Chatter #1: July 27, 2000

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! So now I talk about my life here, instead of all over the place. Originally this was one huge section, but in December of 2001 it simply became too large to remain as one page, and I broke it into dated sections, as you can see. —>PM

Let's skip the preliminaries and get right to it. I've started this Chatter section because I've noticed that the rest of my site can sometimes be cluttered with lots of text. Looks kind of lousy, to tell the truth. While I can't promise to keep the rest of the site absolutely clean of excess verbiage, I'm hoping that this will serve as a convenient clustering place for the, um, chatter that would otherwise get spread throughout the site. Will it work? Will anyone read this? Time (and my hits) will tell. As I write new material I'll place it up here, at the top, pushing older material down. Depending on the size of this thing, I'll eventually archive older stuff as it gets unwieldy. August 25, 2001: It got unwieldy, i.e. too big for FrontPage Express. There's a link to the Chatter Archive at the end of the page. —>PM


Meet the Author

Should I introduce myself? I don't really know how many readers already know me, so why not:

Peter Maranci. A man barely alive. Wait a minute...let's try that again.

Peter Maranci. Just under six feet, a bit under 300 pounds (I'm working on it), a bit under 40 years old. Former contributor to the now-deceased roleplaying APA "The Wild Hunt", and founder of the still-running RPG APA "Interregnum", which was TWH's successor. I published IR for several years until I burned out and passed the reins over to Kiralee McCauley, who's doing a fine job. I wrote a zine for the latest Interregnum, by the way—my first zine in about two years.

I'm a regular guest of the Arisia convention, where I usually do a bunch of roleplaying panels and sometimes run a RuneQuest scenario. It's a great con; lots of fun.

I've been playing RuneQuest for more years than I care to reckon, and my stuff has been published in several print and online roleplaying journals; nothing for money, though. A Dunsanian short story that I wrote was accepted for paid publication years ago by The Unspeakable Oath, but I think that they disappeared or something. Certainly I've never received an issue nor a check. :-)

Someday I'd really like to have a few stories professionally published, but unfortunately I'd have to write them first. I've written a few stories, but for the last ten years or so it seems that every time I start I get a huge case of writer's block. Or else I find my story wandering off in the complete wrong direction, beaching itself and dying on the shoals of the meantime I keep a journal of ideas, and when I get the time I'm going to try to force myself to sit down and write at least 300 words per day—even if they're just "All work and no play makes Peter a dull boy". :-)

Geek-ar the Magnificent

If I were to express myself in game terms (a silly thing to do), I'm guessing I'd be:

STR: 14. A bit over average.
CON: 12. I rarely get sick, and my blood pressure and cholesterol are very good, but my stamina is only so-so.
SIZ: 18. By RQ standards, I'm tall and (at least right now) fat. Or stocky. By modern American standards, I might only be size 16 or so—still big. I work out at the club when I can, but need to do more.
INT: 18. Ahem. I'm going strictly by test scores here. The chance of rolling an 18 on 3D6 is one in 216, and my LSATS and such put me in the top .03%. Lord knows I haven't done much with whatever intelligence I have, though. :-(
POW: 09. I'm not the luckiest guy in the world, and I'm surprisingly good at sneaking around (given my size).
DEX: 08. CRASH! Oops. Maybe I'm not that good at sneaking. :-)
APP: 11. I'm not the one to judge this. Ask my fiancee (although she's not unbiased, either, come to think of it).

Looking back, it was probably a mistake to do this... :-\

Big Mess - Change of Address

First off, hits are WAY down since I changed my domain. For those who are wondering what happened, here's the story:

I'd been with my old provider, TIAC (The Internet Access Company) for something like six or seven years—way before the Internet was popular. My exposure to the net actually goes back to 1987, and I'd been doing bulletin boards since about that time.

Over the years, TIAC got worse and worse. I won't even try to describe how bad it was. Then in 1999 it got taken over by the PSInet mega-corporation, and what had formerly been an awful regional company became an abysmal international monster-company. I finally cut my losses, leaving a TIAC SUCKS! parody page in place on my old TIAC site. I'd heard that they never bothered to take down old sites. I also left an auto-forward for my shell email address, and a web forward from my old RuneQuest page.

