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Topics - Cramulus

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RPG Ghetto / Warpheim: a discordian tabletop game
« on: September 24, 2013, 08:42:29 pm »

Saw this floating around the web. Website links straight to the PDF:

Only just cracked it open, so I don't have any comments yet --- but I figured it should be posted here!

Apple Talk / The Joy of MS Painting
« on: September 23, 2013, 04:44:28 pm »
Below, you will see an incomplete drawing I hastily made using MS Paint.

Copy this image to your clipboard, fire up a shitty image editor, and fill in a bit more of the picture, then post the results.

Apple Talk / What is a spag?
« on: September 23, 2013, 04:39:58 pm »
Post your own definition/imagery of a "spag".

For me, the perfect image of a spag is:

an obnoxious ten year old boy making too much noise and windmilling his arms for no goddamn reason

Or Kill Me / like things that are cool, hate things that suck
« on: September 20, 2013, 03:16:39 pm »
"Beavis and Butthead like things that are cool, and hate things that suck."

Saw that description on netflix and it made me laugh, and I'm still processing why.

It's like a zen koan. It sounds so dumb! Why? Is it because B&B's dialog is so stupid, when you try to summarize it, it sounds even stupider? Like trying to describe the oft mundane plot of Seinfeld, "It's a show about nothing." Or when somebody asks me what I did today, and it doesn't make a great narrative, I say, "Ah nothing much."

And that line fascinates me because it's also a description of so many conversations I have. We're all collectively processing the news, pop culture, whatever thing comes down the reality tunnel into the perceptual field. Most processing happens on the first circuit of consciousness. Either you eat it (cool) or you run away from it (sucks). Approach or avoid. We add a lot of data to that decision but at its core it's very basic.

I heard that the kernel of inspiration for Beavis and Butthead was a moment when Mike Judge was eating lunch in a mall food court, and he was listening to these two teenagers talking, and they sounded so stupid, so utterly moronic, that he had to draw a cartoon about them----and the rest is history.

And meanwhile, I'm sitting in a living room having a spirited debate about Obama Drones Syria NSA etc etc etc, and what do I have to say about it? If you boil it down, I'm either saying "that's cool" or "that sucks".

And in parallel

                      A student once asked his teacher, "Master, what is enlightenment?"

                      The master replied, "When hungry, eat. When tired, sleep."

it sounds really dumb, and yet---                  does it need to be complicated?

maybe beavis and butthead     (read: us)
are enlightened masters     (read: cool)
but maybe     (hang on)
they are shitheads     (read: sucks)

Apple Talk / Teen Exorcists
« on: September 11, 2013, 03:13:14 pm »
From the "reality is too hilarious to be unscripted" file


Here's a quick intro

Three teen girls, trained by Rev Bob Larson, are being trained to exorcise demons. He is trying to get them a reality TV show, so he's sending them on these high profile exorcisms, like trying to save England from Harry Potter. (did you know that the magic in harry potter is REAL and those movies are the culmination of centuries of evil witch planning)

In this video, the journalist corners bob larson, who believes that half the global population is possessed by demons and will sell you his services as an exorcist. The money shot in the video shows one of the girls texting while performing the exorcism.

and the journalist is like, "Aren't you taking money from people who in some cases actually need real psychiatric help?"

and his answer is so great, he basically says, "I get paid well because what I do is important in the public eye"

right now I'm listening to Anderson Cooper's half hour episode on the topic. It is awesome. Anderson isn't pulling any punches.

I lovvvvve it. Somebody asks the girls if what they are doing is responsible, and they say "Oh we have parental supervision, Brynne's dad is there the whole time."

It's 2013. You have the right to believe any crazy shit you want, and sell products or services to poor suckers who are just as crazy as you.


Apple Talk / Artemis - Star Trek Bridge Simulator
« on: August 20, 2013, 05:10:48 pm »
Artemis is a Star Trek Bridge simulator. It's played with 6 people in the same room. It uses five to six laptops/tablets/mobile whatever.

