Friday, December 25, 2020

GM's perfect knowledge, Old-Min-Maxers, Adv/Dis, Gamer Education

As I got older I stopped mastering the Modifier Tables to Rolls. When ever I see it I end up invoking D&D's Adv/Dis to simplify. Its easier to assume GM's perfect knowledge and instead discuss assumptions with the GM. After learning Quality management (TPS, LEAN), Critical Path, Risk Management, and Art of War and 5 Rings all discuss Actions that can be Taken before Taking on Chance > Getting Old I discovered Due Diligence, Attentiveness/Mindfulness, and Tedium strategies.  

GM's Perfect Knowledge: We discuss GM's assumptions

One of the concepts in TRPGs is the GM's perfect knowledge on a situation. Its an assumption, rule , or mechanic. A GM can be mistaken but it always depends on the Assumptions in a given situation: 

Example. The GM can declare that Jack has 50% success. If the GM declares his assumptions - like "given the current circumstance in your negotiations, Jack has a 50% chance of succeeding". Then the GM can credibly invoke his perfect understanding. This changes when the Player alters the Assumptions of the GM. 

Player: "Jack is going to alter the situation by having Other Vendor Options. He's not just going to go to this vendor, he's going to shop around." 

GM: "Ok this will take X time and effort out of Jack"

Player: "Acceptable, has my prospects improved?" 

Now the Situation was changed, of course, the GM would say the First option was already the best in his setting or more likely the Challenge of Shopping around for a better option yields returns. 

(For me, if the FIRST option was better - then Shopping Around or Market Research makes me Appreciate the First Option if it was the best - but in the Procurement Side of project management - as I come from the Philippines and Construction and manufacturing has a lot of procurement from various trades my experience is 99% SHOP AROUND!!! But I do acknowledge some game where such due diligence is useless and the game is about others things) 

Some Actions are More useful than Others.  

In economics, engineering, and philosophy-logic some actions have more use than others. Why take a chance someone may like or not like my action - why Not Ask? Its better to look stupid and ask then to assume and gamble away the opportunity. Other examples are: 

its better to call the store before spending the long trip to get there if the item is there, 

in some cases its better to plan based on your Constraints than to figure out if you can Change those constraints to fit the Plan

Occams Razor is an example of Best Practice 

Its better to have a Checklist and level it to the chance of memory, Its better to write things down than leave if to the chance of memory, 

its better to resupply opportunistically than go into a situation you have no chance 

Confrontation is the BEST strategy in conflict resolution, (and you have to build up a lot of skills to be able to use confrontation more often - confrontation is not the act of creating DRAMA by the way but to approach the root of the problem with Keen Discretion - Boosting your Emotional Intelligence and of Course the Art of Conflict Management was very illuminating for me)

There are so many best practices that are UNIVERSAL. It doesn't matter what Game you play and even if the Game Opens up the terrible loop hole it Violates the immersion of everyone that they close it. 

More effective Actions part 2: Min-Maxing Effectiveness

Critical Path, Critical Chain, Technical Debt > Not only are some Actions more useful than Others, when you look across all your Options some actions shape the entire Cost, Risk, Scope, and Quality/Requirements of an entire Endeavor. 

Take min-maxer Game Theory nut like myself and teach me Philosophy, Engineering, Psychology, and Business and what you get is the Application of Game Theory (Optimal Strategy) that certain universal actions are more effective. 

And a TOOL of discovering these actions is using your Natural Empathy (what I consider a Latent Coping mechanism) to Virtualize another Being/ROLEPLAYING a person wiser and more attentive than ourselves and guessing how they would act in our circumstance. 

Due Diligence and Due Care Definition is a ROLEPLAYING activity where we role-play more effective qualities and strangely know or KNOW how to KNOW (like asking questions and doing research). You know a smarter person would know X, or would use X to factor this. You then Google what this is or you ask around what X would be for this situation. 

Ending up Applying Empathy to Augment our Intelligence.  

There is diminishing returns in maxing out a MUSCLE or a mental capability. World Building with its Multi-Disciplinary approach makes us Gamers exercise more mental muscles. The way BACK PAIN is a symptom of the disproportion of core muscle development a balance of muscle development makes the body stronger. This is true, for me, in our personal education and development.

World Building - the love of history, economics, art,  politics, philosophy, sociology, engineering, etc... of almost ALL the sciences that make up our world to be applied to make another Virtual World exercises parts of us we never get to exercise in our JOB, in our regular life, in the constraints of our scarcity of time. 

Imagination/Visualization, Empathy, and Skills now enhance our Overall Intelligence because like running VMs in the real world - we can create tiny experiments and models to examine a situation and break down its assumptions and factors. 

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Operating the NPCs - My work experience applies to both the PCs and the NPCs

One of the takeaways from work experience is my understanding on logistics and support operations. the Family business is Construction and Manufacturing. This is a very logistics heavy type of work, especially now in the pandemic when you have to work and live on-site to control contact and access. 

So basically these notes are the GM or the Writer looking at constraints and listing them down. If you are like me and applying work techniques in your GMing - this is a collect requirements process mixed with stakeholder analysis

This is when - as a GM - you perform your World Building and Build up the NPC Groups/factions (Antagonist Groups). This only works if your PCs have to work with the same constraints - that the PCs have a limited Time/Action resource as well. This only appeals to some players who are used to games where there are Constraints in Time and Action. 

For this just use a simple 5 level rating system: from 1 abysmal, 3 within the average and expected in most organizations, 4 is Above expectations and average. Save 5 for exceptional, as the GM or World Builder who has PERFECT knowledge of the setting 5 is saved for the top tier. 

