Tuesday, 27 November 2007

WFRP, 11 years between editions, maybe not

Mike over at hackslash.net examines a simple averaging of time between game system editions, and has some interesting comments starting, so jump over and check it out.

The simple observation of averages, calculated to answer all of the lamenting of D&D fans over WotC plans for a “4e,” acknowledges a skewing in three core systems due to very lengthy periods between editions, none more lengthly than WFRP. I want to add some additional notes to the 11 years between editions. Because “neglected” is heavy word to hang on WFRP in this sampling.

Most would argue that WFRP was never neglected, at least by the player base of the 1st edition. While I did not start playing again until the Black Industries revival in the 2nd edition, I did still have my 1st edition copy. I, in fact, had pulled it out of storage, interested in playing again even before learning that a 2nd edition was on the cusp of release.

My renewed interest was founded in a respect for the original system that had a solid core rule set that stood the test of time for many players. Even the 2nd edition design notes attest to this, yet even I acknowledge that the 2nd edition makes vast, welcome, and important improvements to the 1st edition. But 11 years doesn’t tell another story:

There was another publisher of WFRP between 1986 and 2005: Hogshead. They maintained the award winning system for 7 years (1995-2002). Hogshead published a revised edition1 of the core rulebook, one might say a “v1.5” edition.

This historical note changes Mike’s calculations to an average of 7.33 years between WFRP releases. It doesn't change the fact the WFRP has the longest average between releases, but I might argue this doesn’t speak ill of the system (a system I would also argue is more playable than any D&D edition, other than v1.0).

That’s my 2 coppers. ~o)

meta-footnote-1=Apocrypha Now was more of a rules supplement than an outright edition like D&D 3.5, i.e., entirely rebound core rule books incorporating changes. Hogshead, as many fans will defend, found that WFRP had a solid rules foundation that needed very little maintenance, but for the welcome overhaul in the 2nd edition by Green Ronin and Black Industries in 2005, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warhammer_Fantasy_Roleplay
Posted by caffeinated at 9:26 PM in d10

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Cool Nerd King

As determined by the Nerd Test, ver 2.0 at NerdTests.com.

Posted by caffeinated at 9:56 PM in nerdery

Saturday, 24 November 2007

Movies for WFRP

I ran another session last week. Our group finally can met regularly as my wife finishes her graduate degree studies. We are meeting at least once a month and we already have one set for December.

Dates aside I was thinking about good movies that could set the tone1 for WFRP. Two immediate titles came to mind:

  1. The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc, and,
  2. Braveheart

This is a short list, you might have more, but here are some of the reasons why I like these movies…

The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc

Luc Besson’s fame was cemented in La Femme Nikita. While The Messenger might lack a lot in story, and history, it makes up for it in vision. The courts of kings, the filth of the peasantry, the superstitions of the Church—embodied so well in Dustin Hoffman’s performance—and so much more. The world of Joan of Arc is indeed “grim and perilous.” I cite the following still as evocative of WFRP:

The Messenger

Besson nailed the mood, if not the package, in The Messenger.

Braveheart

Much of what I like about this movie, in the context of WFRP, lies in the opening and ending scenes. The world is dirty and justice is defined by the whim of men, to influence desired outcomes, hopefully in the favor of the one pulling the strings. I cite the trial, and summary murder (execution?) of Wallace’s wife at the hand of the local noble. There is a show, then the merciless cutting of her throat. I cringe even now thinking how easy it was for this noble to draw his blade across her throat to demonstrate justice as defined by him and the laws written to ensure his position as a noble.

The heroes live off the land, gather armies for “a greater good” (maybe), and fight human monsters with sword and axe.

The movie is ended with a brutal finish of slow torture at the hands of a priest (or “priestly official” of the King).

Both movies have components that visualize whole environs of the WFRP world well. I recommend them. Sure, they lack monsters, greenskins, or other fantasy elements, a la The Lord of the Rings, but they show a dark, dirty world of heroes and anti-heroes.

As contrast, in my mind’s eye at the very least, LOTR is high-fantasy and nothing like it, visually (when thinking about the movies) or in story arc, comes very close to mastering what many gaming worlds desire in setting. But WFRP is not this same kind of high-fantasy. WFRP is a darker world; yes, one can borrow from LOTR liberally, but not in the same way D&D is able too. ~o)

meta-footnote-1=Martin Ralya of Treasure Tables also discussed inspiration movies in 2005, Inspiration from Movies and TV Shows
Posted by caffeinated at 1:14 PM in d10

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Better Hanging Indents in CSS

This is a post I have been meaning to complete for a while: better Hanging Indents in CSS.

A big part of my day job—well, less of it now, but just a short time ago, a big part of my day job—is to take marketing creative and bust it down into HTML (4.01), get it into our source code control (CVS), and integrate it with our backend (JSP/Struts).

The latter two are practiced, scripted processes, but the HTML part is still a hand-crafted element and something that I enjoy a lot. The creative will always contain legal footnotes in “mice type” and referenced with various asterisks, daggers, and markers. Many times, depending on the mood of the graphic artist, these markers will be set in a “hanging indent.”

What exactly is a hanging indent, for the uninitiated?

It is a typographic construct that serves to eliminate any visual interruption of the text alignment. Here is a visual aid:

What is hanging punctuation?

