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Subject:Another RPG bundle offer - Valiant RPG
Time:09:29 pm
This is one I don't know at all, a superhero RPG based on comics from a company called Valiant Entertainment, with the bundle including some of the comics. I know some of these comics by name but can't claim to have read any of them previously, but the offer includes a LOT of them!

https://bundleofholding.com/presents/Valiant

"This huge collection features the Catalyst Game Labs RPG Valiant Universe and also -- for the first time in Bundle site history -- the Valiant Entertainment comics line that inspired it.

The dozen-plus omnibus comics volumes in this offer are sold in .PDF on DriveThruComics.com, the companion site to DriveThruRPG. Thanks to OneBookShelf's integrated backend, a DTrpg account is identical to a DTComics account, and Bundle customers with DriveThruRPG accounts get these DTComics titles added seamlessly to their gaming Library.

Valiant Universe: The Roleplaying Game is set in Valiant Entertainment's superhero universe presented across numerous comic book titles, including Archer & Armstrong, Bloodshot, Eternal Warrior, Harbinger, Quantum and Woody, Shadowman, X-O Manowar, and more. The Valiant line was designed from the ground up as a unified universe that shares characters, organizations, and so on across all its titles. The Valiant Universe spans millennia, where decisions made at the dawn of time ripple into the distant future and today's heroes can be tomorrow's villains. This universe provides dark and gritty stories you bring to life at the gaming table.

You can be a H.A.R.D. Corps team hunting down dangerous psiots -- a Renegade fighting against the "evil" Harbinger Foundation trying to conquer the world -- even a true believer of the Harbinger Foundation, dedicated to making the world a true utopia at any cost. Or maybe you're Generation Zero psiots that have no memory of a childhood before the isolation and guinea-pig testing of Project Rising Spirit and are suddenly free in the world. Or you could become brand-new heroes (or villains). Gameplay possibilities in the Valiant Universe are limitless.

We provide each ebook complete in .PDF (Portable Document Format). Like all Bundle of Holding titles, these books have NO DRM (Digital Restrictions Management), and our customers are entitled to move them freely among all their ereaders.

Ten percent of each purchase (after gateway fees) goes to this offer's designated charity, The Hero Initiative, which supports veteran comics creators in time of need.

The total retail value of the titles in this offer at launch is US$112. Customers who pay just US$5.95 get all six titles in our Starter Collection (retail value $48) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks, including the complete Valiant Universe: The Roleplaying Game and the Valiant Universe Handbook 2016, along with four big comics collections that introduce many key characters in the Valiant Universe: Archer & Armstrong, Harbinger, X-O Manowar, and Quantum and Woody:
  • Archer & Armstrong Volume 1: The Michelangelo Code It's history in the breaking!
  • Harbinger V1: Omega Rising A better future -- or no future at all
  • X-O Manowar V1: By the Sword The Vine destroyed Aric's world. Now he will give them war.
  • Quantum and Woody V1: World's Worst Superhero Team Go big or go home, folks!
Those who pay more than the threshold (average) price, which is set at $15.95 to start, also get our entire Bonus Collection with seven more titles (retail value $66), including the Valiant Universe RPG supplement Transcendent's Edge (retail $10) and six more Valiant comics collections introducing The Valiant, Ivar Timewalker, Ninjak, UNITY, Rai, and Shadowman.
  • Valiant Universe RPG: Transcendent's Edge When it rises from beneath San Francisco, who will stop it?
  • The Valiant A battle ten millennia in the making
  • Ivar, Timewalker V1: Making History From the dawn of the dinosaurs, to the Battle of Trafalgar, to the end of time itself
  • Ninjak V1: Weaponeer Every spy had to start somewhere
  • UNITY V1: To Kill a King To kill a king, he created an army
  • Rai V1: Welcome to New Japan Japan in the 41st Century
  • Shadowman V1: Birth Rites A million dreams in the Big Easy -- and its worst nightmare
At least one more item will be added after launch. "When a title is added after launch, ALL customers who previously purchased the bundle automatically receive the newly added title, REGARDLESS of whether or not they paid higher than average. This is their reward for buying early."

