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Home of the Quantum Ogre, Agency, Theory, and Fun-Chttp://www.blogger.com/profile/02331863932906631618noreply@blogger.comBlogger172125
Updated: 2 hours 2 min ago

On the Friday Froo Fra Fra

18 hours 31 min ago

I've got a lot on my mind. 

Did you know you can have two contradictory thoughts at the same time? Or that there is no other single human on the planet that shares your thoughts and beliefs?

I'm doubly affected—a symptom of my mental illness is, uh, the diagnostic manual calls it "Have flat emotions or have emotional responses that are limited or not proper socially."

Well, I can tell you, that it's because both my awareness and concern about what other people think is a huge fucking goose egg. When I learned about peer culture, I thought it was a lie.

I did think about it in terms of violence, of course.

I keep getting these people accusing me of using AI to produce my drawings. I've got nothing against AI art, or AI products. But I drew all the pictures for Sinless by hand. They are in the same style I've been drawing in for the last thirty years. He asked where he could find more of my work. I told him to start with the mural I painted in Kimple Hall at the University of Arkansas and then work his way forward through my career from there. 

The thing is, it doesn't have to do with the work. The words of the accusation are just noise. I'm not saying it's 'non-cognitivism'. I'm saying it's a call. A trumpet, or a song. An identity vocalization. And the call, it's just, not new.

Back in 2010, I had people accusing me of using map programs to draw my maps. The ones I drew live on twitch for Megadungeon. 

I've read a lot of discourse about AI art. All I will personally say about my thoughts is this: "As a working artist I'm worried not at all". I'm certain everyone will draw their own conclusions and they will certainly be wrong. Knock yourself out.

If you're reading a conversation between people you know about AI, it's two people arguing about stuff they made up. It's the same with the abortion debate, gun control, or literally any other topic. If you're opening your mouth in public, you only express two things. Your complete and total ignorance of any of the reality of the issues at hand, and how important you've decided those issues are to how you think about yourself.

The fact that you are given these areas to confine yourself to and discuss among yourself is a system of regulation. Some might call that regulation control, or an exploitation of the traits of an organism. Say, a trait concerned about in-group/out-group dynamics and belonging and feeling.

Did you know some people have their corneas removed and can see in the ultraviolet spectrum? With their jelly vision-spheres? Did you ever spent time around another animal, and they just compulsively engage in a behavior that you have no direct frame of reference for? And you see them engaging in the behavior over and over, with no insight into their internal state?

It might be enough to drive a person mad.

The thing is, I see something different. I wrote a whole game about it (and ahda ahda he's on about the game again.) The use of religious imagery isn't accidental. 

There is more than enough for everyone. 

There's enough money.

There's enough food.

There's enough space. 

There's technology available to manufacture and distribute anything we need anywhere on the planet.

The only reason things aren't better is because we decided.

Well, I mean, you decided.

Because, you know, for most people. Fixing the problems is less important than winning. And besides, if the problems were fixed, things might change for you. You might have to change or grow. You might feel diminished when faced with your own private experience being part of a planet among billions of suns among trillions of galaxies flowing in a river across the heavens. 

I don't understand that. I can't win. I can't lose. I can't even feel a response to the opinions of other people. I'm not better or worse than anyone else—within my own sphere I'm struggling to do the best that I can.

Did you know people build lightsabers? It's an almost impossible engineering problem, and of net negative utility. But someone showed them something novel. Something new. And once they saw it, there was no obstacle that existed that would prevent the human organism from making it. It was dreamed into existence.

We live in a heaven or hell of our own making. And I guess I'm here for the show.

In the meanwhile, I'm going to imagine making better futures.

Hack & Slash 

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Corporate Assets (27/63)

Fri, 07/05/2024 - 20:14

 You want to play the game that uses these.

Sunglasses are pretty common with corporate assets. If you laughed you have to play. 

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Civic Assets for Sinless (18/63)

Wed, 07/03/2024 - 13:00

It's live!

Don't miss out!

