Wednesday, February 27, 2013

1st time to play in years

Thanks +Tobie Abad for running Lacuna. It was a great game, and it feels great gaming after years of hiatus.  Both +Carl Michael Moullard and I have not played and a long time and it is great that we got to play with the master. It was a two hour game and things moved pretty fast for two players. 

We hope we can have more players and gamers run their games here next week.  

We are trying to re-cultivate gaming in the philippines, and have provided a venue to play, in one of the busiest places in metro manila - the philippine economic zone of eastwood city libis, one of the densest BPO areas in the Philippines.

This is the gaming area we made in our building in eastwood for tabletop players. we have another room so that the gamers can feel free to be a little louder and obnoxious as well as space for the wargamers and board gamers. The place is complete with a 24/7 cafeteria that services the agents with 1.25USD meals and a place for smokers. 

Skill Design - opportunity cost

I was remembering american pie and various other comedies where characters would flaunt their ability to observe undetected, their target gender. I was posing the question here and later here for more serious tactical discussion.

It brought me to some interesting mechanics design problems

Perception is more bang for buck at 5pts per level vs 4pts on Observation. And there are loads of other skills that give context analysis or allows the character to get in close.
Why by a skill when defaults have very little penalties but it takes 200 hours per cp of skill? (like running and jumping, and there are other skills that have that conflict)
If Observation is getting close to the target and tactical context why have so many cheaper and better solutions:

Getting close - shadowing, acting, stealth, camouflage, streetwise, savoir-faire, pan-handling
Context Analysis- Guns+Per, soldier, "warrior profession", strategy, tactics, Information Analysis, cold read/aka fortune telling, body language, psychology, expertise relevant to the situation

I realize that if there is a skill being designed, we need to look further at the opportunity cost of mastery. it the skill has no point over mastery - like observation then maybe we should consider it as a sub-specialization or another feat within another skill.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Blank hex Map for tarp printing

It would cost me about 1090php to get this printed in tarp. its a 50x40x1" hex map made with isomage's tools. about 70 inches by 75 inches according to GIMP. which is about 36.4 sq feet.  There are printing services at about 10php per sqft which i'll try to find. having this here makes it handy for me to send to the printer in case i forget my usb stick. 

I already bought my sticker paper for printing tokens. 

Can't wait for my reaper figs. I plan to make several systems run throughs with my brother. Hopefully compiling a small library of video "how toos" of various game systems.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Social Mechanics: Its not just about Skills, its about consequences

Cutting into the meat of social mechanics, it is more about circumstance and consequence. There are   many strategies in dealing with people; it gets more complicated when there is deceptions and it is more about ancillary benefits.

Strangely everything boils down to a "cliche" that people want to be wanted for themselves. The funny thing about the "cliche" is that "themselves" is nothing simple and very often complicated. The only times a relationship becomes very simple is that it is transactional/economic or when there is a deep connection.

Skills are necessary to avoid Noise. What I mean by noise is the information and communication theory definitions of it . Noise is both uncertainty and the natural messy nature of how we communicate as humans. A simple instruction being a feat of abstract thinking, having a precise set of expectation, and a feat of probabilistic interpretations. (the lessons taught in TTC effective communication is more pronounced when we learning a new language, when we hear one that has a set of sounds Culturally/Linguistically we cannot hear like the 5 tones in Chinese)

Where skills are heaviest and most useful is in reducing noise is Analysis and Information Gathering. Where skills are least is in delivery and for those who have mastered all the fundamentals (delivery and information gathering) there are route techniques and tricks.

Psychology is one of the key skills, but most interestingly such a broad topic. there is Psychology the science we learn, and the one we experience and have observed. Depending on the lense we have cogntively psychology is influenced by Background Culture, our Professional Culture, and the social skill sets we need to survive.

It is interesting to measure one's life by transactional vs non-transactional but positive relationship we have.

Simplifying Social Mechanics without getting deep into a Philosophical Discussion is the challenge, because you trim the discussion by removing the examples and supporting statements to the theory proposed.

It is also assumes that you have a similar experience with the reader. I like Steve Longs comment in an interview, which is to the effect Hero is not for Assholes. I think anything written is universally not meant to be interpreted by the kind of people who seek to "strawman" the writer's own words. I've read Dawkin's: The greatest show on earth and the language is so precise and protectionist it turned off my wife from reading it; I didn't mind it because I knew it was designed to limit the wiggle room for assholes.

