Once Every Decade

June 8, 2019

What is the most notable thing to happen on March 1st, 2009?

Is it Chang’e 1 striking the moon?

I’m sure for someone who I gamed with a fair amount between 2018 KublaCon and 2019 DunDraCon, would have been the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute’s work with embryonic-like stem cells.

Now, just like I can’t probably keep straight my history, this blog’s history is a bit odd.  Four posts show up for March 1st, 2009.

Ten years of blogging with every year getting more and more grand … up until the point that I slowed down playing V:TES and L5R 4e mechanics were not as relevant and I’d post less frequently and post about the same sort of things.  Maybe Arrowverse reviews didn’t enthrall the multiverse.

This is my 603rd post, I believe.  Does mean I average more than a post a week even if I haven’t been hitting that in the last year.


As we all know, as folks age, the mind views things differently.  As we all know, when you are waiting for something to happen, your perception of time is rather different than when you are in the moments of activity.

I’ve had dreams after falling back asleep where it felt like hours passed during the dream, but, then, conk out for what seems like hardly any time and an hour is gone.

Blah, blah, blah.  Stating the obvious is so cold-take.

Every 11 years, a friend of mine in China picks out a new jacket for me.  The one in 2007 has worked out far better than the one in 2018, so far.  Every 11 years.

For reasons I have a hard time wrapping my head around, I didn’t see my aunt and uncle for more than a decade.  Sure, it’s virtually impossible to find a way to get from Midcal to the exotic frontier that is Mid-Oregon.

I’ve lived in the same house for something like 18 years.  That doesn’t sound too strange to someone growing up perhaps.  I lived in a former murder capital of the US (by some measurement, I suppose, as I don’t know if I have proof of this) for more than 10.  While my feeble mind may be ready for retirement, my financial accounts aren’t, so it isn’t like this is the retirement play, either.

It was seven years between my working at my current job and working for the same company previously.  That doesn’t change.  It’s been four years since I’ve been back.  I used to say “12 years ago, things worked like …”, where it’s now “14 years ago, such and such worked in …”


I had thought to do a post just about my interest level change in baseball and why I think …

Sure, MLB will probably survive five more years.  I suppose.

There was a time when I clipped box scores for my favorite team because of my favorite player.  If you can guess my favorite baseball player, well, if you can guess my favorite baseball player and are a smokin’ hot babe, maybe we could hang out, sometime.  You know, play some Traveller CCG or whatever.

I choose not to watch baseball, anymore.  While the reasons aren’t earthshattering epiphanies, I do view them as the overwhelmingly important reasons for why I’d rather hope for Australian Rules Football, darts, or cornhole (the game, oh, nevermind) on the TV.

The reason why MLB mattered back in the day and NFL/NBA didn’t was stats.  Baseball’s history is a history of stats.  Can only be wistful for so long about Ross Youngs’ hitting or whatever.  Through stats, you appreciate stories.  Some dude crushed it before being blacklisted from the game and was an all-timer statwise, therefore some dude mattered and his running around barefoot was charming.

Decade after decade of stats.  Sure, racist stats.  Amphetamined stats.  But, record book stuff.

Any present day play was within the context of the stats.  Deadball era, you aren’t going to rack up 500 wins anymore stats.  Before mound lowering, after mound was moved back to 60’6″, whatever.

The Steroid Era was kind of a problem for what it did to elevate numbers, but the lasting impact is that it generally undermined caring about stats.  This cripples the relevancy of what players are doing.

The true results:  home run, walk, strikeout.  Of course this makes baseball even more boring to watch.  So, I was into baseball stats in the ’80s.  Back then, dudes who walked a lot but didn’t hit 300 (see below) and, therefore, had better onbase percentages than dudes who did hit 300 but didn’t walk much had to be called out by Bill James, et al.  Now, it’s all about walks and dingers.  When the exception was the Human Rain Delay, then the exception was interesting.  When the norm is “Take the first two, foul off a couple, take, ooh, just outside, walk to first.”, then bor-ing.

The most exciting thing in baseball was never a home run.  It was a shot in the gap or down the line with the hitter streaking around the bases.  If anything, a home run is a rally killer, even if it does get runs in.  String together a bunch of singles and doubles and you go crazy like a cucumber.  Maybe baseball can be saved by moving the fences out to force more players to deal with doubles and triples.  Not because we hate home runs but because the incentive to focus so much on them needs to be changed.  Even in the playoffs, what has more drama, more tension – took the lead off a solo/two-run shot or hit a double and see if the run can get in?

It has been said ad nauseam that soccer isn’t more popular with Statespeople because we like scoring.  Actually, barring a major change in the way futbol is played everywhere, it’s not more scoring that I’m interested in, it’s more scoring chances.  Putting a crooked number on the board isn’t dramatic.  Hitting the crossbar when the score is 1-0 is dramatic.  Some baseball fans enjoy the pitcher’s duel.  I’m not so sure I’ve ever enjoyed a pitcher’s duel, but the principle is similar.  “Well, it’s 7-3, we need a couple dudes to walk, three-run dinger, then hope for a solo shot.” – not exactly what I think of when I think of Ye Olde Pastime.

Finally, reason three for how I can’t watch baseball anymore is … the best thing about MLB once upon a time.  I should have been a sabermetrician.  Perfect.  Numbers.  Sports (without being all that athletic, er, ladies).  Growing industry, maybe they score the big bucks.  Don’t end up in accounting.

Sabermetrics has been poisoning baseball.  Whereas in days of yore, you could focus on hitting 300, 100 ribs, 30/40/50 dingers.  Now, it’s not just WAR, which in and of itself is only mildly toxic, it’s the plethora of exotic metrics that just removes anyone from tracking what’s actually going on.  Sure, papers – I mean – newsfeeds/microblogs/YouTube/podcasts could report how someone’s 0 for 3 with a walk affects their in season WAR ranking vs. other players in their position, but who cares?

Temporal Anomalies

Oh, look, I ranted about a sport, rather than a game for quite a while there.

Interests change.  Actually, quite a few of my gaming interests haven’t changed at all, at least in a general sense.  I still enjoy creating characters and envisioning campaign ideas or PC adventures.  I may look down on systems I used to enjoy creating characters for, but that seems a minor change as I started being interested in different systems from D&D almost as soon as I picked up other RPGs.

It’s more that lifestyles change.  I haven’t played V:TES since, I think, DunDraCon.  I don’t feel like I have time to organize.  Given that others haven’t, either, imagine their time feels similarly impacted.

