Category Archives: Discussion

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3
Mar

The in-game calendar – Why it’s tough

In Game Calendar

Highmoon, 448PK

Many people have seen the new campaign calendar and extended it to the next logical step: Why not create a calendar for your in-game time? On the surface, it seems like a good idea, and it’s definitely something I have struggled with in the past. Unfortunately, it’s a very tough problem, and the final result would probably not be what you imagine.

20
Oct

My Life as Tech Support

Every now and then I like to pull back the curtain a little and give a glimpse into what it’s like to run Obsidian Portal. It’s pretty much an endless stream of putting out fires and fixing bugs. I really love to do it, but I like to pour cold water on anyone who thinks it’s all fun and glory. For example, today I had two support emails that caused me quite a bit of grief. Enjoy…

Ascension without consent

I never gave my permission to “ascend” or be charged anything, you don’t even have my information. so, yeah, please take off this “ascended” title, because, I’m not going to be charged. so, again, nobody has my consent in anyway for any reason for anything ever. the end.

As it happens, the issue here was that the person in question signed up with a promo code when creating their account. The promo code gave 1 month of free Ascendant time to new signups.

I understand that we could be a little clearer about “complimentary” vs “paid” Ascendant accounts, but frankly I’d rather work on cool features. Some other people have inquired about their strange Ascendant status, and I was happy to answer. In this case, I did exactly as was requested and deleted the complimentary subscription. Be careful what you wish for, I might just give it to you.

My wiki is gone, I hate you

Pages on my XXXX page were deleted. I want them back, along with my money.

These emails always fill me with dread. Did I accidentally delete someone’s work? How long has this been going on? Is this just the first of a flood of hate heading my way?

Luckily, I’ve been hit with a lot of these by now, so I know not to panic. In almost all cases, it’s a misunderstanding. In this particular case, it is a legitimate bug…but not one where data was lost. Instead, there is a case-sensitivity bug for some of the wiki links. In other words, Places isn’t the same as places. The pages are all still there, but some links in the wiki are broken. Definitely something I need to fix.

Unfortunately, it took several back-and-forth emails to discover the actual problem. The original email didn’t have any real information, only anger. I know it’s frustrating when things aren’t working right, but a “You screwed me” email is pretty worthless in terms of diagnosing the problem and finding a fix.

The moral?

There are essentially two morals to this story, one for me and one for you:

For me: Can’t please ‘em all

I am the first to admit that Obsidian Portal has bugs and problems…a LOT! But, wonder of wonders, it limps along enough to provide thousands of gamers with the tools they need to manage their games. That provides me a lot of comfort when I deal with irate users. I have to remind myself that even as I’m working to fix one person’s problem, hundreds of people are managing their games and having a great time doing it.

For you (and me too): Take a breath before sending

When I get a support email, my initial gut reaction goes one of 2 ways: I want to help this person, or I want to hurt this person. If the email is asking for help, I want to help them. If they are lashing out at me or the site, I want to hurt them. I can usually swallow my pride and do the right thing, but it’s always tempting to just reflect back the anger and hate coming my way.

The point is to realize that most websites (and small businesses) out there are like this. When you send an email, it doesn’t go to a customer service person. It goes to the head-honcho, the person who pours their heart and soul into the site. If you have a problem, ask for help, and you’ll probably get it. Accusations and rage will send your email straight to the trash bin, or worse, the site owner might flip out and declare war on you. I’ll admit, I’ve come very close to doing this in the past.

Blow your top, or solve your problem?

Before sending a support email (to anyone, not just me), ask yourself: “What’s my goal here?” Do you want to get your problem solved? Or, do you want to unleash your anger and surrender to the Dark Side? If it’s the former, then do your best to describe the exact problem, what you did when the problem manifested, and have a little patience. If it’s the latter, tap into your deepest hatred and let me know how you really feel. Just don’t be surprised when I don’t respond and you suddenly find your account disabled.

16
Sep

Vote for SquidGirl!

Squidgirl Box

We just held a contest where folks could enter Stats, Art, Background, and more for SquidGirl, the enigmatic cover girl from the upcoming Gamma World RPG. See, we thought that picking a winner would be easy, right?

WRONG!