The ubiquitous method found doing a Google search will be: use a negative text-indent, e.g., text-indent: -.7em;. This method works, but has some visual problems when the markers are doubled-up, or are not the same em width, etc. Another visual aid:

Using text-indent for hanging punctuation

This alignment problem using text-indent has always put me off, so let me get to the point: there is a better way to do a hanging indent that works across most modern browsers (“The A-Grade”) without weird ordered, or unordered, lists, background markers, and “class explosion.”

The Code

  #ft p {
      position: relative;
  }
		
  #ft a {
      position: absolute;
      top: 0;
      left: -2em;
      display: block;
      width: 1.5em;
      text-align: right;
  }

The How and Why

Disclaimer: The vast assumption here is that the CSS constructs being used apply to your code. If not, apply as apropos to your code.

The #ft element contains the footnotes (“legalese”) in child p elements. Setting the position:relative of the paragraph prepares child elements for absolute positioning, that is relative (hence the term), to the parent.

The next block does the work. Here, the use of an a element is semantic and intended to allow the developer a way to link the body reference to the footnote. You can use any inline element desired though. Using position:absolute removes the element from the document flow and positions relative to the p element. Setting the left property to a negative em value pulls it out of the p box.

The display:block prepares the element width and text alignment properties. Setting the width is important. The width of the positioned element allows for the right edge alignment of the markers.

Nothing is better than examples to study. The first, using text-indent, and the second, using this new (?), better (?), and more visually appealing (?) method.

Decide for yourself. Comments welcome! ~o)

Posted by caffeinated at 4:56 PM in experimental madness

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Boston WFRP Meetup

I’ll be in Boston Dec 10–12 for Web Design World. My “free” trip for education in exotic US locales. This year I’m traveling alone so I thought, “Hey, this is a good opportunity to meet other RPG players and host a session or two in the evening at the hotel after the conference.”

If you’re going to WDW, maybe you want to meetup for a game of WFRP. I’ll be running one-offs of “grim and perilous adventure” in the WFRP world.

ping me in the usual manners if you’re interested.

Posted by caffeinated at 3:47 PM in d10

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

RPGNow Giving It Away!

I just learned that RPGNow, a leading online retailer for independent RPG games and related material, is “giving it away,” all week long, Nov 12–Nov 16. Here’s the 411:

HAPPY THANKSGIVEAWAY!
RPGNow and over 60 of our publishing partners are offering the dozens of FREE titles listed below for our very own ThanksGiveAway holiday, Monday, November 12 through Friday, November 16. Check the site after 10 AM EST each day to find exciting new gifts from us to you, and please email, blog and post to your gaming friends to let them know ThanksGiveAway week is here!

Here’s the link: Happy ThanksGiveAway! Go get you some! I got a classic, Twilight 2000. I coded my first BASIC chargen for TW2000. Sweet.

Spread the word, yo!

Posted by caffeinated at 9:02 PM in d10

Friday, 9 November 2007

Mac OS X Leopard happy

I've installed Leopard to my MacBook Pro.

Disappointed that Apple Mail disabled GPGMail, but the developer is hard at work on a beta fix. Very cool, postcard on the way!

I have nothing to offer that is profound or different from what is already being said on the web and blogosphere.

Leopard looks good. Feels smooth. My apps are still working. The install was flawless. The new Terminal app is very nice with tabs!

I'm looking forward to playing with it more over the weekend, certainly tomorrow in the waiting room of the car service shop (just an oil Δ).

More to follow…

Posted by caffeinated at 9:59 PM in nerdery

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Training the minions

I am now an Application Architect.

This is my new role within my employer's organization. Excited. I’ll soon be taken off the front lines of development and be allowed to focus on the work of modernization of our presentation and web application layers. I’ll additionally be able to be more of a mentor to the developers directly reporting and working in the web tier.

All this responsibility makes me want to play WFRP.

Posted by caffeinated at 9:34 PM in 0xDECAF

Sunday, 4 November 2007

YUI and ACD

The new theme is loaded. Went without a hitch.

Looks good in IE7. IE6 will have to wait for tomorrow, in office, or remotely.

Only thing left is the “About” and “Contact” pages, still using the old theme, so there is a level of compare/contrast.

So what exactly was used from the YUI in this rethemeing? Just the Base, Fonts, Grids, Reset packages. I plan on adding the new Rich Text Editor to the comments page, maybe add it to the blojsom administrative interfaces as well.

Posted by caffeinated at 7:34 PM in kaffehaus

Saturday, 3 November 2007

Update YUI theme shortly

The heavy lifting complete, having worked out the major kinks between the logic of Velocity macros and rendering. Still trying to figure out why my comments are not showing up though.

The YUI layout provides a more consistent experience across so many platforms I couldn’t be happier. The dark and sinister feel didn’t play and it was hard to combine skulls and dice into the coffee theme, so they were dropped.

I’ll probably have the new theme up tomorrow, barring “chores.”

I do have to hack a few Java source files and recompile to get some of the enhancements to work, like better styles in footnotes (provided by the footnote plugin) and some more semantic Technorati tags (a Velocimacro change). Not sure if they need to be committed to the blojsom project, but I might anyway. At least the Technorati change needs to be.

Posted by caffeinated at 11:12 PM in kaffehaus