The Land of Ten Thousand Gods: Map

I like making graphics!  My husband has written a hack of Dungeon World for a setting inspired by the mythologies of the Indian sub-continent and southeast Asia, called the Land of Ten Thousand Gods.  We play it twice a month over Google Hangouts, and fellow player Sean Nittner has posted the tale of the first few episodes here, here, and here.  Edmund created a hex map, which I re-interpreted in my own way.  (Right now, we’re in Fish-for-Dinner, the city on the coast at the lower edge of the big river delta.)

wet-plains

I wanted it to look a bit odd, like watercolours and ink by an NPC artist who doesn’t normally do maps, working on the direction of the adventurers.  I also wanted to keep it sketchy because in Dungeon World the players may keep adding locations in-between known sites.  I used MyPaint 1.1.0 because it offers an essentially infinite canvas, and added the symbols and labels in GIMP.  The font is Samarkan, obtained from fonthindi.blogspot.com; the symbols are primarily from StarRaven’s Sketchy Cartography Brushes on starraven.deviantart.com and a few other brush packs.

Pick your hills carefully

800px-GeorgePickettearlyphotoOne thing that never ceases to amaze me, and is often magnified by Internet discussions, is the willingness people show for picking the wrong hill to die on.

People say something casually without thinking about all the implications, without considering how this sounds to an outsider, without realizing they used the wrong word or a flawed approached.  But when called on it, instead of saying “Oops, my mistake, I should have expressed myself better / I need to clarify / I didn’t realize that… / I didn’t know about the context,” they  start arguing badly, resorting to a whole arsenal of flawed rhetoric to justify post-hoc what was an ill-thought position in the first place.

This is particularly frequent with issues of privilege and prejudice serve as our own blinders to the consequences of what we say.  “No, what I said wasn’t racist/sexist/ablist/homophobic/transphobic/etc., because I don’t want it to be!”  This is a stupid hill to defend.  I always find it much, much easier to own up to my ignorance or lack of reflection and back away slowly, with my mouth shut, rather than fighting a losing battle that makes me feel stupid.

If you want to die for a hill, make sure that: (A) this really is a hill and not a manure mound, (B) that hill is in fact a valuable position to defend, (C) there isn’t a higher, easily accessed hill nearby, (D) the cause for which you fight is worth going to battle for in the first place, and (E) you’re actually holding the top of that hill, not standing at its base.

gettysburg-cemetery-hill

Geek Women: A Short Ramble

Image copyright Kate BeatonI just noticed that my Geek Gals circle on Google+ has grown to 328 names, primarily met through common gaming interests but also reading, movies, and tech.

At the role-playing game table, women are often in the majority and rarely represent less than 40% of the group.  My husband has often found himself the only man at the table.

On my long work commute on public transit, women represent approximately 60% of the riders, and most of them are gaming on a phone or tablet to pass the time.  I often see well-dressed business women killing aliens, zombies or orcs on the way to work—but even more often from work…

(Because at works, it often sucks.  My company, for example: the only way to get promoted is to be an old white man.  I have seen many a young woman give up on the degrees she had earned and the tech career she had worked for to go do something else where it was easier to pay the bills.)

I guess this is also a good time to thank some of the wonderful people—of all genders—in the gaming hobby and other geeky pursuits that have worked hard to promote diversity in all forms.  Thank you, my many friends, for opening publishing, conventions, game design, etc. to become more like the diverse world I see around me and less like a gated community.


Credits: The image of the New Woman is from the wonderful Kate Beaton, of Hark! A Vagrant fame.

The Land of Ten Thousand Gods: Relationship Map

My husband has written a hack of Dungeon World for a setting inspired by the mythologies of the Indian sub-continent and southeast Asia, called the Land of Ten Thousand Gods.  We play it twice a month over Google Hangouts, and fellow player Sean Nittner has posted the tale of the first few episodes here, here, and here.  I made a relationship map of our four characters; naturally it evolves after every episode but I’m rather happy with the style.

Relationship map

The relationship map is created in GIMP; the pseudo-Sanskrit font is Samarkan, obtained from fonthindi.blogspot.com and the main text font is Gillius ADF No2 from Arkandis Digital Foundry; the arrow brushes are from SparklingTea on Project-GimpBC.  The background image is a Victorian engraving of the Pudhu Mandapam, Madurai, India.