It turns out, there’s a squidload of talent to be found in our forums. So now we need your help. Again. We need YOU to choose our grandprize winner from the 6 finalists below! Who’s it going to be? Who’s going to win the 100 dollar Amazon gift card?! Let’s meet our contestants:

Duskreign’s The SquidGirl

Click to Embiggen

WesleyKinsmanHall’s Improved Employment

Click to Embiggen

Erwin’s Squidonna with Child

Click to Embiggen

Duskreign’s Hit Single Ain’t No Time (for a Squidgirl)

Click to play: Squidgirl – Ain’t No Time (for a Squidgirl)

AnimaUmbrae’s SquidGirl’s Facebook Page

Squidgirl on Facebook

Click to visit Squidgirl on Facebook

JonathonVolkmer’s Shakespear’s SquidGirl Caeser

Squidgirl, written by Shakespeare for performance as a grammar school play when he was still a boy, has long been thought lost to the modern world. However, after long searching, I have come into ownership of a partial manuscript of the play. Judging from the following excerpts it would seem that the Bard based one of his later plays on this, his first great tale.

Excerpts from the final scene of “SQUIDGIRL,” one of Shakespeare’s lost plays:

From ACT 1, SCENE 2:

SHARK ANTONY
I shall remember:
When Squidgirl says “Do this,” it is perform’d.

SQUIDGIRL
Set on; and leave no ceremony out.

SOOTHSAYER
Squidgirl!

Read the full entry (it’s hilarious)

Time to Vote

Ok, those are our top 6. Now we need your help. (You can vote from this link if the voting doesn’t appear below.)

Voting Closed!

We’ll be announcing a winner and awarding prizes in the next couple days. Stay tuned!

24
Aug

Power To The (Married) People

http://blog.obsidianportal.com/power-to-the-married-people/

Two weeks ago I got married to the geeky girl of my dreams. Josh Buergel friend, game designer, and all around great guy officiated our small ceremony at a local coffee shop. I got a real kick out of what he had to say, and I hope you will too.

I’m not planning on doing a long speech, but I do think that a momentous occasion like this richly deserves some of my unique strain of blather and I’m afraid the cost of my participation here is that you have to sit through it.  I feel like a recitation about the benefits and difficulties of marriage is at least somewhat inappropriate, but at the same time, it’s worth reflecting on what brings you both here, in front of friends and perhaps more importantly baristas.  A marriage really is a different phase of your relationship and no matter how casual the ceremony, the commitment is never a casual one.  A marriage is about mutual respect, first and foremost. Without that, eventually the cracks will come.  If you maintain that respect, you can solve everything else.  You’ll both make mistakes and triumphs, you’ll both have bad days and great days, you’ll have days when you wondered what the hell you were thinking.  But none of that matters if you keep your respect for each other and yourselves.  All of the great things of a marriage flow from that respect when combined with your love.

But enough of that!  Congratulations on levelling up your relationship!  Among the benefits you have gained this level are the following powers:

9
Aug

Player can’t make it – Cancel or Frantic Reschedule?

What day do we play?This happens to me over and over: At the last minute, a player (or the GM, myself even) announces they can’t make the scheduled time for the game. However, they’re free on X or Y night that week, so can we reschedule? Frantic emailing and forum posting occurs, lots of negotiating, and we usually end up getting nowhere, just messing up everyone’s plans for the rest of the week. Maybe 1/5 of these frantic exchanges results in a successful reschedule. We’re all just too busy to juggle everything like that.

To combat the craziness, I’ve tried instituting a No Rescheduling policy, but then I love playing so much that I break my own rule, hoping against hope that everyone will change to accomodate me. This usually has the exact same scramble-to-no-avail outcome.

Is ours the only group where this happens? How do you handle it? Is there any solution? Is there anything we could add to Obsidian Portal that would help facilitate (and make less crazy) these discussions? As always, I’m not promising anything, but I have a little extra time to think tonight, as our game has been canceled at the last minute. :(

The Question!

Many people seem to be missing the question I’m asking here. Maybe I’m not clear. I’m not asking how many you need to play the game, or what your policy is on attendance. Here’s what I’m driving at:

If a player can’t make it, but suggests a reschedule to another night of the week, what do you do?

In my case, it always becomes a mess and usually results in nothing getting accomplished. Do you have a better way? I’d love to hear it!

Update: Cool Tool

A Twitterer recommended that I check out WhenIsGood, and it looks very close to what I need. Maybe we can steal this idea for Obsidian Portal at some point.

8
Apr

More pies of the world

Ok so I might have missed one or two or six(!!!) of the entries in my last post. These are all good, and I’m going to give each one of them 1st place in their own competitions.

