Catching Pokémon For The First Time

PokémonGo is the first time I’ve played any Pokémon game.

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Sure, I gamed as a kid, but my NES was too old-school and my money was going to other things when the game first came out. I knew about the show, but it wasn’t targeted at me.

Anyone who knows me, knows I’m not an early adapter. I just re-bought Viva Pinata and prayed that my Win10 computer could play the Windows Vista version of the game.

But, everyone I knew seemed to be playing it. I figured, if nothing else, I’d play for 3-4 weeks like I do most casual games and then move on with my life. Trying it when it was new meant I might get more opportunities than after everyone’s level 100 and I have no prayer of fighting stuff in the…um, gyms?

Plus, it would give me an excuse to get up and walk around. I mean, coder by day, writer by night? 80% of my waking hours are in front of computers, and my commute and smart phone are the only reason that number’s so low.

 

Top 5 Reasons I’m loving it:

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  •  It’s a great gamification of walking – you actually have to walk Kilometers (according to your GPS, not fitbit) to hatch eggs
  • I’m taking MORE walks around my community lake, which I already love–and getting more pictures of the lake
  • It showed me a walking trail 2 blocks from my office, that I never knew about
  • It’s encouraging my friends to hang out in groups and walk
  • I reached my 30 minutes of walking a day goal 6/7 days last week, for the first time in ages

Top 5 Things that Weren’t Obvious:

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  • You SPIN the Pokéstop signs to get items–tapping them just gets you a loadModule error
  • You SLIDE your finger up, to toss the Pokéball, release when you get close, and aim for the center of the circles as they shrink. Not releasing your finger cancels the toss (like if it moves)
  • Different neighborhoods have different Pokémon. My lake gets Fish and Ducks.
  • Friendly gyms might have open slots for you to drop off a Pokémon, if so, select the gym, then look in the lower left, if there’s an icon, you can staff your gym!
  • Speaking of gyms, if you leave a Pokémon there, you earn coins every 21 hrs– and you can collect right away! [So, you can capture a gym with friends, then let the low level players hop in, grab coins, and then battle them out]

Top 5 Annoying Things About Pokémon:

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  • When the servers go down
  • When you spin the Pokéstop before it loads, get no items, and it won’t let you spin again
  • Hatching a 5k Pidgey with <50 CP. (CP= combat power. Higher level ones are easily over 1,000)
  • The app only works when it’s the active app on your phone — yes ‘battery saver mode’ exists — but all that does is turn off the screen when you put it in your pocket, with the game still active and running*. Checking FB? Turning off your screen? Nope.
  • When the Pokémon keeps breaking free of your Pokéballs, then runs away.

 

 Are you playing?

P.S.     
P.P.S. Keeping up with my CampNaNo word count and  nearly have my query letter finalized! It’s not all Pokémon and long walks by the lake.
* Also? My phone kept freezing when coming out of Battery Saver Mode, with exiting the game the only option

Familiar Tales and Twists

I love fairy tales.

When I was in elementary school, I read every single book in the fairy tales and folklore section. I’ve always been a sucker for retold fairy tales–modern retellings, expanded retellings, reinterpreted tellings, gender flipped retellings, new endings, new twists– you name it, I’m probably your audience.

Which is part of the reason I have no free time left.

I’m part of a podcast (that should be launching its first season soon!) called Anansi Storytime. It’s radio-drama style podcasts of traditional folktales. We hope to expand that. We just started recording Season 2. I’ve gotten cast for a couple of lines as a Goddess. Who could hate that?

Another friend of mine just started up a Fables game. Based in the world from Vertigo Comics: Fables, we’re fairy tale creatures, fleeing from The Adversary, whom no one has met, who is conquering all the lands from the fairy tales and collecting all the magic items.

The humanoid fables live in a few blocks of New York City that they’ve owned since it was New Amsterdam, the rest are forced to live on The Farm.

My character is Lizina, from A Colony of Cats – a sweet girl, driven from home to live in the colony of cats outside of town. There, she’s so kind and helpful that when she puts in her notice–because she misses her abusive mother and sister, that she’s dipped in gold and ends up with a gold star on her forehead. The golden clothes and star won’t come off, and her skin looks like she’s wearing glitter-lotion, but her hair is still black and her eyes are still dark, dark brown. She can speak with cats, fashions crazy outfits over her un-removable golden peasant clothes, and tends the shop for Grannie Yaga. Her gifts? If she’s greeted a cat, it will feel compelled to help if she asks. She’s blessed–and cannot do evil. She’s stunning–she can enchant, or she can blind with light reflecting off that gold star of hers.

Yes. Baba Yaga is one of the fables. She’s pissed because in this world, her sisters have been edited out of the stories and she’s terrified that’s what happens when The Adversary  kills a magical person/creature. Other witches have had her stories softened and given to them. She was the Grannie in bed with the wolf when Little Red came to call, with offerings and fear. Here in New York City, much of her magic is restrained, but her will is still strong. She can bake magic into her cooking. Luckily, Lizina deals with the customers, because she doesn’t have time for that. And don’t call her Grannie without her invitation.

But you can’t all be goodness and light, or darkness and merciless. There exists something in between. Puss in Boots–Female puss in boots. Who’s had a hard time keeping to one form after eating that old Ogre (even if it was in mouse form at the time). Luckily, she used her whiles on a magician who’s helping her keep her form. She uses cons to pay the rent, and Schmendrick, (who botched the Last unicorn‘s transformation), is trying to get it right, this time.

