Enormous Time Sink

I’ve fought this battle before and lost. I’m losing this time too. There is something about The Sims games that is enormously compelling to me. It makes me feel slightly better that I’m not the only one, as these games have been chart toppers for years. But there was a sale on the core game for The Sims 4 at Christmas and I had $5.99 burning a hole in my pocket, so I bought it. I haven’t gotten much done since.

Tonight I’m pulling myself away to go to a New Year concert/party, but I’d be just as happy sitting here controlling and watching my sims. I may need help. There is just something about having an audiobook and The Sims that creates a time vortex that can suck in a whole day if you let it.

Anyway, I had some year-end wrap up posts planned. The Sims 4 delayed them. I have tomorrow off, so I’m intending to give my website some attention… but I can already hear the sirens call… must resist.

Lost a Day in the Five Towns

I started a sketch of a map on Friday during the weekly conference call. Then I doodled on it a bit while I was having lunch. It’s just an idea for a D&D campaign. A small bit of a larger map to get everyone started. I’m calling it Five Towns for obvious reasons. It’s a somewhat rural bit of a larger kingdom or country, a bit of forest, some hills, and some points of interest. I tried to have a bit of everything in there, just for the utility of the thing. This is what I started with…

Five Towns sketch

Friday, however, is not the day in question that was lost. That would be today. It started off like most other Sunday mornings–coffee, laundry, internet browsing. But the browsing turned into research about population density during the medieval times, then demographics, and then I started formalizing the map.

First, let me say that I am not playing D&D right now. I don’t know anyone that I could play D&D with at this point. I haven’t played in lots and lots of years at this point. And I don’t know if I even have time to play. Probably, I could find the time. Maybe. I think I could make time in my schedule. I really feel like I’m missing out, what with the incredible resurgence in popularity of D&D 5e. Like I missed the bus.

Anyway, where was I? Mapping. Firstly, figure out how many square miles are on the mapping template I created. 2,025 sq. mi. per page (37.5 miles east to west by 54 miles north to south). I’m making it a two page spread. So, 4,050 square miles or 3240 1-mile hexes. That sounds like a lot, but it’s not really that large of an area.

I’ve decided that the area has been populated for the last 300 years and has an ample population density of 60 people per sq mile. About a third of the land is arable and the rest is wilderness. So then I was trying to figure out the population distribution/arable land as it relates to the cities. This is what I started with. The yellow is the arable land and, yes, the numbers in the margins were where I was keeping track of the hex count. (1069 hexes of arable land.)

Five Towns – arable land, 1st attempt

The red-filled hexes are the five towns. The large, red hexes made from dashed lines are boundaries. Ten to fifteen miles is about the distance a villager will travel to get to a town, so that is the area around each town from which villagers will come. I made it 10 miles distant, because you can walk 10-miles, do your business, and walk 10-miles back in a day without overmuch inconvenience. I mean, I wouldn’t do it, but then, I have a car.

I think the holes between the towns are too big and the arable land along the roads is to generous, so I’m reworking that in the next version of the map. The northern and southern most red hexes at the center of the map are not towns, they’re the likely location of towns if everything were ideal. But I only want 5 towns, so they’re just markers.

I ran some numbers and this is what I came up with for the make-up of the area.

Total Population: 240,000
Isolated Population: 4,800
Population living in villages (475): 213,600
Population living in towns (5): 21,600

Towns: (5) Average distance between each is 28 miles
Northup (pop. 7,350) – This is the biggest town, the gateway to Five Towns, and the closest to the kingdom center.
Easton (pop. 5,880) – Second largest town and the one that benefits most from trade with the southern neighbors of the kingdom. Also, the most diverse population of the Five Towns. Suffers from frequent bouts of plague and disease due to proximity to the Reed Marsh.
Middlemost (pop. 3,675) – Geographic center of the region and the starting point of the campaign. Middlemost is about as typical a medieval town as you’re like to find.
Otter Cove (pop. 3,175) – Fishing and shipping center of the Five Towns region. Fortified against invasion or attack from the sea.
South Downs (pop.1,520) – Really not much more than a very large village. Population has fled over the last 50-years due to the proximity of the troubles occuring south of the Bristol Rock River.

