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The fanfic is Diamond in the Sky (NSFW for mature themes), but it's not related to the Dead Space crossover from earlier! It's actually the next part of the Pearlapis fic series, this time a bit action-y as well as emotional, and it marks a breakthrough in their relationship. It also features illustrations by my partner [tumblr.com profile] spinecrawlerrush, of course, and you'll definitely want to see the concept art for this one. <3

Meanwhile, in the world of miniatures gaming we've been sidelining and selling off our 40k and Warmahordes things, to make room for the extremely cute Endless Fantasy Tactics and Kami Tale miniatures lines!

WIP photos behind cut! )

Finally, check out this interview with Emily Whitehouse on PinkFae! It's a trans-inclusive games website, and the co-designer of Endless Fantasy Tactics has a story our readers may find interesting. ^^

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There's a danger in getting overly concerned with tropes, and the real point is to be free to draw inspiration from where you like while creating something that means something to you.

That's from the Yaruki Zero book, where Ewen talks about anime, but I feel like it addresses a problem we have been having with trying to make the erotic rpg we mentioned awhile back. Or any of our other attempts to make "universal" games, like [community profile] fursonarpg, and try to create stuff that we don't fully understand the appeal of on the basis that someone will want to play as it.

I think there's something to be said for opening up a game's rules or a setting's canon, to allow for something new to fit in. Sort of like how halfway through the game's run Games Workshop took the unusual step of creating an idealist faction, with clean lines and anime-inspired mecha, in Warhammer 40,000.

But I feel like this stuff is maybe best done gradually, and custom-made on a case-by-case basis. The Cleric and Monk classes in Dungeons and Dragons, for instance, came about because Gary Gygax's friends wanted to play a vampire hunter and a martial artist respectively. Meanwhile, I've been doing an ongoing freeform 40k RP, that started with ideas for my Tau characters and grew to encompass [personal profile] burning_ground's Chaos Daemons and Alias / [tumblr.com profile] spinecrawlerrush's Necrons.

Sometimes we think about game design. This is one of those times. >_>b

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Warmachine, and its companion game, Hordes, were made in the United States. Warhammer 40,000 was made in Great Britain.

The more I think about it, the more I feel like this explains a lot of the differences between the two games.

Read more... )

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We just wrote a single character sheet that represents three characters, one for each of us. Check it out on Myth-Weavers, along with our suggestions for how to play like this.

... I think this is the first time we've designed magical girl characters. Unless you count the male magical girl that we wrote for [personal profile] raikacreations.

Fate is <3. Now we just need to finish writing stuff for [community profile] capsulerp, although I suspect we won't get much done (at least not with all of the players together) before the end of this holiday season.

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From the product page:

The Chosen Visitor is a Dungeon World class for people from present-day Earth who’ve been sucked into a fantasy world. It draws inspiration on an entire genre of fantasy literature, exemplified by works like Poul Anderson’s Three Hearts and Three Lions, as well as anime like Magic Knight Rayearth.

The cover art depicts a nervous, glasses-wearing anime schoolgirl with blue hair, against a blue gradient background.

Glasses and school uniform optional.

Don't let the schoolgirl on the cover fool you -- this is actually a comprehensive treatment of the "person from earth ends up in fantasy world" trope, and lets you play characters much more diverse than Kagome from Inuyasha! It falls short on the actual execution in several ways, though.

Read more... )

The Chosen Visitor - A Dungeon World Playbook is licensed CC-By-SA.

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I'm reading another FATAL and Friends, this time of a 90's-era RPG that was heavily inspired by World of Darkness. It's called The Everlasting, and it is, if anything, even more pretentious than OWoD.

How pretentious are we talking, here? Well, for starters, it calls your character sheet a "Protagonist Profile," and it calls the act of playing an RPG "Legendmaking." This is the example of actual play that it gives in Chapter 12: Storytelling: Rediscovering the Magic of Life:

Four people have gathered in a basement for a night of legendmaking. They have exchanged the light bulbs for red lights and have placed some lit candles on the large table they are seated around. Also on the table are two fake skulls, hand-scrawled directions to a haunted house on what looks to be the brown paper of a grocery sack, and everyone’'s cards, dice, and protagonist profiles.

I hope no one filled in their character sheets- excuse me, Protagonist Profiles, in red ink. :P

In all seriousness, though, seeing people like this book's authors describe RPGing in mystical, pseudoreligious terms, reminds me of Mormons talking about how amazing sex is once you're married. When the truth is, it's not something you have to do in a particular way, the most important things are to listen and make sure that you have people's consent and enthusiasm, and you're going to make lots of embarrassing mistakes but the best way to get better at it is by practice.