I notice that my BattleTech Scenario Building post still gets more views than most.  I have a hard time imagining having the time to put into even something like that.  I used to play RPGs on Friday nights, even in those odd times when I had a job, and I view Friday nights as crash time, now.

20 years ago, I went to Origins and Gen Con as a Precedence volunteer.  I had midnight shifts for demoing B5.  20 years ago.  I was able to stay up after 10:30PM without being useless the next day.

Ancient “Wisdom”

I mentioned no longer providing the wisdom of an UC! pack.  It occurred to me that I was forgetting the wisdom of The Ancient Fighting Arts of China!

Ultimate Combat! essentially lasted from 1995 to 1997.  22 years ago was the last tournament I can recall playing in.

22 years ago, one could get such wisdom as:

Seize your opponent’s advantage and make it your own.

This is a laughably bad gold belt card in that I’ve never seen someone put it into a deck.  Sure, you would run it in limited play just in case.  But, weapons were never as good as not running weapons, not even when they never went away and only gained one counter when used.

Let your mind absorb his attack.

Again, in a modern CCG, I’d imagine the wording would be “her” attack or possibly even “their attacks” or something.  This card is terrible, as well.  This probably wouldn’t even make the cut in limited play.  Would have to be metagaming against psychic damage decks, which I’ve built but were never an important part of the oh-so-well-established metagame.

The more you attack, the more damage you deal.

Can see what putting flavor text on every card does – leads to rather insipid flavor text.  On the other hand, this is kind of ironic in that it isn’t for the fighting style that has built in combination attacks and it’s for a technique you would pretty much never play due to how expensive it is and, thus, would be attacking more often with some technique that didn’t suck.

Accepting risk is part of battle.

I suppose I could squeeze some time to show pictures of these cards if I was more motivated to provide visual presentation with my ramblings.  I tried a browser search and couldn’t find this card’s art.  While I mostly don’t care about how unappealing most UC! art is, this card could easily be called out for how it would not get younguns or most others to embrace the best two-player CCG of all time.  The mechanics are also unplayable.

Which brings up an actual important point and highlights that as much as I facetiously tout the wisdom of the flavor text in this game, one of the common features of CCG expansion is to come up with useless mechanics.  Sure, Wheel of Time did wonders with its first expansion of not making a bunch of coasters, and WoT even made some coasters playable later, but just because a mechanic is possible in a game doesn’t mean it should be utilized.  Jeff and I often question the playability of cards (Jeff usually asks whether something is playable, then I conclude it isn’t after thinking a bit about it).

The power of the beast foils the threat.

This could be on a Magic beast creature, though unlikely.  What makes this funnier in context is this card is Gi Patch: Rhino.  I summon my rhino totem to foil … some of the most broken sounding cards in the game.  Mental Domination, aka Mindslaver (well, actually, Worst Fears is a closer analogy).  Suppress, probably a better version of Mental Domination.  Of course, would probably run …

Grasp an extra moment to prepare yourself.

Psychic Delay was my choice for second best card in the game with TAFAoC included in the cardpool.  Yet, curiously, I don’t autorun 4x in every deck as I run 4x Mantra of Power in every deck.  Of course, I don’t have any real opponents besides me, myself, and I, anyway (you know, a smokin’ hot babe who wants to play Ultimate Combat! is probably someone I could make an effort to hang out with, just sayin’).  This is more playable than Gi Patch: Rhino while Mental Agility is about as playable as the Rhino.

I don’t want to quote every card in this pack, but I feel I have to call out:

If you turn your back on your opponent, do so quickly.

This is a cool card with decent flavor text.  No, really, UC! had cool cards besides Mindslaver before Mindslaver.  Torque is just funny.  My Torque deck was one of those cases of just having fun with a CCG in a way that CCGs were meant to be fun.  It wasn’t trying to make a stupid card functional even though Torque is borderline stupid.  It was trying to make an esoteric play less esoteric.  Actually, +2 damage for one power is not a terrible ratio for a single attack.  It’s just far better to have +8 (overkill) damage on a Favorite Technique with, even better, a Coach Card in play to maximize rotation rate.

Fast and agile, the wyvern strikes.

If you know anything about UC!, you can assume that this is on Gi Patch: Wyvern.  You may also know that the creator of the Wyvern CCG is on this card.  If you didn’t, there you go.  The industry was a lot more fun back in 1995.  One hopes that if you know that Mike Fitzgerald is on this card you know that Richard Garfield is on Touch of Magic.

Finally, there are two cards in this pack, Alter Destiny and Clear Vision, that have flavor text but, more importantly, bring us back to the idea that just because you can make an effect doesn’t mean it’s worth doing.

Both have the same cost (the “wisdom” cost of Knowledge and Experience).  One lets you look at the top card of an opponent’s deck and the other rearrange the top four cards of a deck.  These are Magicish mechanics that are way less meaningful in a game where you may draw four cards on your turn and discard seven to draw seven more without needing a special card in play.  I’m sure powered up versions might be relevant.  A “Look at the top 10 cards and rearrange them.” card would be worth playing and be incredibly annoying to someone who can’t get a power engine going to burn through cards, nevermind that it would set up your Adrenaline combos to some degree.


No, I’m not going to stop blogging.  While I don’t like to announce travel plans, anyone reading my blog should know I plan on being at Origins next week.  My abode protected by relatives and a needy cat.

I hope to blog for another decade.  I hope to have my friend pick out a new jacket for me in 10 more years.  I hope next year is more like 10 years ago rather than 20 years ago.  I hope that future episodes of Doctor Who are better.

While highly unlikely I make it to the VTES EC this year, sadfaces, it feels so so long ago that I went to Berlin.  Got to figure out a way to mentally slow down or will turn around and …



KublaCon 2019

May 27, 2019

So, I have a business trip Monday to Friday before the con.  Mostly due to having to get up at 3:30AM for one flight and 4:05AM for another but also due to other various stressors, I end up getting sick.  Friday, first flight is okay, but second flight is obvious not wellness.

I never had any plans to go to Kubla on Friday night.  The only two events I planned on playing in were the two Shadowfist tournaments, so I didn’t need to be to the con until noon Saturday.

I didn’t feel horrible.  I felt like reducing my plague-ridden footprint at the con and seeing if resting until I needed to head up for my Saturday night demo would help.  It probably did.

I didn’t feel bad so much as easily was losing my voice Saturday night.

We had good demo attendance.  Everyone showed up at the same time, pretty much.  This is not really optimal as even with Jeff and his brother helping, it was hard to walk through things for everyone.