  1. Determine What and How: Identify the Basic Operations and note the Direct and Indirect/Supporting Activities. What is the basic operation of the NPC group? Are they cultists? Do they process Drug raw-materials? Do they traffic humans? Do they sacrifice humans for summonings and power? 
  2. Determine When and Where: Sketch/take notes of when operations are performed and where.  Is it a Villa, is it a Castle, is it a Biz operating in a Commercial building? etc... Do they work 24/7? As you operate in longer shifts you have to x2 (12 hour shifts), x 3 (8-10 hr overlapping shifts), x5 (6-8 hr overlapping shifts), x7 (4-6 overlapping shifts). How much work hours the Organizations Stretches - from 16 hours to 6 hours per day. 
  3. What are the Systems in place and What isn't? What are the Portfolios, Programs, and Projects of the NPC group? Starting with Communications - from the medium of comms, to how thorough (checklists), secure, and well-thought-out (procedures). Next is Handling* Data and Material (are they sloppy, are they precise, are they overbuilt, are they underfunded?). 
    As you determine the Systems in Place you realize flaws and trade-offs and you list down what the organization is AWARE off that they are working on. Typically DUMB bad guy is serious systematic problems, but thats too cliche but best for easy opponents of the PCs. 
    Examples of systems: Assault/Sales/Market Capture, Security/Defenses/Market Retention, Information Networks (from People and Informants, Subscriptions to News and Special Industry Experts, Physical Assets for Information Gathering, as well as Intelligence Departments). 
  4. Average Salaries and Operations Costs. In the Philippines, I use 400usd as average salaries bumping it up by 20-100% depending on the TOP HEAVINESS of the management. Then I add 20-100% depending on the Company OVerhread to cover Office/Workspace and Equipment.  For China or Malaysia I double these values, in India, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam I use the same roughly, and in Developed countries, I use x3 to x10. For Africa or New Guinea maybe -20 to -30%
    In earlier eras I abstract it depending on the types of employment (like Rations for pay and the 1 silver per day; or the throw in a Household and slaves ) it really depends. Typically I have Households and then Tier the Households to Lords/Land Owners vs Tenants. Then calculate the surplus to support Other households. households that generate Incomes (Tenants, Traders, and Specialists) vs Overhead households (like Guards and Fighting troops).
  5. Organizational Footprint. After getting OPS cost I apply multipliers for Reserves and Assets, then I guess Revenues based off of this and apply Shortfalls or surpluses. reserves can be in the form of Credit (how much creditors are willing to extend to the organization). This is the Org Footprint as you now slowly sketch out External Parties like Creditors and Suppliers/Vassals? Retainers etc...

*Handling is transferring, moving and storing materials (physical objects) and data. You can tell a lot about the ANTIPATTERS of an organization by their Handling of Data and materials. If it's Improvised and everyone has different levels of sophistication then the organization operates at the pace of the most unreliable handling system. 

But thats me and its not for everyone. Its great for writing a novel, its great if your Players like to apply their problem solving competencies and role-playing in this kind of problem. 

There is no wrong answer, you can try this all on the "back of a napkin" if you want and just run with it. After doing this a couple of times you should be able to do this under 5 minutes. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Damoren - a review of campaigns i've run and previous reflections.

 I've fun modern "kitchen sink" settings where it has magical elements. And Damoren reminds me of this and like any GM who has run this and prepared for this - we go where our desires take us. Typically if the GM loves history, science, tech, military the GM goes there. 

I love Seth Skorskowsky's Traveller Videos and I thought it didnt hurt to try his books given that the reviews. I've not picked up Dresden Files since forever and the controversy regarding Jim Butcher gave me pause. 

  1. Secret Society Tropes. As a GM, Management, and Science lover Secret Societies and Conspiracies are something we have a special relationship with. One we realize its so easy to unravel one - if you follow the flaws of the conspiracies - you find out that as a GM these are true because once you introduce Players - an unpredictable factor - it thoroughly tests the Conspiracy Systems integrity and it easily breaks it. 

    The same flaws of that collapse a Conspiracy make Parties or Groups Vulnerable to Social Engineering and Internal Collapse. 

    Whichs not a problem for me in suspending my disbelief. I just teat it as a Setting. 

    Got reminded of Demon Haunted World by Carl Sagan which teaches the skepticism we use to break down problems and biases into actionable components. 

  2.  World Building. I like the Modern Fantasy World Building and I like the world building Seth does in Damoren.
    I like making rules and mechanics that all things comply in. Reminding moe of Shadiversity's rant on Mandalorian's use of Trackers and Reloading. 
    I ran my own Modern Fantasy and its very Fun applying so much real world knowledge and history to rebuild a world. When I see the world-building I appreciate it because I've tried it and I can see how hard and how organized or a genius you have to be to do it.
    World building affects so much: from the Setting to the Combat and the Tactics. I can't emphasize enough how much this apply so much System thinking to be able to Zoom out and in and knowing when to do so. 

Wealth is Easy, Intermediate is Status: it they still made GURPS Source books

 being a Power-gamer before I'm still hardwired to look for Optimals. As a GM the rules on wealth in GURPS applied intelligently its one of the easy "controls" to master. 

The harder one is social Status and thus not so well understand - you'd have to read Social Engineering and more GURPS books to tease out examples of its use. You'd also have to be more aware of Privilege - and in the FAST CHANGING developing world - STATUS is very very tangible. 

Imagine if 3rd worlders wrote GURPS splat books about their Country: Thailand, Vietnam, Nigeria, Kenya, Philippines, India, China, etc... then after reaching each others books agreed on a more improved system over time. 

MODERN DAY splat books of France, Germany, England, Australia, Italy, etc... and more informed details of their Demographics, Human Development Index, Biases, and Privileges would be such a good read.

I'd be in the Line for the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Nigeria and want to run Nigeria as a kitchen sink setting.  I want to simulate and run the early adopter/exploiters who will go into Africa and PCs who will play African characters. (The best exercise of empathy is Roleplaying another Race and people; if I am afraid it will show my biases - how do I process my biases if I'm afraid to discover them?).  

Id catch up in my South America, Africa, and South and SEA. 

I'd like to follow concerns and discussion about how some groups do not agree with the MODEL of bias and Status as a Sihk in India or England, 

I would look for the role of Filipinos as migrant workers in various Locations and the different flavors of their 2nd class status. I would look at the flavors of 2nd class status of Indonesians who are fast becoming our co-migrant workers and look and sound just like us (filipinos) to other people. 

