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#1 BigJackBrass

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Posted 21 June 2010 - 09:38 AM

The idea is very simple:

Tell us about something you really love; something you're amazed and enthralled by; something that never fails to make you smile; something simply cool. Write a little or write a lot.

The only real rules:

1.) You can comment on someone's post, but are not allowed to be negative, argumentative or critical.
2.) Shameless self-promotion is probably against the spirit of the thing.


And there we go :D
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#2 BigJackBrass

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Posted 21 June 2010 - 09:50 AM

The iPod is an amazing, amazing thing.

Years ago, when I used to travel a lot, particularly to America, I had a Walkman, which was impressive enough. Compared the heavy old mono portable cassette recorder I had as a kid it was astonishing. Pocket-sized! It took small, relatively cheap batteries. It had headphones with little foam covers. Much later the Mini-Disc came along and I bought one of those, which was better still, yet in both cases I had to carefully select the albums I planned to take with me, because although the player was small it didn't take many tapes to fill up a carry-on bag. Like many people I spent a lot of time making compilation tapes / discs of the tunes I most wanted, making certain that there were no filler tracks destined to be skipped. For the Walkman I even had a little hand-cranked winder, so that I could rewind the tapes without wasting precious batteries.

My iPod doesn't take up additional room, no matter how many albums I squeeze on there. The sound is pretty decent: there's no hiss (the only Dolby included is a selection of Thomas Dolby LPs) and it's clear, albeit just a trifle cold. I can afford to throw audiobooks onto it, knowing that there's still tons of room for all the tunes I need; and if I wander into WiFi range then I can always download fresh material. Actual play podcasts, for example :D

It's science-fiction, that's what it is. Bloody marvellous :D
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#3 Isis

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Posted 21 June 2010 - 01:00 PM

Moving on from science fiction to science fact...:D

I think the Universe is amazing. Looking out at the stars and galaxies and finding out what makes everything tick is something I find incredibly fascinating.

As a small child I learnt to find Orion, the Hunter, in the sky, and I used to point it out to my parents, not realising at the time quite what I was seeing.
Now I know that what you see are absolutely massive balls of gas which collapsed under their own gravity until they became hot and dense enough to start burning through nuclear reactions. These immense objects are billions of miles away and ,because even light takes a while to travel, billions of years ago. Every star you look at is a piece of history, the light you see left it possibly before the Earth was formed and travelled all the way across the void of space to bump into your retina.

And even more amazing is that everything around us came from the stars, and one day will end up back in a star. Every atom was made in a blazing ball of gas, flung out into the universe where it met up with some other atoms and eventually became a rock, a tree, a person.

We're all made of star-stuff, people, and I think that's pretty bloody cool. :)

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#4 Telemergion

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Posted 21 June 2010 - 01:08 PM

I have 2 things, because there's no rule that says I have to be limited to just one.

The first one is that after many licensed years I have finally bought my very own vehicle. I refused to get a car because with my lifestyle I had no chance of affording the gas, upkeep, insurance, and parking fees that come with owning car. Now, my city is very slow on the uptake of things and in the last few years we have finally started to see an increase in an alternative to cars: the scooter. They've been around, sparingly, for a while and most folks generally have a low, mocking opinion of them. I myself made fun of one or two. But they're getting popular now, and I decided to give them a look. Then I almost immediately bought one. As I pulled out of the lot I wondered if I'd made a wise choice. After all, I've never owned one and don't know anybody who does; heck, I'd never even ridden one. What if I don't like it? What if it turns out to be a money sink? What if the fact that it's completely open and doesn't have the traction of a 4-wheeled vehicle is a serious problem, given that I live in a city known for extreme and bipolar weather? I have owned it just a few days over a month now, have logged 800 miles of city driving, it has cost me a grand total of $37.75 for gas, and I absolutely love it. Today it was raining, quite hard and sideways, and yet I still drove it to work and back. I don't know what I'm going to do come winter when it's no longer feasible to take it out on the streets, but I know I'll be counting down those long 5-6 months until I can take it out again in the spring.

The other - and I was reminded of this last night when I went to see the new Clash of the Titans at the cheap-seats, since I refuse to pay 3D price for a ticket to a regular theatre - is how much I deeply love mythology. Not just the myths themselves, but the whole entity of it. Many of these stories predate the written word, yet they have not only survived millennia of being passed on and retold, but they have ingrained themselves in our culture, our language, and our very attitudes and perspectives. I realize this crowd has a slight advantage for this example, but just think of how often you see the Pagasus represented, alluded to, or used to sell things. If I say Medusa, everyone knows who I mean and how to avoid her deadly gaze. If I say Gorgon, many will do the same, but for a few DnD nerds who raise their hands and ask if I mean the classic monster or the bizarre metal bull. There are far more modern examples of mythology as well - like the various Wars and Treks through Space - and I hope that these tales will pove as long lived as the tales of old because it seems wonderfully poetic that one of the most tried and true methods we have for preserving our history and our culture is through fiction.
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#5 Hafwit

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Posted 22 June 2010 - 06:18 AM

(NB: Itras By exits in a Norwegian and a Finnish version. No translations are planned as far as I know).

