Thursday, May 31, 2012

Porn Tech Support

Since I missed this week's Wednesday Night Wackiness, enjoy Big Bang Theory's Kunal Nayyar doing tech support for a porn site.

Still Alive

Crazy, stressful week.

Working on stuff, though. Lots of stuff. Good stuffy stuff.

Posting will resume soon.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

For everyone who thinks I'm weird to have a Zombie Kit...

... this is how the outbreak might start.

A naked guy is found eating the face -- THE FACE -- of another man; attacks a police officer when told to back down; is shot for his trouble; does not stop and instead attacks again, resulting in the officer shooting him at least 5 more times.

Fucking ZOMBIES, guys.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Continuing Bronification of the Gun-Blog-O-Sphere

While I'm not sure if I am entirely to blame for the growing number of gunbronies on the internetz, I am more than willing to take the blame for being Patient Zero. However, I do need to claim responsibility for at least a few points of infection.

Because I wanted him to make me an MLP-themed holster to go along with my spiffy new Glock 26, Evyl Robot Michael (aka Mr. In Jennifer's Head) decided that he should watch a few episodes to see what all the fuss was about and possibly get a better idea of what I wanted. Since this coincided with Jennifer's enforced downtime due to back-fuckery, they both decided it would be a good idea to give it a try. Just the pilot episode, you see.

The next thing I hear, they've finished episode 10 and are about to watch one of the greatest earworm episodes ever made, Winter Wrap-Up. At that point I know it's just a matter of time before they're one of us, one of us, one of us.

As of this writing, they've just finished episode 16 of season 2, and both have declared that "Rainbow Dash is Best Pony." My work here is done.

Speaking of work, here are pictures of the absolutely beautiful custom holster I was talking about a few paragraphs ago:

Sexy, no?

(A larger picture of "Luna with twin TAR21s" may be found here.)

EDIT: a review of this holster may be found here.

Moving on, I see that in the wake of his visit to Daytona, McThag has seen some episodes of MLP as well and has realized that not only do guns and pones go together like peanut butter and chocolate, they also make for really fantastic/terrible visual puns such as:

If you're confused, non-gunnie bronies, go here for an explanation. You may also see a prototype of the finished design here

Finally, I am working on converting Bear to the pony side of the Force. I'm already partially there because, of his own accord, he decided to post this picture:

The Glambo Signature Series "My Little Pony" M4A1

I would like to point out that
  1. I find those colors hideous, and
  2. I would buy one anyway, just for the conniptions it would cause among purists and gun-banners alike.

So by my count, that's 3 converts and one proto-convert (and I'll be sending him a DVD of choice episodes later on).  Go on, hate me if you must: your opprobrium only makes me stronger. 

Yes, I am aware of the improper apostrophe, and it burns me.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Talking Ponies with Mike

Last night I stayed up far too late, because I was deep in discussion with Mike Pondsmith about how to make Unknown Ponies a better game. It was a good discussion, filled with lots of great feedback and insight on how game design works (hint: make it as idiot-proof as possible), as well as a very nice compliment that I had talent and that talking to me was preferable to grading papers.

Well, maybe that last part isn't much of a compliment. But still, I got one-on-one feedback with an Actual Game Designer, which is always awesome.

Here are the lessons I took from our discussion:

  1. Know who your audience is. Mike suggested I make the game simpler so as to appeal to a younger audience; I posited that I doubted the target audience for the show would be interested in role-playing, and instead aimed at the much larger, much more active, more net-savvy Brony fanbase. However, as the discussion went on, I realized that A) Not all Bronies are gamers (and therefore would want a simple game), and B) Don't alienate a potential segment of your player base. 
  2. If I am serious about making Unknown Ponies into a work I can be proud of -- rather than just a fun little experiment I cobbled together in a few days -- I need to stop using the Unknown Armies mechanics and come up with a system of my own. Not only would this address the problem with #1 above, it would also make the game more "mine."
  3. This, however, leads into a problem, specifically: I suck at game mechanics.  So clearly I need to find a way to un-ass myself ricky-tick and get cracking on unique, flavorful mechanics...
  4. ... without completely destroying all the previous work I've done. I really don't want to come up with a really elegant system for skill resolution only to find that I can no longer use the "Failure is Awesome" mechanic which is central to the game.

So, you know, no problem. I just need to create an entire game engine from scratch while still maintaining that specific fast & fun experience and not losing any pony flavor.