I make demos too hard.  I use my more basic decks for them, but there’s no scripting, there’s not a concerted effort to simplify which cards are used.  Jeff actually did better demos at … Pacificon? … where he had everyone use the same precon matchup and had everyone do the same things at the same time.  Sure, if there’s only like two people trying to play through something, I can be there for that.  But, I did a really bad job of explaining while two games were going on at the same time.

Even simplified decks are not great for demoing to people who just want to see what the game is like and don’t want to go through the nuances of multiple rounds.  So, I’ll look to put together some demo packs to use.  And, some demo decks.  Then, I can just ask people whether they want to run through a very limited experience or a reduced experience or a full experience.

Guess I need to open more ship decks so I have enough copies of cards to do this.  Yes, I don’t actually have that large a collection of my own game.  I can carry my entire Traveller card collection.  That’s not remotely true for B5, Magic, Shadowfist, V:TES.  I might be able to carry my WoT collection.  I’m sure I could carry my Tomb Raider collection.

Nonlinearly, the second demo, Sunday morning, was not heavily attended, and we did what we did at DunDraCon and played a multiplayer game.  In the three-player, Jeff and I tied at 24 VPs and he won on tiebreakers.  My hybrid piracy deck could never generate more than 0 AV to even bother attempting a piracy action against Jeff over the course of the game.

So, Saturday evening, I pick up a sandwich, do my demo, head home.  Sunday, I do my demo, we hit “this used to be so much better” dumpling shop, and I felt up to sticking around for a few hours to play in the Shadowfist event Sunday night if I wasn’t going to be the fifth player.

I played a couple games of Star Realms (basic set) with Jeff and people who did a Traveller demo.  Both times, I ended up with lots of card draw and enough scrapping to where I could run through my whole deck.  In the second game, four player, I was reduced to three cards and drew basically my entire deck.  The two cards I had to discard to get down to three both had … card draw.

I kind of forget how powerful card drawing is in various games.  Foreshadowing alert.  Foreshadowing alert.

So, I was the fifth for the Shadowfist event.  The decision has been made to junk doing Modern tournaments as Modern is a more degenerate environment that isn’t especially interesting.  That won’t stop me from making Modern decks because I don’t make the best decks in the first place.

So, I didn’t even need to defend my crown as California’s Modern Champion.  The last Modern Champion for the fifth largest economy in the world … ladies.

The group dragged in a sixth player for reasons not completely clear to me, but I assume it had something to do with not just playing against the same opponents over and over again.

Saturday, I didn’t take decks as I didn’t want the temptation to play Shadowfist and get sicker.  Sunday, I simply forgot to take decks as I wasn’t thinking about anything besides my commitments [ladies].

So, borrowed various decks.

In the first three-player, I played Jason’s Lotus good stuff.  I noted after the game that the character curve was really odd as the deck only had like two hitters and relied on Evil Twin for midrange.

I discarded my entire opening hand except an Abysmal Wyrm.

I got out an early Abysmal Wyrm and probably could have sealed the deal quickly if Cutting Loose Ends didn’t smoke my two Abysmal Wyrms and I could draw anything else with a fighting greater than …

So, I have a Hungry Ghosts in play.  I have Evil Twin in hand as well as Tortured Memories.  My first bid for victory is the obvious play of Evil Twin Time Bandits to get two fighting.  Then, I Tortured Memories the Time Bandits and swing with the ability to take out a site of five body.  I get chumped, so I can only do four damage.  I rearrange to get a facedown site as my target hoping for LaGrange Four and, shockingly, it’s not a four body site.

Why did I spend Evil Twin and Tortured Memories to gain four fighting?  I had to move cards.  I couldn’t really play anything else, not a FSS when at four FSSs.

Reverend Redglare gets played.  I have Hungry Ghosts in play.  I Evil Twin Reverend Redglare … the *biggest* character on the table … and choose “hero” because Miguel is playing his healing deck.  I shoot the other Reverend in case my next play gets cancelled or retargeted.  I Underworld Coronation my Evil Twin, drop two Stone Gargoyles and swing for the win.

In the next game, I played Jason’s Reascended deck and Miguel got his healing to finally work, while I could barely put out characters having resource and power issues.

We switched up.  I played Miguel’s Eunuchs against Band of Heroes and Hand Heal.  I misplayed by not discarding most of my opening hand, as my draw was just too slow to really matter much.  I kept trying to suppress heroes only for Li Po to show up and double attack for the win.  In the next game, I discarded my entire opening hand.

This is the thing about normal Shadowfist, it really isn’t well-designed.  Veteran ‘fisters can claim it’s the best multiplayer CCG ever, but it has huge mechanical flaws.  Sure, I may discard my entire opening hand with Traveller, but those cards in my discard pile might end up being really useful later, and I may not need any specific card in order to play the game, where Shadowfist requires you to have a power generation ability and specific levels of resources to play most of the cards in the game.

Also, I’m just not much of a fan of three-player play, as good games depend too much on decks coming out at the same speed.  Lot of my threesomes are dominated by a single participant and not everyone leaves satisfied.  Fourways are where it’s at, as you don’t need to conform as much to a particular tempo with fourways.

We folded up the second Eunuchs game to switch up, again.  Jason had already won by this point.  I played Miguel’s Ascended deck.  I got a fast start and had plenty of ways to gain power even if it meant giving power to others, so I punched through what limited character generation my opponents had.

Around 11PM at this point.  Finally, get to end my con.  Yup, ‘nother amazing KublaCon where I ran two events and played in one and maybe did some pickup thing in between for a bit.

Kubla is just a really bad time of year for me.  DunDraCon isn’t near month end, so I’m not as bogged down in financial reporting as I usually am, though, admittedly, these days, I spend about four weeks out of every month on our monthly financial reporting.  For some reason, travel is common near Memorial Day in a way that it isn’t for Labor Day.  So, I have no enthusiasm for doing much beyond running my events and trying to get in some Shadowfist play, which doesn’t even end up working that great due to the vagaries of existence.

Oh, I did show people the Traveller Two-Player Set box during my business trip.  I did talk about the solitaire games I’ve created, though I never showed a coworker 544 Flaming Falcon (for instance).

Due to all of our nights being booked with dinners during the summit, I never got out to game stores while in Bentonville/Rogers, only walking about halfway to one of them before needing to turn back, to see if Traveller was on the shelves.

Going to try to get Traveller regular play going in Fremont on Tuesday nights.  Going to someday get around to building some new Shadowfist decks.  Need to start building V:TES decks for Origins.