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Finished Tower of Doom with my Son

  1. with 4usd controllers, we played and finished it. It was unlimited life so it was possible.
  2. I only discovered so many moves by accident. 
    1. There is a rising attack (shuryuken) with Jump and not Attack button.
    2. Sliding attack with the Jump button, but I dont know how. 
    3. Found the attacks and moves - here  (will practice this)
  3. Will also read through the strategy guide and find out what everything does. 


Saturday, December 5, 2020

Dungeons and Dragons: Shadows over Mystara - Steam

 Nostalgia Trip. Got Dungeons and Dragons: Shadows over Mystara in Steam to run in an i3-4150 del optiplex 3020 (2015). 

  1. I cannot do this on a keyboard. I need to buy a controller worth 4usd here (200php). I'll be buying 2. I'm used to LEFT hand being moving and right hand being attack and special. 
  2. I wish I could play this like a 4 player console with my wife and son - but I have to pay 40usd for 4 additional ones (2,000php) if I want my brothers (2) and wife and son (2) to play with me. 
  3. I hope to play with my brothers or friend who never got to finish this game and spent hundreds of pesos in the Arcade never having enough talent, time or money to finish this. 
  4. I'm old and my reflexes are slow. 2700php or almost 50usd to play this and experience this with loved ones is not a bad price to pay for 2020. 
  5. The Art takes me back when I was Highschool and my brothers and I would stare and watch the trailer play over and over again. I wanted to draw like this. 

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Hard Scifi Setting Notes - Homesteaders and Size References

Skyhooks or Inertia Bank Tethers are interesting to me because its created a paradigm where I'm trying to conserve Inertia. I'm not thinking of reaction mass, I'm thinking of inertia and how as much as possible I can conserve it. 

  • Like most Logistics Infrastructure - Entities will be building and maintaining these Inertia Bank Tethers continuously. 
  • The more tethers there are, the more frequently people can Schedule transit between two points. 
  • Even in Cislunar Space having 10s of tethers in early 2100 can be expected. The way train tracks and roads exploded into the modern age, there will be thousands by 2200. 


  • Homesteaders - would be communities who found a cluster of asteroids or meteorites that can be mine - not just for their valuables but purely for their Mass. Artificial Gravity Calculator Imagining <1g habitats for 
  • They would be the Maintainers and Owners of various Tethered Inertia Banks. A spinning tether about a KM more long, made up of several megatons of steel - 
    • Buying and Selling inertia
    • Intercepting Inertia of Rogue Material if the Cost vs Value is profitable. 
    • Accumulating mass, inertia, and  material to make the Cost to Travel to X or the Cost of this 
    • They are like Stops prior to the Highway (like in the Plot of Disney Pixar's Car, Radiator Springs). 
    • They may be tethered to a habitat that has accumulated material and inertia (I can imagine converting the inertia to Heat or Energy).  
  • In the Beginning, Corporations would fund these tethers, overtime after 100+ years and millions of megatons of Inertia Banks and Tethers arise it becomes a Mom and Pop for the Outer regions, and Corporation control the most Popular/Frequented ones. 

It is just as easy to move Material from Psyche 16 to Jupiter as to earth depending on the Orbital Position. From 2200 to 2400 (the time several main Tether stations were created), Mega Corporations and Nations may be rising and falling during the entire duration of mining Psyche 16. 

Inner Ring Concept (shelved)

A habitat ring under 1km or hundreds of meters below the surface of the Moon or Ganymede... it doesn't work. 
  • Reason.
    • 1G habitat and Work and Live near the Planetoid. 
    • Saves Reaction Mass 
  • Why it doesn't work.
    • Bigger the Ring, the More Angular Momentum - the energy needed is exponential as Mass Increases and Speed requirement Increases. 
    • Fragile and Major Catastrophy. Anything hitting it will generate a lot of energy and damage. Its better to have Many Smaller O-niel cylinders and Tori (Torus) than One large Ring that can convert a little matter to a LARGE amount of damage. 
  • Workarounds.
    • Tethering 1G Cylinder Habitats (60m Diameter or Larger Habitats).  
    • Begin with one Habitat tethered to the Moon, and then build it up in Shielding and Protection as it Takes Materials from the moon and moving along the tether. 
    • More Tethered Habitats can Sprawl from these the first Tether. 
    • More Habitats and Industries Tethered along different points of the Planetoid. 
    • various Inertia Bank Tethers and Chains managing the Inertia of the Orbital commutes - Taking inertia from incoming and Transfering the Inertia to outgoing. 
    • Various inertia bank and Tethers along with point defense systems capture and redirect material that are big enough to harm the Habitats. A network of Interia Banks with Reaction mass/Delt-V budgets. 

Key Concepts

  1. Tethered 1G Spinning Habitats
  2. (IBT) Interia Bank Tether Homesteaders (a 10+ mega tons of Inertia)
  3. Smaller IBT Clusters near habitats to catch and capture inertia from dangerous material (less than a megaton of Inertia). 

Sizes and Perspective

I'm imagining the Chains and Links of a Tether to be scaled by Container Modules, Trains, 10k ton ships like the Liberty, and Cargo Vesselss (400m). Human reference model is from  CG Trader (can't find the name of the maker, anyway the link shows you where I got it). Here is my blend file if it may help you better visualize. 

the 2 x 2 cube. 
A 58ft Cargo Container 16m

A Train Module 24m

A liberty Ship 135m
and a Modern Cargo Container 400m

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Diversity and Acknowledging Different and Dissenting ideas

So I was talking with my brother, who used to run a larp, and he talked to me about how difficult it was to be a person of color in the gaming industry. 

Background Preface (can skip)

the family business has more female managers than male managers, we are a matriarchial company in Construction and Manufacturing which was shocking to people who know engineering is typically a Boy's Club. 

We used to move back and forth between the USA and Philippines, until we decided on our permanent residential status. Then of course my work makes me encounter our unskilled helpers who earn 200usd/mo and very much aware of the economic costs and status of people in the company - from unskilled clerks and laborers to college grads and most working-class Filipinos. I learned to check my privilege as Filipino upper management. 