I talk about leverage in my Social Mechanic rules. I don't mean for Leverage to be a mechanic, but one of my intentions is to provide a creative commons description of the real world modeled in games so that people have a better mental model and that people with better wording can improve on it and spread it around. It the mental model gives people not only a tool for an RPG but a better understanding of relationship Huzzah!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

How to use my Mongoose Traveller Costs Spreadsheet

'Splaining why costs of freight in traveller are too low for the ship owner and why the GM has to adjust the price to allow adventurers to thrive. My first screen cast used Record my desktop. 

My Strengths: Logistics

I'm working on my Open RPG system in an A6 format with 0.5cm borders. I'm visualizing this as a small compact booklet of about 300pages, but more importantly a PDF for your smart phone. No Big tables, only tables that would fit a A6, and the rest are formulas where there will be mnemonic notes.

My biggest strength is Logistics, I'm using the Small Wars Manual and a basis for all the animal performance stats. There will be a lot of Animal stats and the supporting equipment like Carts, Wagons, and Chariots.

There will be Household, which involves all the personnel typical of a household and an adventuring staff. I place into household all the supporting personages like the scholars, guards, heralds, agents, stewards, etc... I'll be using generic terms, and will insert the Cultural equivalents.

I'm working on the equipment now, and there is a TON of previous works I am drawing from. I also hope to give some sample spreadsheets in the future.

I've actually done a cast on how to use my spreadsheets, particularly for the Mongoose Traveller. I'll upload it on this blog once I have the chance. I plan to show how to use my spreadsheet tools this way, since its me explaining stuff without me in the picture like in Khan academy.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Phone PDF Dimensions 2

Wondering what is the best fit for my Note 2 or phone browsing of documents. Planning to go even smaller and provide a Phone Easy to Read set of Notes and Rules. 

edit: relevant Link from Gizmodo of all the Pix a side by side view of the smart phones and their display. 

With my Advancing years I need font size 11. 

Source is from Wikipedia. Studying up my mandarin. 
A6 plus to 2cm of height.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Open RPG update,

Wow, there are a lot of mechanics to cover. I also pegged it down until gunpowder becomes common use in militia.

Character Creation - Random Character creation and Point Buy.
Trappings - Food and Drink, Containers, Clothing, Tools and Equipment, Weapons, Armor and Shields, Animals, and Household. the household covers servants, and will also cover various laborers, specialists and professionals.

Social Mechanics -  These are tools and benchmarks for Gms to adjudicate social interactions and long periods of relationship building. Includes favors and network.
Combat Mechanics - Broken down into Two systems: Narrative and Tactical.
Character Mechanics - Character "physics" like Fatigue, Work, Status Effects, Hazards, recovery, and Character development.
World Mechanics - this deals with technology, economics, and how the world "works".
Entity Mechanics - the creation of organizations, factions, businesses, institutions, governments, etc... the system is guidelines in how to "black-box" these details or remove the opaque nature to get into the gritt. This includes some mass combat mechanics.
Meta Game Mechanics - mechanics that deal with incentives for players to role-play and help the GM.

I'm using the Style found in LibreOffice documents.

I wish I could predict what "fluff book" will I work on next, if or when i finish this? Despite my expertise is in lower tech, I would love to have my first fluff book to be Mahadlika - simply cause it is a setting that NEEDS it more edit: BUT i need to learn mandarin so running Qin the Warring States would give me additional hours practice in my mandarin by exposure to so many chinese words and trying to pronounce them.

Monday, February 18, 2013

L5R homebrew rules

Homebrew rules I need if I were to run L5R again.

L5R was the first game I played in college regularly, my GM was my High School teacher back in 1999, this was the conditioning that allow us to take character death well. Combined we must have had +16 character deaths in about 20+ sessons. Wish I kept a journal then, I had a character die 10 mins after creating him. My last character was a Kitsuki Magistrate, suffice to say Prevention was what kept him alive - and kitsuki's were a "courtier" that could fight, no more cheeseyness in this latest edition.

