Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The law of unescapeness

Drawing by Rock Ray.

The sketch on the leftshows a couple of differences from the more final drawing on the right. You can have a couple minutes of fun by trying to find them all.

Now, on to more serious matters. surely you heard of the infamous Murphy's law. Well, let me tell you, it's not just some superstition, or some obscure wandering of fate, karma coincidence, nor destiny. In fact, it's one of the unescapable laws of our universe. I personally place it right after the law of chaos, in terms of how much it influences our lives. (In short, the law of chaos, is what makes it harder to be born, than to die. The reason why it is easier to destroy than build, and such. Note that there are limitless ways to die, and just one to give birth. Another example: If you throw 7000 rocks on the same spot with a catapult, rarely will you end up with a gothic cathedral built from that process)

Murphy's law is relatively complex, but can be summarised pretty well with this sentence. 'The opposite of one's will is more likely to happen than not, especially if that said will is oriented towards well being'

Let's pick some examples from any given commoner such as me. (but it could easily be you) Saying that none of the following has ever occured to you is like telling me you're an X men, and that your power is to evade Murphy's law. Or, you could compare Murphy's law inevitability, by comparing it to the last drop(s) of urine unfailing to end in the boxers not matter how long you wipe it or shake it dry.

That being said, let's proceed.

Notice with what ease will any shere or even slightly circular object roll under the most 'Hard to reach under' place in a room.

The same way, a key located in a cargo or army pant will be found last no matter what. The same could be said about a key holder that holds various unfamiliar keys. the one that will open the door will be the first you have tried, but didn't work the first time. If you flip it the other way to counter the Murphy effect, the key will still be last. NO ESCAPE!

If you succeed in a particular task or prowess, you'll surely notice that no one was watching. If you attempt again in front of an audience, your failure however will not pass unnoticed.

Throw a toast in the air ion a flipping manner. (the toast has to be buttered with any condiment that will effectively provide a stain upon landing (because don't hope, the toast will land on the side on which something was spread)) If you tell me that the weight of the condiment is suffiscient to influence the flip, you are clearly a sceptic, and haven't tried it. It does feel like flipping heads or tails 10 times on heads and losing each time, then switching to tails only to flip heads that time.

Wear white and drink raisin juice, and then, wear black and drink raisin juice. You'll only spill juice on the white T shirt oddly.

When you look for a job, no opportunities come for months, just long enough to suffer and smash your ego to bits. Once it is done, and that further humiliations would be pointless since you are at your lowest, ALL jobs you have applied for, call you the SAME day.

Notice also that Murphy's law will strike particularly often once you are aware of its existence. I have yet to determine if that is caused by just not realizing you're a victim, or by the actual Law itself.

I'd be very pleased to hear your tales of Murphyness, and forgive me Al, for not recalling perfectly your Murphy stories, and thus not writing them hereupon.

Monday, June 26, 2006

The Bucheron Express

As it comes to be expected these days, original drawing, LD (me), and nicely shaded by Rock Ray.

in the last two months, I stumpled onto dozens of people I hadn't seen in a long while.
One comment, the same everytime.
OMG! You lost so much weight. Look at you!!!
Even the guy at the movie rental was like..
Yooooo! Go see a doctor! Have you read 'Thinner?!'
-Well I have.
-You're just like him. What is wrong with you!?
-beeeh. Gimme that movie!

Shaddi and the Duong brothers were like YOOOOOO! at Mira.
Aye. I'll eat.

Well, afraid of being sick and constantly losing weight, I started eating relentlessly.
Since then, Bacon, A&W all the time, no restraint at all on all that is greasy and full of sugar.
Two Milkshakes per day, and all the stuff I like brought to abuse.
It's kind of funny going through that. You eat all you want, all the stuff forbidden by the dietetists with no sense of measure.
Slowly but surely, the abundance of food worked its magic, and I gained a bit of weight, and now I heard, I'm back to normal.
(well, still a bit thinner than before.)
I have the kind of body that can't gain weight whatever I do. (well, almost, fortunately.)
I'm almost like that friend of mine Charles.
The guy was on a 7 meals a day diet for two years that included six whole eggs in the morning and the such, and didn't manage to gain a pound. Where are these calories going?
Well, probably at the same place one of your socks goes after a wash.
In the void.

So, If I kick myself in the butt (or groin) hard enough, I can get my membership at the gym, and regain the body I had as displayed on the picture above.

Yo Al, I didn't forget the issue you asked me to write about.
I will, it's just that it is late, and I have much to tell about it.
I will, when I start writing those lines earlier.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Leading to

Original drawing by me. Shading by Rock-Ray.