    Pellatarrum: Giants (part 1)

    by Demonic Bunny

    They have many names, from many planes and many cultures: Titans, Thurs, Cewri, Devi, Resi, Formorians, Daityas, Basajaunak and Jotunn.

    However, they are best known as Giants.

    In Ancient Times

    Before Pellatarum was created, giants could be found on nearly every plane of existence. With the exception of those planes utterly inhospitable to life (such as the Negative Energy Plane), every such realm contained at least one giant colony. This prevalence was due to their great thirst for exploration and talent for predicting the future (rune casting and oneiromancy in particular). Therefore, when a rift formed between planes, the giants were there when it formed, and were prepared to invade and conquer whatever lay on the other side

    The other great giant talent was adaptability, the ability to magically evolve to fit each plane, changing their original forms into the different giant breeds we know today. Fire giants, storm giants, stone giants, cloud giants and hundreds of other varieties are all aspects of a single ur-race of Giants, and they adopted and shed these aspects as lesser beings would change clothes.

    On each new plane they declared themselves its new masters and shepherds, and set about conquering it, for their desire for exploration was only matched by their arrogance and power. (This arrogance was not unwarranted, for each giant was, when compared to the modern giants of Pellatarum, incredibly intelligent and gifted with the powers of wizardry, sorcery, or prophecy.)

    The giants themselves claim that, in their prime, they took part in the apocalypse which destroyed the gods, and in the ages during and after the Godswar they warred for dominance across the planes, eliminating or subjugating all opposition.

    Their expansion was finally halted in the Elemental Planes by the four genie races, who quickly became arch-enemies with the giants. Equally gifted as the genies in most fields of magic, the giants' shortcomings in enchantment were made up for by their great gifts in divination and abjuration.Their battle was a titanic struggle with no end in sight. Caught in between, and suffering the greatest losses in this conflict, were the races the genies had enslaved: dwarves, dragons, elves and orcs.

    The Creation of Pellatarum

    The existence of the giants posed a conundrum for the Shapers, the mighty ancestors of the elder races who were charged with creating the world into which they could escape from their slavery.

    While preventing the genies from entering the newly-created Material Plane was a relatively easy task (as mentioned previously, Pellatarum is quite hostile to all forms of elemental beings), there was no simple solution to shut out the giants. Between the giants' gifts of adaptability and divination, any straightforward prevention was doomed to failure. Either the solution would not be powerful enough, allowing the giants to eventually adapt to and overcome it, or would be too powerful, making Pellatarum inhospitable to all forms of life altogether.

    The perfect solution was subtle and long-term -- a necessity to fool the prophetic visions of the giant seers.

    Pellatarum initially appeared to be a perfect haven for the giants. The genie races could not exist there, so there was no one strong enough to challenge them for dominance. However, the curse built into the structure of Pellatarum's reality by the Shapers soon took effect, striking against the giants' greatest strength and using their adaptability as a weapon against them.

    Though none of the Shapers would recognize the term, the curse was a kind of virus, and a kind of cancer. By adapting to this new reality, the giants made themselves vulnerable to the giant-bane which was as much a part of the world as gravity, because the curse was such that the choices were, essentially:
    1. Leave the plane forever.
    2. Die, as the curse mutated and twisted their forms.
    3. Adapt by, ironically, forsaking their adaptability and going down specific developmental paths.
    The longer a giant stayed in Pellatarum, the more his adaptability would work against him, as the curse found its way into his very nature. Of course, none of this was immediately apparent, as the giant would simply think it was the result of initial adaptation to a new plane. If adaptation was like changing clothes, then the Shapers had convinced the giants to wear poisoned shirts. 

    The first inkling that something was wrong was that these previously immortal being began to visibly age and wither. Worse, each generation was becoming weaker than those before: smaller in size, lesser in intellect, and locked into an environmental preference. After several generations, some even began losing their elemental powers, giving rise to a new breed of giants, the smaller and stupider hill giants. As each new generation was born, the hill giants became more and more common, with the ancient breeds of giants becoming fewer in number.

    The curse was eventually detected by those giants who still possessed magical ability, and the worst effects of it countered such that the various elemental lines now breed true rather than degenerate spawn. However, halting the progress of a disease is not the same as curing it, and all but the oldest, most powerful giants have forever lost their adaptability. Priests and wizards are now a rarity within their races.