I don't know if you notice I write about my work and how It relates to gaming and gaming and how it relates to work. 

Diversity and Different Points of Views

Gaming is an exercise of Modeling - you can model People with Empathy and you Can model Reality with Systems, Simulations, Case Studies, Mechanics, Etc... But in the end, we always have some crucial element missing, some element that makes us remember it's just a game - and that is our blind spots, our biases, our expectations, and what makes us who we are. 

As people, we have blindsided and biases. that is a permanent bug of the limits of our mental capabilities and the human condition. It's not a bad thing - it's a fact of life like mortality, our ability to only work with the "visible spectrum", and the limits of our medium of communication.  Our limitations remind me on how we need each other and that needing other people is not a bad thing. 
It's not a bad thing to need help, its not bad to give help, it's not bad to want a similar point of view - but it's also not bad to challenge our points of view. 

I'm currently undergoing an Internal Audit at work and always remember that the Unknown and uncertainty is where improvement lies - because a better system will be always not the status quo - the concept that the Horizon will move as we move towards it. 

Diversity - Differences in POV/Experience/Values, etc... is important to discover what connects us and what reality we share. You cannot find something "universal" unless you have a larger and larger sample size. you cannot have a "human experience" if you cannot little by little accommodate and acknowledge the experience of other humans. The push for diversity is the push to be able to be interconnected. 

We would want interconnection because we want to make decisions that both allow us all to benefit (Liberties) and prosper, while at the same time avoiding harm. The feedback mechanism 

How this relates to gaming?

Gaming: the world-building and role-playing and System Designing make TRPGamers have a lot of interests that relate to being able to tackle Diversity and find common ground, allow for dissent and difference of ideas and world views yet still agree on universal truths/realities, as well exercise the empathy and system thinking that allows us to approach the scary topic and world of being able to relate, be sympathetic, and find common ground with people of different worlds. 

Of course, I'm speaking of TRPGamers who kinda find the humanistic philosophy and science part of their identity. Those who have a concept and word association of being a TRPGamer - game theory, psychology, systems thinking, world-building, economics, demographics, simulations etc... concepts unified by being a TRPGer. 

There is playing TRPGs and there are people who grew up with it and see it as something else, the way some people see basketball, sports, hobbies as part of their identity. 

Work blog 

I can talk about this in the work or life blog, but those blogs all draw from my Gaming Blog. From the game and wanting to run and play particular games - life and work kinda interconnect. You can say its my framework for how I see reality. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Good Cop/Bad Cop is Dividing Attention

Realizing that Good-Cop/Bad-Cop is a tactic meant to Divide Targets resources. When you are making a decision and trying to predict your outcomes. Creating two sets of outcomes based on two different personalities is harder than creating a set of outcomes for One personality - either good or bad. You can better foresee the outcomes if you're dealing with one Speaker/Target/Claimant/Customer/Client etc... 

So as a GM I would require some Social skills to employ "Divide and Conquer" or "Flanking Attacks" or "Good Cop and bad cop". A Clueless person about how the tactic works more likely will waste the tactic. At least one of the two is skilled. 

Next is that I will use Advantage or Boon or apply the Inverse modifier: Bane or Disadvantage to the person who is under this circumstance. 

Imagine yourself with your friend who you know well enough to know his/her tells, strengths and weaknesses. You're in a negotiation and advance a point of discussion that complicates the opposing party. it doesn't have to be a really good argument, even a bad argument works fine, as long as it Divides the Targets attention then it prevents the target from successfully arguing his case by building up credibility or strong arguments. 

This can be reversed, a skilled negotiator will use every negative point against the two people who are arguing against him. Dictating the pace and managing from an advantage position (the burden of proof is on the other party;  one party has to make more effort per argument). 

The same Biomechanics fighting multiple Opponents requires can be said about the Speech and Conversational Pacing mechanics - you have to be an expert in taking the weaknesses and flaws of one of the opponents to give the attackers obstacles. 

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Can Science Storytelling be Engaging?

Near Earth Prospects Doing some TRPG musing - How do I run a 2050-2100 TRPG setting without a lot of prep and with believable world-building? 

For feedback. 

0) The goal would be - an immersive world-building of how a new space race gets started and stories of the PCs and how their actions moved nations or a world towards this virtuous cycle.  

1) one objective would be - bringing more and more computational power to detect near-earth objects. the adventure would be breaking down the "projects" the processes into stages and phases where players roll and role-playing key moments of both physical, mental, and organizational challenges that can change the outcome of a project. 

I can frame Projects - the social and organizational physics and anti-patterns like an adventure - i'm just not good with the details of it - I can make guesses. 

From - helping a Politician person pass a bill that would fund the science, to the Technicians launching the new sensor or module.  

2) After all that data (an Arms race of Sensors) - some have detected Near-Earth Approach objects that can be redirected to NE orbit for the future. The Organizational Forces that  

This is where Traveller-like 4 year terms come in handy as a Parallel mechanic of how the PC's year turns out. Players roll up a stable of characters. Sessions are 2-hour sessions role-playing a scenario in this "gold rush" of Near earth object claim staking. 

Scenarios from Espionage (because we don't all see the same objects and likely prospects), to Planning and Preparation - creating the facilities that would capture it, as well as the Conditions by which Claims are agreed. 

3)  The gold rush - this would be assuming (The plot of Delta-V lolz) 

a) a large number of prospects, 

b) the ability to nudge these prospects into accessible reach 

c) details to hold and keep claims and materials

d) the ability to capitalize these materials 

Worldbuilding, even if the Gamers don't have all the time and resources to produce all that research. Just the handy "Pillars"/Rules of thumb of science, logistics, and organizational physics that make a believable (deeply flawed outcomes but the pros are still better than the previous status quo to some but not all; example how the majority of the world think space science is useless and a waste of time and money and have an image of scientists part of a grand conspiracy). 

What would be the List of "Cool" hard science stuff players would like to see in such a game? Where they don't mind the handwaves and just want to imagine characters caught up in it? 

