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Gaming Thursdays: Star Trek Adventures Cheat Sheet

June 14, 2018

As noted a few months ago, our group’s been playing the Star Trek Adventures RPG by Modiphius.  We’ve been having a blast (it has allowed me to recreate/resurrect a character I love that I was playing some 20 years ago in the Star Trek RPG by Last Unicorn Games) and the system’s proving to be a pretty good one.  As is my wont, I’ve made these quick cheat sheets to help us along:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1k9AR8oRJ_qiSPoxW7QEVWZU50jQiIYOr

One thing to note, I didn’t include all the actions and options for starship combat, as I found this great set of sheets by Potato_Fishy that contained everything very well.  Otherwise, I tried to include pretty much everything that comes up often in play.

Hopefully this can be of use for your games as well.  If you see any errors or omissions, please let me know and I will update the sheet.  And if you’re not playing ST:A, I do recommend it!

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Wonder Wednesday

June 13, 2018

Majestic, magic, moving, magnificent…

… and a mane.

Photo by Tim Bryan

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Philosophy Tuesday

June 12, 2018

I once forgot to pay rent.  Several days after it was due, I got a letter in the mail noting I was late, that there was a penalty, and that from there on forward I was to pay only by mail order or cashier’s cheque.

I became furious.  This was the first time I’d forgotten to pay the rent!  The requirements they were imposing seemed draconian!  It was unfair!

Mostly, truth be told, I was furious at myself.  How could I possibly forget such a thing?  I’m a smart person!  I remember all sorts of things!  Knowledge is my identity!

I was still angry when I met up later with a friend to do some work.  I knew I wouldn’t be able to get anything done (or do anything right) in that state, so I told them the whole tale.

And they laughed.  And it wasn’t one of those “I’m laughing with you” kind of laughs… they were definitively laughing at me.

That didn’t appease my anger one bit.  “What is so funny?”

“Are you human?” came their reply.

That was… and odd question.  “Yeah…”

“And do humans sometimes forget things?”

I knew, immediately, I was busted.

Or, more precisely, my calculating self, so full of fury and self-importance, knew it was busted.

“Yes.”

“Great.  Are you ready to give up your anger now?”

I fixed them with a stare.  My calculating self was not going to go down so easily.  “No.”

“Ok.  Let me know when you are.”  And they turned back down to their work.

It took me a few minutes more to stop taking myself so damn seriously.   The central self returned.

“Alright, fine.”

And with that the rest of the day went swimmingly.  As did my conversation with the office staff at the apartment, which resulted in them willingly waving all those ‘unfair’ conditions on my future payments.

It’s so funny* how wrapped up we can become in our identity, such that even the most human and common of things becomes a lighting rod and catalyst for upset, anger, blame throwing, casting aspersions, and more.  How vigorously we can work to defend something that doesn’t even need defending, how our clinging to a view (or views) brings down so much provocation.

And just how crappy that all feels.  How much it ruins our day (or longer).  How much time it can occupy.  And how much of a hindrance it is towards doing and completing that which we do want to do, and that would bring us joy.

The super funny thing is that it all felt so darn right to me.  Until that moment where, with their piercing question, my friend interrupted the calculating train there was nothing other than all the fury and unfairness.  Of course I should think that way.  Of course it was that way.

Developing mindfulness to catch those crazy trains is a wonderful thing, as is having a conductor like my friend who can split the cars and put the brakes on those same trains.  The deal isn’t to avoid or resist the calculating self and its train; the deal is to choose whether to get on or not, and even then (or if we discover our automatic decision was to get on…) we can still always choose when to get off.

Because wouldn’t you know it?  Things tend to be a lot more peaceful, a lot more clear, a lot more productive, and a lot more enjoyable when not caught careening on a runaway trip to Smashville.

 

* And I mean this with full honesty, no hidden sarcasm here:  I am truly fascinated by and find it hilarious how we humans sometimes operate, and how hijacked we can become.  If anything else in this story, I learned how endearing it can be to live inside of that world of “do humans sometimes…?”  It means a lot more love and relatedness towards others, myself, and the crazy communities we create and live in.

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Architecture Monday

June 11, 2018

This, I would say, is really an architecture of place.  A terra cotta workshop in Vietnam, placed on a vibrant riverbank, it is a spot of community, of tradition, of gathering, and of art.

The need is for a spot to place traditional terra cotta pottery to dry and cure.  Created with terra-cotta like brick, this three-story tower is perforated with hundreds of gaps to let the air, light, and views through.  Inside, a repetitive wood framed system provides plenty of cubby holes for storing terra cotta works.

As a bonus, the ground floor doubles as a tea house, with a central table and recessed seating area that allows for a moment of rest and conversation, gazing upward towards the clouds as they pass by.  I also really like how the stairways and pathways are integral within the wood shelving system.  Walking becomes an experience, with pottery above and below, the sky above, and vistas through the brick out to the river and landscape.  A lovely play of light, material, and movement.

This is a sweet design, grabbing what’s local and available (and hence inexpensive) and creating a wonderful space to play in for the whole community.

Terra Cotta Studio by Tropical Space

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Wonder Wednesday

June 6, 2018

A little dawwww for everyone…

illustration by Matthias Hausmann

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What’s the opposite of a KF epiphany?

June 5, 2018

Well… continuing to explore that crazy amazing insight, I’ve hit that point where now nothing seems to work anymore, where all the amazing feelings and results from just last week now I cannot reproduce one iota and everything falls apart at the lightest push.

When you deepen your understanding and dive into a new or deeper concept, the masters have noted, it will feel as though you are beginning all over.

So, intellectually I know this is on the path, but dang if it still ain’t a bit demoralizing!

And I’ve already got the next practice scheduled to keep on playing.

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Philosophy Tuesday

June 5, 2018

“And, by the way, remember that talent is completely overrated, if you want something it’s just about putting in the hard work :) Talent has precisely nothing to do with results.”

 – Martin from Wintergatan

(I love this quote.  I’ve spoken before about what I call the Tyranny of Talent and what I created there still holds.  We tend to view great ability or skill in someone – especially in the fields of physical or artistic prowess, but in many areas – largely dependent on some ingrained, born-with, special thing.   And if I/we weren’t gifted with it, well, tough luck for us, we can never achieve greatness (though even that term is kinda fraught).  At the same time, we accidentally denigrate the hard work and dedication it did take for those who excel to get to that position of excellence.

I suppose it is, in a way, also a discharge of thwarted ambitions, of feelings of inadequacy, of upset with ourselves for not taking on or giving up on something we do, actually, at our core want.  But it’s a temporary discharge at best and anything but empowering (for anyone).  It cuts off our expression and our desires, and it relegates us to a dustbin of invalid and not lucky.

It is great to come across a quote like Martin’s to remind that talent only seems magical because we are only seeing the result, not all that led to it.  Practice is the way to skill, and the journey itself can be a lot of fun.)