Saturday, October 20, 2012

Almost Done Travelling...

Got back late last night from another interview.  This one was kind of a mess - my ground transport on the far end didn't pan out, there was no food around at the hour I finally got to the hotel so I ended up hiking about a mile in the along the side of the road in the middle of the night to get chow, had to go through security three times coming back (once OK, went back out to get food, went back through, forgot I had refilled my water bottle and they thought one of my USB drives was a knife, through again; they were friendly about it though and there was nobody else getting screened, so there was good humor on all sides), my flight back was delayed enough to make catching my connection a close thing, and when I finally did get home I ran into the Late Night Food Problem again... but the interview itself went OK, I made it home in one piece, and didn't have to sleep in the airport like I thought I would, so I'm calling it a win.  Hopefully this will be the last one...  I have to travel again in mid-November, and then in early December, but at least I have most of a month of uninterrupted Term Paper Time between now and the next wave.

As is typical for my post-travel posts, I have a few scattered ideas from the long periods of sitting on my butt not feeling like doing homework.

First off, some dude in front of me on one of my flights watched The Four on the airplane.  And that got me thinking, "Does ACKS need its own Book of Weeaboo Fightin' Magic?"  I'm not really a fan of ACKS' Mystic class from the Player's Companion (basically, the Monk, ACKSified), but it's hard for me to pin down why - I think what initially strikes me as WrongBad about it is that it just has too many class features and doesn't really fit into my setting.  On the player side of the issue, though, it has four (4) prime requisites and is unarmored melee with only a d6 HD and none of the survival special abilities of the Barbarian or Fury (DR, reroll mortal wounds).  They do get Swashbuckling, +initiative, Alertness, and polearms, so I guess maybe they're supposed to be hard-to-surprise second-line melee?  The trouble with light-armored and ranged classes in ACKS, though, as articulated by Tim, is that "Damnit Sheng, if you'd taken your 18 Dex and put it in a suit of plate, you'd be one of the best front-liners we've ever seen."  If you have the Str and Dex to run good light melee, you could instead be running awesome front line melee unless you have really crummy Con.  Now, I have a suspicion that with the shift in play we're starting to see, plate+shield fighters may be less optimal than they used to be, just due to speed constraints, and ranged will get better than it has been.  I refer, of course, to the shift from dungeoneering in tight hallways where the fighter-phalanx dominates to raiding wilderness lairs, where there are fewer chokepoints and more room to maneuver.  But, that's another post.

In any case, to return to the initial topic, I'm unsatisfied with the current status of ACKS' martial artists, so maybe I will roll my own.  Perhaps let them use Wisdom for AC instead of Dex; this would open up something to high-Wis characters other than Cleric, and would circumvent the plate+dex issue...  Also a split-class approach like the Barbarian and the Witch, because fantasy martial arts always have multiple schools.  Still won't be thematic for my setting, though, so it's low, low priority.

On the airplane, I also got to thinking about Snow Crash, cyberpunk, and how as a programmer, cyberpunk systems tend to be very hard to read because their rules for computers are just painfully wrong.  They usually fail to take into account the usefulness of good tooling / automation, the computational intensity of tasks, and just how long things tend to take in general.  So it might be a fun project to roll my own, maybe for Traveller, whose hacking rules in Scoundrel were some of the more reasonable ones I've seen...

I guess that brings the list of posts and things I need to write up to:
  • A whole pile of session reports
    • Including a post on emergent jokes, like Hao Dee, Urvin, and such
    • And one on the shift from dungeoneering to wilderness adventures
  • How Does Anyone Survive in ACKSLand, Anyways?
  • A New-School DM's Guide to Running an Old School Game
    • Resource Management
    • Risk Management
    • Actions Have Consequences
    • Player Cleverness / Fluff is Crunch
    • Exploratory Play 
    • Referee Impartiality
    • And two secondary stylistic points that I think reinforce the main elements, but which are not themselves core to the old school
      • Gygaxian Naturalism / Simulationism
      • Grim settings
  • More ACKS background / setting information
  • The Problem With Viking Campaigns
  • How Traveller is Supposed to Work (And Why It Hasn't For Us Previously)
  • Dark Travesty - A conversion of Dark Heresy to the MongTrav engine
  • Murlynd's Spoon and the Ring of Three Wishes - In Defense of Random Treasure 
  • The Way of ACKS-Fu
  • Cyberpunk++;
  • And probably some that I'm forgetting
The trouble, of course, is that with my humanities-heavy courseload this semester, I'm already spending all my time reading and writing :(  I think this may be one of the causes of decreased activity here, and I apologize.

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