Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Sins of the Crusade Season 2, Episode 2: Desperate Enemies

Thanks for +Mike Dulay , +Il Pella , +Alais Legrand , and +Thunder Clonch. +Wilton Heath was unable to join but gave a heads up early. 

I think there were many disconnections for me in this game, about 3, and one which put me out for a while.  

Basically what happened is the Party recovered some documents in Latin and in Cryptic Euphemisms, after murdering Reverend Father Peter and the messenger he was with. Their italian and philosophy allowed them to identify many of the nouns, but it was their Theology that allowed them to see through the religious symbol used to describe the situation. Basically it was manipulation of Baron Dominic, a guilt ridden lord who has had many failures and disasters despite being very capable.

The made all sorts of plans of revealing the ill gotten evidence, but all lead to a simple question: "How did you get this". When there was question who would broach the evidence to the lord, Lucretia offered but no MAN would suffer a lady to be placed in danger. Especially when the party has a particular guilty streak when it came to her origins.

Konrad and Berthold, again had a different opinion on the matter. Konrad being the most Classically trained offered her defense, that the "weakness" her gender had was her strength in this matter. Like all practical friends and loved ones, the first thought of a woman without adequate male protection occurred to them - and it was too risky...

But Lucretia had a history of not listening to her betters, and when she stole off Raoul and Berthold almost ran her down thinking her a Spy. She got a bit of a beating from Raouls horse but she survived and was able to make plans in how they will try to pretend to be emissaries and rest the evidence to Dominic.

The plan would have gone smoothly if there wasn't a whole army of co-conspirators who was in the camp. Also when the Party encountered the Lord, he was beating the Crap out of Cato to the tune of "Your making me hurt you!"

Berthold and Raoul co to track and observe the co-conspirators while Lucretia, simply walked in to the lords tent making him Strike her as she witnesses the beaten body of Cato. Lucratia, played by Thunder Joe, was dealing with Dominic and found a very confused and complicated person - "his good, but has a hard time being good".

Dominic was an Ideal lord, and met out violence and justice as would expected any christian lord. He also gave mercy when expected, and did not shirk from his martial duties. But even good and competent men are not immune to Fate and Chance, and poor management of the holdings and an aggressive neighbor made Bohemmond a boogeyman to him. In Peters notes, it was easy to demonize Bohemmond and make him the scape goat of all Dominics problems to get him to launch a surprise attack on Bohemmond - dehumanized as a the Devil.

While this was happening Berthold was able to have a quick pick of the key enemies, while Raoul was able to sow discord in the camp. The opportunist thief archer wanted to know the face he should aim for in the crowd and Raoul could feel the doubt of the lord magnified in his men, and tried to plant the idea of desertion instead of wasting their lives fighting.

You cannot turn a man 180 degrees but you an slow him down with doubt. When the letters were eventually revealed it had the opposite effect, gavlanizing the remorse and loss Dominic felt with the death of Peter, but when read aloud who is skilled in Rhetoric, the euphamisms were a slow acting and painful poison that drove a knife through the lord. Dominic's virtues got the better of him, and this demoness was going to be struck down - except for the words of Cato that gave he pause to see the blood he has covered his hands.

Enough reason surfaced to summon Lucretias companions, and when they had more to report swords and blades emerged from the Tent door. Raoul took many of the stabs, but dominic, lucretia and Berthold kept them at bay. When they left the tent the Conspirators were trying to kill Dominic, and Bohemmond emerged from their camps flank along with Xeno and Teritius to smash the army. Lucretia was able to call their banners and stop them from fighting Dominic and concentrate on the Papal forces Roger Borsa employed.

After this chapter we skip the Trip to Constantinople where a Norman Prince arrives to take his place among the great families of the Empire.

everyone got 3cps, and 4cps to give to others.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Got some Sparring Gear, Not HEMA but it would do.

Its not HEMA, but it should do till I make my own HEMA grade stuff. This is from STIX.

