Star Wars D6

July 28th, 2008 by Matt

On the heels of a failed product launch in March, an inability to refund consumers their money for preorders of said product, and a subsequent consumer backlash, West End Games is officially on the block. After posting a scathing condemnation of RPGnet, Dana Jorgensen, and RPG hobbyists in general, the current owner of West End Games (Eric Gibson) announced on his own forums that he is selling the entire company because he is “tired of all the work for negative reward”.

Gaming – May 24th

April 23rd, 2008 by Matt

If anyone is interested in joining us, we’re getting a gaming session together at Liz’s place (who some of you know) for May 24th at 1pm in Cambridge, MA 02140. I’m going to run the 3.5 version of Expedition to the Demonweb Pits. Drop me an email if you’re interested, and I’ll pass along her address and email.

Edit: It’s an interesting campaign with alot of diplomacy, and some interesting decisions. The enemy of my enemy type stuff. I’m going to do my best to keep the lethality down, or at the least provide easy ways for reincarnation/resurrection.

Commentary on 4th Ed…

April 17th, 2008 by Carl

Dunno if I am interested in purchasing all of the books again, especially if they insist on changing the whole fabric of the game. With that in mind, here is some interesting (and sometimes funny) commentary on the new rules:

A 20-Point Letter of Protest Regarding the New 4th Edition


April 11th, 2008 by Carl

Sorry to hear that Joe… I know it depends on the Langlais as well (has anyone heard from them?), but keep us in mind if you get a bit of free time (yeah, I bet that is the very thing ya want to do, right?).

Of course I am assuming that Ben is free, snicker…

And I know Matt would enjoy spending some of the free time he has left with us (7+ months and counting down)…


April 11th, 2008 by Joe

Congratulations Matt and Dede!

As far as my schedule, I didn’t post because I really don’t know what it is right now. One of the guys that I work with is on an H1B visa (he’s basically a permanent post-doc until he gets his citizenship… he’s from England) that runs out on the 7th (of May). He has the paperwork in (since September), but probably won’t have his green card by then either. So my time in MI and NY may be extended while I have to set up extra studies… yay weekends on the road. So, I’m not really sure right now. Sorry guys.


April 11th, 2008 by Ben

Wow, congratulations Matt and Dede.

Heh heh…

April 10th, 2008 by Carl

Sure, ya drop a bombshell like that and you think we can get any scheduling done?

Just Kidding, Congrats from both me and Jenn… Wow, Fun times… Any other details? (Before you go into how it happened, I think we are all clear on that…)

P.S. What’s next? Ben getting married? (Or could it be Jenn and myself getting married so she is covered by those ‘state benefits’? Stay tuned…)


April 9th, 2008 by Matt

Sure I’m in if you want to get something going for a game. In other news, Dede’s pregnant and our baby is due on Dec 2nd.

The Color Purple…

April 9th, 2008 by Carl

Sorry, I couldn’t resist. The question I have is wouldn’t the source of the pigment matter if you are looking at the UV response? I am pretty sure I remember seeing mono colored flowers (Black-eyed Susan’s, I think) that had a fairly intricate pattern in UV. Thus the yellow on different parts of the petals have different UV responses, which would make me think that the source/composition of the purple pigment you use would matter as much as the actual color you see. I am sure that you have already looked at all of this, but I know in manufacturing it could be difficult to keep a good QA/QC on something that can be affected by the vendors and not easily noticed. And everything gets more complicated once you have a visible AND UV combination desired…

And everyone keeps skipping my question about getting together and gaming. Hell, I am coming up from CT and am willing to do it if we can get a date set. Is this something that might happen or is it just my pipe dream?


April 8th, 2008 by Joe

They actually have receptors for UV, blue, green and red. We’ve hooked up the eyes and measured the retinal responses from 350nm to 700nm. We’re not sure why exactly purple, but we have several ideas. It could have something to do with reflectance of UV light. There’s also some evidence that ash bark may have some purple in it. The other theory we have is that it may have something to do with the beetle’s abdomen which is kind of reddish purple. This year I’m going to be trying some other purple colors messing with the red and blue reflectance (purple isn’t a real color in the visible spectrum … it’s actually a mixture of red and blue… I know it’s shocking ;) ). Last year we also found that green is probably more attractive (at least up in the canopy) than purple (still better near the ground). This green we’re pretty certain has something to do with leaf color. We only have one year of data so we’re going to test it again before we go wide with it (we’ve had good purple data for 5 years (I was actually able to publish this a few years ago) and the prism trap design (currently part of a manuscript in review) is now 3 years old). Research from another group last year showed that the traps are actually as good as smaller trees that are more likely to be used since trap trees have to be cut down and completely debarked, while the traps just get checked. So trap tree = a few man hours, trap = a few man minutes. With our lure (got to be 3rd author ;) ) the traps are even more effective.


