Chris Crockett, Gaming & Computer Geek

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Why did I declare blog bankrupcy

May 19, 2016 - 3 minute read - Comments

So, I feel like I have to explain myself to the entire audience of my blog (hi Mom!… I’m kidding, I don’t even think my Mom reads this) for essentially tossing the bulk of my previous blog into the trashbin and starting over. I feel like I have to do this because I have a very good reason for doing it. In “Real Life” I am someone who is considered an authority on computer security. Not that you’d have heard of me and not that I’m that important. I’m just a minor functionary who doesn’t have an effect on the life of anyone except for the small percentage of the population who work with me… or are… customers of myself and my co-workers (you know who you are).

Nevertheless, I am for all of my co-workers: “The Computer Guy”. Empowered to make recommendations, and decisions, and generally responsible for keeping things running and secure. So, as I extolled my co-workers on the dangers of the Internet, particularly hacked small-business websites, there was no small amount of cognitive dissonance regarding my own, neglected, occasionally hacked, website.

For all I knew, every time I warned folks to be careful in their wanderings on the web, knowing full well that these days it’s often just the luck of the draw that means that your favorite small knitting website that was perfectly safe yesterday is now a malware-ridden Internet hole due to their poor choice of advertising network, I could have been describing my very own website. Not because of my advertising choices (I don’t) but because I hadn’t obsessed over keeping my site software up to date.

It’s a real concern because, even though I have no illusions about the number of people reading this, my site has been hacked at least twice in the past. SQL Injection attacks are a bitch.

So… What I really wanted to do was take all of the content on my blog and “compile” it in some fashion so that it was actually just a bunch of static pages (as FSM intended for the web to be) and call it a day. Of course, the makers of my particular blogging software, being perfectly rational human beings (probably… they might be cabbages for all I know) didn’t support that. On the other hand, other people did.

So, I mucked about with various options (as detailed in a previous post) and finally found one that I liked. I exported all of the old content of my old blog, imported it into the new blog, read it and promptly threw most of that crap in the garbage and started over. Partially because I didn’t feel like groveling through all of that old content to be 100% sure that all the bad stuff had been removed and mostly because… well… it was crap content.

So. Now I’ve scrubbed a bunch of old folders full of PHP errors off of my site, deleted a bunch of MySQL databases I no longer need (and mostly didn’t even recognize) and use some software that is designed precisely to do what I wanted to do with my old software: compile my pages into static HTML which can then just be rsynced to my site. Also, this means that I write my content in VIM because I’m weird that way and I like it.

Personalized meeples

May 18, 2016 - 1 minute read - Comments gaming3d printing

Meeples, as introduced in the early 2000’s by Carcassonne, are generally identically cut out wood or plastic components. Distinguished only, if at all, by a thin coat of paint, they rarely allow one to truly express one’s individuality at the gaming table. With the advent of home 3D printing, that has all changed.

Only supported in browsers that support HTML 5 Canvas Element

Crockett's Custom Meeple Download STL

Now, anyone can customize their own meeple to be printed at home, by a friend or by a service.

Lady Zayne & Hellestromme

May 18, 2016 - 1 minute read - Comments

I’ve gotten back into miniature painting lately, having set up a full painting station in our new hobby room. Here are a couple of the items I’ve turned out recently.

Lady Zayne Hellestromme

Site rebuild

May 17, 2016 - 1 minute read - Comments

After spending a long while considering the fact that I spent more time doing upgrades to my website management software than actually making updates to the site, I’ve decided to switch platforms and use a static site generator. After trying a few, and feeling like I’m bashing my head against a wall getting them to run, I’ve settled on Hugo. Hugo is downloadable as a single executable file instead of a bewildering array of Python/Ruby/JavaScript packages and it just runs. I like it. Maybe it’s not perfect but it’s good enough for me.

Considering the topic of preserving all of the old data from my blog… I’ve pulled the data archive but looking over it, it’s largely fluff… some of the posts don’t even have anything resembling content. Just a comment as the title and nothing of substance. The point here is to keep useful data so I’ll be going through the posts and re-posting those that are worth it.