Rank: 1st place

Category: Swim Suit Competition

Submitted by: Owen “Dan keeps screwin’ me over” Stephens

Original Entry:

Bake Pecan Pie

Difficulty: 2

Time: 50-60 minutes until center is set

Duration: Until eaten, or 2-6 days

Strain 1 (2 if you have to wait to eat it)

Description: This ritual create a pecan pie, and requires basic cooking equipment and an oven preheated to 415 F.  You must bake pie shell 5-6 minutes, or until crust begins to brown around the edges. Reduce oven heat to 270 F. In top of a double boiler, melt 7T butter.  Remove from heat and whisk in ¾ cu brown sugar and ¼ cu sugar, and 1/4t salt. Stir until mixture is smooth. One at a time, add in 3 beaten eggs. Stir in ½ cu light corn syrup. Stir in ¼ cu dark corn syrup.  Stir in 1 ¼ t vanilla. To make sure its perfectly smooth, strain the pecan pie mixture. Return mixture to heat. Cook, stirring constantly until mixture is hot and shiny. Remove from heat. Stir in2 ¼ cu chopped pecans (already toasted and cooled). Pour pecan mixture into warm piecrust.

After the ritual is complete, you must transfer the pie to a wire rack and let cool completely, at least 4 hours. 

 Pecan Pie for Witch Hunter: The Invisible World

 Rank: 1st place

Category: World Peace

Submitted by: Owen “Seriously, this one time Dan spelled my name Owne” Stephens

Original Entry:

Edge: Have Pecan Pie: 1 pt. 

Pecan Pie for Savage Worlds

Rank: 1st place

Category: Biggest Pumpkin at the Fair

Submitted by: Owen “Dan missed four of my entries” Stephens

Original Entry:

Pie, Pecan

A sweet, almost nutty smell wafts from this dark ochre disk.

Pecan Pie  CR 1/64

XP 3.14159265

N Tiny bakery good

Init -5; Senses toothsense

Defense

AC 7, touch 7, flat-footed 7 (-5 Dex, +2 size)

hp 1 (1d2 -5, minimum 1)

Fort +2, Ref -5, Will -5

Immune cold (ice cream only)

Vulnerabilities holidays, teeth

Offense

Speed 0 ft.

Melee 1 burn (1d2-4 heat damage, +3 within 15 minutes of being removed from oven)

Space 0 ft.; Reach 0 ft.

Spell-Like Abilities (CL 4th)

At will—charm person (orcs only)

Statistics

Str 0, Dex 0, Con 10, Int 0, Wis 0, Cha 18

Base Atk +0; CMB -5; CMD 0

Feats Flaky, Greater Fattening, Tasty

Skills Smell Good +5, Use magic Device +4

Languages Foodie

Ecology

Environment loving hearths and kitchens, restaurants

Organization solitary or by the slice

Treasure x2 confection

Though short on tactics, pecan pies have defeated hordes of New Years’ eve resolutions and diet plans. They are often kept as treasure by orcs.

Pecan Pie for Pathfinder RPG

Rank: 1st place

Category: 4th Grade Science Fair

Submitted by: Owen “Why would Dan do that?” Stephens

Original Entry:

Pecan Pie: 1 pt.

Life Support vs. Hunger (5 pts). (Obvious Accessible Focus -1)(1 charge -2)(Gestures: eat the pie -1/2)(Activation Roll 14 or less: might still be hungry -1/2) 

Pecan Pie for Champions

Rank: 1st place

Category: Best in Show

Submitted by: David “Dan forgot me too” Kammerzelt

Original Entry:

Pecantolor  Level 34 Solo Controller

Gargantuan natural animate (Southern) XP 195,000

Initiative +18  Senses Perception +28, blindsight 50

Irresistable Aroma aura 15; an enemy that starts its turn in the aura is pulled 6 squares

HP 1,350*; Bloodied 675

AC 54; Fortitude 48, Reflex 37, Will 46

Saving Throws +4

Speed 6

Action Points

(Basic Attack) Molten Sugar-Butter Pseudopod Lash + Fire (standard, at-will)

Reach 7: +41 vs AC; 3d8+10 damage +10 fire

Sugar Rush (minor, at-will)

Close blast 5; +37 vs. Fortitude; 2d8 +10 damage and ongoing 15 damage (save ends).  Until the target saves, all its movement speeds are increased by 1 and it may take one extra minor action per round.

Sugar Crash (minor, at-will)

Close blast 5; +37 vs. Reflex; 2d12 damage.  The target is slowed (save ends).  If the target is under the effect of the Sugar Rush, all other Sugar Rush effects end and the target is stunned as well as slowed (save ends both).  Aftereffect: the target is dazed for one round.

Diabolical Diabeetus (standard, recharge 6)

Close blast 10; +37 vs. Fortitude; 4d10+6 damage, and the target gains vulnerability 10 to all of Pecantolor’s attacks (save ends).

