Thursday, May 24, 2018

Photobucket Finds Head, Removes From Ass

So I was pleasantly - and profoundly - surprised to discover all my broken photo links were restored both here on RBE and on my Obsidian Portal campaign wiki. Apparently last year's attempt to extort users for $400.00 in fees annually to link to photos from a third-party website cost the CEO his job. The charge dropped to a more modest thirty bucks a year for two gigs of storage, third-party linking, and no more intrusive, speed-sucking ads.

I have no idea if this strategy will keep Photobucket solvent - they claims tens of millions of users, but how many of those actively use their accounts? - in an online environment very different from the one in which the company, and the concept of photo-hosting, was created. I went ahead and signed up, for if nothing else, maybe it buys me enough time to migrate my images to a more stable platform.

In the meantime, I get to be not-as-embarrassed by the state of my meager sites, so that's something, I suppose.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

The Wine List of The Welcome Wench

What follows is a reply to a thread at theRPGsite in which I put forth my idea of what's important in preparing a game-world that's meant to be played, as opposed to a game-world which is a referee's plaything. I've referenced this a few times in various online discussions.
Read the bill of fare for the Inn of the Welcome Wench in The Village of Hommlet. If I start my campaign with nothing but the village of Hommlet, I know that there's a place called Keoland which exports reasonably priced brandy and wine. That could mean the quality is merely middling, or it's simply closer and therefore less expensive to ship - most likely it's some combination of the two. I get a sense that the vintners of Urnst enjoy some natural advantages over the Keoish, and that the two are probably trade competitors. I'm also pretty sure that Veluna is someplace special, because their wine is in demand enough to be found in a small country inn at a price few locals could ever hope to pay.

I can build a region from a wine list, a wine list that is something with which the adventurers can interact from the first time we sit down to play.

I didn't need to detail Keoland, or how it came to be called Keoland, or what it was called a thousand years before it was called Keoland, or what the terrain of Keoland was like ten thousand years before that and then a hundred thousand years before that, in order to plant the seeds - grape vines, actually - of a place called Keoland in the minds of the players.

My bullshit detector works really well, and it tells me the difference between 'stuff that matters to the players' and 'stuff that's primarily written for me.' My first order of business as referee is create stuff that matters to the players, and that means understanding what they are likely to want to do.

You know why Traveller UWPs work so well? Because they answer the questions player want to know first: can I fuel my starship? will the air kill me? can I pack heat? what kinds of gear are available?
Crossposted at Promise City.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

"I thought it fitting, considering the rocky terrain."

This is fun: a martial arts blogger analyzes Wesley and Inigo's duel with respect to the sword-masters they reference during the iconic scene in The Princess Bride. It's a good read, especially if you have studied your Agrippa.

Which I have.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Fuck Photobucket

So, you may notice RBE has a new look, courtesy of the soulless bloodsuckers at Photobucket, which changed its terms of service Wednesday regarding linking and third-party hosting of images stored in a Pb library. In order to host images elsewhere, I'm required to sign up for their highest level 'plan,' costing $400.00 a year, for the exact same service I've enjoyed as a member for over eight years.

Apparently viewing the increasing barrage of ads on their site didn't squeeze enough enough money out of my membership for Pb to continue storing and accepting links to the server-straining 71 MB of images in my library, images I used for both blogs as well as my Obsidian Portal wiki, which is now completely gutted - zero functionality. Oh, and since I'm on the subject, fuck Obsidian Portal as well - years of developer inattention and arbitrary changes busted links all over Le Ballet de l'Acier already, reducing the sites functionality to the point where I simply stopped adding new material and used a backup copy offline as my referee notes.

A smart company would've imposed its fee on new members while honoring its agreements with existing customers. Photobucket is not a smart company, however, and they obviously don't give a fuck about the impact their decisions have on their members beyond 'pay the monkey.'

I don't have the time to go back and fix everything that was ratfucked on RBE, sadly. It will remain a monument to corporate douchery. And the wreckage of Le Ballet de l'Acier is coming down for good.

Here's one last image Photobucket can't fuck with.

Sunday, December 25, 2016