Because the world is just too strange to let some things fade

Aug 26, 2008 - 1 minute read - Comments

A long time ago in a city somewhat far away I came into the possession of a document.  This document was recieved by a very good friend of mine at his place of business.  That business specialized in coordinating public speakers for venues, and or venues for public speakers… I can only imagine they went both ways on that actually.  This business did, by its nature, come into contact with a variety of celebrities, including current and former Congresscritters and so it was only of slight surprise that my friend found several copies of the linked letter on the company’s fax machine one day.  Slight surprise, that is, until he actually read the document.

For your education I present a digitally remastered, but entirely faithful, rendition of that document, which is titled: Mr. Congressman: PLEASE CHALLENGE ME TO CATCH A VAMPIRE.

Gaming Notes

May 7, 2008 - 4 minute read - Comments

I’m a big fan of Role Playing Games, as anyone who is probably reading this blog already knows. Since I GM a lot and have to make rules calls, I’ve decided to collect most, if not all, of my notes on such things here.

Paranoia Dark

By replacing “Sanity” with “Treason” and “Mythos Activity” with “Commie Mutant Traitors” I think the Cthulhu Dark rules make a fantastic way to run a rules-light version of Paranoia.  I have even created a random Troubleshooter generator that spits out a six-pack of troubleshooters at a go.

Savage Worlds

General

  • Overland Travel, walking or riding

    Travelling long distances is generally best done by train, car, airplane or steam wagon but if none of those solutions is available, or none of them go to where you need to be, you might have to hoof-it.  A healthy person can average about 3 miles an hour over normal terrain without much risk of tiring while a horse can get up to 6 miles per hour with a rider.  Make a Vigor check after 10 hours of travel, failing gains the traveller, or his horse, a Fatigue level.

    Running can double those speeds, 6 miles per hour for a person and 12 for a horse, but the runner has to pass a Vigor check each hour or gain a Fatigue level

    Sprinting doesn’t last long enough to make a difference in overland travel.

    Fatigue levels gained from overland travel are regained at the rate of one per 8 hours of rest.

    A traveller with Pace lower than average for their species (6 for human, 10 for horses) loses 1 mph of overland travel speed per 2 points of reduced pace, assuming they still retain the ability and inclination to move at all.

Deadlands Reloaded

  • Dynamite: The new rules for dynamite from the second edition of Deadlands Reloaded provide something that I feel is missing in the existing combat options, an easily man-portable Heavy Weapon.  A bundle of 8 sticks will cause a 5d6, AP 4, Heavy Weapon explosion in a Large Burst Template.  Dynamite is available by the case, 24 sticks for $65.   Add some fuse, tie up the bundle and give her a toss.  Just remember that the range on an 8 stick bundle is 2/4/8.  A pre-primed and fused 8 stick bundle runs $24.

    It’s also worth noting that there are weapon table listings for 1, 2 and 4 stick bundles, giving results from a 2d6 Small Burst, up through a 4d6 Medium Burst but only 8 sticks crosses into Heavy Weapon territory.

Neccessary Evil

These rulings are based off of the original edition of Neccessary Evil.  In the time since these rulings were made, the Super Powers Companion and Revised Neccessary Evil have been released and may modify these conclusions.

  • Leaping Movement: happens in straight lines. The Bounce modifier along with a suitable surface to bounce off of (not the ground) may allow for ricochets at the GM’s discretion.
  • Leaping with Bounce: Allows a character to gain any height when suitable bouncing surfaces are available but the character can only gain height in one turn equal to their maximum Horizontal Leaping height. I have specifically chosen this effect to make Bouncing worth taking over adding the Wall Walker power. The character may continue to Bounce for multiple turns.
  • Leaping attacks: Starting from the ruling by Clint Black on Leaping and my notes above I have concluded that a character who wishes to leap at a foe, attack, then leap away is using two Leap movement actions in a single round. Savage Worlds allows characters to attempt any number of actions each round (with appropriate penalties) but each of those actions must (barring edges) be different actions. Just as a character lacking the Frenzy edge cannot make two melee attacks in one round, a villain with the Leap power cannot Leap twice in one round. Adding the Bounce modifier to Leap really only addresses the situation of gaining vertical distance in specific situations (Jackie Channing one’s way up a wall) so it also does not really apply to allowing a character to make two leaps in one round. Making an attack while Leaping is possible, though the range is going to depend on the situation and doing so would always apply the Unstable Platform modifier (-2) to ranged attacks. If a character is going to approach an enemy, make an attack, then retreat to a significant distance, the powers that would allow that would be Speed (which explicitly boosts Pace) or Flight