Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to AskJaybird-at-gmail.com

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32 Responses

  1. Maribou says:

    I’m just so glad to have made it through the weirdest schedule I’ve ever had and be (relatively) back to normal.

    Don’t even know what the weekend will entail other than what Jaybird said above, and sleep. Probably reading, and snuggling the cats.

    It’s meant to snow, though the snow today was unremarkable (like drizzle, only flakes instead of drops).Report

  2. Will H. says:

    The D&D thing sounds cool.
    I was thinking recently that I would sorta like to get a pencil & paper gaming group together sometime, but I’m not sure where I’d find the time.

    This weekend: Gardening.
    I need to thin out the hollyhocks a bit (growing like crazy) to let the mint get a bit of light to fill in.
    I have some alternating flax & echinacea along the side, and I need to transplant some little flax plants & some little echinacea plants into a bare spot where the kitten decided to make a catbox-away-from-catbox in my garden.
    She’s got the right idea, but she needs to work on technique a bit, I’d say.
    The Debs honeysuckle is starting to green up nice, and I need to get some cement in around the posts of the trellis before it comes too far along.
    Grapevine not doing so well.Report

    • Kim in reply to Will H. says:

      You’re not using American Grapes?
      (Grapes run wild all around where I am… they’re a plague and a pest, though not nearly as bad as the knotweed. And some idiot planted bamboo…)Report

      • Will H. in reply to Kim says:

        I’ve had problems with bindweed elsewhere in the general area, but it’s creeping charlie around here that’s the big issue.

        Not sure what kind of grapes these are, but they’re red seeded grapes, and huge– almost like a small muscadine.Report

    • Morat20 in reply to Will H. says:

      If you’re putting together a group of newbies, eschew D20 and look at the FATE based systems. Very storytelling, less dice-heavy, and you spend a lot less time trying to figure out the rules for Attacks of Opportunity. 🙂Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Morat20 says:

        I agree with this. The mindset of the DM has to switch from “I’m supposed to provide obstacles for the players” to “we’re supposed to tell an awesome story together”. (Not that the latter precludes obstacles. It definitely includes doing so! It’s just that that’s not the emphasis.)Report

        • Will H. in reply to Jaybird says:

          Explain please.

          I tend to like a 1st ed. AD&D w/ Unearthed Arcana blended with Warhammer 1st ed. rev.
          The main takeaways from Warhammer were the expanded use of saving throws for tests, fate points, and critical hits.

          Are these systems essentially the same as use of fate points?Report

          • Jaybird in reply to Will H. says:

            I’ve played in D&D games where it was downright adversarial. TPK (Total Party Kill) was seen as a reasonable outcome of a dungeon crawl and there were DMs who saw that as a laudable goal.

            The best you could hope for was a DM who agreed to some small set of ground rules… if there are only 4 players, all of whom are level 2, then there should not be more than 8 levels of monsters in any given encounter, so 8 skeletons *OR* 4 blink dogs *OR* 2 Grey Oozes.

            See? Now you’re doing math in order to hammer out what is or is not “fair”.

            In Fate, however, the idea behind the story is that the DM is trying to give you an opportunity to tell a story, everyone together.

            This means that everyone gets a monologue (and by “a”, we mean “one”). Everyone gets to have an awesome moment in a fight. Everyone gets to steal a scene. (These all include the DM, of course.)

            And the ideal session involves the last character left conscious in the last scene knocking the bad guy out on the last roll of the night.

            The goals are different.Report

            • Kim in reply to Jaybird says:

              TPK is one thing.

              Dropping a horse out of an airplane onto someone’s head to kill them is another.

              The latter calls for extreme measures… enter Old Man Henderson.

              I think I’d dislike the whole “everyone gets to be super shiny” just as much as anything else. I’d rather have a real world to play in, and be really memorable as myself. Or, if I don’t want to be memorable, just go along for the ride. “Go for the eyes, Boo! Go for the eyes!”
              Mr. Fischoeder didn’t need a “Crowning Moment of Awesome”… he just kinda was.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Kim says:

                Dropping a horse out of an airplane onto someone’s head to kill them is another.

                I would demand to see the DM roll that particular die in the middle of the table.

                Because if you’re going to pull that crap, you may as well just open the first session with “nobody bother rolling up a character, we’ve got a TPK” and then you can quiver in delight for a minute before handing the DM’s screen off to the next person in the rotation.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Kim says:

                Crowning moments of awesome are up to you, but FATE runs on…FATE points.

                You enter a room full of mooks and interesting machinery? GM holds up a FATE token and says to you “Your gear-head of a character is going to be really distracted by all the machinery, don’t you think?” (Gear head being a defining character trait you chose yourself). If you say “Yes” you get the FATE token — or you can spend one you have to say “No, distracting as it is — I’ll focus on the mooks”.

                And those tokens can be done for…a lot. Reroll a roll, add +2 to a roll (a sizeable amount), to activate certain rather powerful abilities….