I'm reading the Norwegian rpg Itras By (Itra's City), and it is very interesting, as well as a little unusual.

The game bills itself as a surreal urban fable. The setting's Itra's City, a place that is steeped in 1920s tropes and color. Trams, flappers, jazz and anarchists. All that good stuff. It has no real geographical location, and is a few steps removed from the real world and into Kafka or Michael Ende-territory.

There are the Grimacers, a group of outcasts who pulled a face one time too many and found out that mom was right, it does get stuck that way.

There are cold nights where a layer of ice forms on the heavens themselves. The heaven-frost comes off in flakes, and these are used for rolling cigars.

In other words the everyday world operates partly according to dream-logic.

The setting is very well-written, it's full of nice hooks and opportunities for the GM, while at the same time leaving enough room for one's own inventions.

There are no dice and no quantified skills. This took a little getting used to for me, but I've grown to really like the system, as it fits the surreal setting very well.

The closest thing to character attributes are 'dramatic characteristics'. The players come up with these, but the book provides a few sample ones. Here's one, just to give you an idea:

Rajalingam: In Alan's ice box lives the ancient Indian wise man Rajalingam who knows everything. He provides cryptic wisdom and prophecy, all of which is completely true, but Alan never listens to him. It's almost as if Rajalingam didn't exist for Alan. (translation by yours humbly)

(As an aside, Raja means king, and I'm told that lingam is a term for (a deity's) penis.

""Heed the words of King Celestial Dick!" exclaimed the ascetic crouching next to the pickled herring. It was clear to me that my options were limited at this juncture. Either I could opt for going screaming bugfuck crazy, or I could ignore the man whose eyes shone with the wisdom of the ages, and be about my business. I chose the latter, and I'm happy to say that my day has been much more productive for it.")

A character usually has between two and four of these. They can be good or bad, but mostly they're supposed to be interesting. Most of all they remind me of the Traits from Over The Edge, if you all remember that game.

The resolution mechanic is cards. The players themselves decide when a Resolution Card is to be drawn from the deck. The GM can't make them do so. Everyone can suggest it though.
The reasoning behind this is that the player owns his character and has control over it, and secondly that playing the game is something you develop together rather than the players exploring the GM's vision.
The cards have simple text that reads like something from improv theatre:

Yes, but... You succeed, but something completely unrelated goes wrong, for you or someone you care about.
Yes, but... You succeed, but lose something valuable in the process.
Yes, and... You succeed, and achieve more than you expected.
Yes, and... You succeed, and that gives you the initiative for a new thrust or follow-up.
No, but... You fail, but another positive thing happens instead, unrelated to what you were aiming for.
You need help. You end up understanding that you need the help of someone not currently in the scene to achieve this.
No, and… You fail, and something unrelated also goes wrong.
Yes, but only if... You can get what you want - but only if you choose to make a certain sacrifice.


The player who is attempting something designates another player or the GM to draw a card and interpret it. This is great fun, but it takes a lot more creativity than just interpreting a skill roll or two. It also requires that the participants are at least somewhat on the same page out of the gate.

The other deck of cards is the Chance Deck. Each player (including the GM) may draw one card from this deck each session. They influence a given scene (often pushing it towards the surreal) or even the way in which the scene is played. A few home-made examples for the purpose of illustration:

Shit! I Remember: Play out a scene that has happened in the past, and is relevant to the present situation. The player who drew the card sets the scene and distributes roles.

It Just Got Worse! Something changes for the worse! The boat starts taking in water, an irate gang of confectioner’s apprentices show up, or your fiancé walks in at just the wrong time.

Amor Victor: The power of love influences the scene in some way. The details are up to you.

What Is Real? Reality twists and breaks, and you experience several things at once. Each player (but not the GM) get to narrate a version of what happens. After the last player has done so, reality goes *pling* and you decide which version really did happen.

The Chance Cards lead the story in unexpected directions and introduce new elements.

The book is rounded out with a lot of GM advice. The part I found most useful was the discussion of surrealism in gaming.

Itras By is a high-falutin' game (to use a technical term). It pretty much creates its own genre in rpgs and provides tools for that particular experienced. The game is focused, but it might not be for everyone, and certainly not all the time.

It's fookin' amazing for what it is though. :)
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#6 MelkiorWhiteblade

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Posted 25 June 2010 - 01:49 PM

I really enjoy portable apps. Specifically the type you can run off of a flash drive.

For example, I am using Chrome Portable right now running off of a flash drive.

It makes it really easy to try out new software without committing your windows registry.

And I'd extend it to iPods/iPhones/Androids. Those very small but very useful applications that you can just use anywhere.
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#7 Guest__*

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 03:32 PM

Well I'm going to enthuse about family. Sometimes great, sometimes not so but always part of who you are, like it or not.