Speaking of Gen Con [you weren’t, oh], I need to move three True Dungeon E1 tickets at 11PM Thursday due to our only real opportunity to do E3 overlapping with that slot.  Would be joining seven other unknown players.  If interested in one to three of those tickets, I’d love to sell and transfer rather than eat the drop cost.  I’ll also post to the forums to try to move those, but forumites are generally going to be looking for runs with other forumites rather than unknown players.

The wisdom of UC! is likely waning.  Just as I eventually lost the energy with astrological posts, I’ll probably stop cracking boosters to see what they offer for these posts.

An ancient application of physics multiplies the attacking force dramatically.

One of the more interesting weapons.  No technique has a base attack value of nine.

Failed attacks against the ninja often prove suicidal.

The timing of this card’s ability is likely one of those cases of just intuitively working out when to use it rather than being clearly defined.

The obvious first draft card in this deck is Speed X.  If you already had one, Nunchaku is a force multiplier.

Attacking and ninja.  Well, that’s very Shadowfisty.

Nowhere Near The Badlands

May 19, 2019

I’m not caught up on Into the Badlands.  I am binge watching to the extent that I have the time and energy to do so.

When season three began, I was interested.  So much of the old had finally been done away with by the time season two ended.  I watched and, then, waited.  When episodes finally came back on, I wasn’t that interested.

What was Into the Badlands supposed to be?

For some people, post apocalyptic, gratuitous wire fu scenes with relatively high amounts of gore appeals.  If anything, I’d say season one, maybe season two, didn’t have enough martial arts scenes.  So much talking involving Quinn.  It was something of a take on Journey to the West, except I don’t know what JttW is supposed to involve and MK was terrible.

Then, it seemed to go off in a different direction.  In many respects, a different direction was good as Sunny constantly not killing the people he should kill ASAP got really tiresome.

But, watching season three, what I mostly think about isn’t which characters I care about … because I don’t care about any of them much.  I keep thinking about what a muddled mess the show is with its mythology and with what is going on at any given time.

I like martial arts action, but I actually like wire fu less.  I like martial arts combat based around the combatants styles’ mattering.  Baron Chau using hook swords is a good idea.  It’s interesting when the Widow uses flails, but there’s a distinct lack of “You cannot hurt me due to my Mountain Style, you must learn Water Dragon style to defeat me.”

At first, the show is about Sunny and MK escaping a sucktastic world.  And, you could say the last episodes are about making the world less sucktastic, but it’s such a long, miserable exercise to get there.  It’s probably intentional to be hard to root for numerous characters, but that, to me, is flawed entertainment.

There’s nothing wrong with clear good vs. evil.  But, even if you don’t have black and white storytelling, you can still have clear protagonists rather than a bumbling ex-assassin who can’t stop killing people plus a bunch of people who keep changing allegiances all forced to inhabit the same miserable world.

If it were anime, might be more likeable.  Or, maybe just as frustrating because the characters are so unfun and the fighting would be less visceral.

Bajie was a necessary addition to lighten things up some.  Not enough.  His story is so unclear and what he’s trying to do is so unclear that even he isn’t the main character to root for.  MK should have been a lighter character if you want to compare to representations of the Monkey King I’ve seen.  Or, someone should have been.  But, everybody is murderrific or capturerrific all of the time, except of course for those characters that suffer the most.

Reading reviews, one review sounded like it was criticizing an episode before the end for having a bunch of exposition.  Here’s the thing.  Ditch all of the tedious Quinn, Ryder, whatever melodrama and replace it with “Azra was this.  Here’s where Sunny came from.  Here’s what MK’s power is.” in season one and I would have been far more interested in what was going on.  I watched this exposition heavy episode and I liked it, far more than I liked most of the other episodes.

So, gaming.

Into the Badlands – RPG setting?

Just doesn’t sound like a desirable one, to me.

Martial arts flicks – RPG setting?

Most martial arts flicks that impacted my psyche would make pretty bad RPG settings the way I think of them.  Most stuff when I was young was about an individual’s quest for revenge.  You get one PC.  You have a world that exists entirely to get beaten up followed by training in a new technique and defeating the villain after your latest love interest probably also died.

There are RPGs that focus on martial arts that are perfectly fine.  Yes, you can see movies in Swords of the Middle Kingdom or Ninja Crusade or Qin.  Ninja Hero is my favorite Hero System product of all time.  I have never had any interest in Exalted after the first time playing it, but it might be considered a martial arts RPG and has been fairly popular over the years.

It’s just that there’s a tremendous negativity to martial arts stuff in so many shows.  Now, what about more humorous martial arts movies?  Humor should arise from play not be forced into play.  I may find it humorous that in Conan we were actually the bad guys for a long time, constantly releasing demons on the world and, then, running away to escape them, but intentional humorous RPG play is often going to turn me off.  Not always.  But, in a serious genre.

Can have ghostbusting martial arts stuff.  Inuyasha, at its best, has this feel, though at a different power level and more supernatural supers than fantasy martial arts.  I guess.

So, I got to thinking about Westerns due to a game I signed up for at Gen Con, plus ItB is kind of Westerny.

Westerns – good RPG settings?

Here, I can see it being more group oriented, more fun.  I’ve thought about Wild Wild West as a RPG setting and it didn’t sound that good for the same reason that I have a hard time picturing how a James Bond campaign would work, even a lot of one-shots would work, though, I suppose, Mission Impossible is a better model for RPG play than something highly focused on one character.

Whether one shots or, even, campaign play, I can imagine a Western game so much more easily than a functional martial arts game.

I find that kind of interesting because I am drawn more heavily to martial arts entertainment than Westerns, though, to be fair, I have liked a number of Westerns.

Of course, Star Wars sounds like a great setting up until the point that you start play and half the players want to be jedi and the other have want to be scum.

Could be argued that 7th Sea is a martial arts setting, and I think 7th Sea works perfectly fine as a genre.  Combat is a big thing in lots of RPGs and different fighting styles shows up all over the place.

It occurs to me that important to martial arts and supers and various other genres at the campaign level is losing fights.  That’s not going to appeal to a lot of people I’ve played RPGs with, as far as I can tell.  I guess that’s why L5R works so well for some – you always win … up until the point that you have a new character.

Another thing about martial arts and supers is not ganging up on opponents.  This PC squares off with this NPC while the others have their fights.  I haven’t mentioned Feng Shui, yet, which is kind of a sign of how much interest I’ve lost in Feng Shui after 2e got made, but my FS play tended to involve more typical RPG fights where PCs focus fire and have no specific rivalries with villains.

I have thought about martial arts campaign play.  Rival schools.  Something besides rival schools.  I haven’t thought much about Western play as I’ve never been into Deadlands and not much else is pushed as Western play.

