Sims 4 – Getting Together

I actually pre-ordered the Get Together expansion for Sims 4, but what with holiday busy-ness and end-of-year business it was some weeks before I actually got to play it. I wasn’t too worried — as I’ve said elsewhere, the Sims seems to be the most lasting game I’ve played in the last few years, along with World of Warcraft. (And since I haven’t logged in to the latter in something like 6+ months, I’m seriously thinking I should at least cancel my sub and save myself 100-odd bucks a year. I can always resub later on.)

In any case I’ve got some playing done here and there in the last couple of weeks. Rather than try the expansion with my current Legacy family (the Stylishes), I decided to start a whole new game, and the screenshots below are from that. The gal in question in Leslie Free — I’d initially intended to let her do her own thing, hence the name, but my control-freakiness soon threw that notion out the window.

It also dawned on me that I’d never tried the Scientist career from the Get to Work expansion, so Leslie is well on her way to becoming a mad scientist. It’s fun. The job requests (for progress & promotion) can be a little silly and overly-pushy in terms of having you be a ‘mad’ scientist, but the workplace is fun. I wouldn’t mind a bit more variety in the work hours as you go up the chain — it’s currently Monday – Friday 10AM-7PM no matter what rank you’re at — but that’s a minor niggle. And I get to make TRANSMOGRIFIERS!! It’s not called that (actually you can name it that if you like), but that’s basically what it is. Pick an object, point the ray-gun, and zzzzzzaaappp! it turns into something else. So far it’s turned into nothing useful, though I did turn some flowers at the park into a lovely coffee table, but apparently later on this could be lucrative. As someone who is always spending all my Simoleons on house upgrades I remain skeptical, but we’ll see.

Anyway, here are some not-entirely-random screenshots that document Leslie’s progress so far.

Begone, 2015!

Happy New Year everyone.

2015 wasn’t exactly a banner year here, but it wasn’t a dreadful one either. I do need to thank the Belghast once again for his Blaugust initiative, without which this blog would have seen a great deal fewer posts this year and be that much closer to extinction. As it is, we cling grimly to life for another year, but not so well that I’m going to embarrass us all with the stats.

Have a good NYE if you’re celebrating, don’t drink and drive (seriously), and may your 2016 be happy, healthy and harmonious.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 01:  Fireworks light up the skyline over Sydney Harbour during the midnight fireworks session as Sydney Celebrates New Year's Eve with the theme of 'Time To Dream' on January 1, 2012 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Tabletop RPGs – Bundles of Doom

If anyone out there doesn’t yet know the Bundle of Holding folks, it’s time you did.

They are single-handedly responsible for depleting my pension fund and the college fund of the kids I don’t have. But hey, it goes to chariddy, so that’s ok.

Follow them on Twitter, or sign up for their e-mail alerts and you too can enjoy the luxurious feeling of having more RPG systems in your reading list than you can read if you live to be 120. Do it for nostalgia, new systems, or just plain nerdhood.

I hate these guys. Which in Ysh-speak means I love these guys. Can’t post more, I’m chewing up my crappy bandwidth downloading the latest offering. Click below for said latest offering.

never enough RPGs

Freebie Calendar – The Roll of Doom

So in the end there were only like 3 names to roll between for my ah-mayzing calendar giveaway, literally:

And since I’m a useless tosser and forgot that yesterday was Monday and The Great Roll-Off day, I’m going to roll it live right now. Please try to contain your excitement.

We’re going to use our handy-dandy Wizards of the Coast dice roller:

WOTC roller

And we’re going to roll 1d3. We could roll 1d6 and assign two numbers to each contestant. Or 1d100 and ignore the 100, or… Whoops sorry, going all nerdy there for a second. Stephanie shall be 1, Syl shall be 2, and TBCKAB shall be 3. 4 is right out. Anyway, heeeeeere we go. Drum-roll please…..

winner

Syl wins the calendar!

/corks pop /applause /and-the-crowd-of-5-goes-wild

kermitwildIncidentally, the main image results for Googling “Kermit goes wild” are enough to make you lose your faith in humanity. Assuming you had any to begin with.