    Today, only the Storm giants retain a resemblance of their former glory, and consider themselves to be the only true heirs of the giant race. They still retain a fragment of their magical powers and strive to present themselves as classical warrior-scholars.

    Side Note
    The giants themselves have a different version of the course of events. According to them, their lessening of power is not due to the plane itself, but because the elves stole their "divine fire" to fuel the Engines of Creation. The elves, of course,  refute this accusation, stating that they had plenty to contribute without needing to degrade themselves with petty theft.

    Monday, May 21, 2012

    A History of Dice

    In what is a first for me, the other day I was contacted by the owner of a blog and asked if I would mind giving his site a shout-out or perhaps linking to it in my blogroll.

    I'll be honest: I thought this was a no-name blogger trying to get legitimacy and an audience by referral. Which, fair enough, is basically what I did when I started blogging five years ago. But as it turns out, this particular blog has been around for about six months already, has some very funny videos (one of which I will be posting for this week's Wednesday Night Wackiness), and basically is relevant to my nerdy interests.

    Therefore, it gives me great pleasure to link to the Awesome Dice Blog, and I hope you will be informed and entertained by their History of Dice.

    Confidential to Brian Wood:  I am totally okay with being bribed with your products. If, say, you wanted to give me a Pound o' Dice? Totally cool with that. Or your awesome dice bags, or dice jewelry, or pretty much anything else. I just want you to know that I can be bought with pretty swag. Just, you know, FYI.

    Monday Gunday

    ... is on vacation until the shooting range I attend re-opens after 6 weeks of repairs. Sorry about that.

    Sunday, May 20, 2012

    Pellatarrum: Tunnels through the Dayspire

    As mentioned earlier, the Dayspire is HUGE, such that the entire island chain of Hawaii could fit inside its 720-mile diameter. This means that anyone wanting to go around it has a rather long journey ahead of them, and given that the Dayspire sits at the absolute center of the material world, there are lots of  those someones who want to do just that. Many of these someones are willing to pay good money for a more direct route.

    These people -- mostly merchants, though sometimes diplomats and adventurers -- are granted access to the army tunnels that exist at the Dayspire's ground level. Originally devised as a way to rapidly shift the bulk of the Dwarven army from one end of Agnakorem to the other, during times of peace these highways make excellent commercial thoroughfares.

    The layout is simple:  guarded entrances at each "clock position" lead into the Spire for several miles before joining up with a large roundabout which circles the inner "sluice pipe". Once there, lanes clearly marked in all civilized languages will lead you to your exit, likes spokes on a wheel hub.

    Concentrated within these tunnels, both in the outer spokes and the inner hubs, are the largest collection of dwarven vendors that a non-dwarf will ever see. The prices are high, but it is much like the concession stand at a movie theater, or the shopping concourse at an airport: if you can afford to get in, you can afford the prices being charged. In many cases, this is the only way to buy fine dwarven goods* without having to pay import or luxury taxes.

    Not all of the shops are run by dwarves; many gnomes run inns, restaurants, and other hospitality industries there. Human-run establishments are less common, due to the underground nature of the city, but they do exist. At least one dragon-owned and kobold-operated warehouse is also on premises. There is also a small but vibrant halfling community as well, whose chief focus is the cultivation of edible fungus and husbandry of poultry and livestock.

    There are categorically NO ELVES in residence, due to their phobias. Half-elves and half-orcs are vetted carefully before being granted attendance.

    Entry is simple: Pay a gold piece per person (extra rates for wagons and beasts of burden; bulk rates for caravans and traveling armies may be negotiated) and stay as long as you have funds (no squatting; the tunnels are patrolled regularly). The dwarves do not operate the tunnels for a profit, even though they manage to make a small fortune doing so; the money is there mostly as a barrier to keep out the riff-raff.

    It is possible to enter the tunnels without paying, if one has a very good reason for so doing. Entrance will be granted at the discretion of the guards, who have several ranks in Sense Motive. A plea such as "My mother is dying and I need to be by her side" will be honored if it is true; a selfish reason will be turned away, and a lie will result in a mild thrashing (nothing broken, just some bruises) and a reminder that dwarves do not appreciate deception.

    Both ends of the tunnels have gates made of pure adamantine, and in an emergency can be closed to isolate certain sections. The gates can also be operated like an airlock, with one opening only after the other is shut.

    The only non-magical way to gain entrance into the Citadel-Forge itself is through another gate within the inner hub. Diplomats and dwarven citizens may enter freely; those who are neither are searched and questioned thoroughly before being granted admittance.