I don't know the game at all, but it looks like you get a shedload of comics and what looks like a reasonably good game for a pretty good price. But as usual I have to point out that I get freebies, if you pay for this stuff your opinion might differ.
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Subject:Son of Son of More eBay Tat
Time:10:14 pm
I've just listed the Raspberry Pi and everything needed to play with it, a couple of lenses, two 3D film cameras and two 3D viewers, and a couple of radio-controlled watches. This takes the shed-load of junk I currently have for sale past 50 items, mostly photographic, including one nice elderly Pentax lens and body and various shades of horrible, mostly from 35mm days. If anyone actually wants any of this stuff it's all here:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/marcusrowland0/m.html
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Subject:Oh crud...
Time:11:26 pm
I'm going to have to write stats for Cthulhu for Diana: Warrior Princess. I think the phrase "buckets of dice" comes to mind...
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Subject:RIP Joe Dever
Time:01:22 pm
Just heard that Joe Dever, of Fighting Fantasy fame, died on the 29th. I didn't know him, but he started writing about the same time I did, and over the years I've seen a lot of his work. One of the Grand Old Men of British gaming, he'll be missed.
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Subject:Two more RPG bundle offers - worldbuilding stuff
Time:09:10 pm
Two offers, one a repeat of an old one, the other new, both supporting Doctors Without Borders. This is stuff for designing campaign worlds etc.; some referees will find it invaluable,

Worldbuilding Toolkit +2

https://bundleofholding.com/presents/GMToolkit2-2016

"This is a revival of the popular November 2014 Worldbuilder's Toolkit +2, our second annual collection of gamemastering texts and play aids. This revived +2 offer runs in parallel with the all-new Worldbuilder's Toolkit +4, our fourth annual collection.

We provide each ebook complete in .PDF (Portable Document Format). Like all Bundle of Holding titles, these books have NO DRM (Digital Restrictions Management), and our customers are entitled to move them freely among all their ereaders.

Ten percent of each purchase (after gateway fees) goes to this offer's designated charity, Doctors Without Borders.

The total retail value of the titles in this offer is US$85. Customers who pay just US$7.95 get all five titles in our Starter Collection (retail value $37) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks:
  • How to Host a Dungeon (Tony Dowler, retail $5): In this solo game of dungeon creation, you throw dice onto tracing paper and draw underground chambers where they land. Lay more sheets to create a many-layered (literally!) history through successive Ages. When you're done, your dungeon map is ready for play.
  • A Magical Society: Beast Builder (Expeditious Retreat Press, retail $10): A colorful monster-building system.
  • The Bones: Us and Our Dice (Gameplaywright, retail $8): A collection of essays about polyhedral relationships.
  • The Lazy Dungeon Master (Sly Flourish, retail $6): Mike Shea's influential treatise on improving your D&D campaign the easy way.
  • Sly Flourish's DM Tips (Sly Flourish, retail $8): Mike Shea returns with solid, proven steps that can immediately improve your game.
Those who pay more than the threshold (average) price, which is set at $15.95 to start, also get our entire Bonus Collection with four more titles (retail value $48):
  • Hamlet's Hit Points (Gameplaywright, retail $8): Robin D. Laws (Feng Shui, GUMSHOE) teaches you to analyze nine types of story "beats" to improve your campaign's storytelling. A landmark study, Hamlet's Hit Points directly inspired Robin's Hillfolk RPG.
  • Odyssey (Engine Publishing, retail $12): A complete, system-neutral guide to campaign management from Engine Publishing (Unframed, Eureka, Focal Point).
  • City Builder: A Guide to Designing Communities (Skirmisher Publishing, retail $20): Bring ancient, medieval, and fantasy cities alive with dozens of hook-filled places, plus a random guild generator.
  • The Dungeon Dozen (Jason Sholtis, retail price $8): Over 200 brilliantly imaginative system-independent tables by Jason (Operation Unfathomable) Sholtis.
There won't be any surprise extras with this offer, because it's an old offer repeated.