I'm having a bit of a good moment family wise, having just been abroad to see them. They were even very understanding when dinner had to be delayed so that I could watch Germany outplay England (although to be fair that was the best England have played for ages!).

Anyway, I'm not going to go into more details as that would cross with my ideas of Internet privacy and google-able broadcasts to people I haven't met (well,mostly anyway).

So if you wonder why I'm a little slow at getting through my audio, it's all down to a very nice and ongoing RL attack from family Jomster, particularly the most immediate part! :D
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#8 riddles

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 05:07 PM

Following on from Jomster, I shall enthuse about friends, both those who I've met in the flesh and those online.

I love how the internet allows us to keep in contact, apps like Facebook allow you to keep up to date with how people's farms are doing (and occasionally what's happening to them in RL).

I could go on but I shall stop now, lest my friends utter their normal rallying cry of "SHUT UP RIDDLES!" :)
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#9 Pencil-Monkey

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Posted 02 August 2010 - 07:23 AM

I am enamored by my family's garden. It's close to both sea and forested areas, so there's tons of birds, including (but certainly not limited to) seagulls, blackbirds, magpies, swallows, the ubiquitous pigeons, sparrows, and tits :); on the mammalian front, there's the squirrels, varying number of cats, and three, count 'em: THREE hedgehogs! :D Awesome.

Also, there's guest appearances by the occasional snake, toad, salamander, funky beetles, bees, dragonflies, stray dogs, random bones being airlifted into the territory (gotta watch out for those magpies!)... Can you tell I love drawing animals? ;)
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#10 ross

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Posted 20 September 2012 - 09:17 AM

I love my job.
It's bloody ace!!!!

I get to be DR horabul this weekend :-)

http://www.eureka.or... ... /superhero
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#11 ScaleGraze

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 02:21 AM

If a humble lurker may enter into the fray...

I too have two enthuses :)

My first is chainmaille (no not the annoying emails from your less discerning contacts)... Think more along these lines
There's something about the way that the rings all work together, how relaxing it is to make, the incredible variety that one can achieve by changing weave, material and using a bit of creativity. It's a wondrous thing... and if you make a patch of it with small enough rings... it's like liquid metal... silk, only not.
Look... my word-smithery cannot do it justice, if you're not feeling the wonder, go make some and... well, say goodbye to any free time you might have had. It's rather addictive

And on to my second...

Life.
Life is amazing!
As much as I'm amazed and enthused about technology, roleplaying, a good pipe, making chainmaille... every now and then I'm reminded.
Life is an amazing thing, to quote Dr Jon Osterman (or Alan Moore):

"Miracles. Events with astronomical odds of occurring, like oxygen turning into gold. I've longed to witness such an event, and yet I neglect that in human coupling, millions upon millions of cells compete to create life [...] To distill so specific a form, from all that chaos. It's like turning air into gold. A miracle."

I have been reminded of this recently due to the recent passing of a vibrant young woman that I was a leader on a holiday camp for 6 years. She was seventeen, and her funeral was a celebration of the people she touched and the person she was. An amazing young woman, full of life.
It has caused me to marvel once more...
Isn't life amazing.
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#12 Guest__*

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 04:26 PM

I like to enthuse about Hero System and 2000AD.

Hero is quite simply how games should be. The sublime joy of Champions Complete is really something everyone should experience. What you really need to know is: Don't be daunted by it. it's simple to run (roll 3d6, get low, to do stuff) and is a toolkit. Just build what you want, simple or complex, and have fun!

2000AD is a weekly British comics anthology that is now in it's fourth decade. It has been on a massive high for years now. Just google "prog 1807" to see the kind of reception last week's issue alone was getting.

What? You're wondering why I'm enthusing right now? Right at this moment? Oh, no reason really...
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#13 MelkiorWhiteblade

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 09:14 PM

I like to enthuse about Hero System and 2000AD.

Hero is quite simply how games should be. The sublime joy of Champions Complete is really something everyone should experience. What you really need to know is: Don't be daunted by it. it's simple to run (roll 3d6, get low, to do stuff) and is a toolkit. Just build what you want, simple or complex, and have fun!

2000AD is a weekly British comics anthology that is now in it's fourth decade. It has been on a massive high for years now. Just google "prog 1807" to see the kind of reception last week's issue alone was getting.

What? You're wondering why I'm enthusing right now? Right at this moment? Oh, no reason really...


Why Jomster, you sound very excited about Champions Complete! Do you have all the books of it you want?

I myself have really enjoyed the Paizo kingmaker adventure path, having the first two books of it myself.
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#14 Hafwit

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 01:20 PM

(NB: Itras By exits in a Norwegian and a Finnish version. No translations are planned as far as I know).

*snip*


There is an English version in the works now. :-) Woo!

http://www.vagrantwo...p2_articleid=30
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