I determined that the area of Five Towns has 213,600 people living in 475 villages scattered throughout, with a typical distance between each of 3-miles. The average population of one of these villages is 450 people. But I haven’t done much beyond that in defining the villages. I have some placed on the new map, but no names or particulars for most of them. What I did realize is that my original map did not have anywhere near enough villages.

There is a smaller population of 4,800 people who do not live in the towns or villages, but instead are in more isolated locations. I imagine these are hermits, woodfolk, islanders, marsh dwellers, and the like. Small family groups and lone individuals scattered outside the rest of the population.

I’m still working on this, but here’s what I have so far.

Five Towns – in progress

I’ll keep posting more details about this as I do more, but this is just the mock-up. Once I get this bit done I’ll work on making it pretty in WonderDraft. I debated about using the highlighter for the areable/populated areas, but ultimately decided that it was the easiest way to differentiate from the wildness areas and it’s the medium that is easiest to draw on top of. Lots more villages to put in place and still need to determine the extent of the civilized land. That’s how I got lost in the Five Towns for most of the day.

Lady Ronn and I also redid the interview portion of her video project. We both determined, independently, that the initial interview did not have the right balance of brevity and content. It was 01:14:00 long and I wandered around with everyone of my answers. This time I kept it brief and stayed on point. Maybe I’ll edit the long form interview and see if I can salvage anything for you. Maybe not. We’ll see. Thanks for reading. Later.

Games, Games, and More Games

In the event that you do not fully understand the magnitude of board games that were on display at last weekend’s Doug Con, I present you with this picture collage of what I was faced with when I arrived. We did not play all of these, but we did play some. I even had my first virtual reality experience playing a game where you disarm a bomb. Very cool. But until they can reduce the size and bulk of the headset, I don’t think VR is going to catch on.

so many board games

I came home from Doug Con with a haul of 4 banker’s boxes of my old RPG stuff. I knew that I had left stuff in the care of my good buddy, Doug, but I did not realize just how much stuff he had. Hell, some of this stuff I don’t even remember having. Where am I going to put all this? I’ll probably post more about this stuff as I sort through it. Some of it is kinda cool and nostalgia factor is high.

treasure trove of old rpg stuff

Mostly, Dungeons & Dragons 1st and 2nd edition stuff, but there is a mix of other stuff in there as well. Rifts, Star Wars, Shadowrun, and Champions. There’s a four book set of Marvel character references, a Stephen E Fabian art book, and some cardboard heroes and other Steve Jackson stuff. This will take some time to go through and time to find places for all this stuff. Later.

Doug Con

It is time for the biggest event of the summer, July 4th-7th, somewhere in the metro Detroit area…

doug con

This is it! The biggest basement board game bash in years. Virtually non-stop gaming. Beer, sandwiches, pizza, or Thai, or maybe burgers… heck, there might be hotdogs. Hell, this thing is going on for 4-days, it might be all of those things. Whatever works. People will be eating and what they’ll be eating will be food. I guarantee it.

many dice will be rolled

Prepare yourself to sleep on a camp mat, bunk bed, or maybe in the free bedroom. First come, first choice. But bring your games… all of them. You’re going to need them.

Okay, so this thing started yesterday at my buddy Doug’s house, but it was the 4th and I spent that here with the fam. Today, I’m stuck at home waiting on delivery of a very expensive motor for my “nuclear pharmacy”. I call it that because they make and distribute all the radioactive stuff for treating cancer and what not. Anyway, they’ve got some broken shit and I need to fix it, but the motor didn’t arrive yet and the tracking info says today. Hopefully sooner rather than later. once it gets here I’m off to gaming nirvana.

stuff and things

Baenrahl is Back, Again

It’s not a finished site. It may never be. I’m not making any promises about that, but it’s a thing once again.

Baenrahl.com

Role-playing Resources


While it is most definitely a work in progress, I think it shows its direction fairly clearly. This time around it is neither a Dungeons & Dragons campaign site nor a fictional diary of an interplanetary traveler, though, it may well be both of those things at the same time. No. This time I’m using it as a repository and resource for all the clutter that has been accumulated and created by my  forty years in the tabletop role-playing hobby. As such it has many pieces and parts.
It has stuff from my campaigns (baenrahl, warlock’s cauldron, the skorr, shadow chasers, etc…), a blog focused on tabletop rpg related stuff (house rules, advice, reviews, etc…), and most significantly, to my mind, the idea is to open it up and make a community out of it. To allow other folks to contribute and participate in what it is and what it becomes. This probably wont happen, but it would be cool if it did.
For the most part, I’m not in the hobby anymore. I don’t play anything. I don’t run anything. But I do still enjoy a good bit of world building and setting creation and this gives me a place to share that along with all the stuff that inspires and influences me.
Will see how long this lasts 😉