Worldbuilder's Toolkit +4

https://bundleofholding.com/presents/Toolkit4

"This offer is the fourth annual collection in our popular series featuring gamemastering texts and play aids to enhance RPG sessions. This all-new +4 offer runs in parallel with a revival of the November 2014 Worldbuilder's Toolkit +2, the second installment in the series.

The total retail value of the titles in this offer at launch is US$112. Customers who pay just US$9.95 get all seven titles in our Starter Collection (retail value $53) as DRM-free .PDFs:
  • Kobold Guide to Combat (Kobold Press, retail price $10): Nearly 20 master designers give tips for creating great conflicts.
  • Design for Writers and Roleplayers (Dancing Lights Press, retail $7 each, total retail $35): Five full-length treatises by Berin Kinsman on NPCs, alignment, setting design, story structure, and group dynamics -- Building Characters, Group Dynamics, Setting Design, Story Structure, and Understanding Alignment.
  • Fat Dragon Ultimate Dice Tower (retail $8): Print, cut, fold, and assemble this full-color papercraft tower from Fat Dragon Games.
Those who pay more than the threshold (average) price, which is set at $19.95 to start, also get our entire Bonus Collection with four more titles (retail value $59):
  • Kobold Guide to Magic (Kobold Press, retail $15): Another star-studded collection of essays that make magic mysterious once more.
  • Focal Point (Engine Publishing, retail $12): The seasoned gamemasters from Gnome Stew detail ways to make your gaming sessions extraordinary.
  • Fat Dragon Ultimate GM Screen 2 (retail $12): An impressive full-color print-and-assemble papercraft gamemaster screen with dice towers, shelves for miniatures, and other features.
  • How to Run Fast & Exciting Combats (Roleplaying Tips Publishing, retail $20): Johnn Four of RoleplayingTips.com shows you, in detail, exactly how to GM fights in half the time with double the excitement. Includes three bonus titles: The Legendary Combat Swipes Book, ,3 Easy Ways to Add More Story to Combat, and Top 10 Reasons Why Your Combats Are Slow.
One or more items will be added at some point after launch: When a title is added after launch, ALL customers who previously purchased the bundle automatically receive the newly added title, REGARDLESS of whether or not they paid higher than average. This is their reward for buying early.


I'm really not sure how useful this stuff is - probably mainly of interest to someone relatively new to running RPGs and designing their own setting. I think the +2 offer may be the more useful of the two, but both have some interesting material. I think that they're value for money if you need everything, but to be honest you might be better off cherry-picking one item at a time as you need them. I'll be downloading a couple of things but as usual I have to point out that I get freebies; if you don't YMMV.
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Subject:Redacted document generator?
Time:10:46 am
Is there a program / template / web site / whatever that will help to produce a convincing-looking redacted document? Basically, I want a couple of pages of text in the form of an official report, with most of the words (other than the, and, etc.) blanked out with a few key words which I would insert still visible.

e.g.
XXX stars are XXXXX; XXXXX XXXXXX XXX arise. Ftagnn!
I could do it easily enough in Word, I suppose, just take a document that looks about right and make all of the words black text on a black background then insert the key words, but it lacks elegance.

I should add that the players will only see a printout, not the file itself.
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Subject:Learning nothing from history
Time:06:28 pm
More specifically one of the causes of the Indian Mutiny...