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On Sinless: Billionaire Bounty.

Mon, 07/01/2024 - 12:00

Sinless: Billionaire Bounty is live.

It's good. 

It's good mechanically, it's good visually, it's good stylistically. When people look at it they say, "This is good!". Often say say, "Holy crap the art is amazing".

This is something to be used. 

If you want to play cyberpunk in a living city, fighting over resources in sectors? Check it out.

If you like a game that's not about 'creating a build' but making a lot of dynamic choices? Check it out.

If you like west marches open table games, that's exactly what it's for. 

One of over 120 assets. If you were waiting to check Sinless out? Well, now's the time. 

Why is Sinless so good?

It's a true cyberpunk game, not a jingoistic action game. 

It completely obliviates problems with action economies, tracking bullshit, and character 'builds'. It uses simple mechanics and limited resources to let everyone at the table know the odds for a collection of interesting choices. And it still lets you shop for meaningful gear.

It has an integrated game loop—and all that piece of jargon means— is the game considers the outcomes of play. No figuring out how much to pay on a mission, or having to ad hoc responses from the city to a building being blown up. Agonarchs don't have to figure out how to run the game. They can instead just play the game.

Oh, there's no illusionism or deception or "imagine a solution" mechanics. It uses an objective hidden
information mechanic. Players find out what they find out, they make the plan they want to make. And they you all find out together what happens. That, to me, is the fun part of a cyberpunk game, figuring out how to crack that operation. 

It's a game made for intelligent people who want a game that treats them that way. A game you can play together, and everyone discovers novel things. 

It is the best thing I have done in my career to date. 

Take a look.

(Why doesn't he write about design any more? Because I'm busy making the best game you'll ever play. There wasn't anything else to say. I had to put up or shut up; so check it out.)

Hack & Slash 

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On the Death of Wealth

Tue, 06/25/2024 - 18:33
Don't you have someone you need to kill?

Follow the Kickstarter here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/agonarchartist/sinless-billionaire-bounty

Hack & Slash 

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On the Sector Turn

Fri, 04/05/2024 - 12:00

It's very simple.

There are many important things cybertechtronically enhanced secret agents need to do:  Buy illegal tanks with railguns. "Convince" the guy down at the bowling alley that he works for you. Bust up your opponents' resources.

Sector turns are a very straightforward presentation of that. They are a limited time between operations (adventures) where characters have a number of actions to accomplish goals. 

A sector is a hex, an adventureable space.  And it has sites! Like a cliff view. But this is cyberpunk, so the sites are like "The main dark rainy street" and "The seedy bar." These sites are just the sights. They don't mechanically affect play—They are the sets a television show would build for a season. 

A place where interactions take place. Just places.


Sectors also have resources. What is a resource? 

It's something that makes you cash on the barrelhead.

If you own a car factory, not only is any vehicle you buy discounted, but gets you thousands or even tens of thousands of monies every sector turn.

How do you do this? Every resource has boxes. You can take action to damage or control those boxes, using brute force, espionage, magic, or even the law, you can take over resources during the sector turn.

You color in all the boxes to get control of the resource. I like coloring in boxes. It's super compelling. Even more so when it matters.

But. Oh my goodness, this is so fucking intense. 

The actions the characters take during sector turns are diegetic, right? If you use your brand's muscle to go over there and beat the shit out of people till you own the place, it happens in the game.

Maybe that doesn't sound amazing to you. 

But think about it. The actions taken during the sector turn, inform the fictional reality.
Which responds by creating operations to address the changes. 

If you go to a resource during an operation and blow it to rubble using missiles, the resource in the sector is damaged.

 If you're taking something over, the people who owned it before are probably going to notice.

From the playtest,

One of the players realized they could significantly increase their profits from the salvage yard if they took over the commons, evicted the people who live in the low-income housing and bulldozed it to the ground and built condos.

Do you see it yet? 

It is amazing in play. People are really really excited about the game. They can't wait to do the next operation, because that leads to their next sector turn, which will lead to their next operation. . .. They are advancing the narrative without any "remember a trashcan*". 