Feats of Strength and Encumbrance Rules. Because L5R players may have a very adversarial reationship with the math of keeping track of encumbrance and equipment.  A VERY simple encumbrance tracking system would be needed. Probably ones that use key words like negligible, light, moderate, heavy, very heavy, and extremely heavy. Maybe a rules of 5, where every 5 of a particular "weight class" advances the encumbrance to the next category. The character is at the encumbrance of the heaviest item (typically armor, if any or primary weapon).

Regarding Feats of Strength, characters can only lift to the limits of their Strength but to go beyond those limits they need to make a test of earth. I can't imagine how I am going to make simple low math system for this, but it is an interesting puzzle to solve.

Fatigue Rules. It is easy to elaborate on the current fatigue system, I just made "Activity" levels: easy, light, moderate, heavy, very heavy, and extremely heavy. I would qualify where running, paced running, marching (fast hiking), hiking and casual stroll would fall. I also give examples like what kind of effort mental actions are like - debate/arguing, active discussion, light conversation, entertaining conversation, etc...

Traveling and overland Travel. if people only knew how expensive it is to upkeep an Utaku battle steed, and the logistics involved compared to a pony. Some basic guidelines for Trailblazing and allowing the emphasis be in Athletics.  

Harsher Wounding and Healing Rules.
Healing in the game is like DnD, high level characters bounce back quickly. I was considering that wound ranks determine the pace of how long it takes to heal a point and that of the 9 wounds ranks each rank is calculated as Earth x1 instead of Earth x2. So the Signature katana would kill a man in one blow.

Shields Rules.
The Japanese did use shields, at least their infantry. I don't want to give a history lesson or argue samurai military theory. When it comes to L5R, it is a simple matter of placing Peasant keyword with the weapon. (so mantis use shields). Wicker shields serve as arrow catchers (the wicker shields like a thick dense weave catching arrows).

If I were to run L5R again, I would run it in the Scorpion Clan Coup because it is the easiest storyline to keep track off, and a great launching point to diverge. Plan to go SIFRP with less magic and supernatural, and more Intrigue, Strategy, and Intelligence. I'm not a fan of the writing and how the tournaments kinda made the stories more convoluted.

I really want to throw out the holy cows of the systems and allow for Dynastic Games, where houses Fall and new ones rise. I like the mess and convolution in the relationships and intrigue, not the magic and supernatural.

Fatigue and Economy of Effort;

Fatigue is not something for every game table. But to simulations its practically ubiquitous in all strategic decision making. Fatigue affects both mind and body, despite what people may believe (that's the odd thing about science).

Anyone who had to make big decisions, I think would have experienced more regrettable decisions while fatigued than having had rest and refreshed. There is a reason why we let a big decision wait till after a good nights sleep.

I'm sure Fatigue in all its froms: as we exercise, work, study, problem solve, and have fun affects our decision making and should affect the decision making in the RPG. It failing to appear to pose an adequately remove the color of a difficult task.

First thing I tell newbies in Airsoft is Track your Fatigue, its so fundamental that we avoid heat stroke, accidents, and injuries by being self aware about our condition. If you think you should be tired, take a long swig of water; stay in the shade; dont rush the enemy when your out of breath; plan your rest points as you advance to the enemy position.

So I feel pretty disheartened when a system reflects fatigue poorly, gives me very little wiggle room, or ignores it all together. I can Adhoc the rules but adhoc has trade-offs.

Fading Suns Revised edition - mentions fatigue but doesnt give any examples of it as far as i've used the search terms. It basically makes it purely Adhoc, it is a system that has yet to adopt "conditions" or "status effects" like stunned, dazed, fatigued, exhausted, frightened, etc...  Given how the rules work i can "paste"over the D20 conditions.  D20 Fading Suns, surprisingly has Fatigue and conditions since one can argue it draws from DnD 3.0E its base rules. I don't know how it may be odd that in one version of a game, because of a system, players have to deal with fatigue while in a different version the GM may adhoc the ruling which may be inconsistent.

L5R - Fatigue is measured of Days of being awake and Fasting. The penalties are per day of staying awake per stamina. My problem is that I need to argue a character is tired/fatigued. I can clarify what consitutes "days of awake" in equivalency in work hours. Exeeding the days awake or period tired does not necessarily consequence to sleepiness but it is often the case, for others (like me) all my compulsions gets easily triggered and I go zombie mode.

