I received my Trilemma Adventures Compendium 1 book, and it’s the coolest physical RPG book I’ve ever seen. Great format, color, layout, lay flat, appendices, maps…you name it.

Awesome new shirt & bag for sustaining members of Waging Nonviolence, along with the description behind each icon.

A theory on spicy food from SMBC.

This Lyft smells exactly like classic cherry ChapStick…and I think it’s the Lyft car freshener hanging in the mirror.

📚 Finished Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ I wish it had included discussion guides/questions like the first book!

We’re seeing more like this, and it’s excellent subversive action like Jesus’s examples of: turning the other cheek, carrying the extra mile, or stripping off and giving your clothes. Church nativity scene puts the holy family in cages.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Finished Reading 📚 How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan

  • There’s promise in psychedelics for treating mental illness & addiction
  • Psychedelic results are affected by the intention & context of use
  • Meditation & the Overview Effect have related results

Finished reading: Knife of Dreams by Robert Jordan 📚

Currently reading: How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan 📚

If you follow me on Goodreads, you may be inundated, today. I will be adding many to my list because NPR’s 2019 version of Book Concierge is out! I enjoy going through the “Eye-opening Reads” list.

In Advent, we cry out “when, God, when!” God replies “the kingdom of God is among you.”

Alien RPG materials arrived, and the main book looks excellent. #RPG

Did you (or are you planning to) engage in an alternative activity to Black Friday and Cyber Monday? Please share. #OptOutside #BuyNothingDay

Finally opening my bottle of Gouden Carolus single malt Belgian whiskey. 🥃 First fill bourbon cask with Anker cask finish. Delicious. Now need to pair it with the beer this mash originates from!

RPGs with Kids

I recently shared pictures from an RPG I ran for my niece and nephew during thanksgiving week.

I tried running Dungeon World for them last year, which was a bit too tricky of a rule set for them at the time. This time, I decided to start with Risus, a very simple system that uses ratings called “clichés”.

Since we play Team Fortress 2 as a way to hangout and talk, we decided to set the game in the TF2 setting and use the TF2 classes (scout, soldier, pyro, demoman, heavy, engineer, medic, sniper, and spy) as our clichés. Having this pick list gave them enough, but not too much, variety to choose from.

I used a semi-standard Risus setup of starting ratings at 4, 3, 2, 1 (for the total of 10). I also told them their agency would give them 1 basic weapon and 1 tool, or 4 tools. They both chose the first option. (Maybe I should have made it 5 tools, as it didn’t seem like a hard choice but for them.) They also picked code names and their “real names”. I encouraged them not to have the same things as each other in 3 and 4. Their characters started off like this:

Codename: Z7 Real name: Megan 4: Engineer 3: Scout 2: Spy 1: Heavy Basic Weapon: shotgun Tool: Wrench

Codename: H6 Real name: Jace 4: Heavy 3: Pyro 2: Scout 1: Sniper Basic Weapon: rifle Tool: binoculars

We didn’t have enough d6s, so I used d10s. I also used the Risus variant where you look at the best die in the roll, instead of the total. To play, when they wanted to do something interesting with an uncertain outcome, I asked them to describe it, told them which of their cliches was appropriate, and gave them a difficulty between 6 and 10. I also brought in the Risus conflict rules, again using versus instead of totals.

I also brought in “bennies” to the system, in order to give us a little more flexibility. I awarded them 1 at the start of their mission, and told them they’d get another any time I thought they did something really interesting or clever. They could give me a bennie when they failed a roll and wanted to re-roll it. However, when I got a bennie from then, I could put it back in the pool to add a twist to the story. (In retrospect, I could have instead set it up where I “pay” it to whoever was affected by the twist, but this gets complicated when it could affect both of them.)

I did one more piece of prep. I marked up a pile of note cards with “standard exits” at each cardinal direction and various paths connecting them.

To play, I asked them to pick a card (from a face down spread). I added some more rough drawings to this card to turn it into their headquarters for their agency (which they decided was called the “Adventurers Agency”).

They were given their mission: to shut down the Mann Co factory that was producing robots that were being created and sent out to take over the city. They were also warned that some of the robots had been designed to look like humans! They were able to requisition a little more equipment, based on the mission. They ended up with a stun stick (with 3 charges), 1 stick of dynamite, and x-ray googles that could look through a nearby surface and maybe detect false robots.

The rest of it played out through the story. When they traveled “off a card” on our map, I had them pull a random card to place in that direction they went, and I added a few more light details to that section of the map that was being built out. I had decided at the beginning which one would represent the final factory, but of course I provided a lot of challenges to them along the way.

The finale was when they ended up using the stick of dynamite to disable the power supply for the plant. We had a lot of fun, and they keep asking to do another mission!

I’m happy to answer any questions about how I setup or ran this!

From an RPG with niece and nephew. A Risus-based TF2-inspired build-as-you-go game where the agents had to shut down a Mann Co robot factory.

Edit: full writeup now here

I added a new resource to my Security Thinking for Big Data reference. “A Practical Way to Include an Ethics Review in Your Development Processes” from Laminar Group.

Sunday Quote 📚

Sunday Quote

Great thought experiment from James Clear today. Work backwards from this to think clearly about your priorities.

Four cool things about Disney+

  • User profiles. Some other services still don’t have this.
  • You can turn off auto-play for any profile. Do it!
  • “Through the years” lists let you watch Star Wars, Marvel, etc in release order.
  • Shows release on schedules. Default mode is not bingeing.

Sunday Quote: re: the famous marshmallow experiment. Social sciences are finding over and over that people don’t succeed based on “best willpower” but on how they align their habits, environment, and focus with their goals.

Another feelgood comic from maximumble.

Links for Resilience #5, with “Coercion-Resistant Design”, horseshoe crabs, seaweed for cows, and more.

Made our own blend of Wemyss Spice King 🥃