    * "Fine dwarven goods" meaning "The crap that wasn't good enough for own people and so we'll sell it to the other races," a.k.a. The Irish & Australian Alcohol Concept.

    Friday, May 18, 2012

    Thursday, May 17, 2012

    Damn it, Oklahoma...

    ... stop being so fucking awesome! You're making me want to move there.

    Between this, the recently passed Open Carry law, and the fact that I have about a half dozen friends in the state, you're really really really tempting. And I can't even afford to move to an apartment, let alone a new state.  

    At least find a way to spread that awesome over Florida, okay?  Thanks.

    WNW: How to Survive a Robot Uprising

    Yeah, it's not Pellatarrum-related. I couldn't find anything that was both amusing and fantasy-related.

    Yeah, it's late. I really don't want to talk about yesterday, other than I was stood up for a date. After 45 minutes of waiting -- whereby I received no answers to my calls and texts -- I just gave up and went home. It was actually took me several hours to calm down enough that I could be considered "a raging psychopath."  I could have chewed nails and shat out thumbtacks, let me tell you.

    So anyway, here's a video on how to blow up cold unfeeling things with no concern for your well-being. H/T to Evyl Robot for the link.

    Tuesday, May 15, 2012

    Pellatarrum: My Halflings are Different

    In contrast to dwarves, halflings are always cheerful, even if they're not happy. In fact, many races find halflings so annoyingly perky that it sometimes results in fisticuffs. This suits the half-folk just fine, because they find as much pleasure in a good brawl as they do in eating, drinking, singing, and dancing.

    Halfings come in two distinct varieties. Pastoral halflings live in lightly wooded areas of rolling hills, where they enjoy the simple bucolic pleasures of farming, fishing, and raising livestock. Nomadic halflings have an adventuresome spirit and frequently join the wind-caravans that circumnavigate the Dayspire. It is not uncommon for halflings to switch between these two cultures at different stages of their lives, and doing so is seen as a healthy and natural act.

    At the risk of perpetuating broad racial stereotypes, halflings are a fusion of  Irish, Australian, and Gypsy cultures. Eat, drink, fight, love, explore, trade, have children, die brilliantly -- that's a halfling's dream.

    Halflings are the only minor race that willingly associates with kobolds.

    By all outward appearances, it would seem that halflings are just smaller, happier humans. And by and large, this is basically correct; all halflings love life and family, and according to their age and seasonal whimsy they either love peaceful communities or rousing adventure.


    Where halflings came from is a mystery to the rest of Pellatarrum. If other races know -- and it's a fair bet that at least one dragon knows -- then they are keeping this knowledge to themselves, because secrets are power and currency.

    But the half-folk are pleasant and innocuous, with little ambition above "Have a good life." Surely their origin is nothing to worry about. Halflings have never raised armies, or committed atrocities. Even their greatest heroes are closer to being "eccentric" than "epic."

    Still, you have to wonder why they refuse to talk about it with outsiders. And why they associate with what are, essentially, the fingers of dragons. And why kobolds have never once stolen a halfling child. And why halflings hate goblins so very, very much.

    Oh, you didn't know that last part? Well, nothing to worry about. Probably just a cultural quirk. They're the same size, after all, and probably compete over the same resources.

    Except for the fact that you never, ever find halflings and goblins in the same area, occupying the same ecological niche.

    Oh, but that's just silly. These are halflings, after all. It's probably just luck. They're a lucky, happy people, don't you know.

    No, nothing to see here. Move along....

    Monday, May 14, 2012

    Pellatarrum: Dwarven Body Part Trafficking

    This was brought to my attention by Demonic Bunny, who has helped so much with the creation of Pellatarrum that he's basically earned the position of co-creator for the world. Anyway...

    This is a pendant designed to ward off the "Evil Eye."

    Creepy, yes? Not only does it look like an eye, it looks like an unfocused, dead eye. Eyes in living dwarves are more dynamic, having a kind of sparkle or internal light. This just looks... unclean.

    It also highlights how only the lowest of the low traffic in the body parts of dwarves. Never mind that they are a warlike people with a generational memory who hold grudges like some people have hobbies, there's just something revolting about it. No civilized jeweler or pawnbroker would traffic in these.

