Wednesday, 26 January 2022

A Look at OD&D

I love Fantasy Role-Playing Games. FRPGs. RPGs. More generically referred to as "D&D," like "Coke," "Pop," "Soda," "Kleenex," or "Xerox." It's simpler for a lot of people, many "uninitiated" and others that want to think you're just not "kink-shaming."

I've posted here on ACD for a "blog hop" in 2014 about my introductions to gaming, my lived experiences in the "Satanic Panic" of the 1980s, &tc. Please read those post for more details.

However, while very much aware of the origins of D&D and its creators, I've never really looked at the original D&D, sometimes called OD&D, 0e D&D, or "the wood-grain or white box" edition. It came as three digest sized books, US Letter folded in half, with the original, truly first edition, hand stapled and assembled originally by Gary Gygax and Don Kaye.

For Christmas, I got Game Wizards by Jon Peterson, author of Playing at the World, and a scholar on the origins and history of D&D. His video, A History of D&D in 12 Treasures, is a testament to his commitment to the hobby and its origins.

So, I picked up the PDFs of OD&D from Drivethru RPG and committed to reading them for my own education. And if the copies, while updated for modern digital publishing, honor even a late printing of the rules circa 1974, well, how this game was played is probably as diverse as the possible interpretations of the rules by the contemporaneous or modern reader.

In Game Wizards I'm currently in 1976 where Origins II is recounted, and as the year before, the game's creators are hosting events to talk about the game, running sample games for nascent "referees" and players alike, and running large elimination style tournaments for the convention. These kinds of events suggest that attendees were hungry for more understanding of the game as presented. I am particularly amused by the "example of play" in the third book of OD&D, The Underworld & Wilderness Adventures. We get something, but to a "Dungeon Master"  with now decades of experience with D&D and many other RPGs, I'm not sure WTF is going on in this "session," assuming it was inspired. Maybe it is a contrived example, but what happens to the "half-a-dozen" gnolls the players encounter in the room they shouldered into?

Caller: [We] listen at the east door
Referee: (After appropriate check) You hear shuffling.
Caller: Two of us (specifying which two) will throw our weight against the door to open it. All will be ready for combat.
Referee: (After rolling two dice:) The door opens! You can't be surprised, but the monsters—you see a half-a-dozen gnolls—can be. (Here a chance for surprise is made, melee conducted, and so on)
Caller: Okay, what does the room look like...

We can maybe hand-wave what happens with the parenthetical notes or just "use our imaginations," yet, we can certainly understand that how D&D was played in those heady days must have been quite a varied experience. I'll write more soon as I read, cover-to-cover, each book. There is a prescribed order presented by Gary in Book I, Men & Magic

Maybe I'll wax on about the idea of the referee rolling the character stats and consulting with the player as to picking a character class. Innocent editorial presentation for introducing new players, or an expectation of game play?

Posted by caffeinated at 9:12 PM in d10

Monday, 24 January 2022

What is a Bohemian Breakfast?

25 years ago and at least a girlfriend or two before my wife, I was introduced to the Bohemian Breakfast at a gourmet biscuit house in metro Atlanta, GA, the Flying Biscuit Cafe.

The cafe is still there, but the classic offering of a "Cup of Coffee and two cigarettes, To Go Only." is not found on the menu any longer. Probably for dumb reasons too.

The idea of the Bohemian Breakfast lives on, though I don't smoke.

In the past I used it for updates on my participation in A-to-Z challenges or those kind of life changing posts in changing jobs and the like.

Let's see what 2022 has in store for this nostalgic corner. Now, where's my lighter?

Posted by caffeinated at 10:00 PM in Bohemian Breakfast

Wednesday, 19 January 2022

Moon over Potomac

Posted at 9:40 AM in bad cell

Sunday, 16 January 2022

Day Two in VA

Yesterday, having traveled to GA, I spent it with friends I made 30 years ago in a FLGS. We threw axes. It was good to hug old friends and share beers.

While I was enjoying this, I must say... well, I'm not displeased with the news feed out of Virginia.

"...make the rubble bounce," may be an apt pull quote from the master orator Winston Churchhill. He was speaking contemporaneously of the Cold War's escalating arms race, but I like the evocative phrasing. Apropos.

Posted by caffeinated at 8:50 AM in Bohemian Breakfast

Saturday, 15 January 2022

All the damn vampires


Posted at 3:34 PM in bad cell

Tuesday, 11 January 2022

What is 0xDECAF?

You'll start to catch a theme about your host. I'm an open source advocate and that makes me a bit of a source control nerd; one can't commit to open source without really groking source control, and I've been around the block with Star Team, SCCS (Sun), RCS, CVS, SVN, Mercurial, Visual Source Safe, even briefly tried ClearCase. I'm a homebrewer, always the RPG DM/GM/Referee, a hex-and-chit wargamer, lover of coffee, and twice Certified Java Programmer and Developer.