And there are two more characters left to join the story. Weaving new stories with friends is fun.

The rest of my free time? Working on my step-count–collecting all the Pokemon. And longsword class on Thursday nights. What else would a busy fantasy writer be doing?

How are you keeping busy? Any new tales to tell?

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Sunset on the lake.

I Am Become Death

I have a confession to make. I try to be good, I try to do the right thing, I make the hard decisions when the going gets tough, but sometimes? You can’t avoid consequences.

My consequences? I am become DEATH, destroyer WORLDS.(1)

Sometimes a story comes from within, it’s just you and the page. Sometimes, though, it’s collaborative. You build a world and a mythos with friends.

You know what I’m talking about.

I’m a gamer. A table-toper for Role Playing Games (RPGs). I roll play and role play.

I started in college, because the High School boys didn’t want to admit to a girl that they played long enough to invite her. I started with 3rd Edition D&D and have played a full campaign in every version since (4e was a fine game, just not D&D). I’ve explored other worlds and other systems: Darksun, Pendragon, White Wolf (mostly Vampire:Dark Ages), Shadowrun, Forgotten Realms (okay, more of a setting), Ravenloft (another setting), Call of Cthulu, Conan, Exalted, Little Fears, Realm, Changeling, 13th Age, Amber, GURPs. I’ve even flirted a little with Live Action Role Playing (LARPing).

Some games are made to be played in one game session- a one-shot. Some take months, or years – a campaign.

A lot of gamers want to create characters that are orphans. No family, not ties, and a sworn duty! Some just don’t bother to do more than get their stats. I say, FORGET THAT.

I want to care.

I’m all about the characters. I know what sort of person my character is, so their decisions seem reasonable… for them. I go along for the ride, so I can discover their world, with them. My first Game Master (GM) made it his mission to create a setting, an event every gaming session that would make ME scream. I still remember sneaking through a tiny set of tunnels and my hand touching the skeleton of a rat. *shudders*

I’ve given myself cousins and a family business. In one game, I gave myself 2 brothers, 5 half-siblings, and an abundance of family drama, nieces, and nephews. I want my characters to in the world AND of it. (2) If the GM uses them as plot hooks, good! I’m greedy, I like it when the plot revolves around me. Even if I have to garrote my boyfriend/unveiled enemy agent in a burning warehouse.

With some games, the GM has a finale in mind, but other times the game just goes until it peters outs. Or, until the Morgan at your table DESTROYS not only the party, but the world the party inhabits.

The First World Ender
Back when I dreamt my characters would save the world, making any sacrifices necessary, I had an Exalted character named ‘Virtue of Still Waters’. It was a fantasy world, besieged by demons, surrounded by the chaos of the fae realms that tried to whittle away at reality. Ruled by dragons, the exalted are demigods. Virtue was a diplomat, which in combat, effectively meant that I waited until everyone else had 2 attacks and then I shot my bow. And missed 2/3 times.

We’d destroyed our main nemesis, were creating roads and helping rebuild our age, after overthrowing the oppression. Then, we traveled into the lands beyond reality- the fae realms. Out there, we found a perfectly run town, run by the now character that a friend had once played.

Until he tried to give his God form once more, a form that had been taken from his God. This was beyond the scope of mortals and heaven frowned upon him. (I think, it’s been nearly… er, let’s not say… a few years). So, our GM has us encounter this man, in a Stepford Wives(3) type of town. We investigate and find him casting a spell, immense rivers of power are flowing into a false-infant.

Wanting only to free the town from this spell apparently controlling them, things escalate to battle.

For once, I only had to wait 2 turns to attack. The others missed, but I burn my turn by targeting.

Next round: I let loose my quarrel. It strikes, with a critical hit! Bonus damage from targeting. The baby-form is destroyed!

Which, apparently was the actual embodiment of the concept of Occult.

So, all spells to hold the demons in check in all known worlds? Broken.
All spells to hold back the chaos of the fae realms? Devastated.
Spells that the world ran on, in lieu of technology? Kicked back to a stone age.

Magic still exists, but spells need to be re-crafted. Everyone starts magic over again at level 0.

The Second World Ender (well, impending)
This time, I knew the world was more harsh, and I had to deal with the complexities of it.

The game was 13th Age, another fantasy realm. In this world, those who rise to the level of adventurer all have 1 unique attribute. Mine? When I sang, the demons would stop to listen.

I was morally opposed to The Diabolist, but when creatures that threaten your very sanity just to view threatened the world, I made a bargain. A little training from her to use my natural talents and we would help her close the rift before more than just the scouts made it through.

She lied. We should have expected it. But, we thought that surely she would rather stop the forces than destroy the world.

We destroyed her. And in that moment, she possessed me. Then made her/our way to the mystic city, neutral ground. They held The Diabolist’s original body in stasis. She bargained for it back. And disappeared.

We rallied our allies and went for her gathering armies. We fought long, we fought hard, and we defeated them. And now we don’t know from where she will strike, nor what she looks like. And did we mention the the prophecy, delivered to us in person, that casts us as the enders of the 13th age…

What worlds have you shared? What worlds have you destroyed?

 

1 – Thank you, Robert Oppenheimer
2 – The Bible: John 17:14-16, Also, Buffy.
3 – If your wife misbehaves, have you considered a robot?, 1950’s style wives.