Monday, January 24, 2022

what does high will look like? is being changeable or unchangeable high will?

Is it willpower, resolve, discipline to detect, identify, confront biases and deal with them?

Is a person with such great discipline without bias? 

I think someone with such high stat is more able to identify their biases - with a great effort of will it will be handler their ego and be able to listen and understand another person. I speculate.

A person with great will is not what a lot of movies and stories make it to be someone perfect, full of conviction, and so sure- but someone who is deeply flawed, aware of those flaws, and exerting incredible effort to redeem themselves - or live in a way they can accept.

The perfect Saint ideal removes struggle and the hardship that really happens when you build a life in learning from mistakes and constantly changing and growing.

Got myself meditating what is a high will score? Is it stubbornness? I don't think so, denial is easy - accepting something I don't want to is hard.

The hardest thing is being vulnerable - to want something, enjoy it, and letting it be free and possibly being hurt by it.

Having others have power over oneself is harder. To have agency and to be so hurt by rejection and others requires a lot of will.

So I like role-playing believable characters and I like checking different cultures in how certain ideals, virtues, and vices are presented.

I like pretending in imagination to be certain characters and get in their head.

I like using this to humanize real people as well as so much does to dehuamize others and remove context. 

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Emotional Labor in Games - High Will and Resolve Characters.

 It was my wife and women in my life who had to explain to me the importance of just being Present and being able to listen. While most of my mentors are men in problem-solving and critical thinking, the women in my life had to teach me the value of emotional labor and intelligence. 

In a TRPG we don't have situations of emotional labor, but in real life - Holy crap the amount of emotional labor we have to face outweighs the Problem Solving. Problem Solving can be Googled or you can Youtube it or Crowdsource it - Emotional Labor is like Muscle and Bone density and disposition - you either have it or don't. 

So when I saw Lucina the Brave Herder - I realize she is Sub Optimal in Conan. In a Conan story she would be a damsel in distress - an empowered damsel "unFrazetta Sexy" damsel - but in need of Brawn. 

Emotional Labor in Games are scenes where someone has to Listen and Take on large amount of Stress. Like Listening to End Users and their problems, BUT resisting the urge to solve it for them and instead get it out in the open and make the person feel like they can communicate their problems without their worth being diminished. 

Understanding how we as a society are dysfunctional in the ability to talk about problems is essential in understanding how to frame how Important and life-changing - and dramatic and epic Emotional Labor can be. 

Agency - what we crave in the game - the feeling that despite the odds we matter - is a seed that springs from feeling we matter and someone who makes us feel we matter. When people make bad decisions and in the AGGREGATE all these problematic behaviors create a dysfunctional and scary society - Resolve, Empathy, and Understanding are powerful forces that drive a character to act in a heroic context. 

Too often in Stories focus on the ACTION. while ignoring the CAUSE OF ACTION or CALL TO ACTION. Information/Knowledge - that we matter, that there is someone to protect or care for makes a character into a hero of a story that is interesting and engaging. 

Emotional Labor = the work done by social workers, councilors, suicide hotline volunteers, mediators, therapists, friends and loved ones - is TIME these people will not get back given to another person to repair and recover their agency and their ability to make sense and master their future. 

Imagine if we were taxed by our Time and not money, how "equal" things will be, and how much empathy can we have for people in systemic problems and ills of society. If one cannot value time - it's hard to see our effect on the time of others and those around us. My gamer mindset is always trying to see things in a different set of mechanics and systems. I realize some narratives are not appropriate for some games - i don't think it would be appropriate for this kind of meta agency analysis in a Conan game. Its more for CoC or Kult. So I realize the character is sub-optimal for the sample adventures given, especially when Violence is the agreed-upon catharsis of the group.  

Thursday, January 20, 2022

How do maps work in Player Decision making and immersion?

 My problem of running a Hard Scifi Game is how to make the solar system relevant without overloading the Players. I don't want the players have to figure things out the PCs would know being a spacer. 

If I ran a game where I present a prepared model of the solar system for the players when they JUMP into the system's largest Lagrange 1 point, 

to the planet nerd it would be - "that ice giant rains diamonds... the gravity there makes hydrogen into a metal as powerful as dynamite, that planet is the safest place from a solar storm, I expect vacuum airships in that dense atmosphere world..., that world doesn't belong in this solar system (A rogue planet that is captured like Triton and some moons)" 

Ive considered making the knowledge have a strong Strategic or Economic Value - "that dark side is behind the jump point, anyone jumping will detect everything in 40AU but not behind that Giant." Or an Economic advantage "There is only one place to refuel salt water nuclear fuel here at less than 1,000cr per metric ton and they hold all the cards..." 

