Monday, February 22, 2016

Road Incantations 8

Sleep wouldn't come and I don't remember the day that followed, but dark hours later were on the road.  There was some work with Ben Lommond that burned away my time.  Downward hills rushed always to San Jose and past the shadows of my youth.  Idlewild and Redwood Estates and the death of a strange kid my cousins knew.  I could only push the thoughts away and strive for distance.  The miles to put it back together or discard if it falls apart.

I pulled off and worked the back ways for Hillsdale.  Here stores remained unchained as if determined and holding fast.  Time moved on but they didn't.  Video stores and poster shops would have left long ago, anywhere but here.  Lights burned too bright for this late at night but I struggled inward.  Down the darker rows hidden away under stairs and blind closets to the esoteric realms of foreign horror and bad fantasy films. 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Road Incantations 7

Some roads run over with death, that was eighty five.   Insects along the highway call forth a funeral pall inviting forth the fragments of my pain.  Some ligament or needle fished through my vein, rising through my meat, inward and chemical.  Miles might get me away if I could reconnect with streets bundled up with wonder.  I pointed myself for the roots of Umanhum and pushed on faster.  With Wednesday the streets we all alone or with those that didn't care.  Cut grass met the car passing by Leigh.  Hills echoed with nectar and brass from deep within their hearts.   Harwood and Almond blossom flooded for from memory.  Soon I found myself out near Calero and wondered how.  I don't always understand I am only the driver.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Road Incantations 6

Finally up walking, I wandered into a dark median lane.  Far off sprinklers turned the night bountiful and waiting.  I tore open the little paper pouch and cast seeds into the over brush.  I prayed for the valleys yield of old the canneries and vast orchards; return!  Futile I knew but an offering for a good season.  Some car drove past lights and wonder peering on me, this all seemed insane I am sure. No one imagined about lone cars at night but someone walking was never anonymous.  Not late at night nor on streets nobody called home.  My seat and engine obscured welcome and with a turn or two I was no one that needed any thought.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Road Incantations 5

Too tired for it, down the dark ways I struggled with the hills.  On Calavaras and the freeway I was silent.  This road was change and few held any power over it. Weak I would have been subsumed and altered so I took no part.  I was heading for the small old roads the valley forgot.  A Ferry Morse was a fragment few knew bore down to our roots.  Born with the past valley before Shockley and Noyce; the hearts delight of old.  Much rested on five hundred feet of road.

I could smell spring bloom up nearing, it was well.  I stopped in some business park and waited, windows down alive with sound.  I hated getting out for my weight.  I am fat, not fat like you may be , fat that spoken of serious problems rooting around the soul.  Most of us were broken, few found the art of the road without flaw or need.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Road Incantations 4

My youth was why I needed these streets.  Working and reworking the connections so memories wouldn't descend away.  Keeping the communal history so other charmed lives remain unhindered.  Continue the drizzle of melancholy for those that remain.  Once whole enough to travel the car pushed on.

East and up. Knights bridge passed then Shaffer onto Ruskin; with the long climb of Sierra til the city sprawled below. I pass couples a lower climbs all entwined.  I force up and up into solitude until I am unseen.  Then its waiting.  It's coming on an hour, then can hear the motor, it's struggling.  He pulls of a helmet and saddles off the bike.  It's gestures and somatic from here.  Covered faces and splayed thumbs, prayers and forward thought. Components of burning sage and bottled water thrown out to the wind.  An hours work the city safe once more, no falling sky ways, fire and flood pushed back a week more.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Road Incantations 3

Parking lots always in change met my headlights.  Pulling behind an ethnic store I waddled out; falling down cross legs to the curb.  I lit up a pall mall and set it still burning just to my side. "Sacra Atelier". The match burst, with the same sulfur from Alum Rock Park, in my hand. Another brand growing bright. "Sapientibus satis".  A third burned "Melapibus."  Smashing down my foot every thing ground out and I slumped into my seat.  San Jose was soon; ringing and warm, fraternal embrace.  Some moments by my old house before the nights work returned.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Macrocosm: Attributes part 2

After you decide what, if any, attribute subsets you would like to use you have your characters start by defining their Base attributes.  These will define how the subsets will be used.  When players are establishing the four attributes they start at 0; the level of the average human.  Players can trade up to a +2 in an attribute for a -2 in another.  Players are then given two extra points to distribute into their attributes.  Below are some restrictions.
  • You can not put more than -2 into any given attribute
  • You can not put more than +3 into a given attribute unless allowed by the specific setting.
Once your base attributes have been set you next move on the attribute subsets you will be using.  Your base attribute serves as the number of points you have to distribute into the attribute subsets.  This allows you to set a particular sub set equal to your base attribute and zero out the others should you like or set the points as you like.  This applies for both positive and negative values.  Finally characters are given a single point per attribute subset, that must be placed in that set.  It is up to the game master if this can be added to take an attribute beyond +3.  I recommend yes for fantasy, supers and tranhuman settings and no for modern or historical settings.

