to this mystery."

"Well, I don't have an answer.  I just noticed mud is too soft to hold the shape you give it with your hands.  One would have to find a way to hold it in that shape near the fire, or find a way to 'semi-harden' it first."

"Have you pondered a way to do either?"

"No, I have not.  I wanted to solve the mystery of colors before moving on to the fire hardened mud."

"I know the feeling of trying to solve many mysteries at once, but you should at least have them in your mind as you do other things.  The fire tenders told me that stone and bone do not change in the presence of fire.  Maybe they could be used to give something shape within or near it.  Is there anything else, some other pondering perhaps?"

"No, Father, that is all."

"Very well then I will return to my tasks."  Malik looks around.  "Where are your teachers?"

"Over there."  Tarjo pointed toward to where the windbreak and northwest path met.  They were sitting in the shade of it, apparently watching the children on the other side.

"Can they see you here?"

"Maybe when the stand up, but they could easily hear me shout.  I'm in the village though, so they need not worry."

"Hmm.  Carry on."  Malik walked away toward the teachers.  As he went he wondered, 'Wasn't the rockpile much larger than that?  Maybe it needs to be refilled.'

As Tarjo watched Malik leave he thought, 'Harden mud into the shape of a rock or bone?  Don't we craft rocks into shapes more useful and we have no use for bones yet.  What would we do with mud in those shapes?'

Malik walked down to where the teachers where sitting, they turned toward him as they heard him approach, and it was a decent distance so Malik felt they were at least alert.  Malik noticed an odd look on their face and heard children laughing from around the wall.  The teachers were about to say something, but Malik made the hunter's signal to be quiet; which in truth was just a gesture Inaza made to the children to be quiet that Hadar had taught the hunters.  Malik crept up to the edge of the wall as best as his old legs could and listened.

"King says stand on one foot." Malik heard his daughter Kari say.  The she continued with her instructions every few moments.
"King says put your hands on your head."
"Jump up and down."
*Laughter of many children*
"You're out Loran!  I didn't say King says!"

"Ah." apparently the voice of the little boy who was 'out'.

Malik stepped around the corner and said, "Daughter, what are you doing?"

Many of the children make an "Ooh." noise in response.

"We're just playing King Says, Father." responded Kari smiling.

"I have not said any of these things."

"That's why it's King Says and not King Malik Says, Father.  Aren't we supposed to listen to the King?  We're just practicing."  

"Interesting.  You may continue, but be careful as to your commands.  I will be pondering this activity though."

Malik heads to the fire tenders hut to get an update from them for the month.
.   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .


2 people teach.  This month will be coloring walls like fields of grass and flowers.

12 people fish.  Try using baskets in this task, not just for carrying the fish home.  

16 people plus Hadar will hunt.  

6 people will take bowls/baskets into the woods and fields looking for and gathering edible plant parts.  Be sure to report when the different types of plants are no longer growing due to the changing seasons.  Whether it's this month, next month, or the last month of fall.  When there are no more edible plants to be found start fishing.

2 people tend fire.    

8 people build.  6 will start building a windbreak wall in the fisher's refuge starting in the Northeast side.  The other two will build another hut in the new row in the village.

4 people will craft, being lead by Queen Inaza.  2 will make baskets.  2 will make new footwear and improve the old.    

Queen Inaza will continue working on different sorts of body coverings.  She also wants to think of a way for the crafters not to risk injury in the coming months when she may not be able to work due to her pregnancy.  

Hadar wants to see if the technique King Malik used to attach the wood shaper to a handle will work better with the other tools; namely the different types of knifes that don't have handles yet.

King Malik will try putting a fork and tendon handle (hatchet style) on the wood shaper handle in the hopes that will resort its range of motion and increase its ease of use.

General Orders (and concept reveal; for now):
Collect vines and the 'little climbing vines' when you see them, if it won't interfere with your current task.

Someone suggested we throw rocks at the winter birds.  Gather rocks that are good for throwing and put them in a pile in the rockpile area.  Riverstones are smooth and easily held; the fishers should collect them in their baskets when they get the chance.

The idea of catching winter birds in baskets was purposed. {True.}  This lead to Marja's idea of catching fish in baskets to be revealed as well.  It was realized any animal smaller than a basket and weaker than its wood could possibly be caught in one.  Malik wants everyone pondering exactly HOW this will be done.

To these ends: practice catching in baskets, and throwing rocks at, the scavengers that come to the waste pile.  This may ONLY be done when at least one hunter with a spear is there ready to strike, just in case the animal becomes dangerous.  If any scavengers are not mice and large mice (rats) bring a dead one to King Malik for inspection.