All I really need to spar is the Padded Sticks, but if we want to be a little bit more aggressive and attack important vital targets (like Head and Hands) then these would be needed. This is by no means complete, one should own a pair of "heavy sticks" any hard wood stick that would weigh 2-3lbs each for muscle conditioning and control. 

55USD for the helmet and about (4lbs or 1.9kg), 12.5USD for the gloves, and 8.5USD for the padded sticks. The padded sticks are easy to DIY, the gloves a bit harder, and the helmet is the hardest. This is their largest size. These all should fit an XL person. Sadly its really expensive to deliver it by plane to the US amounting to about $150usd from the quotes I get (the cheapest way is by Freight, which means someone has to buy them in bulk and sell them there lolz).

Compared to the Stuff in Amazon, its a pretty good price, and I can't find it in Aliexpress and the Local "Ebay" called Sulit aka OXL. 

Like I said, I'm a bit deviating from Gaming RPGs, but going more into Simulations and trying to apply my gamer mindset in my health. I am about 36 and I really need to pour more hours of my day into fitness. As a sedentary person, I need to have at least 1 hour a day of light exercise or 10k steps/8km a day. 

Not HEMA but a Great beginner set

This is meant to be used against "live Sticks" or best padded sticks. There is really no point in hurting the person, the ideal is to be able to make full strength blows that are safe. The grade of the nylon fabric is fine but many of the parts are made of a light but rugged upholstery pleather. The more fights he better, the less injury the more fights. 

Knowing the cost it takes to make this, STIX is the Original Manufacturer. They get their materials from the textile manufacturers themselves (I would know since its the only local textile maker in the country) instead of wholesellers and this the lowest it can go. You are getting this with no middle man adding to the cost. The company has a pretty good marketing arm, but very small which means it has minimal effect on the prices. 

But you cannot compare this to HEMA stuff which is mean to be used against spring steel. The pleather would be terrible against it and would require some repairs depending on how strong the blows expect. Although if you are using wooden or padded weapons, this would allow you to let your armor be your practice target. 

So what I have planned is 30 second fights, padded sticks, and a Ref calling points for "control" (which is pretty much the same in Kali as it is in HEMA when I was fighting in tournaments in high school). There are several key drills and conditionings that need to be done, and the BIGGEST barrier is schedule since I have to make sure I recover well and don't sacrifice much of my sleeping.











Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Sins of the Crusade Episode 01, Season 02

The week the party sworn themselves to Bohemmon, it feels a bit like some trickery. The Prince of Taranto has enemies, and they have begun to move against him. Their oaths are immediately tested, but not everyone took them willingly. 

A rift between Xenophon and Cato, Cato exposed Xeno to protect him and such betreyal is not easily forgiven. They have aired their grievances with each other that night, but all is not so easily forgiven.
A Norman scout, Raoul, discovered the suspicious activity and was able to report it. His witness expired, despite great effort to keep him alive. Reporting with detectable levels of inebriation and the lack of important details he was disciplined and assign to the new Captains, Tertius and Xenophon.
Cato presented the information to Behommon, who then heard the counsel of his men. Bohemmon was a difficult master to please, and did not like people to merely present problems but propose and offer solutions – Cato picked up on that only to be trapped to offer his services to “turn” the army on to Bohemmon.

When the party left, they moved quickly with 100 men between two captains, Xeno and Tertius, who can be mustered within the night and before the light of dawn they marched. Xenophon's 20 bulgars joined Raoul as advanced scouts, moving as flank guards.

Not long after they discovered the advance party of the opposition. They maneuvered and with the help of the bulgar scouts able to ambush them. Tertius, Xeno, and Bronn, maneuvered the forces that allowed them to set the trap, while Berthold captured its captain, a man named Antonious. They learned Baron Dominic of Matera marches against Bohemmon with over 1,000 men.

Antonious was tortured by Xeno, and was a hardened and loyal man – an Idealist. They are supposed to “treat” with the Baron, and to turn the force to aid Bohemmon when he marches to Constatinople... they realized they have a hostage, and they need to offer, them a suitable exchange in order for the lord to listen. They drew straws, and Cato drew the short one. Despite his cleverness, his friends know too well how to protect themselves from his sweet words – they hardened their hearts but gave them their promises they will make sure they get him out alive if things go south. At least Cato, was able to redeem some of his honor to Xeno.