@Syl, you’re going to have to PM me your snail-mail address, though there’s no huge hurry since I don’t have either calendar yet. I’m guessing this won’t happen until the new year. You can reach me at ysharros at gmail dot com.

Tabletop RPGs – Firefly

Burn the land and boil the sea

I’m jumping around all these shiny new-to-me systems like a flea with another flea up its butt, and I have to admit the idea of playing Firefly is super-hyper-duper-attractive, at least on paper. In RPGs like in so many other games, sometimes the idea of playing something is a lot better than the actual experience, but we don’t always know until we try it. And I’m pretty sure I’m going to want to try it.

The Clues before Snooze  group (oh yes please, get me a better name, I’ll pay you in free mints) is now two groups, cunningly named Left-Pondians (North-America) and Right-Pondians (Europe). We’re sitting at 3-6 players for the Left-Pondians and currently 3 for the Right-Pondians, and there are spaces left in the Europe-time group if anyone is interested; let me know in the comments or wherever.*

We have no idea what we’re going to play next, in either group, though I’m glad they all had a good enough time with the Dresden Files Accelerated Edition playtesting to want to carry on. I’m certainly not going to force a system or setting on anyone, though I will definitely argue for trying Firefly in at least one of them, likely the Right-Pondians because Brian, one of our Left-Pondian players, is *gasp* not a die-hard fan of the series. I know, right?! (Here’s an excellent post on how it’s warm and comfy as a childhood Saturday in front of the telly. And yes, Mr. Fillion is totes swoon-worthy as the complete smart yet stupid, slightly bumbling but strong almost-bad-boy, thinking girl’s crumpet package. Ahem. Where were we?)

Firefly

So, yes. Going to be trying this one out, even if I have to play with myself.

Play IT with myself.

Yes. That.

You can’t take the sky from me

In my quest to remember how to GM (which is roughly like riding a bicycle) and almost certainly as a desperate displacement tactic so that I don’t actually have to think about the upcoming don’t-yet-exist omg-what-shall-we-do campaigns — because I’m glutton enough to want to do it not once, but twice, for two different groups — I’ve been reading system books, GMing books, prepping books, GMing and gaming and playing and RPG websites and lions and tigers and bears, oh my! My brand-new download of Evernote is already brimming with things to read, remember, or consider.

I’ve even downloaded the demo version of Scrivener to see if it’ll help me manage my games more effectively, because my management technique is pretty much exactly like what I described my brain to be: an explosion in a gummy-bear factory:

gummybearexplosion

I’ve only run through the tutorial but so far it seems pretty awesome. It’s structured, which will help me, but not so structured that my brain rebels and goes FUCK YOU I’M JUST GOING TO USE POST-IT NOTES THAT WILL FALL OFF THE MONITOR AND GET EATEN BY THE DOGS AND THEN YOU WILL NEVER KNOW WHO THE BIG BAD WAS WHO TRAPPED TIMMY DOWN THE MINE.

My brain likes to shout at me. The meds should be kicking in any day now.

They also do an idea-jotter that’s kinda-sorta-but-not-quite like a mind-mapping program, called Snapple. No wait, Scrapple. No, that’s not it. Scapple!

Best of all, both versions come with a 30-day trial which is a genuine 30 days of use trial, not a 30-days-from-when-you-install-it trial. That’s the kind of demo I like, especially when it’s for a product that looks as though I might seriously want it. They’re giving me plenty of time to become irretrievably hooked… and then buying them isn’t even that expensive. Oh, they are cunning.

Anyway, to get back to the original point, I’ve added about a million new sites to the Feedly feed I don’t check nearly enough, because somehow in all the other crap going on in my life I’ll find the time to read 25 blog posts every day. (Said lots of people, perhaps, but not me, ever.**)

Here are two I found just today, shared because they cropped up in my search for Firefly reviews and I loved the style and tone of both of them: The Reef and Ed Plays Games. Also, as a French person and French-speaker, I can’t not like someone whose domain name is Nasty Anemone.