The children will gather grass and nearby flowers to color the lower walls of their homes to look like a grassy flower field.  For this purpose, adults should try to gather flowers as they go about their tasks.  There won't be many different types in the fall, but there should be some.

Tarjo will spend most of his day teaching the other children to extract colors from plants.  He will continue pondering what can get near fire's heat and hold its shape and mud's as well.  It needs to have a useful or, at least, pleasant shape.

Kari will continue pondering new materials to make footwear.  

Marja is worried her basket idea won't work.  She either needs to make a 'basket spear' like she's been trying to, or find a way to improve the basket so it will have a better chance of catching fish.  Could a basket's mouth open and close like a real fishes does?

Storytelling and Roleplaying / Re: [Blank] - A GPS2009 Metagame
« on: July 01, 2009, 09:31:10 am »
Burkina Faso.

Storytelling and Roleplaying / Re: Genetic Evolution
« on: July 01, 2009, 09:26:15 am »
Mmmh, what do you think I should do about flight? Giving it a set penalty when there are no predators around?
I'm not sure.  I guess it depends on how much you want dodos, penguins, and ostriches.
Also, is the cost so high to keep everyone from trying to fly?
The biggest question is if the idle malus just turns into a normal combat locomotion penalty once it is fully developed?
It will really come down to the length of the game to see if it is a problem or not.
Unless I'm completely missing my guestimate of the scale of the game, 30-50 points per level with a idle malus of 20-40 points is more than enough to keep people from putting wings on everything.  If it was any other way there wouldn't be so many birds and flying insects.

Storytelling and Roleplaying / Re: Genetic Evolution
« on: July 01, 2009, 08:09:27 am »
Yes, biodiversity starts at one and yes, if a population reaches zero biodiversity it goes extinct.
And that thing about predators and prey is actually rather troubling. The only thing I could do would be some kind of "safe zone" instead of a tie, that means to lose one biodiversity point one of the two species needs to have a combat stat of at least 2 or 3 points more instead of just one. How does that sound?
2 points ought to do it without risking frequent extinctions, but 3 will give more variety to the creatures.  But a buffer zone will be very important at the start and a necessity for a learning curve to develop among the players.

Combat: The combat stat describes how good a pedator can kill its prey or how good prey can defend itself against predators. The combat stat is a simple number. The cost to increase or decrease the combat stat by 1 is ten times as many EP as the current combat stat is. To get from 0 combat to 1 combat costs 5 EP.
After each turn, if the combat stat of the predator is higher than that of the prey, the prey population loses one biodiversity point. On the contrary, if the combat stat of the prey is higher than that of the predator, then the predator population will lose one biodiversity point. In case of a tie, no population loses biodiversity.
Combat points can be represented in different ways. The most obvious is normal weapons like spikes, fangs and claws. Prey animals can also feature an armour. However also more exotic ways of defense may be evolved as long as the players explain it. Under combat also falls the ability to hide (camouflage).
Just to be clear, combat includes all the possible senses (sight, hearing, smell, taste, sonar, magnetic sense) plus various other things (electric shocks, acid spit, using sticks for poking, bioluminescence, etc.)?  Basically, it's anything a creature could use to hunt or defend itself, correct?

Speed: Speed determines how fast a species is at a certain locomotion. The four different types of locomotion are swimming, walking, climbing and flying. Swimming is the default for the starters. It can only be obtained by aquatic or amphibic animals. Walking can be evolved by amphibic and terrestrial animals and describes any way of moving on the ground. Climbing can only be evolved by walking animals, while flying can only be evolved by climbing animals. Any animal that does not have any locomotion is considered immobile. Climbing anymals must be at least two sizes smaller than the biggest plant species present in that biome. (For example, if the biggest plant in a biome has a size of 7, then no climbing animal may be larger than size 5.)
Each point of speed adds 1 to the combat if the predator shares this locomotion with the prey. If one of the two species has a locomotion which the other has not, then the species with the locomotion adds 2 to its combat for each point of speed. This only works if the locomotion is more flexible than the shared one. The rule is: swimming < walking < climbing < flying, where '<' means 'less flexible than'. If predator and prey share no locomotion at all, then the predator fails to hunt it's prey.
Increasing the speed of one locomotion costs EP equal to the square of the current level. (similar to biodiversity) To add a new locomotion to a species costs 25 EP.
Do we need to add burrowing to the list?  The different levels would correspond to different things.
Level 1 -- simple holes (most canines -- this level is mostly used to hunt better burrowers or eat roots mostly)
L2 -- shallow burrows (badgers)
L3 -- travel but no tunnels (some moles, various rodents)
L4 -- tunnels (most moles, praire dogs, meerkats)
L5 -- mound dwellings (ants, termites)

And on that note, what would building homes be? (example: beavers, nests, mounds, hives)  Would it just be a descriptive combat defensive or a special ability?