Of course, I’m probably just gun [sic] shy.  I’ve seen so many failed attempts to capture what makes shows cool in various genres that I spend a lot of time thinking about why a genre won’t work rather than having some faith that anything can be made to work if the right people are doing the right kind of things.

Where’s the Ultimate Combat! wisdom in a post all about martial arts?

The oldest weapon – still eminently effective.

Not the oldest writing technique, but changing things up is a pretty old technique.

Imbued with righteousness, you are shielded from harm.

MK didn’t have enough righteousness.  Sunny was seemingly given righteousness but it didn’t change anything.

You are what you eat.

This hadn’t come up yet!  Well, I haven’t eaten a hawk, either.  People are exposed to things when they are young and often come to like those things.  On the other hand, when you eat disappointment, you become less enthused.

The pain of falling lessens with repetition.

Not fallen enough when it comes to RPG campaigns?  I don’t think so.  I think the pain increases with additional failures as one keeps asking the question “If I’ve had great RPG experiences, why is it so hard to have more great ones?”

Success earns repetition.

Ha.  Repeat good, don’t repeat bad.  That seems like sound advice.  This pack keeps getting more interesting.  Play Oak Staff, have it break, Instant Recall it back.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Maybe I don’t imitate enough when I GM/build decks/whatever.  I try to do things my way and it doesn’t work as well.  I was never terribly fond of this card, BTW, as it’s pretty expensive for what it does.  For sealed play, it makes this pack weirder, doesn’t synergize with Oak Staff, for instance.  For draft, it would be something to take if you saw a lot of beef.

Capture The Enrapture

May 12, 2019

Where to begin?

In the absence of getting you all fired up with some hot take, let’s begin with this post’s Ultimate Combat! booster’s wisdom.

Like a spectre she avoided each attack, to win the gold untouched.

My perspective is that Vampire: The Eternal Struggle/Jyhad has by far the best flavor text of any CCG.  Quotes from this world have more gravitas IMO than game related flavor text.  This flavor text starts off kind of cool but becomes rather mundane.

In terms of the card, very expensive but, barring action card counters, far more reliable than various other Limited Edition action card defenses.  Definitely desirable in limited play, and gold belt cards often aren’t really that good due to how many are Environment cards or just some fat technique that you use only once because you don’t have Favorite Technique or Instant Replay in your deck.

A few great masters can drain the essence of life from their opponent, to gain vitality for themselves.

How much does this card owe its existence to Magic?  We are likely to never know, but it’s not only psychic martial arts, a feature of UC! that gets it away from concentrating on real world martial arts fighting, it also has a different font size for its ability due to how complicated its text is and works differently in multiplayer play and the flavor text sounds very much like a Black Sorcery or whatever.

Ah, shrinking text to fit on a card because the designers/developers thought cards with lots of text are a good idea.  A topic that … I’ll probably never use as the thrust of a post but will no doubt bring up since I had to shrink some card text to fit in our latest playtest versions of Traveller CCG cards.  Oh, wow, I’m so clever, I just made my prediction come true.

This is a pack you would far more like to get in a sealed event as Conditioning/Knowledge is heavily featured not only in the two cards above but with the better techniques in the pack.

So, Arrowverse.  Okay, don’t beat me to death or possess me or mirror me away.  I’ll make this relatively quick.  Legends of Tomorrow may be more workplace sitcom than superhero show and may have gone so campy that it isn’t as great as episodes that balanced stuff better, but it’s so much better than the other shows because it’s fun and workplace sitcoms can be enjoyable when they involve time travel, magic, “smashing”, etc.  Arrow just feels like Arrow has felt ever since season two and that’s not a good thing.  I agree that Flash’s villains aren’t compelling, but, then, only one ever has been.  Get thee to a crossover!  Where all of these shows become so much more fun (except LoT, since LoT is far crazier outside the crossovers).

Origins, Gen Con, KublaCon.  All approaching.  I’m running Traveller events at Origins and Gen Con.  Sunday in both cases.  Be there or be rectangular.  Oh, I’m also running events at KublaCon, but that’s not as newsworthy.

I signed up for one event for Origins in prereg.  I glommed on to other forumites’ True Dungeon runs since I’m flying solo at Origins.  I’ll generic the other V:TES tournaments I’m planning on playing.  Gen Con, we just came up with a rough plan for Team Blow (“we don’t suck, we blow”, no, this one isn’t for the ladies, this is actually clever).

The plan doesn’t give me a lot of free slots, even though my HoR footprint is expected to decline significantly.  My TD footprint might increase, see how things turn out with glomming on to forum runs.  Glomming – I feel like Stephen Donaldson after he started trolling his readers.

I had an idea for a post.  I used my mirror match idea for a Developer’s Corner article I sent off to Jeff for the Traveller site.  It predated my watching Miami Connection last night – more about how the songs need to be in our bard’s repertoire than in being a cheesy, weird martial arts movie starring Michael Phelps.  T-shirts are available online.

What was that idea?  I was thinking about something that related to RPGs.

Oh, maybe it was cast size.  Not just Arrowverse having a problem with way, way overblown cast sizes.  Got into a conversation about which Star Trek was the best.  I am of a different generation, not a next generation but more like a prior generation, than some misguided whippersnappers I game with.  TNG is not remotely as good as OT.  OT wasn’t like half spatial/temporal anomalies and OT saw constant beaming down to planets to encounter … humans on other planets.  Phasers were used to shoot rocks a lot.  Anyway.  I was hot-take-persecuted for claiming TNG’s cast was too big.  I had to be reminded Geordi was on the show as I rattled off a bunch of characters who should have been minor characters but weren’t.  I had to look up how to spell Geordi.  I’m not a Geordi hater.  I’m just not into big casts on my adventure shows.

Which brings us back to gaming.  Yeah, I have to mention how I create too many NPCs when I GM my own stuff.  Keep the focus on a manageable number of characters those GMs who do the same things I do.  Let’s look at HoR4.  In HoR2, there was the Toritaka, the gaijin, the Scorpion seeking redemption, the ronin whose character sheet was far cooler than his presence in mods.  Does HoR4 have more NPCs than HoR2?  I don’t know.  It certainly doesn’t have much in the way of memorable ones, so, even if it doesn’t have more, it “has” more.  Focus on a manageable number of characters.  We aren’t going to like them all.  I didn’t look forward to babysitting the Toritaka yet again.  But, it’s okay to have some we don’t care for if there are ones we are given a chance to care for.

OT – where the big two, big three, big two plus others gave us characters I liked.  They didn’t have to have character arcs.  They needed to phaser rocks.

