Robert G. Male


 This journal is going nowhere I'm afraid. I've pulled off the name for another project. I haven't finished reading that cool RPG I was telling you about in July. I'll get back to you when I have, or when something else comes up that I don't need to put elsewhere.
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    exhausted exhausted
Robert G. Male

Neglect No More

 I'm here to tell you that I hope to stop neglecting this site. Not sure what I will post or how often, but this space is here and I'm always full of it... stuff to say that is.

In the meantime maybe you want to check out the RPG I've been reading. It is called Maschine Zeit and I'm much impressed with it. You can buy it in PDF from RPGNow for half price. I also follow one of the authors on Twitter (more than one really but who's counting), check him out... David A Hill Jr.
Robert G. Male

The Scramble for a New Social Home Began

 On August 10th, 2009 it was announced that the social network Facebook bought the highly social feed aggregator and community FriendFeed. The chatter about this soon exploded and will be talked about for days. That night Robert Scoble sparked a lengthy discussion about leaving FriendFeed. You can read about it at So, who is leaving FriendFeed?
The main gist revolves around a lot of angst and hate over Facebook. Reasons vary from almost criminal terms of services violating international copyright and other privacy rights issues to the depth of time wasting and annoying applications cluttering people's thought streams and conversations with junk. Usability and blocking or banning of individuals over trivial matters also ranks up there in the complaints. For myself Facebook isn't without its issues but I put up with it. There is the concern about my content getting out of my control and being taken but such can happen even if you never sign into anywhere. Theft will happen if it will happen.
On the 11th the following articles came to my attention. Could Wordpress Be the Natural Successor to Twitter, Friendfeed and Facebook? This one is about a do it yourself blogging software system with lots of plug-ins, modules, or however you'd like to term them. Its any easy way to make your own blog on your own server without going to somewhere like Beyond that this article is about how blogs could replace Facebook and FriendFeed as the places to go spend your time socialising. The same could be said of forum software like phpBB or chatrooms. These things have been around for ages and hearken back to the day of dialing up individual Bullet Board Systems with your modem. Here is a similar themed article... Is a Perfect Storm Forming For Distributed Social Networking?
What really caught my eye was this article... Why Streamy Could be the Next FriendFeed. I decided to try this service, Streamy. Not only that but I put on my reporter's cap--didn't know I had one before this to be honest--and I reported on joining Streamy and the process involved in doing that from logging in to signing up for feeds both automatic and manual. To read a transcript I put together the page Twitter Roll about Streamy.
Here are a few additional thoughts. The Streamy "Good" column is supposed to be more useful later as the software learns from my likes, friends, what I comment on, etc. Here's hoping. It hardly moves now and less than half is of interest. I also need to add my horror interests, as only the tech stuff is available directly. As the last tweet said I hope to find the link I can send to people to follow me on Streamy. I don't much like using my instant messengers within the service because I like having it as a separate window that grabs my attention when a new message arrives. Streamy may not be so good once the block I have for FriendFeed goes dark when the service shuts down or enough people have abandoned it. The page is not that friendly at a scaled down size. I have two columns and they are pretty narrow.
I guess that's enough for now.
Robert G. Male

Two Scoops of Sub-Agenda

 I finished reading the Pathfinder Society guide that I mentioned last time. The rules are easy enough to understand. They work to create a character for play at conventions, events at stores where role-playing games are sold, and even home games that are a part of the societies adventures for the year. Throughout the year there are 28 scenario books released. These books form a single campaign. It is unclear if it is a complete campaign. More than likely I would guess it is open ended, though certainly it would have to have story arcs that do come to an end.  At the end of any given arc you could retire your character and start a new one for the next arc.

Experience is simplified. They give you 1 XP for every scenario, and when you've been given 3 XP you advance a level. What's more interesting is a mechanic called Prestige Awards that represent your reputation in the Pathfinder Society and your status in the sense of stature within the group.  It's not immediately clear if there is a difference how this reflects between your faction (you must pick one to participate) and the society overall.

The factions are maybe the most interesting part of the society play. You pick your faction at character creation. It might affect the character type you play, as the factions lean different ways or focus on different things, but it doesn't affect race or much else mechanically. The Pathfinder Society as laid out seems very much like Star Trek's Federation, if the Federation had groups with different goals who are trying to get a leg up on the competition, working together for convenience and benefit only until such time as there is a great enough opening to gain power.

There are five factions each with their own view of the world and way of approaching things. Each scenario in the year contains two missions for each faction that must be quite intertwined given these scenarios are meant for 4 hour convention games. It's really fascinating to consider the plots and subplots that can be involved in the machinations of these factions. I'd really like to see how things play out considering that the faction missions--sub-agendas--are ultimately meant to be completed; both tied to and separate from the main adventure plot. The final result, a push and pull of power, the fallout of such results, the possibilities for the future, it's just way too exciting.

It must be amazing to see how it all falls in place. Perhaps amazing enough someone should chronicle them--say as novels. Not that I'd want to undertake such a Herculean task, especially as someone sitting on the outside of it all, meaning not one of the scenario writing staff.

Robert G. Male

I'm a Gamer and this is what I'm Reading

I'm reading the Guide to Pathfinder Society Organised Play 2.0.

The core book of the game, and other books for it are found at...

Pathfinder began as an offshoot of D&D 3.5, but is now its own system, something almost of a D&D3.75 with its own unique setting.  The Organised Play system allows for characters built to specification to be played in any tournament game, or official Pathfinder game. Each year specific adventure modules are released that form the official stories of the society. 

It might be something akin to Living Greyhawk, though I'm not entirely sure given I've never been involved in a living campaign. I'm interested in reading about because it is a fascinating idea having a game with a timeline that people can follow that is added to continually. Nothing stops you from playing at your own pace, or skipping bits, or playing your own adventures, but it must be rewarding for those involved.


If you know more about the Pathfinder Society and what it's like to be a part of it, or have played in a living campaign, drop me a comment.


Robert G. Male