Each laptop is a different control station: communications, helm, weapons, engineering, science... and then there's a captain who doesn't have any controls, but is basically the ship's brain, coordinating the different officers. You hook one laptop up a TV which acts as the "main screen".

You play a mission that lasts 10-20 minutes, then everybody switches stations. It's REALLY REALLY FUN.

gameplay footage:

Apple Talk / Which Gathering Would You Attend?
« on: August 19, 2013, 05:33:53 pm »


Apple Talk / Literally
« on: August 15, 2013, 03:57:53 pm »


ZOMG like, literally, right?

:lulz:  :crankey:  I just...  So much.  So much :wail: :argh!: :stabbydeathkill:

I'm laughing, but mostly at how twisted people get when language changes.

If you listen to how people talk in 2013, yes, this is one of the meanings of "literally". That doesn't cancel the previous definition, it expands it. This process has happened at some point to most of the words in our language.

It's the same dance with AAVE (african american vernacular English, sometimes called "Ebonics") -- are AAVE speakers just speaking English wrong? or does that grammar and usage represent a legitimate dialect? For some reason, people get very hostile about this issue.  :lol:

Apple Talk / Today I Failed To Learn...
« on: August 12, 2013, 11:06:44 pm »
TIFL you can't just start a thread for no reason

« on: August 12, 2013, 04:38:47 pm »

How the FUCK am I supposed to find the hottest new websites? This is fucking bullshit. I'm not going back to goddamn lycos.

Techmology and Scientism / Your New Car is Spying On You
« on: July 23, 2013, 03:26:49 pm »

Nearly every car being manufactured right now comes with a little added bonus by way of a tiny recording device nestled under the center console. And if you’re looking to keep your driving habits under wraps, you might want to start worrying.

As many as 96 percent of the cars mass-produced in 2013 include event data recorders, or EDRs, yet the existence of these small “black box” surveillance devices are rarely known among the automobile drivers whose data is being collected with every quick turn of the steering wheel.

Despite widespread ignorance of the EDRs, though, they could soon become mandatory. The US Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is asking that the installation of EDRs in light passenger vehicles be mandatory starting September 2014, and opponents are already attempting to raise awareness in order to make auto drivers aware that their sudden speed bursts and even seatbelt data is being collected and could be easily shared.

Depending on the type of EDR, these black boxes can record the speed of a vehicle, the crash force at the moment of impact and an array of other information about the automobile’s inner workings.

“It really just takes a snapshot of the event,” John Giamalvo of told CBS News.

Other information that can be collected and then shared includes whether or not the car’s brake was activated before the crash, the state of the engine and whether the vehicle seat belt was buckled before an incident.

Apple Talk / Microreligions
« on: July 19, 2013, 04:01:30 pm »
There are a million ways to be holy and it only takes 5 minutes to get there. We are spiritual pioneers, hacking a shortcut through the postmodern jungle with a machete of blind ignorant faith.

Microreligion #412: Excreationism. We simulate the creation of the universe by stripping naked, sitting in darkness, and taking a huge dump.

Microreligion #190: Cafe Gnosticism. We consume toxic amounts of caffeine in order to slash the material veils of the 40 hour work week.

Microreligion #284: Murdochism. We believe everything printed in a Newscorp publication is literally true. Join us on MySpace.

Microreligion #128: Emotichondria - We believe each emoticon is an archetypal force which we can commune with via a ritual conducted in an IRC channel.

We believe there is an afterlife reserved for forgotten emoticons. Somewhere, :-$ and =:o] sit on a cloud, playing harps. At last, self expression.

Microreligion #162: Wiccan Reconstructionism. We are reviving traditional witchcraft as it was depicted in 1996 documentary "The Craft".

Apple Talk / Ingress
« on: July 18, 2013, 04:46:20 pm »

Anybody here playing Ingress?

If so, what's your experience been like?