The Bank of England's new plastic fivers are apparently made from a plastic which includes small amounts of tallow. Various religious groups, vegans, vegetarians etc. are not impressed, and want the Bank to change them. Sign here if you agree:

https://www.change.org/p/bank-of-england-remove-tallow-from-bank-notes
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Subject:Fisheye converter
Time:10:42 pm
This is a trial picture from the fisheye converter, mounted on my 17-55mm lens zoomed wide. A nice circular effect but not incredibly sharp - and as is probably obvious, flash doesn't work very well because

(1) it doesn't cover such a wide field very well so is brightest in a band across the width of the image and
(2) the converter and lens cast a shadow in the bottom middle of the picture.

I think it isn't at all bad for a fiver, but the Lensbaby is definitely sharper.

fisheye-convert_01
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Subject:Today's boot sale bargains
Time:04:34 pm
A lot of cheap photographic stuff:

Five polarising filters in various sizes, a uv filter, a lens cap, and three Cokin effects filters for a fiver.
Five Nikon focusing screens for £2
A wide angle converter of the type I wanted to try for a fiver - first opinion, much more circular image but not incredibly sharp, but I need to try it in good lighting, not twilight.
A Minolta-fit Centon 50mm 1.8 and Jessop 2x converter, with all caps and cases, for a tenner.

An iPod charger (real, so far as I can tell) and two plugs for £1.50

And an early Raspberry Pi for £2 - which unfortunately doesn't work, unless I'm missing something, but since the same vendor sold me most of the filters I'm not going to worry much. I'm getting a red light when I power it up, is that normal? Will it work without a memory card plugged in?

Later - thanks to history_monk the Pi is in business!
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Subject:Wikipedia
Time:10:20 am
How do you fix a navbox that isn't working properly?

The "list of fictional agents" link at the bottom of this page
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fictional_secret_police_and_intelligence_organizations

should end up here
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fictional_secret_agents

but instead goes here
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Character_(arts)

I think it's a problem with the {{Fictional espionage navbox}} but I have no idea how to fix it.
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Subject:Pinhole Photography
Time:09:22 pm
I had a little play with pinhole photography today - I think I've done this before but I couldn't find the equipment so I built it again. The kits sold for digital cameras generally cost seven or eight quid for what is essentially a lens cap with a hole in the middle, so I cut out the middle man and build my own. This one was simply a 50p plastic body cap (you can get a rear lens cap and a body cap for £1 from Hong Kong) with a hole in the middle, and a strip of Meccano used to retain the actual pinhole, made in some aluminium foil. In an ideal world the hole would be micro-drilled and the foil would be replaced by a sheet of matt black plastic, but this was a basic test so I didn't bother.

Results are pretty dire, and basically confirm that this works, that lenses work much better, and that I really need to clean my camera's sensor - because of the way they work, pinholes reveal any crud that's there, even if it wouldn't normally affect the image if a lens was used.

I tried some artistic effects which worked quite well - but to be honest, they'd probably work just as well on images from a normal lens. On the whole I think it's an interesting experiment, and I may try to improve on it, but I'm not going to waste a huge amount of time on it. I've reduced the size of the images since they aren't that exciting.
Pictures under the cutCollapse )
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Subject:Possibly strange Apple question
Time:08:49 pm
Is there a font that includes the logos used on Apple keyboards (the various command keys, speaker symbols, eject, etc.)?

I've tried googling this but I keep ending up with ways of producing symbol characters such as Dingbats and non-english language characters by Apple key combinations, which is not what I want.

I ask because I've had worn out and missing keys a few times, and while finding a key that fits in the right place is usually possible, painting on the logo is a total pain. But I have a label printer and black and white (on transparent background) label tapes, so it should be possible to label them instead.
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Subject:Another RPG bundle offer - Indie Cornucopia +4
Time:06:53 pm
Yet another collection of independently published RPGs - I'm not in this one, but it looks like there's some interesting stuff:

https://bundleofholding.com/presents/Cornucopia4

"This is the all-new fourth annual installment in our Indie Cornucopia series, which launches each year on or near the Thanksgiving Day holiday in America. Each Cornucopia presents recent high-profile small-press tabletop RPGs. The original November 2013 Cornucopia offer, the one with Dungeon World and Apocalypse World, was a record-breaking success. This time out we have major new games like Worlds in Peril, Baker Street, and the new edition of The Ninja Crusade; Kickstarter successes like Fellowship and Goblin Quest; and Jonathan Green's stupendous coffee-table book about the Fighting Fantasy gamebook series, You Are the Hero.

