The furnace died after wheezing for over a year. For a few days the house was a bit chilly but before the chill really hit, landlord and friend got a new one installed. I came home to my first heated home in a week and fell into an epic nap.
Reading: Finishing up reading FreeMarket and still plugging through Anathem, though my softcover is falling to pieces on me.
I had to cancel my comics subscriptions. Money is just too tight right now and I can’t imagine lugging this shit with me into New York City some day soon (please soon?).
Planning: Off to New York City for a nice weekend with Janaki. We have awesome plans.
Writing/Creating: The writing continues without a hitch, 45 days in a row. I have one piece that is fairly extensively outlined and another where I can see just far enough ahead to know the next twist in the road. When one eludes me, I switch to the other.
Also wrestled with a cover letter and resume this week, re-vamping some stuff, getting great formatting and editorial help from Janaki, who deserves a medal of honor for editing excellence.
How about you?
Reading: Re-reading 3BB D&D and some old-school blogs for the violent frontier side of my home campaign.
Planning: Super-engaged at work, figuring out how to do a work tracker system for my team that doesn’t drive them crazy but gives my bosses some idea of who’s doing what and what’s falling through the cracks. Exciting to be solving problems that are a higher order than “get this done faster”, terrifying in how it’s changing my relationship with my peers.
Writing: I’m working on a Monster Manual-style reference book for myself, trying to learn a little about layout as I go. Here are 18 fun things to do if you’re an Aboleth:
1. Demand more slaves. More slaves!
2. Get paranoid and kill your most trusted lieutenant.
3. Order your Skum to go bother someone else.
4. Gorge yourself on nearby humanoids.
5. Make yourself something nice, that moves.
6. Make someone who passes by into a friend. Psionics rule!
7. Undermine something that surface-dwellers love, like their homes.
8. Send a delegation you want to own, ask them over to visit.
9. Mind wipe someone dumber than you (never gets old).
10. Befoul a water supply.
11. Commune with dark beings, wake them up, ask for a pony.
12. Get REALLY paranoid and kill all your followers.
13. Modify your body.
14. Modify someone else’s body.
15. Build a trap in case illithids show up.
16. Digest the memories of someone fancy.
17. Expand your lair
18. Find someone you respect enough to betray.
That is a really neat list of cool shit for that monster, one of my favs, to be doing. Something about it almost reminds me of MC moves in Apocalypse World.
I feel lately that I’m really threading together the best techniques and turning that into my gaming. Not mechanically, so much as sitgenny. (Sit, Jenny! Who’s a good girl? Good girl. Who gets seeded before the session? That’s right. Have a treat. Good girl.)
Reading: On a Victoriana kick because I can use these scenarios for Kerberos Fate. Not thrilled with the construction of race in Victoriana, but that’s another topic. Currently reading the old edition of The Smoke for that game.
Planning: Tomorrow, the book launch party for Delia Sherman’s The Freedom Maze. Wednesday, visiting a friend. Thursday, Thanksgiving Dinner at Josh’s sister’s place, hopefully doing our annual Meet Andrew Zorowitz After Our Separate Thanksgiving Meals. Friday – Sunday, Darkovercon, with Clam Chowder Charity Concert, Ellen Kushner, and Delia Sherman, and a lot of other cool people.
Writing / Creating: Trying to kick into a higher gear on our larps.
What’s vexing you about race in Victoriana?
Clam Chowder Charity event sounds nifty.
Okay, so… I’m not sure if this will be coherent. I am a White, Jewish, middle class New Yorker, so I also don’t know how accurate my view of the mote in someone else’s eye is. Final disclaimer: I had the conversation I describe below before RaceFail, so it may be that such a conversation would go differently today, and that the book would have turned out different.
Eldren (elves) tend to be the aristocracy. Ogres are stupid and gullible. As in, if there’s a crime, and you’re trying to blame someone and clean it up, and you say to the nearest Ogre, “Go to jail for this crime,” the Ogre will. All of this makes me a bit itchy.
But the portrayal of Orcs make me cringe. So, the Orcs? They’re Africans. They may also be Native Americans. This means that there’s a deliberate mapping of Orcs onto human races — and only Orcs. But, said a nice fellow at Cubicle 7 — and he really is a nice fellow — this should not be a problem because these are only tendencies. All races can be found in all countries and in all classes. It’s just that Eldren tend towards the aristocracy, Orcs tend to be more common in Africa than elsewhere, and so on.
Now, despite this assurance, looking at the breakdown of races in the various countries in Victoriana, Orcs are only listed in Africa and America.
Orcs are clearly not intended to be villains, and while it is at least implied that they make perfectly fine PCs. Yet, in the section on character generation, there are rules for creating Eldren, Humans, Dwarves, Gnomes, Halflings, Ogres, and Beastmen — and no rules for creating Orc PCs. At that point, I am not merely itchy and uncomfortable; I am cringing.
I cringe with you, sister and find the orcification of people of color in poorly wrought fantasy settings repugnant, poisonous metaphors and lazy rather boring world-building.
The ironic thing is that the game takes a look at the social injustices of the period, and does a good enough job of it that, despite my getting turned off 19th century literature in high school, I was totally hot to play in a Victorian setting after the first chapter.
I was a bit disappointed when the fantasy races and magic came in, but I get the need for laser sharks. I was utterly uninterested in John Wick’s Cat until I heard it also had Cat Magic rules. So, okay, I get that.
The Victoriana Beastmen actually fit into the whole idea of a game where the PCs are expected to work against social injustices. There’s this bit on how they’re unfairly judged by what animal they resemble (e.g., everyone thinks lionmen are noble, ratmen are sneaky sewer rats, and so on.), and that this is total hogwash, that all of them are like humans, and have all types of personalities regardless of their appearances. And then, this total blind spot when it comes to the Orcs.
That said, I’m finding a lot of useful stuff to import into Kerberos Fate. But, when it comes to the nonhumans, I’m currently limiting myself to the Fae (handled well in the rules, imao) and the Martians.I have yet to decide on any truth about the Martians, but one of the PCs believes that she is a reincarnated Martian Princess. (The player is leaving it up to me about whether that’s true, and I’m pondering what the most interesting kind of yes-but / yes-and is.)
Just FYI: The concert made over $4,000 for the hospital.