Dark knight in the Marearka project.

We had a meeting today with the whole company. The main invitee was a wockey coach that brought the Junior team Canada to the gold medal in the world junior championship.

He was there to tell us about working in a team and about leadership. I love working as a team, but I must confess I never had thought much about leadership. Leadership I believe forges itself in a person with a personality that makes him or her attractive to other people.

It is not something you can acquire easily, it is something partly genetic in the sense that it is thought from your parents and relatives as you grow. It is also greatly fashionned from your experiences in life. It is true however that you can acquire some.

The guy today was telling us how to be leader. Not anyone can be one I thought, otherwise, who would be there to follow?

The existence of a leader directly depends on the people following. Without them, the leader is no more. In a way then, the leader depends on his or her followers. As soon as they start disliking the leader, the leader is no more. That's how the leader is led by his followers into being flawless. The leader leads the followers, and they in return lead the leader.

That's when the true questin comes in. Which kind of leader are you? Me? A neutral leader.

I love to obey and follow a good leader just like I to bring down a bad one. (which I only had to do once thankfully.) I will be a leader though, when the time is right. For now? Learn. It is the best way to achieve goals. I know I have talent and good ideas, the recollection will come in due time.

That's why communications are important. Team work too.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The Conceptuals

I was eager to show you the early concepts for the Marearka project.
These drawings might be five years old, but they still hold all the key elements of what I want the finals to look like.

Top is the layout for a ghoul. Various sorts of ghouls, and this is not even the nastiest.

Middle, is INNM'S, the father of all deamons. Same appearance as an Eldritch. But less bestial. I wanted to achieve something scary and mysterious at the same time.

Down is Arkada the Cessak. The superioir race, conquerors and evil.
Supremacists, and dominators, they represent all that we fear, and what we want to be. Powerful in every aspect.
I wanted to convey here arrogance and absolute power.

I need ideas for monsters, if you think you have a good one, describe it here, and\or, do a sketch.

The Anekdotiks

The starting stats of the Eldritch. Notice the huge intelligence malus he gets upon starting a game. These scores, directly influence your base stats when you start a character.

Now you see what an Eldritch looks like.

I heed Greg's advice, and decide to write you here a couple of funny thing that happenned in the long campains me and my friends have lpayed.

Most recent is definitely Frank starting to play an Eldritch. He started level 1 with Gaas and Alfred who respectively play a monk level 18, and an acrobat alchemist level 17. The game that day was about finding the mechanism of a huge tower that would bring the group down floors while fighting high level magical encounters by high number at once. In Marearka, you can defend from an attack by rolling your protection dice. And frankly, with the level of the enemies being largely superiors to Frank's one hit would have meant death, and the odds of succeeding a block were 5% each time. By rolling 20 on the dice, you would succeed a critical defend, and block the attack. It was the only way for Frank to ever block anything. Would you believe Frank rolled 5 critical defences in a row, leaving all battles untouched and intact.

Think about it, 5%, 5% 5% 5% 5%. All success. WOW!

Next for a funny story, is Charles, playing an assassin level 14. The party had left a village and wandered for two days in the swamps surrounding it. Charles suddenly realized when casting a Identify spell on the trinket an elder back in the village had given him, that it held magical properties. He just didn't know which. Unfortunately, he had the ability to fly granted by a no-less magicl cape he was wearing. So he decides to head off to the village they left back, telling the rest of the crew he would catch up later. On his way back to see the elder, he decides in mid-air, to identify again the trinket in case he sees something more to it. He casts his spell, and rolls 1. A fumble spell. He must now roll to determine which of the twenty possible fumble effects he gets.
What he rolled, was the effect of casting the wrong spell by mistake, rolling it randomly from his list of spells, rather than choosing which one is to be cast. From the list of his spells, he rolls plasma bolt. He was targetting his hand when casting, where the trinket was. The plasma bolt has the same effect of a anti-air missile. Imagine when it blows in your hand. Charles fell 200 feet in the swamp below, far from his party, his corpse slowly digging it's way in the murk, dragged by the weight of his armour, never to be found. That's how he lost his Heroic character slayer of dragons he spent two years getting this far.

When in trouble, vinz's character, Darkiel, as a ranger, would mainly rely on projectiles to get the threat away. So when a merchant of maps in a small city reckonned Vinz's practices as fraudulent, he started screaming to call the guards. Vinz, confident as ever, opted for a called shot. A called shot has a very low percentage of success, but allows a player to to attempt an action normally out of his capabilities. I let him have the called shot with a 3% chance of success due to the distance, and the crazy thing he told me he was attempting. Darkiel's intention was to grab a small rock on the ground and throw it at the scremaing merchant's teeth. He leaned forward, grabbed a rock, and flung it at the merchan't teeth with success. Oh man we laughed.

