More on Surprise

In something like a war game the parties only get surprised once. But since we’re dealing with a role playing system and guides here it’s more like life, and in life you can be surprised just about all the time. It’s a matter of paying attention and you can’t pay attention to everything all the time. So if something happens that might surprise you you get to find out if you noticed it. And that means rolling against the better of your Notice Subareas to see if you do. And this is something I need to work on, just thought I’d get this out here before you.

As I understand it, my getting organized is a sign of the Apocalypse.

This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series DJ

On Monsters

If you have to call them monsters go ahead, but I’m not comfortable with that. By and large I’d rather used terms like “animals”, “plants”, “creatures”, or even “people”. A word like monster just gives us a certain idea of how we’re supposed to handle them and I don’t like that sort of thinking.

Now there are monsters in DJ, but they’re better known as the “monstrous”. A monstrous creature being one who qualifies as a monster. Basically a one of a kind sort of thing most often with what we would call a monstrous quality; cruelty, rapacity, and the like. You don’ t really get that in Dangerous Journeys with the exception of such as the undead, the unalive, or a demonic creature. A vampire whether mundane, preternatural, or supernatural is an example of a monster in this system.

On Encounters

That said in DJ an encounter is simply a meeting between two parties and how that goes depends on the parties in question. Are tje parties friendly? Are they hostile? Are they suspicious or even defensive. Do they even know about each other, or for that matter even become aware of each other. I’ve had times in real life when people have walked right on by without blinking an eye. Just preoccupied I guess. And for more people than you would think actually having an encounter comes as a surprise to them. It has for me.

So in Dangerous Journeys having an encounter often comes down to, did they notice. The mechanic here is really very simple.

  1. The guide determines for his party if they noticed the players’ party and if the players’ party noticed his. He does this by rolling against the better of their respective Perception, Notice sub-areas. So if his roll is a 39 and some members of either party have a 39 or better Notice, then they noticed and can react. Those who didn’t are surprised and can’t react. You could have a situation where an elf and an orc are left looking at each other and wondering just what the heck is going on in a session of Chivalry.

Orc: Why are they yelling and screaming?

Elf: I think they’re trying to kill each other.

So the first step is finding out if you actually have an encounter, and that means learning if the two sides actually do notice each other.


Now I’ve got things to think about, such as how to explain how I think it best to handle an encounter, and for that I need to do some reading and some thinking. If you have some ideas on how to handle an encounter feel free to add your thoughts in a comment below.

Today in the June issue of Scientific American I read an article on the evolution of hands by John A.Long and Richard Cloutier. In the article near the end of P49 I read, “In Science, however, knowledge is not written in stone.” I don’t know who wrote the words but in my experience I have learned that they are right.

Now keep in mind that what whomever wrote that was not writing about scientific anomalies, but still… And it served to remind me that not everybody is an authority on everything. Long and Cloutier can be taken as authorities on the evolution of lobe finned fishes, but that doesn’t mean they are going to be authorities on iron/nickel asteroids as an example. Author Gregory Benford can be taken as an authority on physics, but I would hardly call him an authority on matters such as primatology, physical geography, or even the land and history of Beringia. Or David Brin for that matter, another physicist.

Why single them out? Because they have insisted that there can be no such animal as Bigfoot -and I’m not about to link to any online sources on the animal because those sources are rather crappy in my opinion.

Now it is my understanding that when an authority on a subject says something about his subject you can trust them. But when he’s talking about a subject he is not an authority on then not so fast. When Greg says something about the Standard Model you can rely on him. When he says something on North America’s other great ape, not so fast. But getting the man to fess up on the latter subject is a bit like extracting wisdom teeth.

Cycles have damn all to do with it. Trouble comes up, we deal with it. We recover and we forget. New troubles come up as they will and having forgotten how we dealt with it before we fluster about until we muddle through again. We just got off our butts and made a real effort to learn from the past we wouldn’t have the problems we do.

And yes, the past is relevant. It matters to us and we need to be concerned and to learn from it. But there are some who must insist on being slothful fools and ignoring matters. Trump isn’t the first and he won’t be the last, so get your shit together and learn.

I’ll be getting money on Monday, and then on Tuesday My caregiver will be cleaning my place up.  Then it’s order a computer desk and an office chair, and then get my bed tent set up. After which I’ll be getting a print out of Dave Brin’s “Polemical Judo” so I can read that. Rest? What’s that?

It’s now 1:40 am local time and I’m bushed after yesterday. So I’m off to sleep in the hopes I can get rested up and then add some more posts to this blog. I think I’m going to be crafting some mechanics for endurance and fatigue in Dangerous Journeys, and that because life has features you really can’t ignore. Games are supposed to be simple, life is really no game.

This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series Walking with Dragons

Getting back to Walking with Dragons after the interruption caused by someone hacking the Chrome Browser we now find ourselves dealing with the K/T Boundary on the world of Orth. Though these days it would appear that it’s been renamed the K-PG or Cretaceous-Paleogene Boundary.

On Orth the dragons knew about it. they new about the Deccan Traps and the approach of a giant asteroid that would impact too damn soon for their comfort. Now the traps were having a bad enough effect all by themselves, so the dragons of that time decided to just get rid of it. This they did by getting it into an orbit around the Orth when they could some 66 million years ago, then just sort of scraping at it until it was all broken up. It took a few thousand years and a ton lot of magick, but instead of an impact you got a lot of dust and a corresponding climatic collapse. Something the dragons found they could live with.

But still it did a lot of damage to the Orth’s environment and meant that a lot of Orth’s life didn’t survive.

All forms suffered, but once life could recover those groups that made it through the calamity pretty much did. The birds and placental mammals, along with the flowering plants did real well. Among the non-avian dinosaurs the hadrosaurs and dromaesaurs bounced back as well, though the ceratopsians effectively disappeared except for the population on a South Pacific island. The crocodilians also came back to some extent, as did the turtles and lizards etc, but the sauropods were pretty much reduced to the miraphants of Afrika.

The dragons of course suffered in their own right. In so far as the Dragons of Orth had largely migrated off planet not so much as you might think, but still order and families were gone, as were genera and species. The size of dragons was reduced to about 20 tons in weight, and there were a few that got down to about 200 pounds or so. So now the field was open for competition to arise, and rather than wasting their time stopping it Orth’s dragons decided to just live with it and guide what happened. Of course Orth’s deities had other plans.

At the moment it’s get my place cleaned up, eat something, and get out in order to soak up some sunshine. I also have that iMac I’ve ordered and a larger microwave coming. Then maybe spend some of that $261 in food stamps I now have. Also get straightened out on my meds.

And then, write.  It’s dang time I started writing again.

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