Which brings up another RPG related topic – phasering rocks.  Well, it’s more of a show topic, but we will apply it to gaming.  Do entertaining stuff.  John Carter is not a deep character.  Ignoring the movie, which got his personality totally wrong, JC is all about swordfighting against as many swordfighters as possible for as long as possible.  Plus, he likes to rescue hot chicks.  Yet, give me that sort of “character” over “complex” characters who struggle to get to doing cool stuff.  I don’t need redemption stories or overcoming one’s flaws stories or whatever else passes for “entertainment”.  I need Goku absorbing some of his Spirit Bomb to achieve Ultra Instinct.

Doing cool stuff makes the character cool.  Yeah, I know that sounds weird coming from me, as an example of that could be D&D style play where you don’t give a crap who your PC is beyond the character sheet as you Fireball giants.  But, actually, my issues with D&D style play aren’t Fireballing giants.  Giants deserve it for having higher melee damage outputs than I do.  When our Conan characters took on giants, it was cool.  We may not have Fireballed any of them, though, actually, I think we did fireball at least one either through Defensive Blast or some alchemical weapon.  There was a story, and I envisioned us rescuing hot chicks while we were murdering poor, make-your-massive-damage-save giants.  We weren’t just looking to loot their caves, which is not what I rate as doing cool stuff.

TLROO:  Rocks need phasering.  [What?  Sshhhh …]

May The Fourth Belated

May 4, 2019

I could comment about a trip that wasn’t to Fresno last Saturday to play HoR4.  I could get into the oft addressed topic of exploration and discovery, but that would involve pretty pictures and other popular stuff.

Played relatively normal Shadowfist not long ago, where I actually ran evasion (Stealth) but ran into a frequent Ascended problem I have – getting all of my hitters smoked/toasted.

But, let’s focus on HoR4, since that was recent and kind of different.

Spinning disaster for your opponent.

Tonfa exist in HoR4 and are kind of dangerous.  Yes, let’s spin disaster!

Essence of the Art is to use your rival’s strength against him.

Is my rival always a him?  In a more modern CCG, I wonder if her would have been used.  Anyway, got to like the capitalization of Art, as flavor text in UC! is rather capitalization poor.  If you ever win a match off of this card – even better, off of multiple plays of this card when the “rival” is sitting on Strength X, you are a more blackbelty being than I be.

First of all, I was playing Miya Tatakisu with recently elevated Void (3), and, as expected, that had mechanical impact in a generally relevant way that making some other buy might not have.  We played CIT32 and CIT18 as we continue to work on getting caught up.

I haven’t been rating mods as I did with HoR3 for a couple of reasons.  One, there’s not even the continuity that HoR3 had when it comes to feeling engaged with the campaign.  Two, I haven’t really liked any mods, yet.  Oh, there are some okay ones, but I actually liked some of the HoR3 mods where I have to really stop and think to remember mods in HoR4.  CIT16 is certainly wild and crazy, I think I would have liked the experience more if it didn’t have the ending part, as it felt weird to change gears (… not like all of the weird before that).  It felt novel and not underdeveloped.  There is another mod, I think, that I keep forgetting that worked better than the norm/expectations.

CIT32 didn’t feel terribly novel, but it was fine.  The decision to be made was more engaging than some of the other decisions in HoR4, a campaign with a lot of decision mods (not to its benefit as the decisions are often meaningless to our PCs).  CIT18 has the feature that Shadowlands mods often have:  the player feels like what they are doing is relevant.  Both in terms of the threats being more … plausible? … than threats in other mods and in terms of there being an obviously “good” goal.  Too often, people try to make L5R socially agonizing, when there’s more value to just playing heroic adventurers in a pseudo-Japanese, fantasy setting.  Intimidating children vs. recovering spiritually important artifacts?  Well, I suppose you could agonize in CIT18 if you wanted to – we didn’t.

So, seems like things may be getting better on the mod front.  I don’t know.  Maybe having more Shadowlands/Nothing/obvious bad guys in a campaign might be more appealing.

Keeping with the theme of focusing on Miya, afterwards, bought up INT to 3 to stop being a moron.  This takes Tatakisu to SR-3.  Finally!  The peace!  Has come back!  To shishadom!!  Yup, all about spending two VPs [had to remember this] to not be harmed when not dueling/skirmishing by those who revere the Emperor, for one round, on a Tuesday, when the wolves are howling, at 11 xat past the 8th node.

It did occur to me that the relatively Insight-ful buy of INT 4, while funny, is not as likely to get use as Void 4, admittedly saves 8xp to plow into Kenjutsu to get to K-10.  Also, Satoshi’s Legacy is a bushi path, so can take Striking as Fire, which is generally terrible, which will require some non-Insight-ful expenditures.  More Insight will come, of course, from such non-moron buys as Lore: Lords of Death.

Keeping with L5R RPG stuff, yes, I’m done talking about Miya.  I’ve been looking through some books, mostly looking at mechanics even though recent travel, even just driving around the hood, got me thinking about story settings/characters/stuff.

Take Emerald Empire, a supplement I haven’t analyzed in this blog except to rate it as a really good supplement.

Shinjo Bushi

We had a Shinjo Bushi PC in The Princess Police, so I know next to everything.

The SR-1 ability is more likely to see use, in my opinion, with Kyujutsu than Kenjutsu.  Shouldn’t need the bonus with Kenjutsu as much as need the bonus to make sure the Dark Oracle of Water, the Soultwister, or whatever gets a fleshcutter in the eye.  Athletics and Defense are both skills I can see getting Voided.  Ah, but what about the any skill?

What any skill is often going to be Voided?  Obviously, either Courtier or Sincerity.  Investigation is another way to go.

The SR-2 ability is “When in … Full Defense-” absurd.  As much as there’s a Horsemanship tax with this school that’s acceptable, to also have a Defense-7 tax is not.

SR-3 is … mighty.  How many schools give simples with bows and melee?  How many?  I was playing a REF-5 character who started with a 8k5 attack roll and used fleshcutters endlessly up until the point that enemies started hanging around 300′ away.  When Josh’s character got simples, I was hopelessly outclassed with my non-Tsuruchi Tsuruchi-wannabe.

SR-4, awkward.  Don’t move too far, double guard, get attack off anyway?  Awkward.

SR-5 may not be all damage dice explode or whatever, but it’s Shiba Bushi levels of cool with the possibility of being better, though maybe not.  Figure you go into a fight with 3 VPs and you fail the roll once, so you get two free VPs in the fight, which is kind of Shibaish.