Temperature: Temperature adaption is the ability to live in colder biomes. The higher the number, the colder the region in which the species is supposed to live. The scale goes from 1 to 5 but can be increased beyond 5 with the ability 'endothermy'. The cost to increase or decrease the temperature adaption is three times as many EP as the current level of temperature adaption is.
Humidity: Humidity adaption works exactly the same way as the temperature adaption. The higher the humidity adaption is, the more arid regions it can inhabit.
I've been wondering about these as they relate to moving into a new area.  Do you fail automatically if you don't meet the requirements or do you lose levels of diversity equal to the difference each turn until you adapt, starting with the level of diversity you had in the area you migrated from?  Something else entirely?  The second option seems the logical.  The first would require adapting to conditions not present in your home area before moving.  The second requires having a high biodiversity first and the survivors must be the ones with the expressed traits necessary to survive and evolve in the new environment.  (That's natural selection at work.  It's just that the player must back up that assumption with a point expenditure or continue dying every turn.)
That sounds rather good actually. My first idea was to give the players the possibility to migrate while evolving these adaptions, but making more exceptions for certain traits makes the game more complicated, so I really like your idea. It also makes sense. I think I'll do that instead of my idea.
Excellent.  It should also lead to some interesting migration tactics as well.

How would one develop seasonal migration in their species?

An idle malus is a penalty which reduces the amount of EP a population produces by subtracting the number of 'unused' traits. For instance, if a species got a combat skill of 5, but a certain population needs only 2 to fight off predators, then the idle malus for combat for that population is 3. Traits which create idle mali are:

Unused diets (specialisation level)
Speed (tied to combat skill)
Temperature & humidity adaptions
Certain abilities
Explain the concept here a little more.  I don't see how being too good at something is a hindrance.  Are the penalties for the abilities (flight, ambush, venom) always on or only if you don't think we need them?
Example: North American pronghorn sheep evolved to run away from cheetahs.  When the cheetah went extinct, in North America, the pronghorns didn't slow down to 'just a little bit' faster then the wolves that remained.  They stayed at 'now no one can catch me' speed.  The wolves will only hunt pronghorns if desperate.  So, I don't see how that is a "bad thing" from the pronghorn's point of view.
The point here is twofold: First, it doesn't make sense from a realistic standpoint to waste energy for organs/traits that are not used in any way. That's why the dodo lost its wings and that's why cave animals lose their eyes. Second, I want to prevent the players from creating the ultimate toolbox, which can literally populate any biome. If I were to allow this I can already see players making superior organisms dominating the world without giving other players the chance to evolve their ones.

But either way, you'll be comparing TOTAL combat values (from all sources) before assigning penalties, not category by category, correct?
Yes, that's why I put the (tied to combat skill) next to speed. It doesn't create a double malus, I just wanted to point out that it raises the combat stat and thus increases the idle malus. I guess however, I can take away the idle mali for various abilities then.
I understand why, but if you think a certain ability will be game breaking increase the cost to acqure it.  It may be a good idea to have a penalty, but some of the penalties seem rather high.  Like flight, currently I don't see any sensible player wanting it; you would have to have a biodiversity over 100 to gain more than 1 point per area with that creature.  It would have to expand to 30 areas just to break even to buy the next level to get proper flight in JUST ONE of its populations, otherwise its evoluton points will be coming from your other creatures, which most likely will need them for themselves.

Can we come up with new abilities?  Can we by specialized or limited abilities at discounts?
Venoms and toxins that only effect certain creatures or sizes, for example.
Again, if your suggestion is reasonable I'll think about adding it to the rules, but I tried to keep everything as general as possible, and I don't really like the idea of creating even more abilities, especially if they're basically already existing ones with only minor twists. I think right now the available abilities are plentiful enough to allow for a large amount of different species. :)
I'm sure I'll think of some more while playing.

Edit: Salt water and fresh water adaptations.

Oh i did not realize "hide from the bandit" was "hide and seek". I thought they were literally practicing to hide from bandits.
It was never an exact copy of hide and seek, but that would be closest thing to it.

They play "hide from the bandit" to practice hiding from bandits, but it's still in the form of a game(fun) not a fire drill(tedious and possibly scary).

Currently, it could be considered like a cross between hide-and-seek and tag, but it would be even closer to paintball or lasertag without weapons.  Teams.  Hiding.  Running.  Poking.

More importantly it changes the mindset from just "hide from bandits" to "evade and ambush" them.

Culturally speaking, I envision "20th century" Danrathi playing some sort of lasertag/american gladiator hybrid in a running man style arena with nonlethal weapons as a national pastime; it'll even be televised in technicolor.

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