Thursday, September 18, 2014

Getting things done and how procrastination is kind of a fake term (3/3)

So how to apply it in practical terms?

Well, you need to figure what activities you think raise your quality of life above 60 per hour, how many points above they go and shave off part of them, putting those points/time in store towards paying off doing personal projects or homework.

And realise that your actual quality of life is, if you wish to have some control over what you do in life, lower than you thought it was. Every bit shaved off lowers your average quality of life. And that's hard to face!

However, shaving off just a part can feel like it's just a part - and you are doing enjoyable things, in part, towards racking up more payed off homework/project time. Probably shaving off 10 points/ten minutes from the activity towards paying off homeworks potential 30 quality of life per hour.

Write those stored times down. And when you use, them, cross them off.

You can see how this reverses the traditional 'stop doing fun things, that's how you get homework done' ideology.

Your instinct is to enjoy a certain quality of life, not lower your quality of life for a decade(s) distant goal. The old ideology doesn't cut it.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Getting things done and how procrastination is kind of a fake term (2/3)

It'd be kind of funny if I didn't finish the material on procrastination...! But anyway...

Okay, say your quality of life is at 60 per hour. While doing homework or even doing art or even writing on your blog maybe (!) drops it to 30 per hour, or some figure below 60.

Now it's a question of what raises your quality of life score - perhaps you might rate playing video games or browsing web comics or drinking with friends or a number of other things as higher than 60 per hour. Maybe you'd rate it at 90 per hour.

This is the difficult part - if those things have become your own status quo for how you live, then you have to do those things or otherwise enter quality of life debt.

This is the hard part - to realise that to get homework done or projects you want to do personally (rather than being told by a boss) done, you don't live the quality of life you think you do.

Some segment of that quality must be put aside. An hour at 90? Perhaps 10 points of that need to be put aside towards paying for homework/personal project time. That basically stores 10 minutes of time.

But that'd mean your quality of life is actually 80, not 90.

But to get work done without quality of life debt (which just encourages procrastination, which encourages shame, which causes more quality of life debt) means some of your enjoyment activities must be partly dedicated towards paying for homework hours.

Doesn't make sense? Again, think of it like being payed and having to pay rent. If you're being paid $90 for the hour and the rent is $90 for an hour, you'll equal out. But if you want to put aside $10, then you can't afford the $90 an hour place, only the $80 an hour place.

And if doing homework drops you down to a $30 an hour quality of life, well then you'll want to have stored up a number of 10's (three, of course) to treat that hours quality of life at 60. To do that requires being at the 80 points an hour quality of life - which is the hard thing: Realising your quality of life is actually lower than you thought (IF you want any control over your life).

Still doesn't make sense? Well then you're left dreading homework when you could be playing video games or reading web comics or reading magazines and listening to music. And I've just explained why - because homework is less fun. You get that it's less fun. So you need to pay for that lack of fun, right? If you can't pay for it, you'll keep avoiding your homework because it's not fun!

If it still doesn't make sense, then the question to think on is how do you make up for those homework hours being less fun?

No, it's not by not doing homework! :p

Page 3/3 of this series

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Getting things done and how procrastination is kind of a fake term (1/3)

Let me propose it to you this way: Imagine your quality of life metricised to hourly chunks. Let's just give it a number and say your quality of life is at 60 per hour. Making it a neat 1 point per minute.

Now do you put off doing homework or writing or such? Oh no, procrastination.

But here's the thing, if we treat homework or other tasks as dropping quality of life, then they cause a quality debt to occur. Say each hour of homework is at 30 quality of life. That means you're 30 short for each hour of homework.

Are you going to try and argue the extreme long term "Oh, I'll eventually get a job and it'll pay such great money that this reduction in quality of life will be paid off"

Okay, so...are you doing your homework, or still procrastinating? If the latter, then that argument just didn't really work, did it?

So, what to do? I'll get onto that latter, in another post (lol!)

Page 2/3 in this series

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

D&Daughter #5: Shadow of the King

So yes, the dollhousing continued, with the declaration of chopping down a tree. So I prompt her to roll a strength check for it - bang - a 2!