I could comment on how Minor Clan Defender seems like an advanced school for a courtier to take, but, hey, it’s not like I have loads of new content to just go wasting future clickbait.

Next time, Minor Clans and how they are … some … thing.

Back to Miya, so the plan to go Minor Clan is …

Move Left

April 14, 2019

Not much wisdom for today, though ironically Wisdom.

From the marriage of knowledge and experience grows wisdom.

I find knowledge easy.  Is it just lack of experience or is there another component to wisdom?  Making good decisions is hard.  There is the element of applying knowledge and applying wisdom.  I may know a card exists in a card pool or may know the probability of a die roll or whatever, but it doesn’t help without applying it to the decision of what to do when playing.

Shattering fist under chin, snapping head back.

I feel kind of like my head has been snapped back in a totally analogous way to my body feeling beaten down from hiking much longer than planned yesterday morning and badminton.  But, there’s also lack of sleep and too many big meals due to being a coworker’s chauffeur for almost a week.

Basics can be quite effective when done with heart.

Hatano-sensei taught us to strike low and hard and often.

Heartfelt, frequent low blows are apparently the thing to do.

I read a couple mysteries in recent weeks.  Bangkok 8 and Bangkok Tattoo.  Not in order.  If you like prostitution, maybe the series for you.  I don’t mean prostitutes, I mean prostitution, which is central and brought up in philosophical and economic ways.  Whereas something like Judge Dee is old school, where the obsession isn’t on the main character, and Bangkok Tattoo didn’t feel quite so main character obsessed, Bangkok 8 was probably more than I cared about for the main character.  I enjoyed the books.

What I got to thinking about was the same old, same old of “What is a *good* book?”  I was asked by my manager about fantasy series (because fantasy is kind of the obvious thing to ask me about).  I’m pretty sure I covered this ground before, but I’m really struggling with what is great fantasy.  There’s fantasy I’m entertained by – that gives me what I’m interested in – characters with cool abilities and cool scenes and some thought provoking ideas.  But, what have I read that I would currently consider great?  A fair amount I haven’t read recently enough to properly analyze.

Lord of the Rings is clearly not great writing – it’s so long-winded it puts me to sleep.  The Hobbit was surprising to me to reread because it’s children’s fiction.  I need to get my Elric books back from Andy and reread those as I feel like they were the highpoint of Moorcock for me, but I have such different views of writing then when I read a lot of stuff, in that I actually pay attention to how something is written rather than just what the story is.

I’d say Timothy Zahn’s first two Star Wars books in his trilogy are great books, but that’s not exactly fantasy.  John Burdett’s books flowed well enough to maybe they are written fairly well, though there were times it wasn’t clear who was saying what, which is something I think is important to manage in writing.  Of course, also not fantasy, though they are spiritual mysteries with Buddhist stuff.

I’ve certainly been entertained by bad books.  Mentioned that before.

And, so, we get to Shadowfist.

Let’s work backwards because backwards is normal.

We tried variant rules from our variant rules last Thursday.  To address the endgame problem Shadowfist has, we used vague rules along these lines:  if you have four or more FSSs in your pool at the beginning of your turn and more than anyone else, you win; you may play FSSs as long as you don’t get ahead of the leader; FSSs are free to play, you still get one power if you have none in play.

The first game ended pretty quick after everyone was a threat to win as an attack right to tie the leader came up one short of taking a site and the leader won when his turn started.  Many possibilities for having that not happen existed, but we weren’t sure what made sense to do.  The following game took far longer and there was a bunch of build up.  I got The Legacy of Shaolin, Shih Ho Kuai, and Rosalee Leung in play at the same time and felt like attacking was a waste of my resources.

Of course, I still am failing to build decks that can get by chump blocking.  That’s the reason I end up playing so unaggressively.

The week prior, I played a scary deck.  I got Dirigible after Dirigible in play, drawing six cards off of two Dirigibles and a Haunted Forest Dirigible.  Scary but not nearly as synergistic as things sounded with a lot of my vehicle cost reductions not working together along with the fact that I went from too few vehicles to play on dudes to far too many vehicles to play on dudes as I didn’t have any Chop Shops in the deck.

Oh, I should mention we also errataed Möbius Gardens to be turn to use its ability after talking about banning it.  I guess the former makes it not broken, but I’m still okay with the latter given how tiresome it had become.

Name: Decked-Out Disappointment
Faction: Dragon
Size: 60

Dragon Cards (30)
Characters (22)
1x Angie Dao
3x Grease Monkey
1x Inspector Will Zhurong
4x Junkyard Engineers
2x Master Mechanic
2x Maverick Trucker
1x Quartermaster
1x Seamus
1x Skilled Techie
3x Techie Apprentices
1x Tech Squad
1x The Dynamic Dr. Dawson
1x You Xia, the Avenger

Edges (1)
1x Lightning Patrol

Events (6)
1x Back for Seconds
3x Dirk Wisely’s Gambit
1x “Is That All You Got?”
1x Life in the Fast Lane

States (1)
1x Battle Suit

Generic Cards (30)
Edges (1)
1x Martial Focus

Events (9)
1x Ejector Seat Malfunction
1x On the Wire
3x Salvage
3x Scrounging
1x The Algernon Effect

Feng Shui Sites (10)
5x Manufactured Island
5x Underground Depot

Non-Feng Shui Sites (5)
5x Decked-Out Dirigible

States (5)
1x Cargo Plane
1x Exo-Skeleton
1x Hover Tank
1x Personal Assault Vehicle
1x Plain White Panel Van

Has to have Chop Shop to clear out unnecessary vehicles.  Should probably have a way to generate dorks to drop vehicles on even given the high percentage of dudes and low percentage of good stuff events.

I never once put a Dirigible on a dude.  That’s how sad it was, even though I could have.  Exo-Skeleton scared people, got it on Angie Dao at one point.  Still, you can just chump block this deck.

Name: Fu Tu Yu
Faction: Guiding Hand
Size: 55

Hand Cards (37)
Characters (23)
2x Blue Flower Society
1x Bountiful Master
1x Buddhist Gardener
1x Buddhist Monk
1x Chanting Monks
1x Kung Fu Master
2x Rosalee Leung
4x Shaolin Supplicants
1x Shih Ho Kuai
1x Sifu Beumer
1x The Legacy of Shaolin
4x Urban Monk
2x White Crosus Society
1x Yung Chang

Edges (3)
1x Chinese Connection
1x Lantern Festival
1x Undisturbed Meditation

Events (5)
1x Confucian Stability
1x Into the Light
2x Iron and Silk
1x Journey’s Reward

States (6)
5x Fu Lions
1x The Jade Dragon

Generic Cards (18)
Events (7)
1x Bending the Path
2x Blade Palm
2x Blossoming Chi
1x Cat Stance
1x Healing Earth

Feng Shui Sites (10)
1x Arctic Fortress
1x Diamond Beach
1x Granite Mountain
1x Puzzle Garden
1x Temple of the Angry Spirits
5x Turtle Island

States (1)
1x Butterfly Swords

Coming full circle [ha], we get back to Buddhism [ha, ha ha].  Also, I’m watching Dragon Ball Super and you have the Turtle Fu connection.  I did defend well.  However, chump chump not win.