When I believed my own hype, so to speak, it just made me a perfectionist who was too scared to actually play. What helped more than anything else, in getting [community profile] capsulerp and the in-person game started, was opening up about my insecurity, letting go of the need to make everything perfect, and trusting my RPing partners to know and describe what they wanted.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

This essay was written as a response to Landmarks of Gaming Theory. It is meant to address problems which roleplayers and game designers experience, and to deconstruct a reactionary ideology which would in some cases prevent people from doing so. It is not meant to be the last word, so much as our personal starting point.

Read more... )

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

So, I went out to GM the first session of the in-person Fate game we planned with the other players. Who are a guy we already knew, and his two friends.

(Content Note: Fictional pepper spray, and sibling abuse.)

The Premise

One of the characters was a mad scientist college student, one was his (doormat) assistant who took the same classes, and one was a Fighter-class fantasy adventurer who stumbled upon their "Time Fridge," when it teleported them to an alternate timeline.

Yes. Time Fridge.

(Name shamelessly stolen from the Faulty Logic webcomic.)

Cue Doctor Who theme )

All in all, it was a really fun experience and educational as well. ^^; I feel like I'm learning a lot about game design, which is now my Dream Career, by playing out these new games on the table. And seeing just how much they empower players, GMs, and creatives.

This is what I wanted, long ago, with the "Fursona Project" and "Fursona Code" and "Become Your Fursona" website. At their core, at the most basic level, I wanted people to be able to live as their personal characters, and have a common design vocabulary and resources to help express what they're like. I'm still learning the historical reasons why, but d20 and Pathfinder did not deliver on that.

From what I am seeing, Fate Core has delivered on that promise.

Now to see if we can kick off this online campaign properly.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

So, lately I've taken to reading transcripts of the "FATAL & Friends" reviews on Something Awful, named after the legendary Worst RPG Ever. It's been very interesting to get a fresh perspective on games like Pathfinder, and see their flaws pointed out by an outsider.

(The Original D&D review was also very interesting. Did you know that the reason Pathfinder has so many spells like Cloudkill and Hallucinatory Terrain is because they were originally supposed to be used in a Warhammer style miniatures game, to delete blocks of infantry or to create or obscure terrain?)

Fate Core in person

I also recently had the experience of going out to GM a starting session of Fate Core in person, for a Pathfinder veteran and his friend who was new to RPGs but was very interested when I described Fate.

In hindsight, I think I did things all wrong for the planned Capsule Contingency RPG. >_>;;

How wrong, you ask? )

So, for [personal profile] redsixwing and [personal profile] sablin27 ...

What should we do for our planned game? Do you want to just start it right now, and then help us come up with things as we go? Because I think that we could do that, if there is an understanding that it isn't going to be perfect. ^^; We could alternately discuss some of the ideas we had for where the game's going to go, so we can find out what stories you're interested in exploring and maybe get some ideas and stuff.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

Content note: Discussion of poverty, depression, and suicidal thoughts, as well as homophobia and transphobia.

For the past two years or so, ever since we came out and our life went to hell, we've been living in poverty.

Being in poverty does not mean "downshifting," "living within your means," or other euphemisms for going without things that others take for granted. Before we came out we were uninsured, we did not have a car or an HDTV or a laptop with more than 2 GBs of RAM, and we were living around the official "poverty line" in terms of our annual income. We cooked most of our own food, had very cheap entertainments, and ate out sparingly.

And yet, our living situation was in many ways better back then. The apartment was cleaner. We weighed 20 pounds less. We went out more often, and had more fun when we did. We had fewer worries, and felt much more optimistic about our future.

As it turns out,

It's that last point that makes all the difference.

Simplistic analyses of how "rich" and "poor" people's lifestyle choices differ obscure the reasons why their choices differ. In her essay, "Your App Makes Me Fat," Kathy Sierra discusses the neuroscience behind what others call "spoon theory" -- the idea that people have limited cognitive and emotional resources, and that if they have to spend them in one area they don't have them available in another.

In this case, research participants were asked to memorize either a two-digit number or a seven-digit number, and were then given the choice of cake or fruit as a dessert. Keeping in mind that there can be legitimate reasons to choose one or the other that have nothing to do with "willpower,"

The participants who memorized the seven-digit number were nearly 50% more likely than the other group to choose cake over fruit.