    No, if you want to sell dwarf parts, you have to either do business with the orcs and their ilk (and all the risks which that entails), or with certain shady kobold fixers who would no doubt take the opportunity to blackmail you for your trouble. "Well, since you're here and I see you have no moral qualms about this sort of thing, why don't you go to X and perform Y task for me. No? Well, what would happen if the local dwarf enclave were to find out there was an eye-gouger in the area?  Ahh, good to see that we understand each other."

    Dwarven hair is less of an issue, being metallic and therefore easily melted down. Its chief demand, however, is as thread-of-gold (or similar valuable metal) which is finer than any spun metal. While only the most destitute and outcast dwarf would sell his beard or her hair, strands or locks are often given to loved ones as a token of devotion. If a dwarf wanted to acknowledge a debt (not of money, but of honor or life-saving) then it is not unknown for hair to be given as a sign of respect. Treaties between royalty are often marked in this way, with the hair of the signatories being melted down and poured into the carved letters of the stone document, or woven into paper in the case of treaties with other races.

    In very rare occasions, a dwarf will present an honoree with a banner or article of clothing embroidered with such hair. In these situations, it is considered a sign of respect to proudly wear or display such an article when dealing with that dwarf's family in all future instances.

    Pellatarrum Week

    I need to Get More Stuff Done on Pellatarrum, so I'm announcing a week of it. If anyone has any special requests for material, this is the place to make them.

    Thursday, May 10, 2012


    As a follow-up to this post...

    One of the reasons I don't seem to deal well with people in real life is because, oddly enough, I'm more suited to be around dogs. I understand, on an almost instinctual level, how to deal with them.

    Most of the time it's just a simple stimulus-reponse sort of thing. If they do something bad, you let them know that this is inappropriate by, basically, having a fit: you yell and stomp around and roll them onto their backs and generally let them think that you're going to kill them if they do it again.

    Then, after a bit, the best thing to do is just forget that it ever happened, and treat them normally. And if they behave, you lavish them with attention and praise and treats and petting and baby-talk.

    Spoil them when they're good; scare the shit out of them when they're bad. That's the basic pack dynamic. Some behaviorists may take issue with it, but that's how wolves have done it for years -- except that wolves actually injure and kill each other in dominance disputes, and there are no pettings and treats involved for obeying the Alpha. So all in all, I'm a pretty benevolent God-Dictator, but that IS how I'm seen: I control the food, therefore I am God. The moment dogs think they can force you to give them food, they will, and then everything goes to hell.

    The irony of all this is that while this behavior works marvelously for dogs, in humans this is known as "domestic abuse," or sometimes even "assault and battery." It's just not socially acceptable to deal with a handsy date by knocking him to the ground, kneeling on his chest, and snarling "If you do that again I'll cut off your balls and feed them to you."

    Which is a pity, really, because for once we'd have real communication going on between the sexes.


    The other day, I performed a Fus Ro Dah.

    No, really. I was out walking Heath, my Shepherd-Labrador-Mutt mix, and we passed by this house where lives Lady, a full German Shepherd. Unfortunately, the garage door was open because her owner was doing something with the car, and so when we passed by Lady decided to come investigate.

    Now I should point out that I don't think Lady was being aggressive; she wasn't charging and so far as I know wasn't growling. I think she was just trotting out to see who was walking down her street. However, Heath is a big ol' scaredy-dog when it comes to most other animals, and he tends to panic and try to climb onto my back in situations like this.

    Heath is ~80 pounds. Him trying to climb onto my shoulders is not fun. In fact, it hurts like hell. Plus, there's that whole thing dogs do where they go "Oh, this one is scared, that means I'm above him in the pack hierarchy and must dominate him" because, well, dogs are just wired that way. If you run, they will chase; if you submit, they will dominate. But a scared dog is likely to lash out in fear, and the last thing I want is for any of us (but especially myself) to get bitten.

    So Lady is coming toward us, but because she's still on her driveway I don't do anything except put myself between her and Heath. As long as she stays on her property, we're all good. Her owner is also calling to her, and there's a possibility she might stop at the street.

    She doesn't, and in seconds is too close for my liking. Without even thinking about, I lean forward and ROAR.

    I don't recall what I said. It might have been "Go home!" or "Get back!" or something similar; I just know it had two syllables and that I shouted it at such volume that my voice was hoarse afterwards.

    Have you ever seen a dog skid to a halt? I have. Lady locked her legs, threw on the brakes, and just froze in place. I don't know if she was scared or just taken aback at the crazy-noise-human in front of her, but it had the desired effect: she stopped advancing long enough for her owner to come get her.