When Cato was handed, word of Antonious's condition was learned and he was made to pay. Cato learned a Reverend Father influenced Dominic's and found himself with a lord desperate and afraid, and courtier in the cloth. At great personal suffering Cato overcame, and had the lucidity to challenge the lord's perceptions. Still his position as a hostage allowed his presence to be controlled and as the army marches Closer, bohemon has no word to Dominic's summons.

The Party also has also no word from Bohemmon. Taranto has been silent, no messengers or scouts have come to replace those sent to give word on their status. Already the army has marched near the walls, and waiting.

They decided to send in their own and investigate the Army camp. Rjot, Raul, and Berthold sneak in. They manage to seek undetected and come upon the priest, who happens to relaying messages to someone else. It became a simple matter, and they kill him and the messenger. They were almost successful except for chance that someone checked on the priest. They manage to kill them too, only to alert the camp and they ran.

When Dominic learned of the priests death, he appears before Cato with a knife at his throat.



Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Blog Update: Out of Prescheduled Posts and Hibernation

Hey guys, It seems that work has caught up and I can't update regularly for the while. Can't post regularly, probably just post some game sessions updates, but I don't know how my schedule will be until after Feb.

I will fulfill my obligations of running 5 sessions of sins of the crusade. (enough sessions until the VERY busy December), anyway I really want to RP and have fun while obligations can still be held at bay.

Its October, and November is filled with work and social obligations for Xmass prep, and Jan and Feb is the coolest and best season to go around the Philippines. Then there is plant OSHAS and ISO certification I have to focus on, and the bosses moved up the timeline :(. Then there is having no Nanny, and getting around to finding a DOLE (dept. of labor and employment) certified agency is just one more ball to juggle when I dont know how to juggle.

If ever I will be posting in "Trying to Game Work" blog since my brain will be filled with problem solving / gaming these challenges and blogging is still my "VENT" and way for me to constructively deal with my frustration.

There is a chance that this will be changing a bit more as I shift to Heavy Combat/Sparring, Airsoft, Fitness, and Community building, and various gamed personal improvement... when that happens I guess I'll have the time to meditate if I "turn in" my RPG bloggers "card" as I've would have gone off the reservation. My only claim to RPGs would be the Open RPG system i plan to set up based on the research I make for these hobbies.

Change and Age, I kinda accepted it and the trade offs long ago. Its hard to sustain things when so many things need our attention: family, work, friends, and curiosity.  

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Game Updates

Sins of the Crusades is running a second season. Unfortunately I have a big schedule problem, since we lost the nanny, and its kinda time consuming getting a replacement, I have to run my game earlier, in Philippine Time (GMT+8, or EST+12) thats 6am-10am. Although I can run it as early as 5am-9am. Unfortunately in EST that translates to 5pm which is still within the work hours of the guys over there, and people usually are available at 7-8pm because of travel and other chores. (uggg)

I'm running Games, and work is now more time consuming. My Gaming related hobbies have gotten more intensive. Like many gamers who are hitting 40s and up migrating hobbies to be more athletic is what is going to happen. Sitting down to game has to be more efficient and bang for buck, which is why I can't seem ever go back to Face to Face from the convenience and flexibility of Online (when schedules go to heck, Online has the least frustration).

Airsoft is my current "more Athletic Gaming", I plan to get into Heavy Combat as well. The rise and popularity of HEMA is helping have more ideas, best practices, and equipment available.

What happens to my Face to Face gaming Accessories, is that they become re-purposed for my son.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Gaming and Visualization

There is a study about Visualization and Learning [1] and Mindfulness Meditation [2] that seems to a pretty good mental tool for learning and mental exercise (I'm listing the sources, the MM is in the wiki article that has the sources there).