For those of you that haven't heard of it --

Ingress is a game for mobile devices running android. It's a video game that you play by walking around in the real world. It's an ARG, definitely the biggest one ever launched. Here's how it works:

There's a blue team and a green team. (I'm on the green team)

Many public locations (mostly public art, parks, and public buildings like libraries and post offices) are "portals". A portal can be controlled by either team.

You can "hack" a portal if you're within a certain distance of it. That's like opening a treasure chest, when you do it, you get a few pieces of random gear.

Each portal has resonators surrounding it, these are like the portal's health bar. You deploy them to defend a portal, or you attack them to capture a portal.

Portals can be outfitted with upgrades that defend the resonators from damage or attack opponents when they get too close.

If your team controls several portals, you can link them together to create a "field", and capture territory for your team. There is a global score that is constantly shifting based on how much territory each team controls.

I find this is a video game that gets me out of the house a lot. I'll notice that a portal near my house has been damaged, so I walk up the street and repair it. Or another player needs gear, so I go somewhere private and drop a bunch of equipment. He then has to get within 10 meters of the dropoff location, spot the gear in his ingress scanner, and pick it up.

It's made me explore my neighborhood quite a bit. Made me notice little trails and statues which I normally just drive past. And I've now met seven or eight people who live nearby and I would never have otherwise bumped into.

The game is still in beta, and it's being updated constantly. There is an ongoing story, which is dispensed in the form of media items... once a week, when you hack a portal, you'll find an "Ingress Report" which is a little 5-minute video about current events in the game. Sometimes they stage plot events in big cities where you could actually meet some of the game NPCs and influence the story. They also have a website where plot info is kept, and it's full of bizarre puzzles. If you solve a puzzle, it gives you a code you can plug into your scanner for free gear. (although you have to be one of the first people to solve that particular puzzle, so I haven't succeeded at that yet)

It's a very interesting game. It's kind of like geocaching but with teams. Not perfect yet, by a long shot... but I enjoy that we are finally playing games that combine GPS and RPG elements. It's so bizarre to me that I'm playing a video game which involves getting exercise. Every so often, I bump into my neighborhood nemesis, the guy who foils all my plans and controls most of the nearby territory. It's weird, because our relationship exists on this game layer which is invisible to everybody else.

Just the other week, I was standing outside of this bar (girlfriend was smoking a cigarette), and trying to capture the nearby enemy portal. Suddenly, my nemesis came running down the street, phone in hand, to recharge the resonators and block my attack. He looked up and saw me standing there, and we shook our fists at each other. My friends were like, "What's going on?" They didn't even know that the two of us were engaged in this hyper-nerdy form of gang warfare.

Apple Talk / Deck Duel
« on: July 16, 2013, 03:55:48 pm »
Deck Duel
(c) Cramulus

A fighting game for 2-4 players using regular playing cards.

Setting Up: Each player is dealt a hand of cards and given some tokens to represent life points. One player is given an “initiative” marker.

In a 2 person game, you get 5 cards and 5 life points.
In a 3 person game, you get 6 cards and 6 life points.
In a 4 person game, you get 7 cards and 7 life points.

Black cards represent kicks. Red cards represent punches. The card’s number indicates how strong the attack is.

Taking Turns: Play is divided into rounds. The player with the initiative marker acts first. Then, play goes to the left.

Attacking: On your turn, you may play one attack. This attack is applied to each opponent simultaneously. Each opponent may try to block it by throwing a card of the same color and an equal or higher number. For example, a red 5 can only be blocked by a red card of 5 or higher. If the attack is not blocked, the defender loses a life point.

Flying Attacks: If you have two cards of the same number (example, the two of spades and the two of hearts), you may use them together as a flying attack. Both cards in the flying attack deal 1 damage and must be blocked separately. If the defender can only block one of the cards, the attack deals 1 damage.