Witcher 3: Jackass

I have been out of the gaming thing for a while now. It’s not that I don’t have the time, but more that I just don’t want to use the time I have to play games. But, there are times when I just want to mindlessly waste an hour. With that in mind, I picked up the latest Witcher game and all it’s expansions as some sort of super-pack via amazon downloads. The game itself seems good. Nice graphics. Lot’s of stuff to do. Detailed world. Yadda, yadda, yadda.

I’m very bad at it, but that’s not the games fault. I’m not really immersed in the game and I am not playing through it particularly fast. I don’t have that kind of time and so I’m very early into the story of the thing. I think I’m looking for a griffon or some shit. Whatever it is I’m doing, or supposed to be doing, is always superseded by the fact that I do not like the main character. He’s a jackass. Doesn’t matter what choice you make in the dialog box, he is always a jackass.

I’m sorry, that was rude. What I meant to say is that he’s a dark character, an antihero, a badass, or whatever phrase you want to use. Still, I’d say, he’s an unlikable dick.

I’m still playing, but I really don’t like the personality they’ve given the main character. I get it, he’s a bad ass. Whatever, he’s a dick. He say’s dickie things. He does dickie stuff. I would not hang out with this guy. And yet, I am him. This game better be damn good.

Witcher 3: Jackass

this guy is a dick, i really don’t like him

I have been out of the gaming thing for a while now. It’s not that I don’t have the time, but more that I just don’t want to use the time I have to play games. But, there are times when I just want to mindlessly waste an hour. With that in mind, I picked up the latest Witcher game and all it’s expansions as some sort of super-pack via amazon downloads. The game itself seems good. Nice graphics. Lot’s of stuff to do. Detailed world. Yadda, yadda, yadda.
I’m very bad at it, but that’s not the games fault. I’m not really immersed in the game and I am not playing through it particularly fast. I don’t have that kind of time and so I’m very early into the story of the thing. I think I’m looking for a griffon or some shit. Whatever it is I’m doing, or supposed to be doing, is always superseded by the fact that I do not like the main character. He’s a jackass. Doesn’t matter what choice you make in the dialog box, he is always a jackass.
I’m sorry, that was rude. What I meant to say is that he’s a dark character, an antihero, a badass, or whatever phrase you want to use. Still, I’d say, he’s an unlikable dick.
I’m still playing, but I really don’t like the personality they’ve given the main character. I get it, he’s a bad ass. Whatever, he’s a dick. He say’s dickie things. He does dickie stuff. I would not hang out with this guy. And yet, I am him. This game better be damn good.

Cancel This, Cancel That

Today I cancelled my subscription to HGTV Magazine, about three years late, but its done. I never found much in there worth looking at, mostly, it’s not my style. I liked the HGTV channel, back when I had cable, but the magazine doesn’t really make the cut.
Also, I cancelled my Champions Online account, again. I intended for it to be a one month subscription to get in there and check it out, see if anything new was going on. There is nothing new. There are fewer people playing. And even the character builder wasn’t doing it for me this time around. I missed the date to cancel it after a month, but it will not be going past two months. I think I’m finally done with this game.
I worked on the closet conversion until about 8 pm; took out the upper shelf, put down the plywood for the base, patched some screw holes, and I cut down all my shelving boards to the proper width. In the picture, the carpet has rolled up against the base and pretty much hides it, that’ll be gone before this is all done. Tomorrow should be a day of noticeable progress.
20160416_182946
In other news, it will be a week tomorrow since I started taking this antibiotic for my leg where the cat got me and initially things looked better, but now it’s red all the way round and very itchy. I’ve got three days left of pills, but I’m guessing that I’ll be going back to the doctor afterward. This doesn’t seem right.

Rock Band for PC

Rock Band 4 on the PC. that would be rather awesome. Let’s make it happen, and by let’s I mean you all. I don’t have any extra money to throw at stuff like this. There’s a crowd funding drive going on to do it over at Fig. If they, Harmonix Music Systems, Inc., get $1,500,000 they’ll make it.
Go give them your money so I can play this game. Go here.