    Lady's owner was VERY apologetic. I half expected her to lay into me for yelling at her dog but I guess she realized that the moment her dog left the property that she was in the wrong. As she went back inside, she laughed and said to me, "Next time I need a bodyguard, I'm hiring you!"

    And that is the story of how I performed a Fus Ro Dah.

    Monday, May 7, 2012

    Monday Bronyday: Mike Pondsmith plays Unknown Ponies

    Yes, that Mike Pondsmith. He's a brony, and he friended me on Facebook (usually it's the other way around) and then told me he'd be running a game of Unknown Ponies for his friends.

    Naturally, I asked for a game report. This is what transpired:
    Dear Princess Erin,

    Okay, here's the game report. Cody played a Russian/Soviet pony from Stalliongrad (it's on the map) who set out from his snowed in city to Canterlot to ask Princess Celestia for “flour to make bread for starving ponies”. Meanwhile, Jacob played a heroic pony from Germaney who wants to join the Palace Guard (but who doesn't have the fighting skills yet). Emili played a studious young unicorn who wants to find a way to fly like a pegasi, and who has been sent to Canterlot by Twilight to find some books on the subject. Finally, Lisa played a unicorn archeologist who lives on the Zebra continent and studies lost civilizations. We started with Lisa (Forest Moon), who found herself in the hoof-prints of Derring Do, in a lost city covered in dragon-shaped statues. She was trapped by a horde of nasty shadow creatures with glowing eyes, and only escaped by touching a mysterious emerald that teleported her to Equestria. Meanwhile, Cody (Winter Mane) was sent to Ponyville to recover from his arduous journey. Jacob (Tyrael B. Hooves) was sent to Ponyville to train his fighting skills under Rainbow Dash. Emili (Pepper Sprint, the cousin of the police pony (casual) Pepper Spray), was returning via train to Ponyville after getting a book on flight from the Royal Library.

    Meanwhile, the teleport spell deposited Forest Moon 3,000 feet up over Equestria, only to be rescued at the last moment by Rainbow Dash. On the train to Ponyville, Winter Mane was harassed by Pinky Pie who tried to throw him a “Welcome to Ponyville” party; poor Pepper Sprint got caught up in the cake-slinging confetti madness. Hilarity further ensued when Winter Mane decided that the starchy and overly Teutonic Tyrael had to be a member of Princess Celestia's Secret Police sent to watch him. He tried to escape with Pepper Sprint in tow (“saving her from Secret Police Pony!”) but was blocked as Rainbow Dash dropped Forest Moon off on the top of the moving train. Things got steadily more chaotic until the train pulled into Ponyville and Winter tried to flee Tyrael dragging Pepper along. Big, silly battle in the town square till Applejack, Twilight and Fluttershy got everyone restrained in magical bubbles and rolled them to the Library. Pepper was reading a book she had borrowed from Forest, who had found it among the ruins of the ancient city; it turned out that it was the field notes of Derring Do, who was tracking down a legend of an evil Temple of Shadows. As everyone got settled, Pinky showed up with Derring Do's old luggage that had come through the gate with Forest Moon. Inside among the various artifacts was a glowing green egg holding a REALLY EVIL embryonic shape.

    At that point, things got serious. Triggered by Tyrael's prodding, a Changeling broke out of the egg and tried to possess Tyrael. It then tried to take over the rest of the party. Twilight attempted to restrain it, while Forest Moon and Pepper helped. Eventually, Pepper realized that the Changeling was trying to focus on one mind and take that shape—she called Pinky Pie in, and the Pink One totally confused to to death by bombarding it with conflicting requests (“Oh! Oh! Do Discord! Now Celestia! Now me!”). It blew up, but the ensuing wave of PURE EVIL summoned the Princesses, who recognized the entity as an Ancient Threat to Equestria. Now our heroes are becoming the nucleus of a new Elemental Team (Bravery, Purity, Wisdom, Honesty) although they don't know that yet.

    Overall, everyone had a great time! YOUR rules worked out pretty well, but midway I ditched the existing resolution system (too complex for speedy play IMHO) and went to a modified TFOS system using the same stats. Resolution also has some problems dealing with PVP situations and is really a bear for multiple axis combats. But the game went great and no one's ever going to laugh at a game with pink ponies ever again (LOL).

    Wow! Sounds like everypony had a bucking great time!

