Mysts of the Ninth World: Perilous Waters

 Numenera artwork © Monte Cook Games
Numenera artwork © Monte Cook Games

- Piper and Ganthet found themselves amidst a murden raid on the village of Urnmoll, also involving a large, crab-like, mechanical contraption smashing its way through the village.  The murden were eventually driven off, and the robot, after sustaining some damage, folded itself into a small sphere.  The two considered making a break out of town, but decided to stay to see what they could learn.

- Ronin found his way out of the cave he and his friends had originally entered and decided to continue through the mountains toward the village.  On his way, he began to perceive a beckoning presence which led him to a small, glowing cave.  Upon seeing his reflection in a pool, he became aware that he was no longer alone in his head.

- Helios and Naran fought with the aquatic predators, attempting to drive them off.  Naran found her way into one of the boats and was brought back to the town built on the ruins protruding from the lake, but Helios had dived back into the water in an attempt to find one of the missing villagers.  About the time Naran realized Helios had not come back, she was grabbed from behind - and found a knife at her throat...

- +3xp

Aralakh Company: Holding the Line

 Battletech artwork © Harebrained Schemes
Battletech artwork © Harebrained Schemes

- NAR continued the defense of their compound, eventually destroying 3 out of 4 of the attacking units - unfortunately causing two of them to catastrophically explode, leaving no usable salvage for the Resistance.  Hopefully Aralakh's attempts to capture the attackers' drop ship produces a more tangible gain...

Adam continued this encounter with us, and will likely be joining this game on an ongoing basis.

Mysts of the Ninth World: Making Waves

 Numenera artwork © Monte Cook Games
Numenera artwork © Monte Cook Games

- Ronin awoke, alive but debilitated and surrounded by silver insectoid creatures.  Over the next day or so, he made his way back out of the ruin, slowly recovering strength.  During this time, he noticed that patches of his skin all over his body had been replaced by red scales.

- Ganthet spoke with the apparent leader of the village of Urnmoll, a woman Seluxii.  Her suspicion of his activities in the region seemed to increase as he answered her questions with partial-truths.

- Piper spoke with the old woman for a while, learning that the town's water-producing artifact had recently ceased functioning, and that many in town were worried.

- Naran and Helios toppled from their perch above the rushing river when the bird-man from the previous world followed them through into this one, sending all three of them into the river and over a tremendous waterfall.

- Ronin reached the cave in which the group took shelter from the glass storm, and found himself attacked by a black puddle - apparently the remnants of the tentacled creature that had previously harassed them.

- The relative peace of Urnmoll was suddenly disturbed by shouts, screams, and mechanical pounding and whirring coming from one corner.  Piper was ambushed by some form of avian humanoid, and Seluxii left Ganthet apparently trapped in a room with a vanishing doorway.

- Naran and Helios found what appeared to be a fishing town built on partiall-submerged ruins in the valley into which they'd been deposited.  As they swam for the approaching boats, they were attacked by some sort of aquatic reptile...

- +2xp

Aralakh Company: Attack on the Resistance

 Battletech artwork © Harebrained Schemes
Battletech artwork © Harebrained Schemes

- Using assets "borrowed" from Aralakh, NAR attempts to fight off the mercenary lance sent to destroy them while Aralakh furthers its efforts to capture the merc's Union.  The Resistance managed to take out the crippled mercenary Clint and the enemy Whitworth has virtually no armor remaining, but Aralakh's Warhammer is severely battered and the Trebuchet is now out of missles...

Adam joined us for this session, so we decided to play out the latter half of the previously "off-camera" engagement of mercs vs. NAR in order to introduce him to the defining mech combat aspect of our Battletech campaign.  After this encounter resolves, we will return to Aralakh's attempts to capture the dropship, which have now moved into the personal-scale boarding of the vessel.

There Is Something Fundamental I Misunderstand About Photo Editors

Tuesday May 16, 2017 at 8:19am photography, post-processing, problems Comments (0) »
 Another screenshot; another What You See Is Not What You Get; another serious frustration.
Another screenshot; another What You See Is Not What You Get; another serious frustration.

Or "Why Do All Photo Editors Suck?"

Similar to a previous post, the above is a screenshot showing a RAW preview and an exported JPG of inferior quality - only this time, it's in Adobe Lightroom.

Isn't the point of a photo editor to tweak photos to the point that they're "perfect"?  If what I'm seeing in the editor is not what I'm going to actually get, the thing is utterly useless.

So, apologies to Canon, I guess - it's not DPP necessarily, it's probably everything.

Question: Why is it so impossible to simply get a JPG that looks identical to a RAW preview.

If it's not impossible, what hoops do I have to jump through (and, just as importantly, why)?

~PS

Mysts of the Ninth World: New Domains

 Numenera artwork © Monte Cook Games
Numenera artwork © Monte Cook Games

- Naran and Helios continued fractured communication with the birdman, who seemed intent upon fixing some part of the inner workings of the tower and/or island, and reacted negatively toward any action they took that might even superficially damage it.  Deciding there was nothing remaining for them in that place, they made their way back to the book Naran had previously found, using its viewport to travel to the world on the other side.

- Ganthet and Piper made their way through the ruin to the lowest exit they could find.  Waiting till dark, they lowered the power core before descending themselves.  Concerned over what the townfolk might say if they were found with the artifact, the two hid it in a cleft of rock nearby.  As they approached the only way out of the rocky depression, Ganthet was spotted by the two guardsmen and taken down to the village - Piper followed along behind.