Example. as a 3rd worlder, I'd like to see world-building where now there are more tiers of Technical Specializations brought about the space race. The livelihoods such create means we would be mobilizing so many economies to produce basics as more advanced nations invest in something only they can invest. Advanced economies make Space Infra and the other Economies rush to fill the "comparative advantage". The number of jobs and requirements outpace the fears of Automation. In the storytelling, you still have people demonizing and creating their conspiracy narrative and A LOT of people still believing this - the conflict the PCs encounter. That economic shift raises the education and amount of information a person has access to in the world (Human Dev Index go up).

In such a story, if the GM were to make adversaries it is all the competing interests, special interests, willful ignorance, conspiracy theories, propaganda, monopolistic/rent-seeking parties, who are at odds with the PCs and players. The Status Quo and how lucrative it is and how much more it can be SQUEEZED for maximum profit is the adversary of the PCs and how it taints them and how the PCs may embody these forces. 

Whatever the adversary is - imagine how twisted and complicated the setting can be that they are Cautious Allies or Cooperative Enemies, poisoned gifts, or dangerous stepping stones etc... 

you may observe that my association of concepts are 

Science = Fact-Finding/Understanding = Discovering Cognitive Dissonance /Flaws in Every Concept = But still making sure parties and stakeholders are in a Net Positive = Humanistic Goals. That the flaws and adversaries are not in External Parties but we have such Hipocracies and manage these demons. A lot of gray and neutral tones - but slivers of brilliant colors and darkness. these outline a picture of a world we shape in a TRPG - we rehearse and reinforce for our own closure and understanding. 


Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Visualizing Hard Scifi Settings - Tethers.

Visualizing a freighter carrying hundreds of tons of material cargo in 2200. It deposits its cargo by having the cargo drift out of its wake and get slowed up and caught in several tethers several times as it approaches its destination. Hundreds of tons of cargo material with enough Delta-V for emergencies get caught up by tethers kilometers long transferring inertia to it and slowing down.

Studying and 

This happens a couple or several times depending on the mass of the cargo.

Eventually, cargo modules (which have some propulsion) being caught in the orbit of its destination and it's rounded up at a low Delta-V cost.

The inertia captured is used to propel new cargo for the freighter as well as a reaction mass module to give it enough Delta-V to correct.

In Ganymede, a foundry is being equipped and expanded to produce a ring habitat to allow it to create 1G spin habitat close to the surface (2.6k km) so as to be a short commute to the many underground agricultural modules that produce food for the hundreds of million humans that live in the belt and moons. Producing food for Psyche 16 - the largest manufacturing station.

A Much earlier and smaller ring was created in its northern pole which has a bit of 0.1g drift that is why they will make one in the equator where the drift will be opposite of the Artificial Gravity/Centrifugal force. 

The foundry is necessary for the mass drivers and creation of more inertia bank tethers that is needed to reduce the Reaction Mass Delta-v cost traveling between points of interest.

Millions of people developing the technology to feed billions of people, so that billions more can accelerate the development of the infra that makes space travel safer and cheaper.

A migrant laborer who journeyed from the earth with her family 6-8 months on a spin gravity freighter was being trained to add to the demand for technicians, scientists, logistics, etc... To move their family into a world where the skills and ingenuity is crucial in running an intrastellar economy.

Its like the feeling of the plane decelerating to fly instead she and her family feel the tether arresting and decelerating them for the next tether till their velocity is around 10m/s from hundreds of km/s.

The feeling of a plane acceleration and deceleration - several times as the ships are caught by the inertia tethers to be accelerated or slowed down. It combines the feeling of a Plane and a Cruise ship. 20130819 Sci-FI Notes

2050 to 2500 is not a terrible era if it was purely Intrastellar. Imagine building the infra for billions of humans to travel safely. Imagining if FTL was developed much much later. I can always adjust the Interstellar Wars Timeline by 200-300 years. 


Saturday, October 17, 2020

My GM didn't intend me to like Bookkeeping.

Bob, my GM in Traveller, didn't intend me to like Book Keeping when he ran Traveller. He probably wanted to run traveller based on his current scifi inspiration at the time. What I took away from his game was really up to me and how I deal with the experience. 

So I got to catch up with my brother and I realized this in the discussion regarding one of our childhood friends and his dissatisfaction when his character was made to operate a Japanese manor instead of being a murder hobo. His GM and other players were there in the same zoom call and said he did a very good job, but he hated it. 

The business I ran in Traveller FAILED. It was all the classic mistakes that you see even now, even in the age of the internet and online classes and access to all this knowledge. I did not know my costs, and thus could not choose profitable ventures for the ship and thus we lost money and kept on taking debt. 

I loved it. It influenced the game I played under Mark Knights, where I played an Admin/Steward 贾. It influenced the character I play now in Bob's game which I play a character distantly related to the Character in Mark's game. The difference is in Bob's first game I had capital, I played a Noble and kept financing the ship till its Liabilities was several times over the Value of the entire business. 

But my ability to Take Failure and Accept it was because I had the good fortune to have enough love and support to be OK with failing. I am the "son of the owner", I am born in one shrunken middle class after the Marco Era, I had enough friends that correction is less painful for me than other people.  

On very sad take away is that: How I ended up liking the Bookkeeping and the Work Decision Making (which fueled my blog) is how I processed the experience and given how we are all pretty "unique" I will probably never experience that kind of game outside the group I have. As well as very few people will every LIKE games that way. 

Bob did not intend me to like Book Keeping in games. I did not intend to LIKE bookkeeping going into his game. But that's what happened because the PAINFUL part of the game was something I had the good fortune to be able to process. 

If I tried to replicate it we have the HUMAN Variable of take away. Human is not a reliable or consisent value plus I also a Variable. I can fuck up storytelling. 

TRPGs grant XP to Players, especially when there is an unintended conflict between the Player and the GAME that tests, defines, and clarifies more about the Player than Previous Thought. Being a SAFE space, the player CAN convert the experience into something TANGIBLE. 

Friday, October 9, 2020

Daydreaming of TL9 - a game that Spans 2050 to 2200.