Unfortunately someone on TIAC apparently was on the ball, because within a week my site was locked out—that is, no one could access it, but I know that it wasn't deleted. Someone at TIAC was still looking at my TIAC SUCKS page, because the third-party counter I'd installed was still incrementing new hits.

I re-posted the TIAC SUCKS! web page on my new site, of course. If you're interested, you might first want to take a look at the official TIAC site—I worked hard to parody them. Unfortunately one element of my site can only be viewed with Internet Explorer (yuck).

In the meantime, I found that I was sort of screwed. My RuneQuest page is one of the older ones still around, and by virtue of that is listed in the top ten of almost every search engine; for some, it's number one. Unfortunately there's no easy way to update the hundred of search engines and links that are on the web, and my hits crashed from about 60 per day to about five per day—a very painful experience! I'm trying to search out old links and listings and have them updated one-by-one, but it's an incredibly slow and irritating proceedure.

New Look for the Old Site?

I've been thinking of re-designing my site for some time, and now that I've moved it seems like an even better idea. Unfortunately, though, I'm not a designer. I'm not sure how the site should be changed. Should the background go? It's been described as "60's kitchen wallpaper". I'm sure I should cut down on the text, which of course is why I'm writing this. Perhaps I should learn javascript and all that cool stuff? If so, I'd appreciate any suggestions on good places in the Boston/Woonsocket corridor to learn. I need to take some advanced courses anyway, and they might as well be useful.

Actually, any suggestions would be great. Along with my hits, the volume of email has crashed. It's kind of lonely here in Internet Nowhereland...

Shameless Pleading

Speaking of hits and such, if you were to go to the RPGnet Gaming Industry Directory and give my site a good rating, I'd be deeply appreciative!

A New Scenario

I worked up and ran a new scenario for the Saturday group recently; since I've become rather sick of Glorantha, I set it in a sort of Dunsanian version of the Call of Cthulhu Dreamlands. It went well, although next time I'll use a modified version of the RQ system rather than CoC. There are some great advantages to the Dreamlands as a setting; when the action starts to bog down, I can skip everything ahead to the next point of interest. Why? BECAUSE IT'S A DREAM! I said that a lot during the run. :-)

I'd like to post the scenario on the site, but it's not yet written up. The truth is that creating the scenario is the easy part; it's putting it into a decent format that take 97% of the time. You wouldn't believe how much work I put into To Kill A Monster, for example. And I still don't know if anyone found all that extra pre-formatted stuff useful.

The core of the scenario is this: the players are travelling on a lonely road, one on which the villages are several days travel away from each other. At night when they are camped about half-a-day's ride from the next village (and three days from the previous one), the night is split by a horrible cry. A hurtling figure tears through the campsite, pursued by a large and dark flying form. They disappear into the woods on the far side of camp, and after a few moments there is another horrible cry. If the party looks at the sky they see a dark misshapen form flying away against the vault of the stars.

If they search the area, they find a a hideously mutilated corpse; eyes gouged out, and face frozen in an expression of unspeakable horror (although it's hard to read expression on a face that has no eyes). The deceased was a burly man, in his late thirties, with a tunic & trousers covered by a singed leather apron. He has no shoes and no other possessions.

When they arrive at the village the party finds the population in terror. Something, some things, have been stalking the village, and at night no one is safe. The party is effectively trapped in the village, because being anywhere within miles at night means a horrible death.

What is stalking the village? Who was that man? All these and more will be revealed when I write up A Breath of Evil. :-)

I'll be away for a few days, but I plan to keep adding to this page and the whole site often.

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Roleplaying Adventures & HeroQuests

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NPC People, places, & Things
NPCs & More

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Random Thoughts From A Random Brain

Issues of my old zine, resurrected from paper
Rack & Rune

Battle Evil Online! Or get munched
Peasant's Progress

Game & Other Recommended Links

So what do you think?

[email protected] Copyright 2001 by Peter Maranci. Revised: December 14, 2001. version 1.0