Example: A Character with a base Observation attribute of 3 has to distribute points between social, physical and mental subsets.  The player has resided to be a paranormal investigator that functional poorly in society.  Our Social attribute could be set to 0 but perhaps we should go with a -1 instead; Aspergers' perhaps.  Our player wants a solid skill to observe the physical and spiritual.  For Physical we place the 1 point we got for the -1 decrease to social; giving us +1.  Our final 3 points go to mental observation.  We now have to look over the physical, mental and social sets to decide if we wish to place our 1 point bonus for each subset into observation.  Probably not for social, but yes for physical and mental.  Physical is no problem as it sums to only +2 and is legal.  We would need to ask Game Master approval for the +4 in mental observation.

Adding a new attribute subset can also happen when the Game Master so chooses.  The addition of an Insanity or force subsets into a game that previously did not include such rules could be an example of this. 

The player always has the option of moving a stat from an existing subset to the new subset.  This allows the character to say this is what I was really meaning when I assigned the value before.  Perhaps you only had a mental subset and later add a magic subset.  The original subset is placed to zero, but is assumed to have a deficit that must be be paid off through experience awards.  Please note consider attribute subset bonus values when applying these numbers; they must remain in their original subset.  You are free to apply your bonus from the new subset to the value you carried over.  Again the Game Master must approve values of +4 and above.

Should the player not carry over attribute values, they can apply negative and positives values as was described when creating base attributes.  Again applying the subset bonus when they are finished.

Macrocosm: Attributes

Macrocosm uses four attributes to describe characters, in its most basic form. These attributes are used to modify skill roles and can be applied as the Game Master Desires.  This allows for the GM to apply unusual attribute and skill combinations as situations arise.  The basic attributes follow.

  • Strength: This relates to the power and results of checks.  Raw Strength when chopping with an axe and the emotional effect of a piece of art both fall under strength. 
  • Resistance: This accounts for resisting (or perhaps saving from) the some effect.  Willpower and Constitution are both represented here. 
  • Manipulation: Should be used in cases of change and modification.  This could be manual dexterity or even charismatic manipulation. 
  • Observation: It is simplest to point to the senses, but this represents more.  Noting a key of music or the subtext of a story also fall under observation.

Attributes range between -2 on the low end and +5 on the high end. These are modifiers that are applied to the roll.  Lower than -2 assumes a character so deficient in the particular area it would impede the heroic stories present in most game worlds.  An Attribute rated at 0 is actually the average person on the street.  Attributes of +5 are truly superhuman.

Design Note: For those of us coming through Dungeons and Dragons, only four attributes feels petty limited.  In initial design I had assumed these attributes duplicated in physical and mental subsets.  This maps more closely with the role playing games I played throughout my life. The following was my solution.

While one is more than welcome to play with the four basic attributes game masters are free to establish subsets that better capture their world or gaming philosophy.  Should your game function in a highly social world such as a song of Ice and Fire; by all meaning include a social subset of the four attributes.  Perhaps someone playing in the Star Wars universe may wish to include a Force subset.  Spiritual, Creative or even Sanity attribute subsets could be used depending on your game world.  Game Masters are of course free to use the attributes they feel best reflects their own play style / philosophy.

Value Base Attribute Physical Subset Mental Subset
+2 Strength +2 -1
0 Resistance +1 -1
+1 Manipulation +1 0
-1 Observation 0 -2

Look for part 2 which will include assigning starting values and adding an additional subset during game play.

Road Incantations 2

This was a store of my youth, tucked away and unchanging.  Memories and energy dowsed up with the connections of formative friendships.  Houses called home by friends reminded me of change that under lied and unsettled.  Coming here was ritual even deeper than that of the road.  The raw vitae gurgled in between the hostess snack cakes and five cent gum that still unsold since adolescence.  With wise eyes one could see the ambrosia crusted around a corner that held the game cabinets long ago. 

The eyes of teens haunting the storefront were mundane, though one looked to be looking.  Those inside were the magi of the road, that much was plain.  Somehow we knew our own.  Nods told each there was no conflict to occur.  The Seven Eleven was most oft safe, almost holy ground.  Other watering holes could be contentious but this was a night camp one found for safety.  I would pay my ration with coins of fallen realms.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Road Incantations 1

Marsh was dark and expired, with the evil things done.  White was long with slow words to bind down the ghosts to the land forever reworked.  Sierra required burning sage.  El Camino was the long spine of through the valley asking for peace in Ohlone and Pomo.  Hicks was home and the incantations stopped for the night with everything made right.

The old road to Alum Rock assaulted the traveler and told of years lost to us.  Here I gave offering for others memory and bespoke the intoned tales to continue their dreams.  Halt the car and drink down the sulfur springs.  Long ancestral calls to maintain the land amid the chaotic eons.  Then Along I would drive down Piedmont and unwork the knots left along the road.  At the end the ley lines roads converged seeping with the mana of seven eleven.