- +2xp

Aralakh Company: Forced Entry

 Battletech artwork © Harebrained Schemes
Battletech artwork © Harebrained Schemes

- Aralakh neutralized the mech defenses of the merc dropship and blew open one of the loading doors.  The lance then called in their strike team, led by the temporarily dispossessed Drevan, who proceeded to board the vessel for capture.

Mysts of the Ninth World: Into the Depths

 Numenera artwork © Monte Cook Games
Numenera artwork © Monte Cook Games

- After Naran and Helios finished their rest, Helios suggested they investigate the bubbling pool which he found to be breathable while Naran did not.  While Naran spent some more time investigating the machinery in the hollow of the island, Helios ventured down into the water-filled chambers below where he found what appeared to be a city populated by enormous frog-people.  He also met up with the bird-man they'd first encountered, who returned to the chamber with him.

- Ronin, Ganthet, and Piper, meanwhile, attempted to cross the gravity-less chasm with their power-core while avoiding harassment and attack by the vanishing and re-appearing serpent.  Unfortunately, their counter-attacks eventually agitated the creature to the point that it disrupted the null gravity field, sending objects plummeting into the chasm.  Noticing the signs, Ronin managed to push Piper and the power core to the relative safety of the far wall, but in so doing failed to reach it himself - and fell into the darkness below...

- +3xp

Aralakh Company: Union Jacking

Thursday April 27, 2017 at 9:00pm battletech, aralakh company, game session notes Comments (0) »
 Battletech artwork © Harebrained Schemes
Battletech artwork © Harebrained Schemes

- As NAR began engaging the mercenary force sent to take them out, Aralakh's partial lance emerged from their concealed location, making their way to the merc's LZ in an attempt to capture their Union-class dropship...

Battletech: It's Hard To Be a Mechwarrior

Wednesday April 26, 2017 at 12:14pm gaming, battletech Comments (0) »
Battletech: It's Hard To Be a Mechwarrior Image

Some barriers to break down.

Battletech has a pretty significant "barrier to entry".  This fact is pretty well-known amongst gamers.  The rules of the tabletop game - even if you don't get into some of the advanced/optional stuff - are crunchy and fairly complicated at first blush.  There's like 3 different steps to do anything.  Also, the fiction and history of the setting (which is awesome) is pretty vast and somewhat convoluted.  And there's just so much stuff out there pertaining to Battletech, that it can be intimidating to anyone wanting to pick it up (I know, I was there a couple years ago) - I mean, where do you start?  But there is another aspect to this barrier that I hadn't previously considered.

First time in the cockpit.

Tim and I introduced Rucht & Tony to this wonderful world of giant robots last night.  It was our usual night to play Rucht's D&D 5e game (which is fantastic, by the way - we're a party of halflings!), but a few people had to cancel and we didn't reach critical mass for the game to occur, so I brought my Battletech stuff and we decided to blow up some stuff.

I set up a map with my spiffy hex terrain, some of my best painted units (color coded by teams), and got out the sheets, dice, etc.  I have a pretty solid setup, I think.  We played 2-on-2: Tony and I against Tim and Rucht.  A Catapult, Enforcer, Rifleman, and Dervish, respectively.  I think our side had a slight edge in battlefield value, but I've found balancing lances in Battletech to be really, really difficult, so I don't usually agonize over getting it perfect, and I didn't choose the sides.

Rucht likes minis games and, I think, enjoyed this one about as well as any other.  He would probably play it again on occasion, but didn't seem super enthusiastic.  Tony tends to like games that are a bit more straight-forward.  He really liked kicking Tim's Rifleman in the shins of course, but I think he would have prefered a bit less computation in order to do so.  He said he had a good time with it, but wasn't something he'd be interested in as an ongoing thing.  We only got through about half of the engagement, but we all had fun and I think it was a decent intro.

After the game, Tim and I were talking about how it went.  Tim is, so far, the one person I've introduced to this game who is really into.  He and I have been doing a kind of single-player strategic-level merc campaign - Aralakh Company - using some companion rules I made to handle non-mech-combat stuff.  We're about 15 sessions in, and we've been absolutely LOVING it.  We got to talking about why the game didn't seem quite as fun to our friends as we think it is.

And then, we remembered.

Before you walk, you have to crawl.  Really, really slowly.  Over gravel.

It could simply be that the game is just not their thing, but I think there's a little more to it than that.  

Here's the thing we decided about Battletech: You have to like some crunch in a combat system for sure, and you have to have some guidance as to where to start (thanks to Dan, Chris, and Fear the Boot, by the way), but you ALSO have to have a fair degree of patience.  You just have to really like the idea of Battletech in order to get far enough into the game to fall in love with it.  

Many games become increasingly fun to play as you get to know the rules, but Battletech takes this to a certain extreme.  Not only does the game not reach "peak fun" until you know it well enough that the phases and calculations come somewhat naturally and chart-referencing is an "only some of the time" event, but learning it that well takes a while, and the game can be almost oppressive before you get to that point.  I totally get how many people would feel that the slog just isn't worth it when there are so many other games out there that are a bit easier and more fun up front.

Tim and I both agreed that when we first started playing, the games were slow and clunky and not nearly as much fun (even if we were playing with people who knew the rules pretty well), but we both loved the concepts around the game so much that we put up with the less-than-smooth gameplay long enough to get to the point where we knew it well enough to enjoy it as much as we do now.

Unfortunately, if you're not truly enamoured with the ideas from the start, you're probably not going to stick with this game long enough to really enjoy it.  If the game has a flaw, this is surely it.

~PS

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