Mongoose Traveller has fatigue rules, which is much more than the previous systems mentioned (found in p74). It can be pretty harsh since its measured in number of melee attacks in a DAY, number of hours awake, and heavy labor hours (wait does that mean an attack is equal to an Hour of heavy labor?).

Song of Ice and Fire RPG has one of the better Fatigue rules of the group found in page 169. It also have overland travelling rules which help in logistical challenges. Unfortunately the character sheet does not have it where it counts - in the front along with wounds, injury, destiny points and damage.

Ugg, to satisfy my Compulsions i need to tweak and align the system's view of the world to how I, the GM, views it. I realize that it goes back to the AC is Damage Reduction argument and Tappy's Argument that System is Flavor. I realize that there are assumptions of reality/or how we understand the world that influence our reasoning several "bounds" away; to rearrange those assumptions tends to muck up our reasoning down the line. The more scientific the assumptions, IMO, the more sturdy they are against all sorts of crap the players throw at me.
example. Economy of Effort (Fatigue Rules), if we don't have any rules then how does this devalue a stat like Endurance or Stamina? Why should I make a build conceptually high-end/sta but I don't spend the points because It will not show up in play (warriors that have "regular" endurance and have no travelling skills -I was asking my bro how people spent their skills. If we drove i can understand having "average" end/sta but if you walked about >10,000 steps a day then you better get the skills or you will be wasting time getting to point A to B (Punctuality and Deadlines) . Are characters "fresh" every day, they are able to maintain optimal attention and awareness?
After learning about warfare, and that 99% of a soldier does is travel and logistics and how travelling (being in the right place in the right time) can mean more than who has a better sword technique game systems or settings that continue the fallacy snap my suspenders of disbelief. This is comparing all the warfare I've read.

Hopefully Future Topics:

If science is true regardless if you believe it or not, whats the point of being scientific or trying to adhere to scientific principle when playing an RPG which is make-believe game? (very very narrow audience: Science Geeks and RPGamers).

Science in RPGs: How and Do scientific Assumptions make for better toolset for a GM?

Rant: I hate tweaking other peoples systems, because I don't get credit and the knowledge created does not go into any database to create any foundation for a better system. I really have to work on my Open RPG system, right now after all that I've learned from the other systems my biggest obstacle is that it will be another 60-80 hour project with very little achievement goals... and no one to try out the game system.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Revisiting Old Systems: fading suns

I realized that I have a good number of game systems and settings under my belt. It helps that we three brothers were very prolific in gaming and love to share in the "cheese" of breaking a system or trying a new game. Looking at these old systems with fresh eyes and better math skills has given me revisiting so much inspiration.

I am actually interested going from first edition to the current edition and what were the problems that the game designers were facing. For me it's like stepping back in time when I look at the old systems and figuring out the values and knowledge the designers had at the time.

I'm right now revisiting fading suns and looking at how it differed through the versions and versus now. Human/Alien and Ego/Faith is not part of the character sheet.

First thing I try to do is make a well rounded build. Already you can get a lot of what the designer was thinking with what he considers well rounded. Often you don't need to build the character, it is enough to look at the sample characters. Although it takes exposure to a number of systems to see the differences in values and focus.

Second is breaking the system, making a character that exploits enough of the weakness that a gm would to busy to house rule delicately. I'm beginning to see some breaks in the systems although fading Suns non-magic rules are pretty solid, can't say the same about their combat rules. Being old, my mind is not that effective in memorizing useless details, I need paper and pen and make a chart of the measurable elements of the system.

One odd bit is that move is vigor based. Taking multiple actions to run is faster than run as a single action. Even at bare score of 3, a character can run 9meters in multiple action but only runs 10m on a single action. At a score of average, like 5 on vigor and 3 Dex, I have a 15m move while running as a significant or major action is 10m with a one in twenty to move in 15m. I think it would be sounder to just base it on vigor anyway the performance variance when people run is very small, not worth a die roll. Simply vigor x3m plus margin of success with no penalty unless critical fail would be ok. Movement should have penalties when they are not simply running forward, strafing or backing up movement should be cut simply to half.

I think the system lacks sample characters and NPCs but that is a personal preference.
What may be preference is the description of economics and relationships given. Exposed to traveller, farming holdings enough to buy technology should be said in the the scale of farming tenant cooperatives or cooperatives (mining, agricultural, utilities). I could detail out the economics of the world which gives sandbox tools in case the PCs would want to go financial or economic strategy.