All right then. Since this blog post is itself a displacement activity that I’m doing to delay the time I have to sit down and try to brainstorm some campaign ideas (because I want to have a few ideas the groups can spitball off rather than starting in a vacuum and the inevitable awkward silence***), I’d best toddle off and do that thing.

Just like riding a bicycle…

– – – – – – – – – – – – – –

* The groups are intended to meet for sessions once every two weeks, since even in my RPG-deprived state I don’t think I can run two sessions and attend another as a player every week. Prospective players will be asked to commit to that as best they can, or there’s little point in having a ‘regular’ gaming group. We’re currently using Roll20 as a VTT platform and it works rather better than I expected, though we haven’t exactly stretched its capacities so far.

** But I live in hope. I am going to give Dave Allen’s Getting Things Done method another shot in the new year. I’m half-hooked from my first read-through of the method some months back but have yet to apply most of the principles. But I will. Because as a chronically anxious person with real issues finding meds that work, anything that lets me empty the whirling morass that is my brain and occasionally actually relax, knowing that things are under some semblance of control, would be wonderful.

*** See what I did there?

 

 

Christmanukkahwanza freebie

Now that the Kickstarter is over, I have a buddy one of Matthew Stawicki’s 2016 Calendar to give away for the Holidays*. Comment below, or on G+/FB/Twitter and your name will be added to a hat. I’ll do a random roll thingy on Monday the 14th.

I’m not certain I can swing sending this outside the US. International shipping rates are crazy at the moment… But feel free to take a shot if you want one.

Stawicki calendar 2016
* I have no idea whether I’ll actually get my calendars in time to send them on for Xmas, so I use the term loosely.

IntPiPoMo – final miscellanea

I was going to write about how the Sims seems to have ended up as my go-to solo game for the last 6 years (since the Sims 3 came out, in fact), but I can’t seem to find my old Sims 3 screenshots. They’re not lost — they’re just buried in what is now a secondary-secondary drive slaved in from the computer I had back in 2009. And I can’t be arsed to go find them.

Instead, here are a few of the other screenies I came across while looking for the ones you’re not going to see.

Guild Wars 2

I didn’t play it for more than a few weeks, but it sure was pretty.

GW2_2

gw2_3

gw2_4

gw2_5

gw2_6

FFXIV – A Realm Reborn

After a very unfortunate beta and first launch (tried one and therefore skipped the other), FFXIV came back better, stronger and faster. I thought I’d play it until the earth got swallowed by the sun, but like so many other MMOs I’ve played in the last decade, it didn’t stick. I’m not sure why, because I have very fond memories of it — aside from the need to do dungeons to progress the main story whether I wanted to or not — but as I wrote elsewhere I think that has a lot more to do with me and the lack of a constant group of known-people (friends, even) to play with than with any flaws in the game itself.

ffxiv_01

ffxiv_02

ffxiv_03

ffxiv_04

…Aaaand, that’s 50 (52 for the nit-picky). If Thanksgiving weekend food-excess and torpor allow, I might post a few more before November becomes December, but don’t count on it. Thank God for IntPiPoMo, or I might not have posted at all this month! Ahhh Blaugust, where art thou?

Happy Thankstuffing, US folks. Belated Thanksgiving, Canadia folks. Booyah, everyone else.

IntPiPoMo – Dragon Ages

[For the benefit of Gamer Girl’s sanity, these are pix 22-43.]

I have not finished a single one of the Dragon Age games, but I still enjoyed the hell out of what time I spent in them — which is almost none for DA:Inq, but I’m sure I’ll get to it eventually; it pouts at me every time I open Origin and then click on the Sims 4. And I have literally five million screenshots from the various games, which in non-hyperbole-land translates to somewhere around 1,000. Which is still quite a lot.

So here are a few of them for IntPiPoMo. Click to enlarge as usual.

Dragon Age: Origins

[Edit — so I didn’t mean to put in quite so many DAO pix but seriously, they’re all awesome and they all bring back memories, which is exactly what screenshots should do. I might just have to play the game again over Thanksgiving…]

“What’s all this Ridley Scott pollen shit in the air anyway? My allergies are killing me.”