The character pictures, well… Not so open source. Merit’s avatar is a pirate elf by Minttu; Kanta’s is a photo of Goddess Kali makeup by AllMadHera; Ram Jul’Rash’s is a Dwarf avatar created by Mike “Daarken” Lim for the online game The Hobbit: Armies of the Third Age; and Rahi’s is a promo shot of Lynn Collins as Dejah Thoris in the movie John Carter.  Used without permission, no copyright challenge intended.

 

How my “51 in 15” turned out

A year ago Epidiah Ravachol came up with a game-related New Year’s resolution: play 51 different tabletop games in 2015 (he used the hashtag #51in15). He included all sorts of games: role-playing, card games, board games, miniatures games, etc., counting each title only once, no matter how many times he played it over the course of the year. A few days later Epidiah expanded on his resolution and posted cool badges for various challenges. I liked the idea and I started keeping track of my games in a spreadsheet.  By December 31, I exceeded the target, ending up with 62 different games in my list.  Let’s start with some summary numbers:

51in15types-piechart

My game types were divided about equally between tactical and strategic play (5 miniatures games, 12 board games, 13 card games for a total of 30) and narrative play (25 role-playing games, 6 storytelling games, and one live-action role-playing game or LARP, for a total of 32).

  • For clarification of the latter, games I labelled “storytelling” rather than “role-playing” included The Quiet Year, Fiasco, Monster Draft, Durance, Hobbit Tales from the Green Dragon Inn, and Bluebeard’s Bride. But honestly, the difference is subjective — I was only trying to explore the data for patterns.
  • Similarly, the distinctions between board games and miniatures games or board games and card games can be blurry, such as in games like Robo Rally, Galactic Strike Force, or The Grizzled.

Regarding some categories Epidiah created badges for:

  • I played 16 different games that play under 30 minutes (such as the Mint Tin games, Coup, or Hanabi.)  Five were board games and 11 were card games.
  • I played (or ran as game-master) 16 different games with more than five players. Of these, one was a card game, one was a board game, two were storytelling games and 12 were RPGs.
  • Seven were designed by a woman: two of these were storytelling games and five were RPGs.  I wish that count was higher and I will keep working at it.
  • I had a horse in the race!  I ran several games of War of Ashes: Fate of Agaptus at conventions.

But here is the thing that I’m really proud of:

  • No less than 44 of these 62 different games (71%) were new to me: I had never played them before 2015.
  • And of these new games, 9 were playtests (20.5% of the new games or 14.5% of the year’s total.)

Here is what my list looked like (after the cut): Continue reading “How my “51 in 15” turned out”

Christmas Eve Exchange

As a tradition inherited from Edmund’s family, we open our Christmas presents after Christmas dinner, to make the holiday last as long as possible. However, as an offering to impatience and my traditions, we usually exchange and open one present each on Christmas Eve. So Edmund gave me The Badass Feminist Coloring Book, and I gave him a long-overdue portrait I drew of Kuri, the character from my book War of Ashes: Fate of Agaptus. It was all very art-y.

Kuri was just an aspect on sample character Iva the Stubborn’s character sheet until I needed one more character for a playtest event and Edmund decided to play Kuri, who ended the episode with a pirate’s hat as a trophy. Kuri is a Jaarl fawn who also appears in the micro-fiction penned by Edmund in the book. He had asked me a long time ago for a drawing of the character; I had several false starts but I finally completed it.  Hee!

kuri

Spotify Playlist: American Gods

american gods

A few years ago, Bridget McGovern at the TOR Books blog put together an exhaustive soundtrack to go along Neil Gaiman’s novel American Gods: “The Complete American Gods Mix Tape”.  I added all the tunes I could find, which is the vast majority, to a Spotify playlist.  I was thinking of this playlist because Christmas features at the centre portion of the book, so it’s seasonal.  Unfortunately, Spotify does not allow custom images for playlists (it’s only been a top user request for 3.5 years!) but I’m nothing if not stubborn.  Hence, sharing through my own blog so I could have a representative image when I post the link!  Enjoy.

Spotify playlist: American Gods Mix Tape.  If you want more about the novel, here are some thoughts and links from my previous posts.

[Edit: Now includes the long-missing Beatles songs, just released on Spotify.]

american-gods-mixtape1