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, the good news is that once the GNOME Outreach Program internship ends on August 20, I'll have even more free time than usual on my hands to work on personal and furry / otherkin related projects.

The bad news is that it's because the Major News Site cut my hours, so to speak. So I have the choice between simply writing fewer articles (leaving [personal profile] rev_yurodivy and me with about a $500 shortfall every month), working much harder for less money, or finding something else I can work on that people are willing to pay me for.

Obviously, I'd prefer the latter. So, what are my options? Or perhaps a better question would be, what do you all (and your friends, and your friends' friends) want me to do?
  1. I could go back to writing stories. I stopped doing this last time because I couldn't be [personal profile] feathertail anymore, because I lost momentum, and because of a kind-of-creepy commissioner. But some of the comments and emails I've gotten since then have made me feel terrible, and I know some of my otherkin readers have been interested in my writing.

    I'd have to charge close to $100 for a story, if they are as long as my old ones. But I think this is something that I could do, if the themes were close to my heart.

  2. I could start working on the fursona project and the RPG in earnest. Like I said, this internship has made me a lot more confident, and I have ideas I'm dying to try out and share with you all.

  3. I could publish an ebook. That could be a book of my stories (new or old ones), an RPG book, or even a book of the tutorials I'm writing for GNOME -- they're under a free culture license, and I really want to see them made into a book regardless.
The thing is, I don't have much time to experiment. I need to start taking donations, preorders, Kickstarter funding, or something like it as quickly as possible once I'm done working for GNOME. I can work on these projects right now, some, so that I can hit the ground running, but once I'm finished I really need to make up for lost earnings.

So please, please tell me. What do you want me to do for you? What do you think I should do, for furry- and otherkin-kind? Which of my projects are you most excited about, and would donate or buy or tell people about?

I'm listening. We both are.
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)
What I proposed creating in that last entry is basically a prototype of the fursona creator. The one I make will be written in the same language, but will be for the web instead of GNOME, so anyone reading this should be able to use it.

My internship with GNOME has been a lot of help in boosting my confidence in my programming skills. I'm excited about finally making these things happen.

In other news, I recently started playing Final Fantasy XI Online again, after trying out their 14-day demo and then buying the full game for like $12. And a controller so I can play it the way that it's meant to be played. >.>; [personal profile] rev_yurodivy, [personal profile] aliaspseudonym and I have been having fun running around Lakshmi server, and anyone who wants to is welcome to join in.
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)
One thing I've been doing on and off over the past few weeks is coming up with ideas for a streamlined version of the Pathfinder rules. I feel this is needed because Pathfinder is super-versatile like WHOA. But it's also incredibly complicated, to the point where I had to hold everyone's hand through the process of designing species and characters. I very quickly realized I did not have the spoons for this.

So. We need rules that are flexible enough to let you play as your fursona or kintype, and simple enough that a newbie can pick them up and run with them.

Here's what I've got so far. Let me know what you think! I'd especially like feedback on the following:
  • Is it entertaining to read?

  • Is it easy to understand?

  • Are you excited about creating a character and playing a game after reading this?
If the answer to any of those questions is "no," that's a bug that I need to fix!

How to play )

Character creation guide -- INCOMPLETE )

What do you all think? Needs work? Too complicated? What do I need to change, in any of this, or am I barking up the wrong tree altogether? Both flavour-wise and rules-wise.

One thing I'm thinking is that the amount of rules to learn before you play really needs to be pared down ... but if you're going to make your own character, how much do you need to learn? Tough decisions ...
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)
I think the treatment of Animals in [Prince Caspian] is just going to be one of those Your Mileage May Vary things.

I, personally, do not like it. I don't like it because it seems to indicate that form dictates behavior and personality in a way that I'm not at all comfortable with because of the various implications contained therein for Otherkin and Transgendered peoples. I don't like it because I have a good deal of experience with animals in my personal life and I see a tremendous variety in personality within the same species, and even within the same genetic family. I don't like it because the variety displayed among the Pevensie children and the Caspian family, combined with the non-variety displayed within an animal species, normalizes "Human Being" as complex-and-varied and pigeonholes Animals as stereotypes, and that reminds me uncomfortably of the normalization of White, Straight, and Male in our society.

-- Ana Mardoll, Narnia: The Privilege of Omniscience
I just picked up the Pathfinder Advanced Race Guide a couple days ago. And I've noticed that d20 stats basically codify racism. When Dwarves get "-2 Charisma," for example, that's relative to a human. Humans are the exact baseline, and are "perhaps the most versatile" and blah blah blah. Which is basically the human authors' way of saying "We're privileged to be able to regard our experiences as normative."

So the question is, are the humans in our Pathfinder setting like that? They're protagonists, but they're not the protagonists. And while they see themselves as normative, everyone else doesn't. How do we portray them, both in terms of lore and in terms of game stats? This is sort of part brainstorming, part describing, so just let me know what your thoughts are on whatever interests you. Also let me know if I got something wrong; I'm very much an amateur at this.