  Traveller Games in TL9


ike Delta-V where freelance Astronauts of various specializations are getting hired and trained for pioneer missions to catch asteroids, comets, and material to bring some of it or all of it back to CisLunar Space. The race to reduce the cost per kg to Cislunar space is the Race to have as much Sensors and navigation equipment to better find Opportunities and Catch material.

  1. Harder Science drawing from Artemis, The Martian, Delta V, Seveneves, and the growing Space Science Literacy like sources from Atomic Rockets. 
  2. An understanding of how we transition from our Current Situation to TL9 - development of Space Infra and all the science and economic changes when we don't fight over Earth resources in Climate Change but try to catch Asteroids and Comets. 
  3. Ice Ships and Sky hooks. Tons of Delta-V conserved with very clever tricks that have become standard operations. 
  4. Your not held hostage by accuracy and precision - get the Science you can handle and run with it. Be kind to GMs and Players who are trying to develop their hard science TRPG legs so that there are MORE of them and they can learn from each other. 


the Normalization of Material Capture and the Growth of the CisLunar. CisLunar Space and Earths population pushing outward. The Push for Jupiter and Psyche 16. Jupiter with its moons, rings, and low Delta-V cost resources would become its own HUB and development. Experimental Micro Jump Drives discover the Vilani Outposts. Imagine the logistical fleets that were set up to allow megatons of material to Micro Jump all the way to Vilani Outposts

  1. The "mining" that is seen as low-brow in Traveller Golden era is now the Pursuits of Nations and megacorporation as it tries to push the boundaries of Human reach. 
  2. The months-long Travel from Earth to Venus or Earth to the Belt and Jupiter. The jobs are mostly logistics: moving material in these Low-Delta-V places to Processing and Trade. Space is BIG and players soon discover the scale - if they didn't already discover it in CisLunar Space. 


Commercial Micro Jump Drives. From Jumping from CisLunar Space to Jupiter and then Jupiter to Saturn. Torch Drive Efficiency still has not reached levels dreamed of in the Expanse, but have become much safer. Ion Drive Efficiencies have become very viable to start having hardened Habitat enclosures. 

The later century is marked with the events in Interstellar Wars and the Vilani. Sol micro jump capable fleets against Vilani Jump Fleet with vastly greater Torch and Ion Drive efficiencies. The Crushing Defeat has so many facets and angles.

Demographics have changed drastically as humans live to 200 with major strides in Cybernetics and prosthetics. What makes human survive in space is the same science that makes him live 200 years. The economics of population that can work or a hundred years and the number of families they can sire is quite remarkable.

  1. Electronic warfare - with a level of power only needed to harm sensors and comms. 
  2. Torpedos with Bomb pumped lasers (nuclear warheads that blow up directionally in very narrow cone to make it devastate a hundred of kilometers before it diffuses. 
  3. Repeaters that direct and Obfuscate Drones and weapon Platforms. Diffuse hulled ships carrying megatons of drone weapon platforms carrying torpedos to wage war in ranges of Light mili-seconds. 
  4. The Alien worlds they visit after all that work to get Just one System Away. 
  5. Using the Nearby Space and rolling Procedurally what the Player Encounter!!! Even the GM is surprised lolz.  

Monday, October 5, 2020

Death is Painful in many ways I didnt and can't imagine

the more I understand about the body, the more uncomfortable I am in killing scenes. One cannot help it as a GM, World Builder, and Storyteller - getting some powerfully sticky details that just burn itself into your mind. 

Particularly that:  

1) people just don't die "instantaneously" when hit in a vital part. As long as there is oxygen in their blood and atp in their muscles involuntary movement happens. Some part of them is still "alive". from the bowel movement of dying, to the enemy that holds the trigger down even after dying unleashing a spray of death to its own allies or at the PC involuntarily.  

2) a lethal injury means the person is either in Numb or Painful agony until they die. 

3) that burning is its own kind of torture 

4) that oxygen starvation from drowning or waterboarding is also another kind of torturous pain. 

4.1) the destruction of brain areas in oxygen starvation is a special kind of torture as parts of oneself cease to exist and can never be the same. 

5) that consciousness has a relativistic time element - it can stretch out time or it can just shut off abruptly. 

6) Characters with enough battle first aid will have extensive knowledge of injuries. Combat physicians will have knowledge of injuries and LONG term effects. Both calls for a sanity check. 

7) My idea of mercy kill is an opiate overdose. 

I stumbled on the reddit discussion about Chris Watts. I follow the morbid reality thread in reddit as part of my mindfulness reflections as well as my study of Horror after finishing GURPS Horror by kenneth hite (4e). The analysis of what constitutes a "Sanity Check" overlaps heavily with my Psychology, mindfulness, emotional intelligence, Cognitive-behavioral Therapy Studies. Note that Psychology and Behavioral studies overlap with Game Theory and Economic Studies if as a GM we want to simulate authentic behavior for players and analyze behavior we observe.   

The reddit thread talks about some bits on the autopsy reports of the murders which if ever done to the NPCs the players kill, it would be interesting to get their reaction. 

Monday, September 28, 2020

System Generation replaced with Organization Generation

I've tackled Organization mechanics before in My notes on Organization in TRPGs in 2016 Jun 07. Whats changed is that 4 years since I've finished more books and applied more of my understandings as well observed more of both my family business (used to 900, 500 regular and 200-400 contractural). 

I plan to make it like rolling a character. Roll 7d6. As well the Player Assigning the Die to each stat. He can "Game it" by reading the rules or he can just go with the flow with Traveller Character creation. Organizations are going to be a critical part the game system and I hope people will have as much fun rolling Organizations as they roll Characters. 

I'll be using a d66 for Industry, but that should be determined by the PC's (Players) characters. If the Players are making a particular group of characters and it would be convenient to make them all in the same company. 

There will be Compound-Stats 

  • Str and Con = Capitalization or how much reserves, assets, capital, credit, etc.. the company has.. 
  • Dex and Str = Organizational "Prowess" or the Modifier when the Character needs to draw from the Organization's resources. 
  • Social Status = Capitalization + Charisma + Die modifier. 