Welp, I got to get back to Traveller CCG stuff.  Yup, it still exists.  Go out and buy some and we will make more.  Oh, also help us by running demos and other events as my time has been sucked up with other things, too many work things.

In Sight

March 31, 2019

Haven’t been playing Shadowfist recently due to scheduling.  Haven’t got a lot to say about Arrowverse shows.  Haven’t gotten into new RPG experience.

So, really, the obvious thing to do is follow up on my last post, even though a comments exchange would have made more sense for resolving that issue.

What I didn’t talk much about last time was the impact of advancement choices on ranking up.

That’s the beauty of playing a Miya Herald.  There’s no difference between a SR-4 Miya Herald and a SR-0 Miya Herald, outside of the Satoshi path.  So, even if there might be a difference, there’s no difference between SR-3 and SR-0.

Except, why do I make the decisions I make to amuse myself?  What is the concept with this PC?

Play a school that has no techniques and play to a weakness of it.  Same as playing an Omoidasu or most courtiers.  Now, I will likely take the R-4 path, so I’m not rigidly beholden to this paradigm, but an element of playing a Miya Herald is to play a Miya Herald and not just play a rich, not unimportant, not scavenging for food ronin.

Which means ranking up to get all of the bizarre and irrelevant techniques that the school “offers”.

But, I’m getting somewhat ahead of myself.  We must gather insight from today’s Ultimate Combat! booster.

With a bellow of desire, Sung Lee attacked.

This sounds either like anime or something kind of illegal.  The more I delved into this booster, let’s go with anime.  This flavor text, BTW, is interesting to me in a way that is rather obscure.  I’ll just leave that unexplained.

The card does fit Tatakisu’s je sais quoi.

Lacking a power reserve, you may not survive to regret.

See, anime.  I was not feeling this booster until I got to the black belt and brown belt action cards.  I’m watching Boruto, of course.  The show seems better with the adults as primary actors even if Sasuke and Lord Seventh don’t unleash.  A problem with Boruto is that there’s very little development of the kids’ powers.  I don’t really care about them as characters.  I’m far more into abilities when it comes to anime, which is why I like fight anime.  Just like I’m more into supers’ abilities then their angst-ridden lives.

BTW, because if I don’t teach the galaxy about how to be good at UC!, who will?  Power Drain is an interesting card.  It’s a card I dismissed early on, well, it is a black belt card, and, early on, I kept mostly to white belt and brown belt decks.  If Favorite Technique is one of the game’s most defining cards, an answer to Favorite Technique is … a thing.  Also, in limited play, removing even horribly overpriced technique is temporiffic.

Tatakisu’s power reserve – spoiler alert – will increase.

Noxious air harms all who breathe it.

Less a tie in to Rokugan 1600’s “rogue air” threat and more relatable as a callback to Naruto beating Shiba with the help of Bad Air.  Anime!!

This is a multiplayer card, being way too expensive to do anything terribly meaningful in dueling.  Tatakisu isn’t much of a multiplayer combatant.  Sure, like everybody, he gains a lot from being Pathed or Mountained or whatever, but his style is trade until the enemy fine red mists.  Bad Air is just too little damage output to enable him to win.

I eschewed the path of short term damage output for reasons I will someparagraph get to.

Fight fire with fire, mind with mind.

Very anime!!  Since Tatakisu has no mind (but may someday), he’ll use his half-fire to combat, um, … wow, this analogy is failing big time.  Psychic Block is a weird card.  It’s not useless.  The Conditioning/Fighting Spirit requirement makes no real sense thematically, but I think I know why it ended up with that combination of power requirements – lot of psychic attacks are going to be coming from Knowledge/Experience, so the counter to psychic (damage, anyway) is the oppositeium.

A controllish pack with good power coming from how it includes Speed 1 and Strength 1.  Would be amusing to build a sealed booster deck out of.

Getting back to all things Miya.

So, amusement points are scored if I can actually ever use the school techniques in some non-moronic way.  Actually, I did use “pay 2 VPs for Way of the Land” again, just recently.

Tangent Time

Dooooo, doo doo dooo …

I played a HoR4 mod recently.  I enjoyed it.  The mod wasn’t that hot, being rather not a whole lot going on, at least it didn’t feel like much going on.  But, we didn’t get bogged down in incoherent plotting and I got to wak dudes without murdering a single dude, dropping a 54 on one of my damage dice just to preserve the sanctity of human life.  I’m so miya.  Adventure moved.  Die rolling was fine, did multiple Animal Handling rolls.  Success was attained.  No gotcha moments happened.

Back to spending XP.

So, I had decided to spend XP on pushing Kenjutsu to 10 because that would have been accomplished in one more mod’s worth of XP, having enough to go to R-9 with unspent.  This was amusing me.  Then, as I was still on a plane back from Florida (up to 19 states in which I’ve done something of significance), I reassessed.

I actually want to rank up.  Kenjutsu 10 is not out of the question, but it gains short term amusement at the cost of midterm IRing.

So, I’m going with the most mundane option for the most mundane Miya – Void 3.  This does stuff, and it puts IR-4 in sight.  IR-3 just requires not being a moron anymore, sad as that will be.  The most amusing path to Insight, to the point where I might actually try it, due to it requiring the least amount of XP for trait/ring bumps and because it messes with my own expectations for this PC is to go Intelligence 4.  I buy up a bunch of Lore skills for the rest of the Insight to IR-4.

Means being rather glass cannony, which I may regret, but regret is a sin, and who doesn’t love sinning?

I do see value in K-10, though.  The kept dice bumps are possible, if not superefficient, and I do kind of need to be able to hit TNs of 75 or whatever on my attack rolls in order to do no-dachi levels of damage.

Speaking of anime, one thing about my L5R play is that it doesn’t lend itself much to anime style play.  Maybe one of the things I liked about The Princess Police is that it did get more that way towards the end.  My attempts to run something more that way don’t tend to work as, well, my players either don’t get anime or don’t care to get L5R anime style.