                Just to give you an idea of “complicated” FATE based combat — here’s how my Earth mage in the Dresden Files RPG uses magic.

                “I want to use my powers to shake the earth beneath his feet, putting him off-balance!”. To do so I make, at most, two rolls. One skill to pull up power (the name of which escapes me!), one skill (discipline) to control it. I have 4 ranks in both (I’m “Great”) at it, so I can pull up 4 and control 4 without a roll. Shaking the earth is not a particularly difficult feat, so I’ll choose 4 and 4 and not roll at all. The target has to make an athletics roll (for a total of 4 or better) or be “Off Balance”.

                Combat really works like this:
                Mage: “I shake the earth beneath the gunman’s feet, putting him off balance!”
                Detective: “I fire a few shots, flushing him out of cover”.
                Ex-Soldier: “He’s “Off Balance” and “Exposed” — I shoot him!” (Both those descriptors give him +2. So the soldier is “Great” at guns –+4. He adds another +4 by using “off balance” and “exposed”. He’s not at +8 — and then he rolls a +1. So +9 to guns

                Gunman: Rolls athletics to deal with the +9 shot. He gets a 4. That leaves 5 shifts of damage (the difference) which is…painful. He might be able to take the hit — but he might be forced to accept a consequence for it. (Bleeding heavily, lamed, in shock, etc) — which is another thing people can use against him.

                It’s all about tempo — you don’t roll basic attacks, you don’t use special skills or once-a-day items. It’s about a story — a fight scene. “I rip the metal pots off the wall with my magnetic powers, flinging them at him to distract him!” — and injuries add up until you’re forced to take consequences or get taken out.

                And some of those consequences can last.. a long time. They can become character defining (like losing an eye or a hand or developing a crippling phobia). Some go away quickly (“winded”), some last a gaming session (“concussed”).

                And social and mental combat work the same way. It’s a story, a fight scene acted out. The rules are simplified — you want to flank him, to give your buddy a better shot at your foe? You…move and your opponent moves, as you try to pin him between you and your friend. If you roll better, he’s flanked — which is a plus 2 bonus to whomever taps that aspect first.

                The whole system is built on aspects (like flanked, wounded, distracted) — your environment is build on them, your fight scenes are built on them — they’re used to define your character (“Gear head”, “Doesn’t know what he doesn’t know”, “bull headed”, “Painful limp”).

                And the best ones — especially for characters — are the ones that cut both ways. So it’s about imagination, innovation, and….working out the story you want to tell.Report

              • Will H. in reply to Morat20 says:

                Totally different thing then.

                A character gets a certain number of Fate Points at the character creation phase, and it’s a bit different for each class. A player can expend a Fate Point to change any die roll (usually whatever kills the character). The rationale is that it is the Fate Points that make the characters heroes in the milieu, and therefore worth playing.

                Critical hits take two forms: One is where the character just kills the monster with one swipe (or finishes it off), and the other is to strike a certain limb, e.g., lopping off an arm.
                There is a rule in the 1st ed. PH that states that any attacker with intelligence above animal level with strike at the head 50% of the time. There is good and bad to this, but I’ve found it easier to do without it.

                As far as combat goes, blending in the grappling & pummeling rules makes the whole thing a bit more exciting, and the expanded use of saving throws add to the effect.

                Thanks for explaining that.

                FWIW, I’m not really so much of a story-telling type gamer as much as a puzzle-solving type.
                Chicken-egg, I guess.Report

          • Morat20 in reply to Will H. says:

            No, FATE systems are designed for cooperative storytelling from the ground up. FATE dice are the only dice used (they’re just six sided dice, half with a “+” symbol, half with a “-“. You roll four at a time, so the results range from -4 to +4).

            But everything, from combat to character creation, is designed for storytelling.

            The mechanics are simplified (one set of dice, every form of combat is run through the same mechanism — social, mental, and physical) but still versatile. Character traits are stressed.

            Even GM railroading is built into the game — players get rewarded for playing in character, even when it’s to their detriment, and use those rewards to be…epic. 🙂Report

      • pillsy in reply to Morat20 says:

        I think the issue is less FATE vs d20 and it’s more just managing the weight of dealing with all the stuff that comes with a game. I introduced two newbies to D&D via the (now ten years old!) D&D 3.x “basic” boxed set, and they had a blast–even with the Attacks of Opportunity. But it came with a big map, and minis/counters, and pregen PCs, allowing it to work more like a (familiar and comforting) boardgames while avoiding the daunting “flip back and forth through the PHB” of character creation.Report

        • Kim in reply to pillsy says:

          Yeah, I can see how character creation can be a PITA, and not really necessary for everything (Enter Concept: Give People Single Page Backstory).Report

          • Jaybird in reply to Kim says:

            The whole “I have created a character with 14 pages of notes and an artifact level weapon that will not activate until she learns the activation word which has been lost and, as such, is only a regular +1 staff until the activation word is regained” phenomenon is something we all must pass through on our way to being able to be handed a pre-rolled character and being told “you drew the short straw… you’re the mage.”Report

            • Kim in reply to Jaybird says:

              You haven’t seen the 300+ pages of handwritten backstory in order to introduce a character to get back at the GM who dropped a horse out of an airplane onto your character.