    1. Organizational Stats

      1. Strength (OStr) 

  1. Strength of an organization is manpower. This determines how many people are “regular” full time employees of the organization. They dont have to be employees, but they spend as much time or more as an employee on the goals and operations of the organization. 

  2. OStr. The rough number of organizational members is equal to 3^(OStr). These are full time and regular employees. An Organization with a OStr of 6 = ~729 people. 

      1. Dexterity.

  1. Dexterity is the ability of the Organization to Coordinate. This measures its communications, organization, roles, and maturity of the organization’s defined responsibility. The better the score the more resources and manpower the Organization can apply to a task, the more problems and challenges it can juggle or tackle. 

  2. ODex. This modifies the Organizations to react to changes in the market, or to perform Projects, Programs, or Organize into Portfolios. The ability of the Organization to be able to react and adapt to changes. This can be measured in scale of time, some company can react within a week, others weeks or in 4-6 weeks. Others in 1-2 months or in Quarters. 

      1. Constitution.

  1. Non-Manpower Resources of the Organization. An organization’s Constitution can take the form of Leverage, Capital, Reserves, Market Value or Brand, Client-Portfolio, or Any force that wills the Organization to Exist.
    Leadership and Shareholders or board members draw from the Constitution to apply all the other attributes.
    An organization can have So much Resource it doesn't need Charisma/Marketing to sell. Examples are State Sanctioned Monopolies, which control such a lucrative and essential industry and the market they don't need any marketing or charisma to influence people or clients.

  2. OCon is a Multiplier to Strength to get the “Capitalization” or the general gross Size of the organization.  

      1. Intelligence.

  1. Intelligence is Organizational Knowledge Assets (PMBOK), Competency, and the Enterprise Environmental Factors that allow the organization to do its job. This includes Electronic Tools or Documentary Tools and processes. 

      1. Wisdom.

  1. Wisdom is both the Capability Maturity Model, Company Culture, the Collective Emotional Intelligence of the Company (360 Evaluation and Cohesion), Quality Systems and Process Literacy of the Organization. An organization with a very good Wisdom (Culture, EQ, etc…) has the ability to improve without having to resort to “Throwing Money” at the problem. 

      1. Charisma

Charisma is the Organization’s Leadership as it deals with other organizations, clients, partners,  and Stakeholders. It is also its Brand and Self Image.
Some powerful Brands have cult-like status and are able to demand so much purely on Influence and Brand. Multi-level Marketing is an example of an organization that exists purely as a Branding and have little to no constitution. Many organizations “Fake-it till they Make it” have exceptional Charisma.  

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Tracing Albin Merle's Works

 my drawings have been tracings of Albin Merle's works. he does a wonderful Series of Space Suits from different eras. Particulary the Artemis XEMU and the Advanced Crew Escape Suit. I'll try to update it with attribution. 

Saturday, September 12, 2020

TL9 Exo Skeletons and Spare Part Grades

 So from my background in Construction and manufacturing, as a Safety Officer, and Quality Management officer, as well as inspiration from Seveneves and Delta V I've come to the conclusion that the best incentive for Exo-skeletons to Augment Physical labor is from the demands of making every human as productive as possible in the Early Years of Space Infra development. 

The Skyhooks, the Space Stations, the Shipyards, the Artificial Habitats will all depend more on the Humans who are more resilient to radiation and able to take initiative when disconnected from a master control system. Like the author of Delta-V Daniel Suarez I agree that living in Cis-Lunar Space is its own Industrial Revolution with very Strange and counter Intuitive elements. There are odds that we may not develop good robots in time and that the faction who will Pioneer Space is those who can keep a healthy, thriving, and competent work force there. 

Exo Skeletons begin with basic Assist uses, but then begin to Extend to more enhancements until EMU's begin to look like Yellow Gorillas dancing in the shipyard magically putting together vessels and habitats.  