A different take on fading suns have come to mind if I apply a different set of morals or ethics. Like applying secular humanism, objectivism, vs the medieval virtues given. Objectivism happens to be perfect for the setting, particularly among the nobles, and is the kind of point of view that give a lot of RPing opportunity. What the nobles did with indentured servants despite coming from an advance society fits in well in a total Laissez faire system.

Gurpsifying this all is not an easy feat. It would probably take me another 60-80 hours but what would result is another GURPS lite for fading suns. I would incorporate my traveller ships, economics and with mechs. I would also make a handout about the structure of the setting mapping out political and economic relationships for sandbox GMs to do as they please.

I finished my first system analysis cast for the Crunch inclined for mongoose traveller. Hope to find the time to edit for a version two. Basically me going through breakdown of a system in a process.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Mongoose Traveller Review of Ops Cost

So this GM has finally got the time to study Mongoose Traveller. I think the numbers as a business are ad-hoc and not really playtested. This has a pro and a con - con: F*CK i have to home brew it, pro- When I come up with an Open RPG that has Entrepreneurship simulation I am offering something new and will give various gamer mnemonics to allow better mastery of the principles.

Looking at the Hazards of a traveller ship and looking at other businesses with the same hazards, the margins are incredibly thin.

Speculative Trade vs Logistics Services
Note, speculative Trade and Logistics should be separate. To give some perspective, Finance entities are the ones typically backing such a business, two sources of RISK (these are finding buyers, commodities, and goods while maximizing the cargo space and passage of the ship) are a terrible way to make a living. Its like being middle class, burdened with termendous debt and going into TWO different businesses at the same time. In the Gamer Dev World - its being a Gamer Writer/Publisher and Printer. A Printer (who has a lot of infra) may dabble in Publishing or Producing Games but needs a stable and reliable biz to keep his crocodile farm* afloat. 

A Broker typically specializes in Speculative Trade, may buy a limited amount of Leased Dton space and a Stateroom on a ship. This space is negotiated down from the usual "freight space" lease margins.

Example (see Spreadsheet)
Wealthy Broker, buying a stateroom for 3 years for a Far Trader (6000*36 months) + (4500*72 jumps) = 345,000Cr or 28,800 Cr a month (typically 3 months advance payment and 2 months security deposite). The broker calculates these as his expenses; and has network plan. 

The Lowest Risk and Highest Gain is capturing contracts for 3-5 years of freight lease in regions with poor infra. Developed Worlds/Systems have contracts lasting 10-20 years.

Here is the Spreadsheet that looks at Expenses vs Revenue in a year.
Contemporary Economic Benchmarks
  • Interest Rates: 4d6% (average is 14%; statistically very unlikely for the extreemes but are known to happen)
  • Inflation: 2d6% (exploding die)
  • Economic Growth Rates (after inflation): 1-3% (1d6/2 rounded up)
  • 20 years is not so long in paying of a morgage when I've seen building owners and banks have such deals. 
  • That the Interest Rate are factored in the Ship Price, there is already several Financial Margins inclusive of  the price. If there is a Cash down purchase of the ship the price can go down as much as 20% (80% of the price is made up of the "interest" the bank would have earned in 20 years). It is possible to posses a ship that has depreciated more; but i would recommend x2-x10 the maintenance cost. 
  • Note on the Prices - Prices are subject to fluctuation; if a bunch of free traders are saturating the market you will be working harder by lowering your margins. The margins given are in a fairly competitive area (in modern comparison South East Asia markets presently); margins are greater in more dangerous frontier area - think about doing business in Africa or SEA 13 years ago. 

Home Brew Rules
* No Stealth in Space - i have enough notes how to modify the system and doctrine for this.
* Market Forces at work on Prices - i can clean up the doctrine for this, and assume only 10% are doing best practice.
* (Death &) Taxes - These rules are free for players to ignore and complicate their lives. Regardless of political belief, there are worlds and entities that require taxes. in a high trade setting, I assume there will be a customs or sales tax on the goods, and income tax and various tax rules by various home worlds and states, not to mention the Imperium has a cut of the action to keep their strength up.

*a Philippine business metaphor for a business that has an expensive overhead. You have to keep feeding hungry dangerous animals. Used to describe factories, aging buildings, and heavy machinery. Cant google a good reference, so I assume its a term used in the Philippines.