This is very concrete, and there is non-trivial discussion about how to leverage the resources in play. I have heard wild suggestions. It's a good time.

Before anyone loses their shit, they are not doing those evil things. This is not "Landlord" the game. It's "Destabilize the system and build it correctly" the game.

But it's just so tempting to use your sector turn to go around using a persuedertron to brainwash people to support your brand.

Buy Me!Every asset in the game comes with an ability that can change the rules of the sector turn, in extremely novel and interesting ways. Since they are random pulls from a pool of about 100, each playtest group is developing organically throughout the adventure!

It is a great time. 

YMMV. Check it out. You can look at the whole thing in preview, and it's in print.

 * From the Bill and Ted movie, when they realize they can just come back after they win and do anything they need to do. Every time they get into trouble, they say, "Remember a trash can," and their future selves drop a trash can on the guy's head. In heist games like Blades in the Dark and Leverage, it's a technique to obviate having to create a working system of  planning a heist ahead of time. Sinless, on the other hand, is about the players making a plan, and giving the Agonarch (Game master) the tools needed to allow the players to do that. When running a game, listening to the players plan was always my favorite part, and here I made a way to do that while respecting agency.

Hack & Slash 

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Sinless in print

Wed, 04/03/2024 - 12:30

 So, Sinless is in print

That's not all. 

You get assets, and you can use them to do things. Like Morgana.

You're smart. You have seen an action movie. Someone knows an explosive guy, and then Jean Reno walks on, and the pyrotechnics guy has some explosion go off at 1/200th the actual speed—This is that.

Each asset provides an ability for both the sector phase (downtime) and operations (the adventures). You don't actually have to pay them; you just have to own the relevant infrastructure in a sector to support them. There's not really any upkeep that isn't gameplay. 

An Example Sector.
You could use this exact sheet.

You get 1 or 2 at character creation, and every Sector phase, you get 3 random new ones that are available for hire. 

And like, Holy shit guys. They are actual people that exist within the framework of play. It's great! 

Be friends with one, and reduce their upkeep. Shoot one you don't like in the head! (I mean, or not. That's *astoundingly* violent.)

Oh, and the tools. 

We're making a mission generator. And character creator. 

The open sandbox nature of the campaigns means that it has to be easy for Agonarch (Gamemaster, you get the idea) to make a 'volume' of these for a living world. It answers all the questions characters will ask, simplifying, prepping, and running games. 

Don't get the wrong idea. "Volume," in this case, is probably 4 to start, and a new one every week or two. But a pushbutton tool that organizes your sectors for you? This sounds complicated, but, uh, the reality is it's mechanized random tables, along with a simple interface to store the information. 

We're not inventing the wheel here—we all know too many "Eye in the, is it sky? Pie?" Like, clearly before refined sugar was pumped into every food, the pie must have been a more significant cultural touchstone. 

The point is, at dinner, my eyes are the right size. 

It's working now. We're making it work better. So this is a real thing that's happening.

Now that the book is in print and people are starting campaigns, we are playtesting the starter adventure "Billionaire Bounty." It is about an extradimensional invasion that causes a city in the Midwest, near a great lake, to become sealed off from the outside world. You have to hunt, help, rob, or bully a dozen billionaires who would rather be somewhere else. 

. . .

It is, of course, structured like B1, in search of the unknown. In the sense that not only is it a great campaign starter, it's also a tool to explain how to manage the particulars of setup and play in Sinless. We'll be kickstarting that in a few weeks, closer to the completion of the asset cards.

Oh, I can show you pictures of it in people's happy hands!

This is not my hand.

I would write longer, but this is as long as people will read! More soon. It's not like there's an actual paywall if you're interested. The whole book is on preview.

You can ask questions, get errata, or chat on the official forum:  https://forum.sinlessrpg.com/index.php

Get your own copy:  https://preview.drivethrurpg.com/en/product/472142/Sinless

Hack & Slash 

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