Tokkai, camping next to a gypsy encampment on the road, rapidely got exasperated at a child scremaing and crying nearby. The mother went had gone to fetch something in the tent to calm the noisy child. Tokkai rapidely closed in seizing the opportunity, and swiftly power-bombed the kid, killing him on the spot. With a gracious toss of the foot, he tumbled the small corpse in a ravine nearby and went back to sleep.

Tokkai, a few weeks before, had been welcomed by the dwellers of a small village floating on a lake. They had given him shelter, food, equipment, and even a small boat to sail his way out. As the villagers were standing on the docks waving their arms in salutations when he departed, Tokkai caught a glimpse at Wu-Lei, the warrior accompanying him. He was giggling as he flung the guide standing beside in the water. Catching the incentive, Tokkai half turned on the boat, his back at the village, and cast a Fire Storm at it. The huge pillars of flames descending on the wooden structures, turning all life into ashes. He kept a straight face the whole time, as Wu-Lei giggled his face bright with the relentless flames. (Just for your information, the magic he cast on the village is pretty hard to summon, and takes at least 100 days to re-emerge.) Lol, damn we laughed. Tokkai is so funny.

I'll tell you more of these tales, but I think you have enough reading for now. Sorry for the quantitiy Sofy.

Monday, June 12, 2006

The Marearka Project

I promised to talk to you about the Marearka project, this pen and paper role playing game.
Let's start about how the game is played. (rules as well) Then, in future posts, I'll tell you about the setting, story, and give you samples of parts of the game. (The battle system and rules alone being simply too big for a single issue, I'll discuss them over dozens of posts.
At any time, feel free to stop me if it's too boring, or if you have an idea of how the concept could be improved, or for any suggestioin at all.

Here we go.
This is the first and main sheet a player gets when he or she starts playing. This is the character sheet that displays all the basic stats.
Of course, there are other stat lists that he gets, but let's start by what makes a character.
First thing to do is choose a race.
You can choose between these races.
Empirean\Syriendi\Elf\Dark Elf\Dwarf\Tlalanth\Talambras\Tribian\ \T'lenn Rath \Forstian\Kwai
and the secret races.
Deamonisher\Eldritch\Succubus\Black Cessak\White Cessak

Then, you must choose a class.
Acrobat\Alchemist\Assassin\Brawler\Martial Artist\Priest\Healer\Necromancer\Paladin\Dark Knight\Thief\Sorcerer\Wizard\Bard\Summoner\Ranger\Samurai\Shukenja\Druid\Monk\Barbarian

Each race has 3 unique skills, and each class has 30.
They are not alone to determine your choice when making a character.
You must consider your race's apperance, way of behaving, bonuses and maluses upon starting to make it.
It must suit the way you intend your character to be played.

Let's look at the main character sheet displayed above. (This is the character sheet of an Eldritch level 1 I just made)
Fill-in your weight, height, sex, and age.
They will be affected somewhat by the race you've chosen. So will your alignment and enemy specie if you have any.
now, look at your alignment. The more it is in the center, the more you will be neutral, whereas extremities of the scale tend to represent a tendency rather unchanging and blatant. For instance, the Eldritch we use as an example here is quite evil, and loyal as well. You could say he's loyal to things evil in general.
He also starts (being the most unsubtle of killing machines) with zero magic points.
At any time in the game, you can spend Magic points to get a new magic, that you emerge from your brain.
As it shows, it takes 12 magic points to emerge a class 1 magic, 30 for a class 2, and 100 for a class 3.
The higher the class, the most powerful the magic.
A magic class 3 can raze a city for instance, or resurrect a person from death. The magic are also divided into these kinds. Necromantic\Alchemic\Deamonic\Cessak\Summoner\Bard\Elemental earth\Elemental Fire\Elementalair Elemental water\Renegade\Wizard\Legendary\Druidic\Healer\Priest
A Mage can use his class magic as well as all elemental and renegade, whereas, a fighter or rogue, only has access to renegade and all elementals.

On to the stats themselves now.
Endurance\ Your Hit points. They determine how much damage is required to bring you down.

Strenght\ How much damage you afflict when striking with your bare hands. If a weapon or a strenght boosting item is equiped, the strenght will increase accordingly.
These two stats are based on 100. (It has been modified to fit a base of 30 to avoid large numbers calculated in combat but is only 50% implemented.)
All following stats are on a base of 20 and top at 100.