Also also, check out this pic that [personal profile] aliaspseudonym did of a human adventurer.

Actual lore )

Messy brainstorming )
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)
“I’ve put my whole life into this — I did a mission, I taught Sunday school, my family is Mormon, you’re going to tell me I’m not part of this? Just watch me.”

-- Brian Johnston, quoted in "Mormons struggling with doubt turn to online support groups"
Johnston runs a site called staylds.com, after the "Latter-Day Saint" acronym that's part of the Mormon church's official name. Its message is basically "Okay, you've found out the church isn't true, but that's no reason to throw everything away, right?"

For one reason or another, this message isn't palatable to the people who end up leaving the church. A lot of them rightly point out that the church's value proposition isn't that "it's a great place to raise kids" or "it's the community you've grown up with," but that "it's God's one true church led by a living prophet". Take that out of the equation, and they ask "Why am I here?"

Others, like me, find it unpalatable because Mormon culture was never that hospitable to us to begin with. We weren't the white bread, upper-middle class, mission-serving, sealed in the temple kinds of Mormons; we were the foyer Mormons, the "stay home from the temple trip 'cause we're unworthy" Mormons, the "pace darkened halls with an MP3 player" autistic Mormons trying to keep from being overloaded at activities.

And yet, something about Johnston's words strikes a chord in me.

Read more... )

To an extent, Dreamwidth and the people I know here have been a surrogate for it. I'm constantly worried that I'm letting people down, though, both in GNOME and at the Major News Site I write for but also here. Just like with the covenants that I made with the Mormon God, I see my relationships as obligations that I need to fulfill, and if I feel like I'm not doing so I feel terrible about it.

Case in point: The Pathfinder RPG project, which is one of the big reasons I've been avoiding Dreamwidth lately. I feel like a horrible failure and like it's on everyone's minds and they all want to know why I'm doing anything but that. But I just can't make myself work on it. I don't have the energy, in between being sick (which I have been a lot lately) and working for GNOME.

It's perhaps ironic that I should feel so insecure, when the people I've met here have done more to help and accept and care for me than the people at church ever did.
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)
d20 has a lot of unpleasant entry barriers and can be just outright unintuitive at times, because there was "legacy code" from D&D they had to leave in or the D&D player base would have thrown a fit. >_<

-- [personal profile] rev_yurodivy, Piecing it together
A d20 is a twenty-sided die, and the one that you roll to do basically everything in Pathfinder. It's also the name of the system that Pathfinder built on top of, that was used for the last edition of Dungeons and Dragons.

The fact that it's a continuation of Dungeons and Dragons is one of the biggest things to understand about Pathfinder, and why it did certain things the way that it did. Despite changing hands from TSR to Wizards of the Coast in the 90's, and getting an update in the form of that d20 system (which was used for most of the 2000's), D&D was still recognizably the same game as it was in the 70's. A lot of things had changed, but enough things -- races, classes, levels, magic items, and game terminology like "saving throws" -- were still there just like always.

Pathfinder is like that, and a big part of the reason is ...

Read more... )

So, putting it all together, I don't think the "legacy code" matters so much in the end as a story that people want to get into, and a presentation that makes it easy for them. Pathfinder's "Beginner Box" was exceptional for this, and I'd love to have something like it that was specific to our world and characters.

If anyone's read this far, I'd love to hear your thoughts.
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)
From Malcomb Gladwell's Football, Dogfighting, and Brain Damage (emphasis mine, no trigger warning probably needed):
Read more... )

I haven't talked about the details as much here, but I was badly abused by people I loved and trusted. More than that, my loyalty to them was betrayed, to the point that my world fell apart when I realized what had been done to me and what I'd helped with. I was asked to do things that hurt me and others, over and over again, and was guilted and shamed to the point of near-suicide for my failures ... and for being hurt by it to begin with.

When things got their worst for me in the past weeks and months, I started dreaming and wishing that something like this could happen for me. I started imagining a society where it was accepted that people who'd been through this, who'd survived this, no longer had to justify their existence to anyone. That -- like the Marines who tell Saint Peter they've "served their time in Hell" -- they were no longer asked or required to do anything, but would be taken care of the rest of their lives as an act of social responsibility.

Part of the reason I dreamed about this was because it was so hard to keep up. I tried my best to stay on top of articles, but started falling behind, and people got upset with me. But I didn't realize until I read this that there were people who actually believed in this wild fantasy of mine. Just thinking about it is causing a lot of reflection, both on what I went through and how cruel it is to make "hard work" a virtue and a prerequisite for existence ... especially when not everyone can, all the time.

I want to work hard. Part of it is because that "virtue" has been ingrained in me, to the point where I feel I am worthless if I do not. To that extent, society continues the job that my parents and church did, in exploiting my "gameness" and loyalty. But part of it is just because there are things that I want to see happen -- like the RPG site, and people becoming their fursonas, and GNOME having comprehensive and comprehensible JavaScript docs -- that I know I need to work to make happen. And when I get into working on a fun project like that, it feels less like I'm toiling to survive and more like I'm playing Minecraft.