DAO1One of my favourite characters ever, looks-wise. Even though bald and tattooed isn’t usually my thing. She was just BADASS.

DAO2Another badass DAO character. Come to think of it, they were all badass, even the elves (and that’s saying something).

DAO3Yes, I really liked playing the Origin stories. Don’t judge me.

DAO4A) I’m kinda liking this bald thing. It’s a lot more comfortable under helmets. B) My armour may have totally ridiculous cleavage, but at least I’m not wearing a belt over my boobs like that witch bint up there.

DAO5

But she does get all the best lines.

DAO12

Shit just got real, yo.

DAO6Demon bad.

DAO8

DAO7

Hey hero lady, I don’t suppose you can do something about us constantly being covered in blood? My dry-cleaning and armour-scouring bills are killing me.

DAO9

And of course, a dragon.. or eight.

DAO10DAO11

Dragon Age 2 – The Unsubtitled

Still with the dragons?! Oh right, it’s Dragon Age…

DA2_1

Morrigan’s mum, also dragony, also clearly a graduate of the Maleficent School of Sartorial Style.

DA2_2

If the kid says “Enchantment? Enchantment!” ever, at all, where I can hear him, I’m going to gouge his eyes out with a spoon. And I’m not even sure why…

DA2_3

And, uh, that’s it apparently. I got a bit further than that in game but it just wasn’t grabbing me as much.

Dragon Age: Inquisition

Which is still better than how far I got in this game: maybe 3 hours and barely out of the tutorial (I think). Even so, I have 90 screenshots, which averages out to one every 2 minutes, so either I knew IntPiPoMo was coming up (a whole year down the line almost to the day), or I just thought the game was very pretty. Hell, even the “Game is loading” screen was awesome.

I should actually play this sometime, I suspect.

DAI_1

I’m only in the character creation section and already I’m way more badass than the other bints you made. Keep me. We will kill many things together.

Sorrow2_1

Holy crap these game controls SUCK. Or YOU suck. You almost made me shoot an arrow up my own butt!

DAI_2

I swear, guys, I have no idea where that’s coming from!

DAI_3

DA:I demon – now with 25% more arachnid!

DAI_4

Did I die and end up in Medieval Band heaven? Well, at least the outfit’s not bad.

DAI_5

 

 

 

 

 

IntPiPoMo – Pets and places

I’m not much of one to be photographed, and I don’t much care about photographing other people, however horrible and antisocial that may sound. But landscapes, the weather, my pets and other animals… those I do like to take pictures of. Here are a few of the ones I found when going through the 2013 folders. Note that I am an enthusiastic but entirely unskilled photographer.

You know, I could make a killer slide set from those, invite some friends over, and drive them all insane by forcing them to watch 3,000 slides that nobody but me gives a shit about.

In the meantime, here’s a half-dozen or so. That’s only worth 1d4 SAN points. Click for much larger versions.

None of the images are processed (I wouldn’t know how).

1 & 2: We live on the eastern slopes of the Sandia mountains near Albuquerque, and they’re different from moment to moment 365 days a year. Our sunsets are really short but they make up for it by being quite frequently incandescent. I keep trying to capture the colours but don’t usually succeed.

Sunset over the Sandias

Sunset2

3. Only one snow picture. I’m being restrained, because it occurs to me that not everyone finds cold wet white stuff as fascinating as I do.

Snow1

4-9 : My dogs and assorted other animals. Neva, the husky, gives the one of the best head-tilts I’ve ever seen on a dog. The birds are just cute, and hard to capture (for me, anyway).

Neva1
What?
Wait, what?
Wait, what?
Basenji in the snow
Basenji in the snow

Birds1

Birds2

Hummingbird3

And finally, 10: A picture of my grandad’s house. No, seriously, it’s a picture of Chambord Castle in the Loire valley, which is only a few miles from where my grandad used to live. I am not allowed to bring people to that area without a) making them visit lots of local markets, sample lots of cheese and sample even more wine and b) making them visit this particular castle among the gajillons that line the various rivers of the region. The castle itself is some medieval e-peen thing where the French king Francis I was trying to prove that he had a bigger one than everyone else.

Chambord2