Agility\ When in combat, it determines the ability you have in actually touching an opponent. It also affects some saving throws. Your agility always competes with your oponent's Protection weapon.

Speed\ You ability to gain the initiative in a round. It competes with your opponent's speed.
It also determines your displacement size in a round. Your displacements in meters are equal to your speed divided by 10 to the lower decimal. The Eldritch has 28 speed, so his displacement range is 2 meters per round.

Intelligence\ Your ability to cast spells. It competes agoinst your opponent's protection magic if you cast against a living target. To cast a class of spell 1 to 11, you need to attain a treshold of 10 higher than the decimal's class.
For instance, a spell class 1 requires a score of twenty or higher to be cast.
By adding your intelligence to your 1d,20 roll, you obtain a number. If this number is highest than your (class spell X 10) It is a success.
As an example, a spell class 3 requires 40 intelligence to succeed.
The character has 27 intelligence and wants to cast a class 3.
The minimum roll for success, will be 13 on his d.20 roll. 13 + 27 =40.
In the Eldritch's case here, he needs 19\20 to success a spell class 1. Ouch.

Constitution\ Your toughness. It's most of your saving throws, and also represent your natural resistance to damage, even when naked. Each physical, and some spell damage, are reduced by your constitution x 10.
For instance, if the Eldritch would sustain a strike that would cause 400 damage, he would in truth lose 210 endurance. It also detdetermines what is your death treshold under 0 endurance.
Multiply the const by 100 to have your death treshold.
The Eldritch here has 19 constitution. He dies when his endurance reaches -1900.

Protection weapon\ Your ability to block or dodge an opponent's physical attck.
Protection magic\ Your ability to block or dodge an opponent's magical attck.

The charisma.
All charisma are based on 30, except for knack wich is based on 10.
Presence is what your character conveys when seen. 30 being very noticeable. In a bad or good way.
Apperance is really what your character looks like. 1 being damn ugly.
Sex appeal, is what your character conveys to the opposite sex. The Eldritch has no sex though.
Knack, is your ability to always look good in what you do, and do thing well. Like James Bond if you have 10, and Johnny Bravo if you have 1 I guess. It doesn't really apply to the Eldritch since it's nothing but a killing machine.

The Moral, is your ability not to get shook easily by things. If your morale drops under 1, you will get a -1 malus on every throw in combat. If it exeeds 8, you'll get a + 1 bonus.
You lose 1 morale when for instance, your party member gets put out of combat, or when you fumble and such.
For each point under or over the limit, you gain + or -1 on 20 dice throws.

Pain resistance, is your ability to not lose extra damage by turn when in the coma.
The base is 800. (8 now since the modifications).
Your pain res (was multiplied by 100) and was substracted to 800.
So if you had 6 pain res, you would lose only 200 endurance per round in the coma.
800 - 600 = 200.
Since the new update, it would be 8 - 6 = 2.

Stamina. Your ability to perform skills each round. Using a skill uses 1 stamina. Not using a skill during one round replenishes stamina by 1. The eldritch here can perform skills six rounds in a row.

Luck. How much you can influence the dice each day. You can only influence a d.100.
Meaning that you can only modify skill throws, and saving throws.
Your luck is the amount of change you can put on dice throws each day.
A person with 5 luck, can either modify up to 5 throws by 1, or modify one throw by 5, and so on.
Your luck resets every 24 hours.

Awareness. Modifies saving throws. Affects particularly the chance of not being caught by suprise, or back-stabbed.

If you read all this, you're probably interested in the game.
Tell me if you don't want to see anymore of this. I'll understand pretty well. I know it's long, and this is one tenth of what I should write for you to understand without playing.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The request

I had complains from people wanting to see some of my art on my blog.
Nichiren, for instance, said he wanted to see some of mine.
Wass-up Nichiren? See this? The Korean assasin.
Show this to your wife. Tell her I made it for her, and she'll loosen the straps of your common purse so you can finally buy that katana for your Kobudo classes.
With this, you'll get that black belt in no time.

Originally, this blog was supposed to let people expose their work, but only Rock-Ray, Lord 69 and Simon from Bucktown sent me stuff.
So here are mine, for the sake of diversity.

I can.t wait to start drawing again.
When time comes, and when I get rid of those damn shakes.

Tell me what you prefer, and what you'd like to see in the future, and start topics while you're at it.
Otherwise, I'll just keep hating stuff online.
And praising, for the things I like.
Thank' y-all, for visiting, and keep in mind that I do this to keep in toutch.