So there's an excuse for combat to begin (well, the 'suggestion' of it was adopted...)! My notes have 'Can I do the actions?' listed - I think she started moving the remaining goblins over. Initially I think I proposed that the goblins, being half way across the map, would bust out their short bows since they couldn't reach us in melee. I get a fairly firm no to that (OMG, doesn't she realise she should say 'yes, and...'? LoL! I'm joking - there's a ton of yes going on here already. It's okay for a no to be mixed amongst it). So the lead one is coming in with his scimitar and the furthest one is firing his bow. Neither doing terribly well at it. And yes, when randomly determining who it'll shoot at, we have flagrant 'I hope it's you' comments! Ah, there's that classic D&D - together yet hoping some other party member gets burned first!

And oooh yeah, ray of frost crit on that goblin archer! Now you're a lawn ornament! Well, till you defrost!

I think this time she waited behind me, and I blasted both of them with ray of frost in the end while she did not draw their attention by firing. I guess you try out different approaches sometimes.

Having defeated them, I think there was some more interaction with Metal the dog, as he is to come with us. And with that the village map is done - it promptly gets flipped over to the half castle map on the other side. I think this double map came from  a D&D 4e dungeon masters kit, late in 4e's cycle.

Apparently this castle needs villagers! So she gets to placing them in some of the barracks.

But it is at this point that Cobra King makes his first appearance! This starts out as her liking some snakemen figures I have...fine, I'll go look up what it is...yeah, it's a Yuan-ti figure, scimitar held high! Proper cobra hood on the figure.

Not actually having any stats for such a creature, I decide if it comes to it, I'll use a Redbrand ruffian (I think that's the name) from Phandelver's monster section, reskinned as Cobra King. Mostly because Redbrand ruffians are freakin' dangerous, being a 100XP monster that has two attacks! At this point in our career, that's kingly!

Cobra King takes up one of the towers of the castle, while we scuttle in the other way. I'm not quite sure she understands how castle walls work (when viewed directly from above, as they are on a battle mat) as we sort of walk through the walls to get towards the villagers. But it just doesn't seem that interesting to make a fuss about - D&D monsters are pretty well built to work just by themselves. The specifics of the castle don't need to be enforced to have any eventual battle with CK to be fun (in a 'I'm dying, I'm dying!' way!). Possibly if the monsters weren't so self contained I'd enforce it - but I don't think it'd make up for what just having a well designed system and monster has to begin with.

So, we make it to the villagers and she's roleplaying them, that they have no food to survive and don't have any armour. Eventually we go to another room, again on the opposite side of the map to CK, and gather food and bring it to them - in what is more dollhouse action rather than rolling dice or anything. Whatever, why not just let pure freeform be the mode to get the villagers some food, when it's flowing nicely already and she's having fun (and again, it's not going to spoil any encounter latter).

And it was there that we finished up another section. I think I must have said something about having a battle, because although play here ended in us scuttling around like frightened mice in the shadow of Cobra King without fighting stuff, things went crazy next session!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

D&Daughter #4: Zombie in the Dollhouse?

And then we got a healing potion. No, we got two healing potions.

I don't know how I feel about assigning ourselves healing potions. They cost 50 gold by the book. I can't see any real middle ground alternative. I'm considering to just pay for them retroactively - save up the gold and 'spend' it, which is to say to lose it, afterward.

Anyway, my notes read 'fake pvp' here, as daughter gets a bit frisky in terms of batting my figure across the tile with her figure. I say 'Hey!' and then ask, does she want to run a battle between them? Even a fake one where we wont keep the results (ie, HP loss)? No, apparently!

Anyway, also apparently a set of stairs lead out of the dungeon up to the surface into the village map I have. We climb up in someones back room. And there are several goblins all through the town! They are stealing the crops from the villagers - which are pictured on the map as well as the homes.

But we really need a rest! Or so my notes said - I guess we both had HP damage by then and I was probably out of spells. So lets just sleep in this house we climbed into! Sure, why not? But what do the goblins do during the eight hours? 'Oh, nothing - they're full and they just sleep'. Okay, then.

I think I tacked on a stirge in one of the trees during the sleep, just to have something build up from us just napping all over the place.

As I recall, play got a bit 'dollhouse play' at this point - she's tottering over the map, saying she's doing this or doing that (and the goblins and stirge are on the other side of the map), she's eating the vegetables from the garden ("Wait, isn't that stealing the villagers food?" " grows back really fast!" "So...the goblins aren't really doing anything super bad, just being pests since the food they stole will grow back soon enough?" "..." . Yes, I include socio-economic forces in relation to morality that make us uncomfortable with our assumptions, when I game!!) and petting the metalic dog. The metalic dog is there because that's the mini I own and I don't really have any other dog figures. It is soon adopted and called 'Metal'. Come to think of it, all head bangers should call their dog Metal, so they can shout that in the park when they are trying to call the animal.