Solar System creation is Scifi Map Making. The way we learn how tectonic plates kinda work so our mountains look realistic. How forests work and what kind of areas they occupy and why they don't just take over plains and steppe.

Different players have different relationships with Maps in the TRPG. How do I make the map something they will enjoy like a Fantasy TRPG map? How do I make it spark their imagination without overloading what an enthusiast knows? Or how do I make sure my enthuziasm doesn't get in the way of the game? 

TIL adding Accretion/Circumstellar Disks Aka asteroid belts breaks my PC because of the calculations involved. ūüėÖ

TIL at less 0.3 Earth Masses there is not enough gravity for hydrogen to stay put. and a gas plant bleeds hydrogen. Jupiters rocky core at 32,000km diameter

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Slow but Sure: Stellar Classification Table

Ok that was a lot of work. 
Yeah creating tables for Stellar Classification. Roll the Star up.

I made a mistake, I wasn't supposed to allow for O type since it's only 0.00003% of the Observed Stars. 

I wanted to add LTY Classes, the really dark classes - the kind of stars the James Web should be able to see. Imagine in a few days now and a month maybe how many Infra-Red Stars and Brown Dwarfs will we detect in our neighborhood? Imagine Travelling in the scale of Hundreds of AU instead of Light Years. Visiting Brown Dwarfs outside our solar system? What if we detect SO MANY nearby brown dwarves just 2 light-years /120k AU away!? 

I realize that Solar System Generators is MAP MAKING in scifi TRPGs. I enjoy map making and I still keep the maps I drew back in High School in 1996. Now I'm learning how to make "Solar Systems" a different type of map-making. Its like learning how to make Isometric Maps, Hex Maps, Square Maps, or maps with Inkscape. 

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Tech levels are tricky.

I like the Neolithic Revolution and Human Era (Popularized by kurzgesagt 


I like looking at the world as whole and not just the europe. 

The terms in Wikipedia are pretty good and gameable. I know its changeable but that's the great thing about learning - we may have to update our understanding - and the nice thing of using Wikipedia as a source is that it's Open. 

There are a dizzying amount of Technological Markers, for me the Schelling point was the Axial Age - which is when there was that explosion of thought - Hundred Schools of Thought, Buddha and Reflection, and Meditation. 

So there are HUGE Medieval History Groups and Roman History Groups and the Technology of the Medieval Period 500-1500 CE kept making progress and there was SOOOOO MUCH technology happening in these eras Its hard to say ONE piece of technology defined it. 

Its fun to know that the Eastern Roman Era, Kept Records and Had great agricultural equipment WHILE crop rotation was catching up and exceeding roman productivity. 

De-Agricultura for me is one of the most important works in knowing my Archiac setting because it documents methods and techniques and makes me realize that Cato could see the performance of his properties across regions in a Macro data analysis - the way Administrators of Ancient Persia and Mesopotamia must have seen thousands of years prior to the Romans. 

I guess cause I'm a Filipino with both a western education with Asian background and heritage - doing a lot of biz with Indians and can't help but see my circumstance in other Developing World people who are attending the ERPnext training made up of Africans, and Middle Easterners.   

I want my stories including a lot of different peoples and stories. 

Saturday, January 1, 2022

Sanity vs Trauma - reviewing CoC7e,

Learning the Sanity mechanics of COC I get to reflect a lot on my own mental quirks.

