Sunday, March 16, 2014

New Belt

I just finished making this belt out of paracord. Here are the instructions I followed to make it.

Friday, March 7, 2014

The Forgotten Realms Atlas

I am super excited about my latest gaming purchase: The Forgotten Realms Atlas. It is just full of great maps. And, not just overhead world maps. It has cities, towns and dungeons. It also has cut-away views if castles and keeps.

I'm not a huge fan of the Forgotten Realms. To be honest, I'm not sure I really even want to use this book to run a Forgotten Realms game. But, I'm certainly willing to take the maps and run my own setting with them!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Star Wars Edge of the Empire [Mini Review #2]

Chapter 2 of Edge of the Empire is the character creation chapter. It has all the information on races and classes (called careers). It also covers some other character centric mechanics including obligations, motivations and experience points.

There are six races presented in the book: Bonthans, Droids, Gands, Humans, Rodians, Trandoshans, Twi'leks, and Wookiees. These races provide the base stats for the character and the starting experience point levels. For each race there is a couple page write-up on the race's background and culture. It is really great information. But, when I was creating a character I found myself wishing for one more piece of information—names. Droid and human names are easy to come up with. But what are some typical names for a Gand? Luckily the internet can generally solve this issue.

Once you have a race you pick a career and specialization. This describes the type of character you will be playing. They give you a list of skills you can get for free or at reduced cost. They also provide a tree of talents that you can gain. Along with this mechanical information each career has a brief description that includes what the career does and also suggests some possible backgrounds for a character in this career.

One of the most interesting aspects of characters in Edge of the Empire is that they all have an obligation. An obligation consists of a description and a value. Then at the beginning of each session the GM makes a roll to see if any of the characters' obligations will come into play that session. As the game progresses a character can gain obligation and reduce their obligation but it never totally goes away. This seems like the real standout mechanic of this game. It is a great concept and I love that it can have a mechanical impact and is more than just description.

A character also gets a motivation. From just this chapter it looks like this is mostly just additional character description. But, there are hint that there might be more information on this in the chapter on GM-ing. We'll just have to wait and see.

The last big thing that this chapter goes over is spending experience points. When you pick your race you get an amount of starting experience points. These are for you to spend on during character creation. You can use these to increase your attributes, gain skills and gain talents. But the greatest part of this is that they give you just a little less experience than you really want. You end up saying &qout;if I only had a little more…" What makes this great is that you now have a choice to make. You can gain additional staring experience points if you accept additional obligation. It is a hard choice—which is why it so so much fun.

When I was creating a character to test things out I found that I could do it pretty quickly. It took me about half an hour to make my first character. I have no doubt that it would go faster as I gain a better understanding of the available choices.

This chapter really has me wanting to play this game.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Professional Twitter


Well, I've decided to make a professional twitter account for myself. I'm going to try and keep this focused on coding.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

New Wii U

I picked up a Wii U yesterday. This is a replacement for our Wii that has a broken disk drive.

So far I'm pretty pleased with it. The new controller is really nice with the screen on it.

My biggest complaint is that the Netflix app does not support Netflix profiles. That is a major disappointment since the Netflix app for the Wii does support profiles.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Free Hosting on Open Shift

On my blog I want to be able to be able to accept submissions. This is a bit tricky because, like this blog, Back Issue Letters is hosted on Blogger. Blogger is a great platform but it doesn't allow you to do any server side scripting which is something that a submission form normally requires.

My solution to this was to see if I could find any in expensive server side hosting platforms. But, to my surprise I found Open Shift which is completely free. It also supports a wide variety of frameworks—I'm partial to JavaScript so I picked Node.js.

Now the only thing for me is to finish up coding the submission page.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Stanley Parable

The Stanley Parable is an amazing time. I couldn't stop laughing the whole time I was playing it. I wish I could tell you more about it but I'm not sure how other than this video.