April 8th, 2008 by Carl

Yep, I don’t have to join the union, but I have to pay the dues either way so not really a difficult choice. It is my understanding that the 35hr work week came from the union negotiations (the state wouldn’t go up on salaries, so the hours were reduced). It will be a pay cut to start, but will eventually be a lot better (and is a quality of life increase right off of the bat).

Real interesting stuff you have linked there. So, the traps are being used extensively even though the second article seems to intimate that they are not as good? I certainly think not killing the trees you are trying to protect is a good thing. And why purple? It seems odd that they would be attracted to that color (is it a flower thing?). Sorry to hear that you are doing three jobs. That will come back to bite them in the long run (just ask my company that is now scrambling to cover the work/hours I was doing) if you ever decide to move on.

So with everyones work schedule, is getting together at some point (in a few weeks?) going to be a possibility? Just figured that I will keep pushing…

Congratulations Carl

April 8th, 2008 by Joe

So state employees get to be part of a union. That’s cool… too bad feds can’t get that too… I might have a permanent job by now. Is that 6 month period real though? We have that and I’ve never seen anybody let go.

Anyway, I’d been checking in about once every week or two, but it’s been so quiet, and I’ve been doing my job at work, as well as work that has now been jobs for two other people’s jobs so I haven’t checked in a while. Can’t complain too much though –the government is using my trap (108,000+ in 46 states) for surveying the emerald ash borer (this is my main project). Some links here and here if you’re interested.


April 6th, 2008 by Carl

Thanks Ben… I am sorry for waiting so long to respond, but I was waiting to see if others would pipe in. So, is the Blog (and by extension, the gaming group) dead? Just wondering since there seems to be no activity, but I would like to get together at some point if anyone else is up for it.

P.S. Although my hours will probably eventually be what you have there, I still have to be good for the 1st 6 months to a year to get my tenure. Thus, I will have to tough out my 35 hours/week, sigh…


April 3rd, 2008 by Ben

Cool, congratulations Carl. So what are your new work hours, 9:00-3:30 with a two-hour lunch? ;)

New Member of the CTDEP…

April 1st, 2008 by Carl

Title says it all – I am now a proud card carrying union member of the CTDEP. What this means is that I should have an improved quality of life and it should be easier for me to get my weekends off to come up. So with that in mind, when are we going to game again? I didn’t mind the winter off, but now I am jonesing for some dice rolling…

New Sam Raimi Series

March 18th, 2008 by Ben
Variety reports that Sam Raimi is returning to the fantasy television genre with a new hourlong series, Wizard’s First Rule, based on the Sword of Truth books by Terry Goodkind. The ABC/Disney production just received a full 22 episode order, and will be syndicated throughout the US. Production is set to begin in May.



March 4th, 2008 by Matt

Dungeons & Dragons co-creator dies at 69
MILWAUKEE – Gary Gygax, who co-created the fantasy game Dungeons & Dragons and helped start the role-playing phenomenon, died Tuesday morning at his home in Lake Geneva. He was 69.


March 3rd, 2008 by Matt

I’m actually getting more optimistic about the 4e ruleset. Not sure who’s keeping watch on what’s out there, but here’s a few things –

  • Durations are either until save (roll at least x on a dY), one round, or entire encounter.

  • Action points give an extra action, and they are accrued by finishing encounters.

  • Short vs. extended rests – short rest is 5 minutes and recharges per encounter powers. Extended rest is 6 hours, fully heals you, regain all healing surges, get daily powers back, and action points are reset to 1.

  • Healing wind – once per encounter, can take a standard action to gain second wind. Gives you hit points equal to Healing Surge value and +2 to all defenses until the start of your next turn. Then lose one healing surge.
  • No more rolling for hit points. You get a fixed amount at first level, and every level thereafter.
  • Weapon groups are gone, weapon proficiencies are back.
  • Sneak Attack damage doesn’t go up nearly as high, but generally works the same as before.
  • Tumble skill is gone, folded into Acrobatics and can’t do the really badass “avoid attacks of opportunity” anymore. Rogues, however, have something similar as an actual ability.

  • With saves and attack bonuses being more general, 4e classes are less chart-heavy.
  • There are suggested Builds for classes on what feats, skills, and abilities to select.
  • 4e Stuff

    March 3rd, 2008 by Ben

    Wired has links to some 4E stuff coming out of the Dungeons & Dragons Experience. The skills list does seem much simplified and the powers seem a lot more consistently useful than most feats.


    February 29th, 2008 by Joe

    I hadn’t been by in a while, and there’s been a flurry of activity (okay it looks like it’s been going on for about a week ;) ).

    Good luck Carl!  I actually have to apply for my own job when it opens up next week (stupid government).

    Is that Dragonlance movie the one with Lucy Lawless?  I’d read about it somewhere last year, probably in a Battlestar Galactica article.  I didn’t think they were done with it.  We’ll have to add it to our queue too.