And now the idea is that the dog will chase off the goblins. Granted, I've played AD&D where you'd buy warhounds just to survive level 1, but you were in the fight with them. Also we watched those warhounds die in those AD&D games (yeah, I was DM'ing when the last died - I denied resurrection. To show the horror of war. Then they forgot about it anyway). So I'm not so jiggy on 'well, when there's trouble, we get someone else to solve it'. That sort of play is for Call of Cthulhu. So I signal my reluctance on that one. So she passes on it, but this leads to more doll house play - with a villager figure or two coming in and then she gets a bit bossy about what I'm to do on the map. I have a note reading 'I'm doing the talking', when I pick up one of the NPC's and have him speak rather than her animating both. As I recall I think she relented, but then it was 'well, what are you saying, then!'. It's like playing with a GM that you are thirty years older than - exactly the same emotional base, just lest sophistication in the delivery. BUT, if you're gunna play with other people, you deal with other people rather than expecting a sanitised ideal. That way karma might eventually come and they might put up witht the lumps and warts of your own personality, one day. Not that I did not chide on the bossy bit.

"So, I think maybe a zombie has been attracted by the goblins noise", I attempt, bringing out one from the bottom of the map, having sustained what I can of the dollhouse play until now...

"Nooo, no zombies!"

Zombies are apparently a bit creepy. Though weve faced about three skeletons already.

So, I see I have a passed skill check and I decide to try out that combat wheel idea, placing a red die for it on the map. She even checks me 'Hey, why are you standing next to it!?', as last time she shot an arrow. I say you can use it at range or for a melee attack. My wizard is hitting it with my staff...wait, no, my sword. Wizards can start out with swords these days rather than a stick. I think I hit the AC on it as well, converting the passed skill into 10XP.

I'm thinking now of making some skill check tokens to potentially plonk onto the map, because otherwise I'm just not thinking of things in time during play and so play is gravitating to violence only for XP. And as said previously I want to lean it another way. Violence isn't violence when there is no alternative - it becomes normalised and worse, it then (if you never die) becomes boring (and then the tiresome 'oh, I'm all about the story!' brigade get their claws into the whole affair based on that).

So for this episode, I leave you with the dollhouse play, with the lack of a climax that it usually entails. Next time we might actually engage the goblins and that stirge, but mostly because dollhousing fails when it comes to chopping down a tree and rolling very badly! Till next time, question is fail! :)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

D&Daughter #3

So, where were we?

'Have you been writing the story?'

She's spotted me taking notes. In fact I think no matter how stealthy I try to be, never mind if I'm writing down health changes or gear gains, people notice when I write notes?

And of course she means the story that's just happening as we do stuff. We don't have a pre written story/module here or anything. Though we do have some nifty tiles and a ruleset.

Anyway, at this point I needed to rest and I'd forgotten about short rest hit dice spending. You can actually spend them while your unconscious - I'm pretty sure I asked Mearls that and got a reply! But I can't find it right now, so don't trust me on that!

But I'd forgotten, so I need an eight hour rest - and daughter is kinda incredulous at that. Curious - I mean, I suspect she knows to some degree that for us it's not going to be us waiting eight hours in real life. And yet still incredulous?

Anyway, so I say do you think monsters could turn up while were resting? I get an adamant No! Given there's a magic circle on the tile I say perhaps it's a circle of protection, blocking out monsters - but maybe we can only use it the once.

We'd finished play about there. But it left me itching for revenge against a skeleton. When next we played I tried to establish that another skeleton was coming out of the portal we'd fought one from before. But she's all like 'no!'. C'mon, you're supposed to say 'yes, but!' - all the cool kids are doing that and it's the only way to play! No, I didn't say that! Just a bit of satire. Eventually she relented to putting the skeleton in the next tile, which contained a number of stone coffins - so that pretty much made so much sense to me I rolled with it. However, since I'm trying to go for an average encounter (100 XP) but I don't think we can handle an average due to lack of party synergy (ie, only two members), I add a (twig blight reskinned as a) spider next to the skeleton. She protests, and I stay my ground, but then she grabs it and puts it in the webs in the corner of the room. Well actually that does make alot more sense, so now it's further away.

