Sunday, July 26, 2015

Calypso Farm Spin In

Well, actually it was an open house. But my wife and I were invited as part of the 'Fiber Arts' section.

First,  Calypso Farm is a non-profit, educational farm based in Ester, Alaska. They showcase and teach classic skills based on eco-friendly farming.

This last spring, we atteneded their 'Sheep Shearing and Wool Day.' I had not seen a sheep shearing, and we have several fleeces that need to be cleaned (so we were hoping to learn a trick or two to make that easier as well.) And of course, we bought spindles and spun.

This led to us being invited to the open house (mid-summer) to be part of the Fiber Arts demo. And so, for a few hours today, my wife and I showed off both drop and supported spindles. I even brought out my kick spindle (shown above) just to have something different.

 The other invited guests showed off a couple of different styles of wheels, and one guest had a backstrap loom. There was a bin of odds and ends of wool, a couple of flick carders, and some 'stick style' mini drop spindles for people to try. All in all, a nice overall demo.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Game Developments - The 'Woof' Moment (Part 2)

So to recap,the party has figured out the arena, and in doing so have unintentionally acquired an NPC. This little dog named 'woof' eventally became a respected member of the party, with even the gruff Dwarf calling her "the world's smallest war dog."
    This new group dynamic 'testing' seems to have gone well, thus the game was building into a campaign. So I needed to continue my 'Worldbuilding.'
    My style of Worldbuilding is a series of outward spiraling idea builds. I usually start with a few basic sites (taverns, guild houses, maybe a blacksmith, and a few quick adventure hooks) and  then let the play inspire touches of unique interactions. Those interactions inspire my behind the scenes expansion of the community, while my larger world grows as it occurs.
     I try to keep building  the outlying world ahead of the party, but take into account the things they have done, and the things they leave to others. In this way the realm is constantly evolving, as a living world. Other parts of the world are built as inspiration  strikes, as tangents to the spiral build... so circles and tangents.
      In this case,  I started adding arenas to nearby sites, and thinking about how those sites would be influenced. 'Advancement' via skills or ability enhancement could wildly shake up a more traditional fantasy racial society, so I began building a whole  pocket society of Tribal Champion style of Law. It was loosely  based on a cross between  classic chivalry, and the Battle Tech 'Clan' laws.
     I also worked out several 'types' of arenas. The first obviously  gave bonus from the loser to the winner. Others gave bonuses based on skills used, and some only gave punishments  for losses. And all were magically linked, allowing for easy scrying... as a magical sports and government channel.
      And the campaign  turned into a sports-movie  underdog story, with the party eventually challenging through the arena legal system for rulership of this pocket realm. This also led to a 'Test of Faith' for the party cleric  as the arena changes  disrupted the 'purity  of  nature' and made  the arena  'champions' into 'abominations. And 'abominations against nature' (which she now had become) are against her god's teachings. And even with the eventual BBG (Big Bad Guy) who had built the arena system as a slight XP leach conduit to power his attempt to ascend to godhood...

The original idea had been loosely based on a 'Hollow Earth' style pocket realm (think Land of the Lost,) with the eventual  goal for the party to try to close the link between the realms. After exploring and looting a bit would they would find out that to close the pocket realm (and avert major home realm disaster) they would have to gather and replace all the 'treasures' looted from the pocket realm before they could fix the break between the realms.
        All of these changes came about from the question, "You aren't going to kill my dog, are you?" -- Now known in my family and local gaming community as 'The Woof Moment.'