Note: Spectrum of Behavior and probability. Some dice rolls make somethings all equally probable but our experience and if we do some research some behavior is more likely than others. Most importantly they manifest in subtle ways. 
Comments on the Rules
  1. Sanity Points: 0:50 - basically Sanity HP. 
    1. Trauma mechanics in Mneme Variant for Cepheus Engine I have uses "Conditions" instead of hitpoints since Conditions are: 
      1. simplifies the range of deterioration to a qualitative measure instead of a quantitative measure. 
      2. more flexible for GMs and Players if things have de-escalated or escalated through the conditions. 
      3. Allows for compounding Conditions. 
  2. Sanity Saves 2:45 -  % roll equal to Sanity Score.
    1. Clarification of Sanity loss is for the Experience and not the Quantity of the experience. 
    2. Any Loss of sanity is a involuntary reaction determined by the keeper. 
    3. What is a 99% Sane? Some deep discussion about human nature and the mind with this. Does it mean a perfectly working brain? A sociopath is perfectly sane and rational is that 99% Sane? Guilt and the Irrationality of Empathy is "Insane?" but Altruism can also be perfectly rational and irrational if a person behaves mostly consistently to prevent unnecessary suffering? How do you know sane is not in some form of denial, willfully ignoring things that don't compute?   
  3. +5 San loss. Roll INT, success causes Temp Insane. 1d10 hours of Temp Insane.
  4. Indefinite Insanity. Losses 20% (1/5) SAN in a "Day" 
    1. protip: mark the 20% of SAN. 
    2. Up the Keeper
  5. Stages of Insanity:
    1. Bout of Madness. Its interesting that characters just have it - there is no filter or resistance to the Trauma (which coping mechanisms and our world view is for, some world views allow us to better process disturbing thoughts and experiences).
      1. Change one element of backstory except for the special one of the PC. Whats interesting is the EQ of the group who can identify changes and the implications of the backstory and personality. 
      2. 1d10 rounds if there are people to get them out of it. or 1d10 hours if everyone else is suffering or alone. 
      3. See bout of Madness Charts help. See alternate tables and insanity dice. 
    2. Underlying Insanity. Back in control but still insane. 
      1. Any SAN loss triggers a Bout of madness. 
      2. Any failed push rolls has new consequences. 
      3. Delusions and Hallucination. 
        1. Players can ask for a Reality Check (Another SAN roll). I realize that if the player triggers this or if the PC triggers this based on their backstory and psychology. If its the player and its testable that the PC will want to accept this delusion or Hallucination this might raise problems in the game. 
    3. Encounters with Strange Entities. Write entity, loss and maximum loss. This maximum loss goes down. 
    4. Insane Insight. free successful idea roll. 
    5. Mythos Hardened. When the Mythos is higher than the SAN, they lose half as much SAN from mythos. This is a threshold which once reach is a permanent trait even if they recover SAN and go higher than their Mythos. 
  6. Interesting about the randomness of the Shock and Stress of Trauma. Straight to Delusion and Denial, and the stronger manifestations of a source of stress. Forgetting the other symptoms that lead to this stronger manifestation: Confusion, Distraction, Agitation, Hostility, and Apprehension and Hesitation.
    1. Coping and Defense mechanisms - like bad habits and agitation to avoid or numb the experience typically happen first. 
    2. This would be a handy chart.   
  7. And in Game mechanics, when your this is a penalty to the Skills or anything that Needs Attention, Willpower, and Initiative. 
  8. Recovery: 
    1. Sanity Rewards. Catharsis - resolving an issue. killing or ending a threat, and uncertainty, or removing a source of stress gives a release. Seth had to remind Keepers that you recover as much as you lose from a source. 
    2. Raising a skill 90% or higher. 
    3. Psychotherapy. If you follow mental health as a hobby or for your own mental health realizing that the coping mechanisms and institutions had a lot of abuse and mismanagement this allowing the PC to recover is a dubious way to get better - with the following as the primary sources of getting better: loving and supportive family (biological or non-biological), a counselor, a place to work on ourselves and allow us to distract ourselves (a job that has a lot of idle mental time and easy repetitive tasks). I think Asylums are a kind of 
    4. Cost of living and Wages is the fall back technique for Seths challenges 4 years ago. I'm sure he's figured it out by now 2022.  


I can't say I have something Traumatic in my life, but there are certain experiences that lead me down dark paths and I cant seem to escape from. I've seen people who are changed or calcified by these experiences.

If I have mental quirks, pauses where I have to wrestle with my emotions, and I don't have a particularly traumatic life who am I to judge harshly people who have gone through worse or what dark thoughts other people are grappling with. 

If you talked to me about Psychological Trauma 10-20+ years ago, I wouldn't understand how such experiences cause Trauma. The thing is Sanity is not a good word to describe this and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or simply Trauma is better in explaining how a character can be rendered "unplayable". 

If we started talking about Trauma and how it can debilitate anyone - then I would understand how an experience can make someone lose control. And just even the small things that cause us Trauma - for me in particular - remembering my experience with gaslighting and compulsive liars and how they make me believe the worse in me and doubt myself is painful and traumatic for me. it causes me to pause, it creates the dark path for my mind to and I have to consciously avoid and control my thoughts to prevent myself from going there. Then there are other concepts like "aggregate human behavior is an illusion of a mind" that a group of people - a stereotype - an organization - or people who share a common belief - and their behavior makes them act in a way that my brain tries to simplify as a "being" which is wrong. Its an illusion of a mind, and thinking its a mind - that it can control itself and avoid doing harm - is the scary part of this realization. A well-intentioned Institution or Organization - an aggregate of human behavior - is not a mind that can exert autonomy to avoid harm. 

Going dark paths in the web also reveals this scary human nature, toxic social media as well, and all this harm that can be found makes me realize - as a Stat or a mechanic we are not respecting the importance of mental health and how fragile we are.