I wouldn't want to be deprived of that, even if I were living this fantasy.

The only other thing I wanted to add is that I feel like, to the extent that people support me and care for me and help keep me alive when things are tough, I already am. Thanks to you -- and the government food benefits, and Inari helping me get my internship, and people's charitable giving paying for it -- I can go grocery shopping today without having to worry that every purchase will put me over some arbitrary line. Without being terrified, and having my inner critic berate me for everything and tell me how I don't deserve anything but beans and rice, unlike the people around me.

People have been so generous to help in supporting me and [personal profile] rev_yurodivy. And while we can still use the help -- and probably will for a little while -- I very much want to make it worthwhile.
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)
The last week or so has not been very good, thanks to illness, stress, and depression caused by both. On top of that, the Major News Site I write for is becoming impatient with me after a month of very poor performance, and is starting to lecture me about how to write for them and request fewer articles from me.

About work

I was beginning to think that I may have to write them off for good, even after the Of The Year award and some amazing performance before April. Which would have meant financial disaster for me, if not for the internship. But after spending the last couple days taking a break from things and playing Minecraft, I came back to it feeling refreshed, and wrote an article that I'm proud of about a subject that's important to me.

I'd been feeling like I didn't want to have anything to do with social justice issues; I didn't feel like I had the strength to address them. But I'm proud of how I handled it today, and I feel like maybe part of the problem is that they could tell I was losing my passion for things and burning out.

Between the internship and the financial support I've received / am receiving from some wonderful people (should I name names?), I think I can afford to not write to a quota anymore and only write things when I feel strongly about them ... which will probably improve my pageviews and make my editors happy with me anyway. I just didn't think I could afford to take that risk before.

Thank you, to everyone who's assisted us in the last few months. It means a lot to us and [personal profile] rev_yurodivy.

About the RPG

I've started work on a website that should help and be easy to use. It may take a little while, and I'm sorry if anyone's lost interest already. I haven't been able to keep on top of things as I'd like to, and I underestimated just how much work -- and how much interest -- there would be.

I'm going to continue working on this even if others' interest drops off, just because it's something I want to see happen. I'll show it to everyone once it's in a usable format.

Update on the internship

It starts later this month, and I'm trying to get the website done first (before I have to spend more of my day writing JavaScript documentation). I'm continuing to lurk on the GNOME IRC, though, which will basically be my workplace, and I'm keeping in touch with my mentor ... helping give input on things, and taking copious notes.

I'm still really excited about this project. I just wish I already knew what I could do afterwards, that could still be tech-related and could lead to a paying thing. I really want to have something to do for work besides writing, so that I can take a break from one or the other when needed to keep from burning out. Which is one thing I've learned that I need in the past couple weeks.
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)
At least, that's how I feel about myself right now.

The stress from Friday made me physically ill on Saturday, and then more stress today sent me into a full-blown suicidal breakdown. I managed not to physically injure myself, but I destroyed pretty much everything connected to [personal profile] feathertail, including his DA and FA accounts and every story he's ever written.

I feel personally responsible and awful for it, even though I realize on some level I didn't know any other way of dealing with the horrible pressures I'm facing. I wish I had. I wish something else had made sense to me. There are so many people I've hurt. And thinking that just makes me more depressed.

I don't even want to talk about what's causing it right now, partly because I want to move past it and partly because I feel like it's so stupid and petty.

[personal profile] rev_yurodivy has been helping by talking me through things and providing emotional support, as well as picking up the slack when it comes to the RPG project. If it succeeds at all, it will be because of them. They love worldbuilding. They're good at moderating communities and forums and keeping on top of things. Most importantly, they're stepping up to do this right as I failed. I'm going to try to help them. Please be patient and work with them when planning your characters and their stories, those of you who are still doing so. Feel free to write more about the world and your place in it. This world belongs to you all.

[personal profile] aliaspseudonym has been helping me to feel better and supporting me financially somewhat, which takes off a lot of the pressure of my two jobs. Especially when the writing one is getting harder and harder and giving fewer and fewer rewards. I need to wean myself off it as quickly as possible, and do whatever it takes to get a programming job. Not only will it pay more, I feel like I'm coming alive with this open-source project in a way that I haven't in ages. I'm just still scared about the lack of a safety net if I fail -- something he's trying his best to provide.

Since it would mean either becoming homeless or moving in with my family, though, failure for me is still death. Possibly for Yuro as well. Somehow, I can't get past that. Not when I'm injured and scarred and have serious medical issues to deal with. The dishes and garbage have piled up this weekend because my metaphorical spoons have been in very short supply. I wish I could just curl up and let someone else take care of everything for me. Just for a little while. Just when I need it. Knowing I can't makes things worse.

I'm sorry for everything.

Yes, I'm still taking the St. John's Wort, and I still notice a difference in my inner critic's responses. I'm still hurting very badly right now.

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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