Gamer Meet-up 2

So this is Gamer Meet-up 2.
We have Tobie, Clifton, Uril, BJ and Carl. Fred joined us after this pic was taken.   
we got to talking about what happened while I left AEGIS and did some growing up. There was a lot of insights, but most notable was that there really is a serious decline in RPers. All the other hobbies grew: board gamers and wargamers, but RPGs were on the decline. 

Open Game Meet which was open to all games, had no more RPers and Wargamers and became On Board. Learning this was quite shocking for me, and it took a while for some realizations to kick in. 

Is it really a hobby that has no market in the philippines? 
I know I'm one of the last GURPS players here, but could it be that the gaming groups insularity has caused such a sharp decline of players?

Back in the Day, AEGIS did track the groups and helped people find groups in their new areas. Now that AEGIS has gone inert and the gaming groups have lost their ties, I wonder 

Giving Back to the Community: We game openly and help people get into the hobby, so that the hobby will still be alive even when we stop playing. There are some personal and sentimental reasons why this matters, and the thought that my son may not find other RPgamers growing up (except in the US) is actually quite depressing for me. To think that the time we spend introducing and finding new gamers actually means the survival of the hobby beyond our own gaming group. More imporantly we learn to be 

Building Bridges: Its the insularity of groups that another lesson of how to self destruct the hobby. Petty differences and the politics of the past made groups smaller and more prone to the pressures of life to leave the hobby. A more interconnected and accepting web of relationships would have allowed people to freely move around and have more choice in groups. 

The Philippines can probably be a case study of the dying of the hobby, despite economic progress. What I find sad is that, could that mean we do not have the traits to support the hobby. 

Demographics of a Gamer
A friend who is a Recruitment and Training manager of a 2000 seat BPO was very pessimistic I would find gamers in the BPO industry of the Philippines. He said creativity and imagination was not part of the traits of what the job market was looking for. I was proposing I use the location I have and the gamer networks there are existing to grow the hobby, hopefully targeting gamers who work here in eastwood which has a density of 30,000 seats.  Since the population "should" meet all the language and  educationaly requirements for being a gamer, it appears background is something statistics won't side with us. 

We really need to create a new group of gamers. It may be from the ground up. Attracting nerds, geeks, and people who want a different kind of social group other than those found in the more exciting night life of a BPO economic zone (a lot of bars, restaurants, excuses to socially meet up). why would someone with all such want to hang out with gamers? 

A marketing puzzle; one that I have to use my own unpracticed Multi-media arts degree to solve. Thankfully, I have the help from the group that is slowly growing to be the new hobby growing group. 

I have to reconnect with my seniors, former AEGIS, and my mentors. I guess all the XP and skills i got in work, are available to help solve this problem. 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Gamer Guanxi

In Season 9, Episode 3 there was a question about the kind of relationship you have with the people you play with. Is it transactional or is it really a friendship. I know in the west Guanxi is synonymous with cronyism, which is a gross misrepresentation.

I follow the saying, a friend is someone who you can call and help you move. Basically a friend is someone you can call when you have some problems and could use their time and company just to give an idea for what constitutes as a friend. Given how I am very helpful, one can figure that I treat many people as a potential friend, especially when they seem reciprocative.

In the culture here, you will have problems if you treat such relationships as a "transaction", or you really don't cultivate the relationship beyond gaming. This relationship extends to developing a professional and personal relationship with your coworkers, and your vendor. The way people treat their favorite restaurant and haunt as a friend.

Suffice to say I invited all my gamer friends to my wedding, and gave them three tables of ten.

This relationship cultivation is hard and has deep roots. There is not much trust going around, there are many tricksters, users, and abusers. There are also people who really don't get relationships and don't care much for the other person. So the strategy is that, we get to know who we deal with, and if they are good people cultivate a relationship. This is not to gain any discount, although some freebees may happen (my doctor friend won't take my money when I consult him, and he is the best in his field here in the philippines) but we want to be able to know in that we are dealing with someone who wants good for us.

Malice happens, people who just happen to want bad things to happen to other people. There are those who would taint your drink or food, there are those who give a bad deal (like the seller in alfredo's airsoft supplies in Quiapo) offering you a higher price arbitrarily, and those who will try to cheat you. Getting to know the person you deal with, has the same Cognitive Bias (association bias) we have when we judge a person by their morals or ethics, making us think: do they act the same way with our relationship with them.

