Day 19: First gamer who just annoyed the hell out of you.

I have had little brothers of friends who played in high school who were whiny and had to have their way.

I have had know-it-alls who thought they had the best ideas and would argue rules, specifics of a scenario, or get off topic all the time.

There have also been those who chewed up pencils and leaned back in chairs and broke them.

It runs the whole spectrum. I have had different individuals in my experience who each have had a couple of the traits and thankfully none with all of them.

Game Masters of any RPG who do not explain the scenario and proceed as if everyone gets what the point of the play period is.

I remember we took turns having different people in Science Fiction Club in high school show us their favorite game. The guy who showed us Traveler with all of its different rule books did not have a well balanced scenario and people were dying without any understanding of why. The GM had read the rules and quickly explained them. We got the idea behind RPGs, but we did not understand key points about how Traveler was different. That was over 30 years ago, and I don’t remember specifics other than we were not happy with the experience and only tried Traveler a couple of times. My brother, Robert and I came up with our own science fiction RPG with simple rules and we played that until Star Frontiers came out with all it’s detail and simple mechanics.

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Taking Notes

Fookes Software’s NoteTab, is my favorite all-around, all-purpose program. It is billed as a programmable text editor. This means you can build scripts to handle various text editing tasks.

A text editor is plain text, like if you used a typewriter. A word processor is like Microsoft Word, or OpenOffice Writer, the user can do bold, underline, pictures, etc.

The benefits of using a text editor to do your writing is that you can focus on the content first, and the presentation later. With a word processor, there is the constant temptation to format text as you go rather than going with the flow.

NoteTab has one useful feature for taking notes called Outlines. A NoteTab outline is just a plain text file with a special formatting code in the first line so that NoteTab will show it as an outline.

Example of NoteTab Outline

Example of NoteTab Outline

I have many uses for outlines in my campaign design, session preparation, and record keeping.

NoteTab’s scripting abilities allow it to open other programs such as web pages or PDFs in Adobe Reader.

I have outlines for ideas for this blog, DM notes, Hexcrawl notes from various sources on the internet, lists of NPCs, ideas, etc.

I prefer to use NoteTab Pro for its versatility, but there are two other versions, NoteTab Standard, which is included with NoteTab Pro, and a free version, NoteTab Light. The free version can read outlines but cannot create new outlines without a workaround. All three versions support a PasteBoard feature. One document is designated as a PasteBoard and any text you copy using CTRL+C, for example, goes to the paste board. One inventive NoteTab user built a clip to do a similar thing with outlines, and creates the header composed of the date and time. This clip is good if you have a lot of repetitive information you plan to copy from an electronic source, and need to keep it organized.

If you want outlines in multiple depth and with formatting, such as bold or underline, check out InSight or PowerOutlines by DataOmega. InSight has all the bells and whistles plus the kitchen sink. PowerOutlines is focused on outlines. Both products can import NoteTab outlines. PowerOutlines has the added benefit of being able to save to the NoteTab outline format, so you can view and edit the same file with either PowerOutlines or NoteTab.

A good text editor is critical for organizing and storing notes. Be aware that online there are raging debates about the best text editor. I have a couple that I use, depending on my needs. Like an edition war, pick the one the works best for you and don’t waste time arguing about it.

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Day 17: First time you heard D&D was somehow “evil.”

Sometime in high school. I remember sitting around the TV watching “Mazes & Monsters” with Tom Hanks with the whole family, like we did back when there was only one TV in the house.
My parents gave me the Players Handbook for Christmas the year it came out. We spent Christmas at my aunt’s house, and she asked my parents if it was really a good idea to get that for me. My mom stood up to my Dad’s sister and I believe Dad did too. She said something along the lines that if it was so bad, she wouldn’t have bought it. They new it was just a game and not a source of evil.


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Swords And Wizardry Retro Clone

I read the Swords and Wizardry Quick Start, White Box, and Complete Rules just to make sure the three magic items that I submitted to the OSR Superstar Contest were according to the rules of the contest.

I found the rules to be well organized and easy to start using them.

I am tempted to make them the go to rules and tweak with stuff from AD&D, like spells, monsters, etc.

I like the simplicity of classes. I don’t like the level limitations of non-Human characters and the class restrictions. This is the same balk I have with AD&D. No problem, HOUSE RULES TIME!

I like that the system strives to keep the ability to customize and encourages it!

I have joined the Swords & Wizardry Discussion Group to keep up with ideas of others.

I see it beneficial to have these rules, which are freely available, should I ever get an online campaign going, others will need the rules.

I like the S&W SRD and it’s ideas, and I like the generators for NPCs, NPCs in taverns, and treasure map generator. Simple tools to fill in gaps fast.

I recommend this system and I would gladly play these rules, since they are so close to my “home” rules.

Well, I have spent so much time blogging and updating this Google+ page and collecting information, etc. that I am behind on direct work on my campaign.

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Day 16: Do you remember your first edition war? Did you win? ;)

I never really had an edition war. My brother, Robert, bought the ADD 2nd Edition books and we incorporated some things from that into play, but overall, we have always been 1st edition ADD.

My whole take on the edition wars is based only what I have read online in the last few years.

Some of the flair ups and controversies in the RPG blogging community and the old school in particular have been my wars. Thin skin and long toes leads to a lot of hurt feelings in anything that is public.

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MOTE – Kickstarter for OSS update to MapTool

I have not used MapTool. I just tried in the last week, and its Java requirement is not working with the latest version of Java. That’s a security hole, so I did not go further to make it work.

MOTE has a Kickstarter and a Home Page.

I think such tools would be very useful for online play, but I need more time to figure out how it works.

I have read that some just use Google+, and others use similar tools and Google+ for online live play.

Finding a game I can at least try it out, like a one-shot adventure would be good.

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Ramblings of an Old Gamer