              Well worth a read.

              Some people write up “insanely convenient backstory”… other people just write really, really complicated backstories that are truly awesome. As in: you should see the backstory for the Lonely Assassins.Report

  3. Kim says:

    Diets are fun when you let them be fun.
    I’ve been doing vegan one week a month (It’s supposed to lower blood cholesterol for blood tests, I have the pubmed study to prove it — if it’s just a placebo effect, well, no side effects!).
    But it’s not boring, because I find the food I eat then to be delightful (this week is a lot of hummus and matzah, because passover).

    Be thankful cheat meals won’t kill you. That’s… not always the case.Report

  4. Saul Degraw says:

    I am being a good Jewish boy this weekend. My mom loves the congregation she found out in the Bay Area much more than the old and stuffy one we went to on the East Coast. West Coast Jews are a bit more innovative in what they allow in their services and the atmosphere is more casual and relaxed. The cantor is doing a concert at a venue in Berkeley and she wants me to attend. The cantor also happens to be Michael Chabon’s sister-in-law and has a small nose ring.Report

  5. Francis says:

    Re: weight loss. A few years back I was 202. I am now 182. (I have stayed 6 ft tall.) There really is no substitute for eating less, cutting way (to the nth degree) back on sugar, and moderate exercise. I do miss soda, but oh the occasional Coke tastes good. The other sacrifice — per my wife’s doctor’s request — is almost no beef. which sucks. but I’m thinking that it’s been a long time since we last went to a steakhouse.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Francis says:

      On a physical level, perhaps.

      On a mental/emotional level? I do not have the strength. I have to do something like South Beach or else the diet will fail quickly.Report

      • Francis in reply to Jaybird says:

        I tend to work quite late (home around 8:30 pm) because my job regularly requires me to exchange emails with people in Hong Kong and China. The only way to have a warm meal at the end of the day is to do plan and prep the Sun -Thurs meals on Sunday. This is usually a large batch of protein and veg — chicken or pork — cooked Sunday evening to cover four meals and one piece of fish. Friday is pizza. Saturday is dinner out / leftovers / a special meal.

        yah I’m usually pretty bored of what’s in the fridge by Thursday, but the alternative is delivery or to-go and BAM there goes the diet. Advance planning makes it work for me.Report

        • Kim in reply to Francis says:

          I don’t get bored that easy. Yeah, maybe after two weeks of something, but four days? boo, I’m eating something else for lunch, aren’t i? If it’s good, it’s good enough to eat four times in a row.Report

        • greginak in reply to Francis says:

          I do the cook on sunday night for the week deal which works for me. Luckily, very lucky, i can eat the same dinner several nights in a row with no problem since i like my cooking. I’m also always tired at night since i’ve just come from running or skiing so i have little desire to do more then heat up pre-cooked food.

          But there is no way around moderate intake of good food and exercise ( most of the time) as the way to maintain a good weight.Report

        • Francis in reply to Francis says:

          Recipe Exchange!

          After a few too many episodes of Triple-D, I finally got the courage to make a slow-roasted pork shoulder, along with sides of black beans, tomatillo salsa, pickled carrots and red onions and a couple of other things.. I didn’t pull it when it came out of the oven because I thought it would get dry. But it was easy enough to shred and pulled pork tacos made for a very nice week of eating.

          I do a lot of dinner soups. Poach a chicken with aromatic veg and make a nice stock. Dice up the chicken and some veg and keep in the fridge. Heat up the stock with varying array of chicken, veg and noodles. Add in a little extra flavoring (maybe some miso) and voila.

          Chili that’s mostly beans with some pork is another good one.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Francis says:

          Oh, I love my slow cooker meals (though there is this thing where they eventually all start tasting like each other).

          The problem is making stuff for me and making stuff for me and Maribou requires two different recipes.

          So that slows stuff down.Report

    • Burt Likko in reply to Francis says:

      These are behaviors I need to get back into the discipline of doing, as some of my lost weight is creeping back in — in no small part due to the beer I so enjoy brewing.Report

      • Francis in reply to Burt Likko says:

        I feel like Homer Simpson — mmmm, beer. While you live ridiculously far from me while managing to be in the same county, if you’re ever in the mood to see the beach, please feel free to come on down, with beer.

        About 15 years ago or so, Hermosa Beach had a self-brew place that I used a couple of times. Nothing that I made was all that special but it was interesting. Google suggests that it’s out of business.Report

  6. Glyph says:

    Anybody feel like hanging in the MD Listening Lounge?Report

  7. Kazzy says:

    Heading to Philly for the night. Might get to drink for reals!Report