Ongoing Chatter #87: February 3rd, 2020 - ?

12/14/2001 — I started the Chatter section on July 27, 2000 when I noticed that the rest of my site was sometimes getting cluttered with lots of text. I'm a talkative guy, after all! Eventually the page got too large, so I started making separate entries. Then it got to be too much work to make separate entries, so I stopped posting altogether. Now I'm back to a (new) single page (the old entries are still available from the main Chatter page). New entries will be posted at the top, pushing older entries down. When this thing gets unweildy, I'll archive it and create a new page - Chatter #87. I hope that's not too confusing! ->PM

 

See the main Chatter page for an explanation of the changes I've made in Chatter. Short version: I'll be making ongoing posts here until this page gets too big. Then I'll start Chatter #88. New posts will be at the top of the page, pushing down the older posts. So you can come here to see what's new about the site. In a general sense, that is! The detailed site history is still the place where I'll track every new change. I'll also be announcing upcoming projects here.

 


February 3rd, 2020 -

New decade: Or the end of the last, depending on how you look at it. I figured since it has been eight years since my last entry, it was a good idea to start a new Chatter. A lot has happened.

Personal: I got divorced four or five years ago, and Sebastian has been living with me full-time for the last three years. He's 18 now, a senior in high school, and thinking hard about college. He's also still a definite geek, like his dad. We live in North Attleboro, MA.

Virgil: Sadly, my friend Virgil Greene died last year. He'd survived non-Hodgekin's lymphoma for years and had been cancer-free, but when the cancer came back the chemo was apparently too much for his heart. He's interred in Malden, Massachusetts. If you didn't know him, I wish you had. He was a well of knowledge about genre TV, anime, and science fiction and fantasy in general. A shy, kind, and very bright guy; when he first started GMing he wasn't very good, but as time went by he improved enormously. Although I'm not sure that he ever ran a long-term campaign; he might not have had the self-confidence for that. But his one-shots were a lot of fun.

His article "Vampires: The Varieties" appeared in his zine "The Eight-Track Mind" in the Interregnum APA, and was quoted as a source in a graduate project on vampires. Unfortunately I can no longer find a copy online. I'll keep looking. However, you can find one of his zines in the first and second issues of Interregnum on this site - and I've just discovered another eight complete issues on my hard drive, so I plan to post them before too long. I'm sure there's more of his writing in them.

He was tall and had curly red hair, until the chemo turned it snow-white and straight. Sometimes people thought we were brothers. He had a much harder life than anyone should have had to endure. I miss him.

Google Plus: Google terminated the Google Plus social media service last year (or was it the year before?). I will never forgive them for that. That was a healthy community, the best place I had to talk with gamer friends online. And not only did Google kill it off, they moved up the termination date twice. They also deleted an unimaginable number of entries and posts. Although they offered an option to download your own content, that option was so absolutely flawed as to not be an option at all. I lost everything. And sadly, everything that my friend Virgil wrote was lost too - a huge amount of work.

On top of that, Google's phones have gone from being outstanding and reasonably-priced to completely undependable and grossly over-priced. The last two that I bought died in less than a year, and Google wouldn't stand behind them. I was a very early Google user, and a constant advocate for them for many years; it took a lot for them to turn that around to the point that I absolutely hate and despise them. But they did it. I guess I should have been tipped off when they dropped "Don't Be Evil" as their corporate motto.

If you're wondering, I switched over to OnePlus phones for me and Sebastian. They're affordable, have incredible features for the price, the OS is updated quickly, and so far they've been remarkably sturdy and dependable.

My problem with RuneQuest: I've held off talking about this here or anywhere online for at least twenty years, but I guess I can talk about it now: I stopped supporting RuneQuest as a commercial product because of a very unpleasant personal tangle with the creator of Glorantha. I'm not the only one who saw his vicious side, and I assume I'm not the only one he threatened with his lawyers. He's dead now, but I'm still disaffected enough from the modern system that I don't want to support it. I suppose that I shouldn't hold a grudge any more, but that sour taste in my mouth just won't go away.

Avalon Hill's RuneQuest III is still my favorite, although I also like the multi-genre edition of Basic Roleplaying that Chaosium published before Stafford took it over again. I should admit that I was a playtester for that one.

Gaming: The Cave of Worlds ended unexpectedly thanks to some remarkably bad behavior by some of the players. It was a real pity, because it was such a great campaign. I started a new campaign with the remaining players; it was an ultra-tech setting that was partly inspired by Lawrence Watt-Evans' highly imaginative novel Vika's Avenger, which I strongly recommend. I called it the Dolman City campaign, set in an ancient and partly-ruined city on an alien planet that had been colonized by many species. I also drew on the works of Cordwainer Smith, Roger Zelazny, and Gene Roddenberry, among others. I'd never run a science fiction campaign before, but I was surprised at how easy and fun it was. Unfortunately after several years things went bad, and I gave it up. In part I was dead tired of trying to keep some of the players from each others throats, and of trying to keep the PCs together. A game needs to be fun for the GM as well as the players. Once the spark finally got killed off by complaints, I finally lost any tolerance for GMing for that group again. If I could find a new group of players with good group chemistry, though, I have a new campaign concept in mind. I've put up some flyers, but so far haven't received any inquires.


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