Playing Free Realms

Even though I am still playing World of Warcraft I've tried some new games lately.

I've been playing Free Realms which is really a great game. There are several jobs you advance through - I am partial to the Chef and Postman jobs but I've found myself doing more as a Miner than anything else lately.

I play often with my daughter and I think they have done a great job making a MMO that anyone can play. There is combat for those that want it but it is something you don't have to participate in.

There are several different mini games each gives a different reward. Some allow you to collect items that you need for quests or crafting recipes.

It is also free to play but there are in game quests, items, and jobs that are only available for subscribers. Free accounts only get a single character and subscribers get to play 3 seperate characters. The game also uses in game micro purchases - items that you need to spend real money to aquire.

As a parent one feature I really like is that under age account security. Under age accounts can only use canned mesages - not typed chat. There are language filters that prevent words from being displayed in the in game chat.

Freee Realms is still just starting out but I think it will be a really exciting and full place to play for many years to come.


Another great author lost

Michael Crichton died recently (November 4th, 2008).

Although Mr. Crichton was not among my very favorite authors I enjoyed his work. I loved his "Jurassic Park" novel, and a friend gave me his book "State of Fear". I enjoyed the book and I liked how he put together credible (if fictional) arguments about global warming science.

I think by far his favorite novel I have read is "The Andromeda Strain". I read it the first time in junior high and re-read it in college.

Maybe I'll pick up "State of Fear" and give it another read, or buy "Next" the last book published before he died. One thing is certain - Mr. Critchton's books will sit on my bookshelf, waiting for my daughter to get to an age when I can start to share them with her.


NaNoWriMo 2008 Day 1 (posted a few days late)

I've decided to try something different for NaNoWriMo this year. I will not be able to commit to the grind of writing 1500 words per day. I have decided to try and write every day and to go through the steps in the package "Twenty-One Days to a Novel" by Michael Stackpole.
I don't want to give away too much of the contents of the package but Day ones exercise took about 45 minutes, although much of the time was given to the extra tasks as opposed to the primary task for the day. I've already read the beginning of tomorrows task and I think it will be an interesting and productive day 2.
I also re-installed Q10. I tried it last year but after losing close to 3000 words in a crash I quickly got rid of it. I am going to give it another try. So far it is working great. I am still tweaking the settings but several saves and no crashes yet.
writing time today: 87 minutes
word count today: 357 including blog entry



I like the concept of retraining from the players handbook. When you go up a level you not only learn new skill sand gain new powers you can also replace one of your old powers. Of course there are limitations, you can't replace a racial or class power - or drop a power that is a prerequisite for another power you have.

What you can do is drop a power you are no longer using or grab a prerequisite for a new power you want to try. The only thing I am not sure of is can you swap out one power, one feat, and one ability. Or, can you swap out one power, feat, or ability. My initial take is you can make one change per level but I am still looking for a explicit confirmation from the handbook.


No rolling for ability scores?

It is most likely my age showing but the first 2 methods for creating your ability scores don't involve dice. I can just here my inner cranky old man:

"In my day we rolled 3d6 for stats AND we assigned them in the order we rolled them, you young punks don't know how good you have it..."

I am going to give the new system a few tries and see how it works out but it just seems odd that new players will not use dice to get their ability scores. I understand the character balance issues, and the problems that a severely under or over powered character can create.

I can remember starting a new character. I would start with a character concept - lets say a over zealous cleric. Then I'd start rolling. 17, 14, 18... hey these are good enough numbers to be a paladin...

I am going to start by building a few characters, creating each one using all the methods in the PHB ans see how it turns out.


Players Handbook

I have finally gotten to the character creation process in the new players handbook. I like the layout of the new book but there is a lot of introductory information in the book. I am not sure if that is a good thing or not. I kept skipping ahead but I forced myself to read all the text.

It might be that the content is just right but I am not a new player so it seems to be too much information explaining what a roleplaying game is and what a check is and how to make a skill check...

I would like to hear from a new player who reads this as their first introduction to a roleplaying game.



I signed up for a twitter account a few days ago. I have been following a few people via RSS for a while but I figured I would give it a try.

I am intrigued by the idea of a micro blog but I am not sure if I like it or not. I have had a tumblr account for a while but have not used it mainly because I can not get it to work from my phone. I have added twitterfox to my firefox install but will most likely remove it as it is too distracting. I get pulled away from what I am doing when I get a new twitter notification.

I wanted to use tumblr a while ago to start posting small posts with pictures but because I could not get the posts to work from my phone I just never got it started.

I am going to keep twitterfox for a two week period and then re-evaluate. I might start posting once a week in each just to see how it works.

Post Script: I think that twitter might be a good meetup tool. I post "I will be going to lunch at Bulgogi House on 83rd Ave at 12.30 pm". People I know could post "@papaganoush I will join you." I don't know how well that would work though.

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Canada License.