And I propose stealth, since were kind of around the corner and out of sight of it. We fail miserably and then we have that weird 'no, I was here' talk since I said we'd be walking around the corner, having moved my character. But she stays hidden around the edge. Actually reflecting on it now, you just determine if you get a surprise round, then people just do the round so really she should just move her figure as she will after finding she had the round or not.

I have some notes that read 'Oh, skele is forward'? I do not know what this means now. The next line is 'Who fights who?' I do recall as I think I got higher initiative and then she wanted to be all over the skeleton, while I was saying I wanted revenge!! She relents in the end to slay the spider in the corner, which on her turn she hits neatly and minimum damage would kill it. However, after I magic missiled it without laying it low, on it's turn, the skeleton drops me with a roll of six on damage (+2 = 8 damage!). Just enough to drop me to zero! Dammit! Again I am defeated!

There's a thing I'd like to qualify here - disappointment that's within the expected range of the game vs just disappointment with the game (or session, or peoples, even) itself. I think a lot of gamers have real trouble having a seperate notion of them - they can't be both sad at a in game result, but actually happy with the game in general. Any time they are sad, the game is going bad. I suspect it's this 'all about the fun!' cultural backlash against the tyrannical DM's of the mid 80's to mid 90's. Now the tyrant is fun. Everyone must reject any reduction in fun, utterly. It's the one true way - if you're fun is 7 out of 10, you can't accept it going to six or five! No! Reject immediately! Only same or higher! I mean I've heard an account of someone playing Phandelver (with an oversized group), not getting to kill a goblin and...saying D&D 5e was not for them.

Thing was, I was put down to zero hp, and I was dissapointed - but I was not dissapointed in the game! It's possible to feel both!

Anyway. So now the skeleton is on her! And it's hit her while she's missed and the air is filled with tension!

And then it hits her again and...that'd take out the rest of her HP. And because were a two woman party, there's gunna be no one to stabalise us, let alone finish the fight. This would be the end!

And this is where I remember second wind. Buuuut...well, it's not applicable, since you do it on your turn, not when unconscious. So I kind of half describe to her were gunna cheat (yep, I've decided to cheat!) but only half because I know the technical details of that are going to be anti-climactic to understand. Still, it's better than just pretending we played the rules absolutely normally. So we cheat and roll the second wind dice, which gets all her HP back! And I think she still got hit one more time and I rolled a 1 on my stabilise check! That means two fails out of three - so every time she rolls to hit, I'm rolling for my life on my turn! She might get through but I might be dead! Buuut, I make it! Delicious 16's rolled (way more than the 10 needed, thus delicious!). And finally she lays the skeleton low, with her very next turn going towards stabilising me and I think she made it on the first roll!


And oh yeah, some XP!

Though I'm not going to make a habbit of this ret conning second wind cheat - I'm commiting to reminding about it during play when it's still possible to use it and damage has been taken.

And that's when we short rested and spent hit dice for the first time!

Next time, we just 'luckily' find some healing potions - and teeter on the edge of casual PVP! Plus gratuitous goblin garden thieves!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Incrementing the incrementer

Hmm, don't want to write up my notes (doing enough of that in writing up my book notes). So...I'm working on the last little pieces (of the main gameplay) for a so called idle game. It's one of those painfully edutainmental or whatever you call it ones, as it's about suburban farming and setting up trays of plants (rather than the hard yacka of digging and de weeding soil), going from saving money to selling excess produce.

I'd actually intended it to be shorter, then insisted to myself to include the full money making cycle. I've kept a record of each 20 minute chunk of programming I've done. Though that's just the programming - I've skipped listing times for light debugging (ie, fairly straight forward debugging that doesn't require reprogramming). And I don't include compiling time. AND I don't include testing time. It's a bit of a gyp, but those things are fairly straight forward to me and I can do them like some people can knit without thinking very much - just on a sort of auto matic mode.

That was all in an attempt to budget the project instead of giving more game to the world without any sense of proper recompense to the author, like so many programmers out there do (many of them not needing any extra funding and so like a semi retired person who takes up a job for a hobby that someone else needs to pay rent and food, kinda annoying).

We really need a union. Yeah, I know, blasphemy word to some of you. Even as you've no doubt benefited from strength in numbers from time to time (or alternatively the world is a kind place full of kind bosses and kind government officials who helped you - that's how you got along. Wait, no, you were just that tough you did it. Never relied on any infrastructure at all. Of course)