Digression about game design. )

So what's the point?

I'm fatter, less active, and less emotionally stable than I was before I came out. I have more health problems. I also eat more store-bought desserts, own a new laptop, game console, and tablet, and have more toys and games than I did when I moved here. And while I used to write articles for several hours each day, I'm now unemployed and not seeking work anymore.

Clearly, I merit contempt. I'm fat and lazy, after all, which you can tell (and can tell are my fault) by looking at me and hearing me talk about playing my games. I must have maxed out my credit cards buying new things, I'm letting the government take care of me instead of solving my own problems, and I'm depressive because I'm transgender. If I'd just choose to take responsibility for my life, then things would be so much better. Right?

Except that that's not the case. What is the case is I have so little energy, most days, that I have to pick and choose what gets done.

Today, I chose to explain my feelings on Dreamwidth and spend some time online with my boyfriend, who is going through his own trials and stress in the process of working to support me. As a result, the dishes aren't done, the laundry's unmade, and I'm eating hash browns and canned chickpeas for dinner because I haven't cooked anything (or showered) in days.

Tonight I'll stay up until 10 AM

Practicing needed introvert self-care, since I can't even do the above if I don't have some time to myself. And maybe, possibly, I'll have the energy to shower, or take another course from the Microsoft Virtual Academy, or make some more tweaks to my Dreamwidth site. Maybe I'll even write another story or chapter, sometime this month.

This is not exceptional. This is not a temporary circumstance, like when the waterbed leaks and you have to go sleep on the couch. And it's not voluntary privation I've put myself through, like when you work overtime for a few weeks so that you can afford a vacation. This is my everyday life. And this is what it was like for most of my life pre-transition, too, since I was dealing with everyday religious / emotional abuse and crippling depression and gender dysphoria. Some days I could barely get out of bed.

For one, shining year, things were different. I had a job. Hundreds of thousands of people read my work. At one point, I got to collaborate with a TV personality. I could afford most of my wants and all of my needs, if you didn't count health insurance (which no one could afford back then and few can today). I could even travel within the state. And when [personal profile] rev_yurodivy was facing some massive stress and an unsafe living situation, I could afford to take them in and buy them things, and take them out to dinner and make them feel loved and appreciated.

What happened to change that?

Realizing I was transgender happened. Being thrown away by my father of origin, who was cosigning my lease at the time, happened. Seeing the whole world differently happened, when I realized the friendly Muslim bus driver also wants me to live in the closet, and another passenger would let a trans woman die if they were a paramedic. Realizing they don't want me here happened. When my state voted to ban gay marriage, when I read horror stories that out trans women faced, and when the new CEO at my workplace decided "eh, paying writers is for chumps."

Suddenly, the smiling faces around me took on a predatory sheen, as I realized how little it'd take for them to turn on me. All I had to do was wear gender-appropriate clothes around them, or say that I didn't have money for rent. Because no matter how much I liked them, no matter how much I'd given them, no matter how loyal I felt towards my town and community, I knew that they'd throw me away in a heartbeat, and no one would ever miss me. No one except my weird "Internet friends" who don't really exist, even though one of them's living with me right now.

Suddenly, eating too much was one of the few ways that I had to cope. Suddenly, I started getting presents from those Internet friends, which added up to maybe a couple months' rent over the past two years but which made my new hikikomori lifestyle more bearable. Suddenly I was thinking about suicide a lot more in spite of all that, to the point where my partner had to pull the knife out of my hands.

There is no spoon

Or there aren't enough metaphorical spoons, meaning cognitive and emotional resources, for me to deal with all this. Not and be healthy and sane and pay all the bills and do all the chores and buy nutritious food at the same time. There still aren't.

Things are getting better. Therapy helps. Antidepressants help, a lot. I'm going out more than I used to. I'm making better choices for my diet, doing odd jobs on Mechanical Turk, and getting things like name change paperwork done. Our future looks brighter, for once, and we're starting to crawl towards it.

But that doesn't mean we're done going through this. It doesn't mean we never did. And it doesn't mean that we'll ever be the same again.

We're fortunate to have people who care about us. Who sacrifice their well-being to make our life and our partner's life safe and bearable. Who don't see us as a resource, or an object, or a statistic, but as a person, even when we can't.

So many poor people don't.

About us

~ Fox | Gem | Rei ~

We tell stories, paint minis, collect identity words, and share them all with our readers. If something we write helps you, let us know.

~ She / her ~

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