It is this last aspect that provides the clue to the category theme. It is hexadecimal, or base-16. To the base-10 majority, think counting by 16, e.g., 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,A,B,C,D,E,F. Hexadecimal is  ubiquitous in computer science and programming, particularly in encoding algorithms. 

And there it is. Since can spell a lot of words with the six letters of hex, i.e, "10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15." DECAF is one of those words. The 0x is a convention, a way to signal to readers the value that follows is "hex." Hex values often are used as signals to an encoding of a file. For example, CAFEBABE are the "magic numbers" marking a Java class file. DEADBEEF was rumored to be a "magic debug number" or memory pointer on old Mac OS chips.

DECAF is 912,559. You can calculate this as follows: (13 × 16⁴) + (14 × 16³) + (12 × 16²) + (10 × 16¹) + (15 × 16⁰) = 912,559

This category is where I'll probably put lengthy computer and computer programming adjacent posts. I've got one in the wings that has me hot at work at the moment.

Posted by caffeinated at 10:14 AM in 0xDECAF

Saturday, 8 January 2022

Critical Hit!

Booze. Baller ice shaped like a d20? 🥃Ja, bitte!


Posted at 5:36 PM in bad cell

Friday, 7 January 2022

Duolingo Deutsch Übung

A historic year. Another day of the streak.


Posted at 10:11 PM in bad cell

Thursday, 6 January 2022

What are the Gigantic Melancholies?

Hither came Conan the Cimmerian, black-haired, sullen-eyed, sword in hand, a thief, a reaver, a slayer, with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandaled feet.
— Robert E. Howard, The Phoenix and The Sword

And there lies the origin story of the category's title.

"Why are there no posts?", you ask.

Well, you may never know. Or you may be surprised.

The category is an iTunes RSS feed of session "raws," currently a mostly unedited feed of D&D sessions for my personal use. "Mostly unedited" because I have taken the barest amount of effort to trim table chatter from the beginning that might be personal or work related.

Initially, this category would host a podcast "review" of over 100 sessions of a WFRP campaign. It got started, but fizzled. Those session raws are safely ensconced in a cloud so maybe. One day. Currently, I'm using it to publish my raws for editing. It's a bit of a hack to leverage my "pod catcher's" playback tools, e.g., 2x playback, when taking time notes for editing.

I'm currently filtering those items from the blog via the back-end, but the template is "category aware" and still displaying it on the front-end. This can be corrected of course, and if it were to disappear, you know it has been.

Watch that space? Who knows what may suddenly begin appearing... or disappearing.

Posted by caffeinated at 9:04 PM in kaffehaus

Sunday, 2 January 2022

What is Experimental Madness?

This blog category's impetus—as I look over the posts going back to 2006!—looks like it acts as a collection of software experiments in blojsom, as plugins or other fixes, or just straight up software discussions around Open Source projects (and possibly my contributions to them).

Well, I'm experimenting again you unlucky fools, with podcasting and perfecting the best workflows with my tools while minimizing my cash outlay. I have some fair-to-middling over the ear headphones and a Blue Snowball for my mic. It's an old one, close to 15 years old, and I think I read somewhere mics have a shelf life. P'ah. It's serviceable.

Garageband, of course, and Audio Hijack for my recording suite. I've been recording my D&D sessions with the start of a new campaign—ah, there's why you read, and why ACD's subtitle is d100 cups of coffee. My Audio Hijack session setup to date was a straight capture of all audio into an MP3. Serviceable for session review at the least.

I recently created a new session setup that handles dual track recording from my mic and the application (Discord). Without belaboring the details, I highly recommend this quick YouTube video by freelance podcast editor Chris Enns

Of course, the next session will use this configuration and I'm excited to try it. If I can get the permission of the players, I may actually release the sessions, edited of course; we can have some table dialog of personal or career related subjects not suitable for public release.

And I just figured out how I can get through January, I'll bore you to tears with reacquainting you with my blog categories, and possibly retiring a few.

Posted by caffeinated at 10:03 AM in experimental madness

Saturday, 1 January 2022

It's 2022!

Without wasting words, first: HAPPY NEW YEAR!

My second thought is: no 2022 resolutions, save the one to post at least twice a month in 2022. And so I begin.

Looking back over this blog, my database has almost 20 years of posts. I was working with this platform when my daughter was still a newborn and I remain its steward.

The recent Log4J vulnerability forced me to take a look at the platform's code and shore up some of the foundations. I got the "Bad Cell" category working again with my iPhone, greatly increasing the possibility I can meet my promise to you, even if it's just a picture—from a pub or game table. I'll post more long form topics soon, otherwise why not just microblog, i.e., twitter and Facebook and MeWe can sometimes be called microblogs. No, they are not really suited for the topics, but more importantly put control in individuals I don't know or have affinity with. Be it the "voice" of the blog or a topic, "decoupling" from these free services is important for all content creators.

I think I'll leave it there for now.

Here's to you and yours in 2022! Lots to do. 

Posted by caffeinated at 12:33 PM in kaffehaus