Monday, June 05, 2006

The Light and the Real

Rock Ray's painting of the melancolic\alcohoolic pirate in the caribeen.
As he calls it, ''god's finger'' is piercing the clouds above what seems to be an island of sand on which palm trees are scattered.
The bottle reminds me of drinking.
And drinking in turn, reminds me of my mornings at work.
I have the habit of buying drinks before getting at the office.
Non-alcoholic drinks of course.
The question I'm coming to is'' Why is it that if I grab a drink in a depanneur's fridge, I'll end up with a diet drink?''
The sad thing, is that I'm always in a hurry in the morning, and that when I arrive to my chair, I'm always a little surprised in what I get out of my bag.
However, it's been three or four mornings that I pulled a diet drink out of the bag.
I gave them a try of course, but nothing will do it.
It tastes like fake-ass.
What our society calls 'Light' is in fact a weaker tasteless (or bad tasting) version of the original.
I understand that some people might want to cut off sugar from their diet.
They should know that there is no escape. Aspartame might not have any calories, but it makes your body react all the same. (as if it was sugar.) Aspartame in fact pushes your liver to create as much insulin as real sugar would, and has the unfortunate side effect of being potentially cancer inducing.
That is the health argument. Let's now pass to the taste argument.

Have you all seen the new Coke zero ad?
The guy skydiving with no parachute? Well, he's saying he doesn't need a parachute, because he's dreaming.
The dream? Coke zero tastes exactly like the original.
Hmmm. I got news for you dreamer says Frank. If it tasted the same, CocaCola wouldn't bother make original coke anymore would they?
It all comes down to this... The taste of the real thing.
What we eat here in the big cities, is just a pale preview of what the real taste would be if the food had been consumed within the day, or before getting wrapped in plastic. The real country side authentic food. Believe me, whatever you eat is supposed to be tastier than that.
Knowing that, let me continue.

In what's left of the taste you can get here, one should at least endeavour to get the bettrer possible thing.
By avoiding anything that says 'light' or 'diet 'on the label.
If you don't want to eat sugar, or fat, don't look for replacements. Assume it. And don't look for alternatives.
The alternatives are either just the same, or are worst for your health.
Trust your body. If it tastes like nothing good and that it's smells bad on top, don't eat it.
It's a millenium instinct that got the humans so far. If it tastes bad, don't eat it further.
Look at me, for instance. I might not look when I buy stuff (and if anyone should it's me.) but when I do look, I go for the O.G.
Original. The first true product, before the immitations started pouring down. Genuine and pristine.
What is immitated, is always good. That's the reason why it's immitated.
If you're a soft drink fan, you should know that Coke is the real, and Pepsi the immitation.
All diet versions are false.
Butter is the real shit. Margarine is not. For your information, the margarine was invented when explorers long gone at sea needed a replacement that would remain fresh longer. Halas, margarine didn't quite taste like butter.
Now, we have fridges, and no longer need margarine.
They might want to fool you by putting a nice yellow colour on margarine to remind you of butter.
Why? Because even they know. And, the government seeing the rip-off, forbid it a couple years past.

Miracle whip! Some guys came up with a recipe that tasted like Mayonaise they believed.
So they went at the Mayonaise academy to patent their product as Mayo.
The Mayo Marshall of the academy, after tasting the immitation had his cheeks flinch.
Coughing as he grasped his throat, he said...'' This is not Mayonaise, call it something else, and leave my castle immediately!''
So they did, but with a spiteful glare at castel Mayo.
The Miracle whip brothers kept their recipe nonetheless. That's how much they were ruthless.
Months later, they bought a factory, and massively produced their mayo immitation.
(Why do I even call it mayo immitation, it's nothing like mayo.)
They were also careful to immmitae the mayo label and colours, because they knew most of their sales would come from customers mistaking it for Mayo.
Miracle whip is a salad dressing, no more. Don't put it on sandwiches, or fries even if the ads suggest it.
They also made it cheaper, so the restaurants would have it instead of Mayo, pretending there is no difference.
So when I ask for Mayo in a restaurant, and they serve me Miracle whip instead, mistaking me for a fool, I go nuts, and scream for Mayo.
In the end, Hellman's was forced to add 'Real Mayonaise' on their label.

If you want to spread chocolate on your toasts, go for Nutella. Major Gourmet, is also a copy.

These are but a few of the examples I can provide.
Let it be said ,that I'm not trying to educate anyone here. You're all too old for that.
I just wanted to tell you the stories behind the products, to help you choose.
If you think I'm wrong, you probably put some margarine on your bread, just before you spread Miracle whip on it and reach for a cold Diet Pepsi in the fridge.
It's cool, it,s your choice.