To the point, it helps to visualize and immerse with your imagination all the details and sensory assumptions about what you plan to hone. To me this gets crazy when I game and when I zone out in a run. Details and nuances appear and come to clear focus and I act, in my mind, a bit faster and more intuitively. In a game, I'm able to draw more details out in the scene that may be relevant in capturing a deeper immersion or realistic feel.

It helps also learn a bunch of skills more quickly as well, but note that its poorer in currency than actual play... where the Hack comes is applying opportunistic use of idle time. Now this is where the mindfulness meditation comes in. The ability to meditate or zone out to mental places where you can be more productive with your time is a alternate use of the meditation skill.

Disclaimer. This is a pretty hypothetical hack and its really hard to observe and test any of the factors and products. Then there is confirmation bias and placebo effect to consider. 

Though if I find my mind wandering, and it happens to be visualizing at great FPS and HD quality I may want to visualize myself doing things I want to do in greater effectivity. Currently trying to remember all my old Kali skills from WAAAAAY back highschool and college days. Hoping that one day we can have Heavy Combat here in the Philippines.

Sources:
[1] Schmidt and Wrisberg, Motor Learning and Performance 
[2] http://www.mindfulexperience.org/resources/brief_definition.pdf

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

[Open RPG notes] Narrative Fact , Yes-And, and Yes-But

Basically some definitions.

I broke down Player Agency into some conceptual units - Fact, Yes-And, Yes-but, Gambit/Gamble. It is in my Definitions, adding more of the 3rd Gen conventions and concepts in the ORPG.

Player Agency allows players to make Narrative Facts about their Characters within the consensus of the rules and its assumptions, while the GM makes narrative facts about the world (same exception applies: consensus with rules sand its assumptions). Facts about the Character, the GM can only Yes-and or apply rules and their consequences (like the character takes damage or is afflicted with a psychological condition).

The GM wants to afflict a character, he has to go through the Player and the convention of the rules - He has an NPC attack the PC or a Boulder falls on the character. Narrative Facts don't just Happen to PCs, the Player has conventions in the form of Defense, a chance to protect himself. 

An important concept is the procedural - that Players have agency over their character but it doesnt mean their character is immortal or cannot "Play along". The Rules act as implied convention. Without going deep into Philosophy - we are all telling a story and playing a game, every action can be reacted.

Dangerous Facts. With every Action, there is a Re-action or unintended consequences.  What if the Player can turn a fact on the GM or another player. When a player reacts - making his defense, his perception roll, etc... what if he can make a Gamble, take the opportunity to sacrifice odds of success in return of being able to make more Facts.

NPC misses, creating an opening. Dodges the Boulder while pushing another Character in its path. 

Fact, Narrative (Fact)

Simply this is something declared as fact and true in an RPG. As a Fact, it has to be consistent through out the game, and accepted by everyone. A fact cannot be changed without some narrative justification – which means GM and Players play out the fact. But the Fact is also subject to details and more specificity.

A fact affecting any "Character" gives that Character a chance to resist. An Attack is an example Action, and Narrative Fact, that is trying to affect another Character. The character resists, with his defense.

This distinction becomes important when the Player or GM makes Gambles/Gambits, sacrificing their odds for success to have more control over the outcome. GMs also bribes Players with rewards to alter their Facts. 

Many game system mechanics automate and simplify the informing of all those playing of various results, consequences and facts. These can be “altered” or “specified” by more Facts that come into play. RPG is a game of consequences, and many rules work to provide consequences to actions - the more consequences the more options for actions. 

Exception: Characters can react and counter Narrative Facts - PC or NPC. 
Limiting Facts: The only limit is the ability of a Character (a humanized concept) can attempt to counter or resist a fact imposed on it.  

Yes-And

Yes-And means the GM or Player agrees with the stated Narrative Fact and adds another dimension to the fact. Basically countering with another Fact, which may complicate or compliment. It depends on the narrative. Adventures are always filled with complicating “facts” and consequences to actions.

Yes-But

Yes-But means the GM can agree with the Narrative Fact on a condition. Unlike Yes-And, Yes but gives either the GM or Player the ability to turn down a Narrative Fact.
At default the GM has this power but players can have this when they make and win a Gamble/Gambit.