    Following up on this, we exchanged a series of FB messages where he said the following:

    1) He used the Italian Opening of the show in order to get players into the mood. I think it has a very anime-ish sound:

    2) "I knew we were on the right track when my pony hating son said, "you know, I just realized that Ponyville is a border town like in Skyrim..." then asked to join the game."

    3) He's going to get back to me on suggested rules changes, as he's waiting for player feedback. If I like these suggestions I'm going to incorporate them into Version 3 of UP:FiA.

    4) "Right now, I'd say my players would kill me if I didn't run again. Both my wife and son were impressed, and they've been playing for years."

    So in conclusion...


    This is my OMGWTFBBQ Happy Face.

    Thursday, May 3, 2012

    Light the Signal Fires

    I wish I was famous. Not because I would be filthy rich (which would be nice), but because if I had friends in need I could just sign something, auction it off, and give them the proceeds. At best, all I can do now is climb on top of my little soapbox and shout,

    Gamers! Geeks! One of our own is in trouble! To his side! 
    Light the signal fires!

    The short version is this: On April 29, the childhood home of Jamie Chambers burned to the ground. Thankfully, no one was injured, but Jamie's sister and her two young children who lived there are now homeless and without any possessions. They are in desperate need of any charitable assistance you can give, whether it is clothes, monetary donations, or just spreading the word.

    Here is what is needed the most:

    Boys (24 mos / 2T; Size 6 slim)
    Women (Size 8 or M. Shoes 8 1/2. Bra 34DD)

    Non-perishable items, grocery store/restaurant gift cards

    Hairbrush/comb, soap, shampoo, conditioner, etc.

    Money orders, gift cards, etc. can be sent to:
    Bambi Chambers, c/o Signal Fire Studios,
    2265 Roswell Rd, Ste 100, Marietta GA 30062
    Payments in check or money order form should be made to the order of Ann Chambers (Bambi's mom).

    You can also donate electronically through ChipIn:

    (For ease of printing, here is a PDF of the above information.)

    For more information or to make a donation online, please visit
    or email or call 678-590-2012


    Wednesday, May 2, 2012

    Monday* Gunday: Paying it Forward

    (*special "Oh my God I need to get off my ass and write this damn blog" edition)

    A while back, I promised the gun-blog-o-sphere that, out of gratitude for helping me buy a pistol for concealed carry, I would do my best to "pay it forward" to prove I was deserving of their generosity. Today's post is a status update of how I am doing with that.

    1) As I mentioned a while back, when I announced that I was going to be getting my CWP, my mom took an interest in it as well -- probably a combination of being able to share in the logistics and the unrest down south as a result of Zimmerman -- so we both took the classes and filled out the paperwork.

    We're still waiting to get our permits back from the gummint (average processing time has increased from 3 weeks to 6), but mom has already bought her carry pistol (.357 Ruger LCR) and just got her Looper Flashbang holster in the mail today.

    2) As a result of reading my Monday Gunday posts, faithful reader Ricochet (she of the Pinball Mind) has been able to overcome her cultural conditioning of "guns are bad," and after scoring VERY well with a military simulation rifle has decided to dip a toe into the world of sport shooting. Normally I wouldn't be able to help her out, because she lives in Australia, but through the magic of the Gun Blog Black List and Facebook, I was able to become friends with Jigsaw -- a gunnie who lives in Australia. She will be able to help Ricochet navigate the quaint and curious regulations needed for an antipodean to own and operate a firearm, and the two of them are already getting along like a house on fire. In fact, Jigsaw's already invited Ricochet to come visit her and shoot her guns.

    3) This last piece is more of a request than an update. I have another friend, Miakoda, who lives in South Bend, Indiana. She'd like to know more about guns and how to shoot them, but she is very ignorant of how they work. I mean absolutely no disrespect here, but she literally did not know the difference between a semiauto and a revolver before she began speaking to me. I've tried to educate her as best I can, but it's difficult to do over chat and she'd really benefit from some hands-on training by an actual instructor.

    If there's anyone in Indiana who is willing to take her to the range and give her some basic instruction for little to no cost, I would really really appreciate it, and I know she will too. Contact me -- you know how to get in touch. :)

    WNW: Bass Cannon

    Apparently the producers of Epic Cupcake Time and Epic Pie Time weren't kidding when they said "Next time, we eat Skrillex," because today, fillies and gentlecolts, I give you Ponies and Dubstep.

    I swear, these guys just get better and better.

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