Invoke Nut Allergy (free, 1/round when an enemy outside of 10 squares attacks Pecantolor)

Ranged 50; +37 vs. Fortitude; targets the triggering creature; the target is marked (save ends)

Anaphylactic Shock (free, 1/round when a marked creature attacks Pecantolor)

Ranged 50; +37 vs. Fortitude; targets the triggering creature; the target is paralyzed and takes ongoing 20 damage (save ends both).

Overflow the Crust + Fire (standard; recharge 5-6)

Close burst 10; 3d8+10 damage + 10 fire

Overwhelming Guilt At Failing One’s Diet (free, when an enemy within 10 squares attacks Pecantolor, at-will)

Ranged 10; targets the triggering creature; +39 vs Will; the target is slowed and takes a -2 penalty on all attacks (save ends both). 
 

Alignment Evil  Languages Southern

Skills Diplomacy +36, Religion +24, Insight +28, History +27, Endurance +36

Str 41 (+32)  Dex 2 (+18)  Wis 22 (+23)

Con 39 (+31)  Int 24 (+24)  Cha 36 (+30)

Rank: 1st place

Category: Best Technical Direction

Submitted by: Robbie “Let’s hope Dan doesn’t forget me again” Ann Cunningham

Original Entry:

 Low Life Pecan Pie Stats

Name:Priester’s Pecan Power-Pusher

Race: Cremefillian

Rank: Seasoned

Description: A cremefillian punk, this HUGE round pecan pie has a lightly toasted crust and is filled with large meaty pecans. Priester’s Pecan Power-Pusher also has the special ability to use the natural nutty syrupy goodness of its filling as ammunition.

ATTRIBUTES SKILLS

Agility: d8 Fighting: d10

Smarts: d4 Guts: d6

Spirit: d6 Intimidation: d8

Strength: d10 Notice: d6

Vigor: d8 Shooting: d8

Survival: d4

Taunt: d6

Pace: 6” Throwing: d4

Parry: 6 +1 (armor)

Toughness: 6

Charisma: 0

EDGES

Foul Taste: The toxins and pollutants absorbed by the spongy flesh of cremefillians makes them particularly unpalatable. A creature that bites a cremefillian must make a Vigor roll to avoid being Shaken. A penalty equal to the number of wounds inflicted by the bite is applied to this roll.

Tweenking: For some reason, perhaps due to their strange body structure, cremefillians are able to carry a great deal more gear and supplies than their strength would suggest. They can carry an additional three times their strength in yorts without penalty. Additionally tweenks ignore minimum strength requirements for all hand weapons.

Spongy Flesh: Cremefillians have 1 point of natural armor due to their spongy or dense, crusty flesh. This feature also makes them immune to all natural poisons, toxins, and radioactive emissions.

Really Big Guy: Due to your large size, you begin play with a d6 Strength instead of a d4. On the downside, creatures smaller than you gain +2 to attack rolls against you. You are considered to be Large.

Pimp Slap: You are a bully who likes to pick on people smaller than you. You gain a +2 bonus to fighting Medium creatures (this effectively negates the -2 penalty for attacking them). You also get +1 attack bonus when fighting females, even if you are a female. I’m telling your mother.

HINDRANCES

Illiterate: You cannot read or write.

Innumerate: You have absolutely no concept of numbers. You can’t count or do math of any kind. Your brain just isn’t wired that way. Sorry…

Randy: Your character is randy. That is to say, his belt is buckled a little looser than the rest. Whatever the case, you have a hard time keeping yourself from making inapropriate or even vulgar comments about women whenever the opportunity presents itself (e.g. a woman with the (Very) Attractive Edge is sitting across the bar, or a scantily dressed prostitute is asking him if you want a good time). It is almost impossible for you not to make annoying comments and vulgar gestures.

ITEMS AND WEAPONS

Caterpillar poo rope: Can be used for climbing, tying things together, lassoing your enemies, hanging bad guys, tripping people, and a whole host of other fun and exciting activities.

Poo Flinger: (Strength +1), 1d8 (non-lethal), multiple uses (melee & missile), Range 6/12/24. Basically just a big ass wooden spoon, this thing can hurl poo and other foulness (the stench and ickyness incapacitates targets) (or in your case nutty syrupy filling (1d8+1) for the same incapacitating effect) and can double as a weak club.

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Obsidian Portal is the award winning Online Campaign Management System for tabletop role-playing games. It’s free to use, it can be accessed from any web browser and it's built from the ground up for gamers by gamers.

We host a huge community of tabletop RPG players who are all looking to get the most out of their tabletop gaming experience. You play your campaign and we help you manage it. It’s that simple.
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