Personally I like to get to know more people, even if my mind's memory capacity can't handle it. I really miss hanging out and bull$#!+ing like back in college, and find myself being alienated by the things I study and learn. Its nice to know more real people to be grounded and find out their stories. Listening to happy jacks and the anecdotes, reminds me of how lacking of interesting stories I can share in my life.

Guanxi is not cronyism. It is dealing with people who we can trust, and we have problems dealing with strangers who say they have X motives and intentions. Someone we can trust, and we are sure may have good judgment in the matter, can lend their credibility to another person to meet another party's approval. Its not just the merits of a person, because this is the real world and you have to really question a lot of things, and we process these with certain assumptions we can trust - one of these trustworthy assumptions is the referral of someone we trust.

It also happens, that someone we really trust knows this may be a mutually beneficial relationship for the two relationships they have. Their endorsement speeds along the analysis process, anyway precautions are easier to communicate and to take are speedier communicated with a 3rd party to bridge two unfamiliar parties together.

i got to thinking a lot about this because of Politics and Social Challenges for my Games and the tricky matter I have in my work. My wife was relating a networking event and how it is so important to go through the getting to know process.

I realized, people who cared a lot about their credibility already do a lot of filtering and try to improve their certainty regarding a situation.

tl:dr - we try to build friendships with the people we like to game with almost always.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Hope people are Psyched for the next meet up

This is the clinic converted to a gaming room. gaming rooms have the same traits as a huddle room. I can be loud and role-play in this tiny room. Enough for 6 player and the GM :D

the couch to sit back and talk. Crossing fingers that more will attend. I met 3 new people last time, I hope to meet a few more. 

Too Serious with RPGs: Exercises with moral dilemas

Code of Honor and Personal Ethics and Morals - From S08E04or06 I guess spelling out the priorities needs to be declared moving forward. Before assuming the GM has the same Idea of Honor, Ethics or Morals, its best to have one's "Character" beliefs spelled out and give examples of how the character will act under.
I did this for a Traveller game. What I did is I asked probing questions about how a character would act, and if this constituted

  • how the character defines "family"
  • what is family worth
  • what Ideal will they
  • definition of Human, or what is like them. 
  • how far does that apply. (i know mine is self serving - it is any being that can reciprocate kindness, compassion, and mercy; those capable of remorse; so i consider psychopaths inhuman. very self serving) 

Gravity of a Situation - A serious situation is measured using some cognitive and economic terms. I think that a serious matter is one where how many steps away we are from affecting the life of another person and how much power we have over another person.

In economics, game theory, and cognition there is the Tragedy of the Commons and the Free Rider Problem. A situation where personal responsibility is diffused/diminished by the amount of people who are part of the circumstance. in matters about Corruption, Economic Policy, Environment, and Rights and privileges the number of "players" make personal stake and influence on the matter a very ambiguous issue.

Every individual citizenry has less responsibility over matters over pollution, corruption, and economy. So if people die, get cheated, or seriously suffer because of a flawed system, the burden of responsibility is diffused but policy makers can be held directly responsible because they have the power to influence the matters. (why a policy maker should have a strong sense of responsibility -sigh- ideally).

When we have a direct influence, things get serious. What are the odds missing a call can harm someone? Serious matters are serious because of how they can lead to loss of life, suffering and pain. If I missed the call or dinner with a friend who I know is suicidal or will make a life ending decision and I have the power to change his mind, that is when things are serious.

Knowledge or Awareness - Gravity or Seriousness - and Ability to Influence outcome... revisiting my Theological and Philosophical studies, funny that it ties in with Economics and Cognition.

Moral Dilemmas - An exercise of digging deep, and figuring out internal architecture. I don't mind complications when it is subtleties of balancing my own sense of Ethics and personal code. I noticed the more "exercise" i get here, the better grasp I have about who I can potentially harm, I am able to simplify the complexities of my own personal beliefs, and I build a knowledge base of how I would approach future Dilemmas.

And if it is just like Exercise/Practice, it is near 90% the effectivity of the Real thing without the risk or harm. It is interesting that it is a matter that has no harm or risk, but it takes a personality or perspective to treat the problem seriously in order to Dig Deep and figure out answers.