YEAR (AD)2200220022002200
ITEM NAMECrew Vacc SuitExtraVehicular Mobility UnitAssist ExoskeletonHeavy Exoskeleton
DESCRIPTIONThis is the standard Basic Vacc Suit Worn inside a Ship, Vessel, or Station in case of a breach and emergency.This is the standard Work Suit for heavy labor conducted in space. Ships, Stations, and any Space Infrastructure is expected to have many of these for any maintenance, emergency or construction task. The exo skeleton built into this suit allows it to generate 1200 Watts of work for it battery life for 100Watts of effort.The resistance of the Crew Vacc Suit reduces the work output of a 300 watt human to 200 watts. This subsidizes or assists the humans so they can perform the full 300 watt output for the battery life of the exo-skeleton.This allows the users to generate full 1000 Watts of work with 100 Watts of effort.
DERIVED FROMAdvanced Crew Escape SuitExtravehicular Mobility Unit
MANUFACTUREOpen Source any Fabrication System TL9 2100 models or older can manufacture the Grade+3 Spare Parts.Open Source any Fabrication System TL9 2100 models or older can manufacture the Grade+4 Spare Parts. Spare parts are 60metric tons per 1dton (4metric tons per 1 cubic meter).
Open Source any Fabrication System TL9 2100 models or older can manufacture the Grade+3 Spare Parts.Open Source any Fabrication System TL9 2100 models or older can manufacture the Grade+3 Spare Parts.
FUNCTIONIntra-vehicular activity (IVA) as secondary protection incase of Life support failure, limited EVA 1 day. This is used to Work Inside the Non-Rotating/Non-Gravity section of the ship (Which is 80-90% of the ship). Crew is expected to wear this the whole time they are outside Grav Habitat. (While in the Artificial Gravity, they wear a TL9 Body-Fit Vacc Suit 2200 model (5-10kg including its helmet; only meant to minimize Pressure Sickness, and survive an hour at most in Pure vacuum - as its pressure management systems fail) in case of Habitat Hull breach or destruction.Work in Vaccum for Long Periods, even in extreme periods of work where the worker is in the suit for 40-80 hours. The life support section allows the wearer to curl up in Zero Grav and self-comfort. It's been designed to allow for herculean tasks and these tasks tend to be called for. Provides 1200 Watts of Work (for the duration of the Battery) at a level of effort fo 100 Watts (+1100 Watts Asssitance).Assist in Movement in Pressurized Crew VaccSuit. Adds 200 Watts of assistive Work Strength.Assist in Movement in Pressurized Crew VaccSuit. Adds 800 Watts of assistive Work Strength.
Life SupportExpected to be from the Vehicle. Backup Life Support: 10 hours (trained Spacers can reduce their life support demands to a day; this 10 hours is meant for heavy exertion). But Safety standards and protocol considers ExtraVehicular Work in this suit as Emergency Work and sets a safety limit of 4 hours.40 man-hours of heavy exertion 80 man-hours for light. Can be serviced and supplied in a Vacuum.NANA
Powered Life20 hours.40 hours with powered movement. Unlimited with a power tether20 hours10 hours
Work Output (WATTS)-100 Watts of Work. (loss from the resistance of the pressurized suit)+1100 Watts of Work (so 100 Watts of Effort equals 1200 Watts), -400 Watts unpowered.+200 Watts of Work. -50 Watts unpowered.+800 Watts of Work.-200 Watts Unpowered.
Operating Pressure:0.8 Atmosphere, 81.06kPA, 11.7 psi (see Altitude sickness and decompression sickness)101 kPa (14.69 psi) or 1 Atmosphere of pressure.NANA
Work in 1Gconsidered under a load of 40kg (10kg of work to move, and 30kg for the weight of it) working in a pressurized suit in 1G.considered under a load of 12kg Powered and 90kg Unpowered working in a pressurized suit in 1G. (combination of resistance of the limbs, its mass, even if it can struturally stand on its own).
Maintenance7 hours of use requires 10 mins of servicing40 hours of use requires 10 mins of servicing.40 hours of use requires 10 mins of servicing.40 hours of use requires 10 mins of servicing.
Work-Life5 years or 60 months of use and replacement parts is as though you bought a whole new Suit. 3.5KCr / 60 months = 60Cr per month of maintenance. Not counting the Life support Consumables at 2Cr per Man Day.10 years or 120 months of use and replacement parts is as though you bought a whole new Suit. 16KCr / 120 months = 135Cr per month of maintenance. Not counting the Life support Consumables at 2Cr per Man Day.
TOTAL WEIGHT30.0 kg60.0 kg10.0 kg30.0 kg
TOTAL COST$3,500$16,000$1,500$4,500
Life Support Weight20.0 kg20.0 kg
Life Support Cost$3,000.00$10,000.00
Life Support PartsGrade+3 (150Cr per Kg)Grade+4 (500Cr per Kg)
Wearer Weight60-100 kg60-120 kg60-100 kg60-100 kg
Suit without Lifesupport10.0 kg40.0 kg10.0 kg30.0 kg
Suit without Life Suppor Cost$500.00$6,000.00$1,500.00$4,500.00
Suit PartsGrade+2 (50Cr per KG)Grade+3 (150Cr per Kg)Grade+3 (150Cr per Kg)Grade+3 (150Cr per Kg)
NotesExtra Suits are expected for Redundancy and Spare. Vacc Tape is used to patch it up.Special Use: Exercise Rig - for long extended periods of time, the suit can be programmed to allow for exercise by giving resistance to various motions.Special Use: Exercise Rig - for long extended periods of time, the suit can be programmed to allow for exercise by giving resistance to various motions.Reduced Life Support Space. The life support has to be stripped down to allow for the Drives and power Pack. Life Support is reduced to 3 hours.
Special Use: Exercise Rig - for long extended periods of time, the suit can be programmed to allow for exercise by giving resistance to various motions.
BLOGTL9 Basic Crew Vacc Suit 2200TL9 EMU Suit and its PSD File and Stats

How Parts Work

I stopped using the word "Quality" because in Quality Management and Engineering it means something else. As wel get more Technical, its better to use the Term GRADE (from PMBOK)
Simplifying everything to Type or Category, Their Mass and Volume (in Bulk) and Their Cost. I used a simple exponent of 3. 3x more and 1/3 less per level. 

Types could be: Life Support, Machinery, Drives, Computing, Etc... 
Grades Increase the Cost per Kg of a Certain Type of parts. 

100KCr per 14 cubic meters. 14 cubic meters at 2.7tons = 37.8 tons of aluminum in 14 cubic meters. Lets Half that 
Aluminum is 2.7metric tons per 1 cubic meter. Lets put Spare Parts mixed it with packaging, ceramics (which have a lower density), and polymers. 
Lets put Spare Parts at roughly 20 metric tons in 14 cubic meters. 
So lets set a price per KG. Grade+0 is at 5Cr. 20,000KG = 100,000Cr. 
So Spare parts or Commodity parts at Grade+0 = 5Cr per 1KG. 100KCr for 20 metric tons (14 cubic meters). 
  1. Grade+0 Spare parts are 5Cr per Kg of spare parts for Grade+0. 100KCr per 1dTon 20 metric tons of mass.  
  2. Grade+1 Spare parts 15Cr per Kg. or 300KCr per dton/14cu.m.
  3. Grade+2 Spare parts  50Cr per Kg. or 1MCr per dton/14cu.m.
  4. Grade+3 Spare parts for the Life Support and Tech at 150Cr per Kg. or 3MCr per dton/14cu.m.
  5. Grade+4 Spare Parts for Life support and Tech at 500Cr per Kg. or 10MCr per dton/14cu.m.
  6. Grade+5 Spare Parts at 1.5KCr per Kg. (x20,000 to get the per dton/14cu.m)
  7. Grade+6 Spare Parts at 5KCr per Kg. (x20,000 to get the per dton/14cu.m)
The GM can make inferences and expert judgment of what a Grade of parts can do. Take any of the "Trade" details you see in Traveller (GURPS, Mongoose, Classic, Mega) and apply the rational of Grades and you can have some more variance. 
Grade of parts 
Grade of Workshops/Workstations.