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April 13, 2024: Communication Situations

Recently, a short personal development video about conversational styles appeared In my YouTube feed. Since playing games can be a social event, improving communication among participants can increase the enjoyment of the game.

The video described three aspects of communication and the different ways people interact:

Personal information: Can you easily share information about yourself at every opportunity? Or do you prefer to wait until someone asks you questions?

Favors: Do you only ask for favors if you are sure the other person will say yes? Or do you ask without any expectation of the outcome because you are comfortable denying requests?

Stories: When someone shares a story, do you add your own anecdote about something similar (or maybe even only vaguely related)? Or do you affirm the other person and/or ask a relevant question?

We often talk with other people expecting . . . [more]

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April 12, 2024: Camaraderie And Unity: A Cautionary Tale

As the recent solar eclipse fades into memory, I had mentally composed a sweet Daily Illuminator post about Steve Jackson Games. Long-time fans of SJ Games may know that a lot of folks do stuff for the company across the U.S. and even points abroad. As a result, it's a challenge for us to get together or feel connected beyond the constant digital contact. The Internet is great, but it's not the same as – say – all going out for a meal together, or gathering for a party.

However, the once-in-a-lifetime astronomical event presented a perfect opportunity for those of us in the Indianapolis area to "connect" (virtually) with our friends in Austin, because the path of the eclipse was going to present multi-minute totality to us in both cities!

The Austin "home base" was scheduled to have some kind of gathering, which happened to coincide with our own Midwestern festivities. Speaking . . . [more]

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April 11, 2024: Inspiration Is Everywhere

One of the reasons I'm something of a media omnivore is that inspiration can strike from just about anywhere. For example, I found an article about how DC Comics used a Comicmobile to sell comics in New York City in 1973. It's a fascinating piece, a glimpse into a bygone era. It's hard to say in which era "an ice cream truck, but for comics" would be more novel – today or a half-century ago – but it's evocative nonespelltheless.

Thinking about it made me realize: "Wandering vehicle selling wares that are normally stationary" is pretty darn interesting. Fantasy wagon going from town to town selling martial training? High-tech van selling illicit wares in a cyberpunk campaign? Modern-day bus with arcane wares? It's an intriguing way to bring adventure to the heroes . . .

Of course, if I hear the bells of a comic-selling truck ringing down my street, I'll almost certainly be chasing . . . [more]

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April 10, 2024: Holotype Characters

Okay, here they are . . . Not tested; any balance is pure accident. Brexwerx folks, if anything here is useful, it's yours!

YT's Doc Dino
Charisma 18. Releases well-scripted videos from the field; gets associate producer credit on Hollywood dino films. Gets a second grad student at publication of her sixth holotype. Limitation: can't publish a holotype worth less than 6 VP (including trace fossils).

The Reader
Full photographic memory. Hires similar talents for staff! Spends one less data cube for any description, and gets *two* data cubes on recall. Limitation: will send no one to the field if there is a Library slot open.

The Fringe Theorist
Believes the deinonychids were developing intelligence. Won't dig outside the Cretaceous if he has a choice. +1 VP for any Cretaceous species, or +2 if also theropod, or +3 if "raptor."

The Grand Old Man
Has been contributing to science and museums . . . [more]

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April 9, 2024: Making Scents Of TTRPGs

Enhancing the mood of your game night can elevate the experience for all players. You've set the scene with themed music. The snacks are ready to be served, and the lights are dimmed to a softer glow. There's just one thing missing: aroma! 
 
Walking the exhibit hall of the GAMA Expo in Louisville, Kentucky in early March, I came across a company that sells fragrances based on fantasy and gaming. The Crafty Gamer has introduced a line of room sprays, candles, reed diffusers, and more called Aromas of Adventure. I stayed quite a while and smelled nearly every scent they had to offer in their massive collection.
 
Here are some of my favorites:
 
Forbidden Isles features notes of oakmoss, honeydew melon, violet, and citrus. It's bright and happy, and is available as a candle, a room spray, and a wax melt. Spray your room with this scent during a session with tropical-themed . . .

[more]

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