Amplifying the Blogosphere (v2021-06-07)

A Mix of Old and New Gaming and Software

These are a few of the posts that rattled around and drew my interest.

Gygax 75 - Week 1

Over on 3-Rune Blog, the author’s getting started on the Gygax 75 challenge. This was originally framed by Ray Otus, who exhumed and reanimated an article by Gary Gygax 🔍.

What struck me is the first week’s exercises:

  1. Get a notebook.
  2. Compile a collection of pitches that sell the world and tell players what to expect.
  3. Create an annotated bibliography of sources and why you like each source.

I’ve been having a private conversation with someone. We’ve discussed pitching campaigns. And lamented the preponderance of amazing campaigns and adventures. You might see echoes of that lament in my .

At this point, I’m not going to commit to the Gygax 75 Challenge, but I’m going to take what I read as a reminder to hold the possibility of doing the challenge.

Ravenloft Numbers

Good old I6 Ravenloft 🔍. The adventure that launched numerous campaign settings and reboots for later versions of Dungeons and Dragons 🔍.

In Ravenloft Numbers, B/X Blackrazor dives into the numers.

First, the author outlines the total monetary incentive of challenging Strahd. Then the time it would take to launch an assault on Strahd’s castle.

The author details a possible and reasonably safe raid procedure. They calculate that the party will likely have 59 turns (e.g., 59 ten-minute intervals) to get in and stake Strahd.

Reading this, you can get a sense of the challenges of dungeon crawls that involve time tracking and random encounters. You can see how setting up Experience Points (XP 🔍) for Gold Piece (gp 🔍) creates a risk reward incentive; especially when monster’s yield paltry XP compared to the treasures of their lairs.

And I think to the later editions, where killing mosnters was the way you got XP; that tipped the incentive structure and the play style of D&D. It became much more the memorable combats instead of the memorable heists.

How’s that for ? I love this analytical breakdown of a beloved and legendary adventure.

10 Years of Open Source

For years, I’ve been following solnic’s open source developments. I’ve contributed to some of their projects (or projects that they’ve contributed to). I’ve also used and love the tools they’ve developed.

Free Open Source Software 🔍 development is intense, and capitalism extracts labor offered up from these endeavors. And it’s lonely work, positioned for exploitation.

Let’s be real - we’re not one big, global, family. Most of the work is done by a tiny little fraction of the global developer population. We like to think that we’re all in this together but we’re not.

You can come up with great looking stats, showing that thousands of people are contributing to OSS projects – but in reality the actual bulk of work, the countless hours spent on building core functionality, testing, fixing bugs, making performance improvements, supporting users, writing docs, responding to issues, dealing with pull requests and so on are done by maintainers.

Show appreciation for what you’re using. Understand that our “modern” world is built on so many offers of free or exploited labor.

Death on the Reik

In Campaign: Burning Warhammer, the Game Master (GM 🔍) is cribbing some of the situations from Death on the Reik 🔍.

Over at Geek Native, Andrew Girdwood wrote up Classic for a reason: A review of Warhammer’s Death on the Reik

Their review of Death on the Reik (Director's Cut) 🔍 highlights that this new version is an update to the much beloved and venerable 30 year old. The authors have incorporated 30 years of feedback to help smooth over some of the bumpy transitions.

There are people who have played through this campaign multiple times, and keep coming back to it. That must be a magic storyline! I know I’m eager to run these adventures, but alas, gaming is all a matter of prioritization.

Time Tested Processes

Updates to object records do happen but the changed objects are such a small subset of the collection that implementing simultaneous updates for ETC would yield little benefit. Scheduled, nightly updates remove the burden on the servers to generate pages on demand. Furthermore using a minimal amount of Javascript increases browser compatibility thus making the collections usable on as many devices as possible.

I hope more of us are seeing this critical observation: if content doesn’t change all that much, pre-build those pages.

Considering the amount of pages that need to be generated, speed was an important factor when determining what static site generator to use. Hugo did not disappoint in this area and lived up to its claim of being the “world’s fastest framework for building websites”. It manages to generate 10,000 pages in around 30 seconds. So in total it generally takes an hour to generate the entirety of ETC, which is remarkable for over one million pages! This is a task that will only need to be done in exceptional circumstances, as more commonly a small subset of pages will need to be regenerated.

Seriously, understand the problem you’re trying to solve. I’m loath to think how much energy—and the variety of energy—goes into Single-Page Applications (SPAs 🔍). Contrast with the above outlined proposal: pre-compile those objects that infrequently change.

Meta

I spent a bit of time refining the functions I wrote about in . The revised function does a few things:

  1. Optionally sets the toc frontmatter attribute. When toc is true, then the Hugo (Hugo 🔍) template will render a table of contents.
  2. Write the preliminary front matter if and only if the file does not already exist.
  3. Append the active region content to the named file.

What this means is that now I can more easily gather content for my Amplifying the Blogosphere series.

I’m sure there are other ways to do this, but for my context this works well enough. You can read the functional changes on Github

And with this new function, I’m thinking I may further recondition my Rich Site Summary (RSS 🔍) and feed habits. It’s now easier for me to read those various sources and write up a quick response. This further connects some of my reading to some of my writing, which I suspect will create a virtuous cycle.