Counter Attacks: If you block an attack using a card with the same number (for example, blocking a jack of clubs with a jack of spades), it is called a counter attack. The block card counts as an attack against the original attacker. He or she may attempt to block it as normal. You may not counter a flying attack.

“Finish Him!” When a player runs out of life points, he or she is dying. The person who landed the final attack may immediately throw an attack as a “finishing move”. If the dying player can block the finishing move, he or she survives the match but is still knocked out. If the dying player cannot block the finishing move, he or she is beheaded.

At the end of the round (after everybody has taken a turn), draw cards until your hand is full again. The initiative marker is passed to the left.

How to Win: You get one point for being the last player alive in a round. You lose a point for being beheaded. Play a few games to see who is the best fighter!

RPG Ghetto / Human Occupied Landfill
« on: July 15, 2013, 06:19:04 pm »
Human Occupied Landfill, or HOL, is a tabletop RPG printed in the 90s.

Game Rulebook:

Wikipedia page:

At this point, I'm really used to playing overproduced, highly polished RPGs. Books with a dozen editors, a highly trained design & layout department, and tons of official branding and merch. I'm used to books with proper spelling and well-playtested rules.

HOL has none of that. But it has more spirit than any RPG book I've ever read.

First, take a scroll through the rulebook in the link above. Notice how the book is ALL HAND WRITTEN? It screams 90s zine. It makes me want to write a 90s zine. It was picked up by White Wolf's Black Dog division. Black Dog specialized in edgy, fringe, often experimental games which probably wouldn't work for a mainstream RPG audience. All the black dog publications have attitude. This book has a bad attitude which will get it sent to bed without supper, but instead it stays up listening to punk rock and drawing pictures of guns.

Writing an RPG is a labor of love. HOL was clearly a labor of hate. You can tell from the blurb on the back cover:

We know that look.

That "If I have to check for traps one more time, I'm going to sneak a spoonful of drain cleaner into the GM's yoo-hoo and start screaming "GUESS YOU FAILED YOUR SEARCH CHECK ON THAT ONE MR. TEN BY TEN STONE CORRIDOR."

You need help.

You need HOL.

Science Fiction Roleplaying for gamers who've had a really bad day. Get it before you hurt someone.

These guys hate D&D. You can tell. They played it to death and now they're bored as hell. You can see it in their parodies of D&D munchkins and "gary" style gaming. They want something more, but they're not entirely sure what. Just that it's loud, and rude, and might result in personal injury.

I get the sense that HOL was written more or less as it popped into the authors heads. You can tell they were making it up as they were writing it. The rules are difficult to understand. They self-contradict. They ramble. They go off on diatribes. The example text for how to parry an attack goes in circles until the GM (or HolMeister as they are called in this game) decides its too complicated and tells the player to fuck off and just dodge the goddamn attack already.

Most games start their book with a disclaimer which tells you it's just a game. This game begins with a claimer, promising you that playing this game will lead to drug use, psychosis, and kitten murder.

I'm not sure if HOL is playable. I'm going to find out. The rules are really weird. The setting is there, but there are no plot hooks or story ideas, just a lot of setting elements. There are no rules for character creation. Just "come up with a character, and the GM will gut it, then give you some numbers." I'm not really sure if the numbers even matter. It's like the whole game is about the attitude.

We're gonna play this week. My friend is going to run it--he says he played a few sessions back in the 90s and it's actually playable. I'll believe it when I see it. I started to make a character - I'm going to be a Health and Safety Inspector who specializes in trivia and quiz shows. I'm not going to take any combat skills, but I will have the ability to throw fundraisers and make my voice sound really important. If I understand the game properly, at some point I should punch another player in the face. (right, Player, not Character.)

So that's a quick intro to HOL: Human Occupied Landfill. Take a flip through it, check out what I mean. It's like a fractal. If the book feels like it's flipping you off, it's because every paragraph, every sentence, every piece of punctuation, is also flipping you off.

Any of you guys seen this book? Tried it? Lived to tell the tale?

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