We provide each ebook complete in .PDF (Portable Document Format). Like all Bundle of Holding titles, these books have NO DRM (Digital Restrictions Management), and our customers are entitled to move them freely among all their ereaders.

Ten percent of each purchase (after gateway fees) goes to this offer's designated charity, Human Rights Watch.

The total retail value of the titles in this offer at launch is US$131. Customers who pay just US$12.95 get all four titles in our Starter Collection (retail value $52) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks:
  • Cryptomancer (Land of NOP, retail price $10): Fantasy meets information security in this huge game of magical hacking.
  • Stalker RPG (Burger Games, retail $12): Finnish designer Ville Vuorela's SFRPG based on the Strugatsky Brothers' novel Roadside Picnic.
  • Mortal Coil (Galileo Games, retail $10): Brennan Taylor's seminal 2008 story game of collaborative magic and the supernatural.
  • Goblin Quest (Serious Business, retail $20): Play five inept goblins (probably in quick succession) in Grant Howitt's mayhem-filled cross between PARANOIA and Itchy and Scratchy.
Those who pay more than the threshold (average) price, which is set at $23.95 to start, also get our entire Bonus Collection with five more titles (retail value $79):
  • Worlds in Peril (Samjoko Publishing, retail $15): Superhero roleplaying Powered by the Apocalypse.
  • Baker Street: Roleplaying in the World of Sherlock Holmes (Fearlight Games, retail $20): A very inventive game of Victorian mystery and investigation.
  • Fellowship (Liberi Gothica Games, retail $16): Inverse World designer Jacob Randolph brings us this Dungeon World variant of heroes journeying to defeat an Evil Overlord.
  • The Ninja Crusade (Third Eye Games, retail $15): Eloy Lasanta's new edition of high-flying Wu Xing martial-arts action.
  • You Are the Hero: A History of Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks (Snowbooks Ltd, retail $13): Jonathan Green's exhaustive and gorgeously illustrated chronicle of the 1980s gamebook craze.
There don't seem to be any surprise extras this time.

This looks like a good set, with two or three that interest me; the Stalker and Sherlock Holmes games are especially in my areas of interest. But as usual I have to stress that I don't pay for this stuff if I want it, your opinion may differ.
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Subject:Picspam - Weird lenses R Us
Time:09:24 pm
Since it was a lovely day I took the Nikon and the two new lenses out to Kensington Gardens. My aim was to get some pictures of the feral parakeets with the 500mm lens, but they were having some sort of squabble and wouldn't stay put for even a second. So I settled for a passing helicopter, the big Henry Moore statue by the Serpentine, and the Albert Memorial and Hall. I've uploaded them to Photobucket so the size is reduced to 800 pixels maximum.

First, Henry Moore's statue from a distance of several hundred yards, and a helicopter that I think took off from the hospital in Praed Street

Statue and helicopter, 500mm lens:Collapse )

Six views of the Albert Memorial with the 500mm lens
Albert Memorial, long lensCollapse )

And the Albert Memorial and Albert Hall with the 12mm LensBaby lens and a 17-55mm zoom
Shorter lensesCollapse )

Bottom line, I'm very pleased with the performance of the 500mm lens; it's a pig to lug around (being that it's half a metre long with hood and weighs several pounds) and has to be manually operated, but once you get exposure right the results are excellent compared to my previous mirror lens, especially when it's stopped down a bit. The 12mm fisheye is fun but I'm really not sure I need it - I could get similar results by putting a fisheye converter onto the short zoom and it would be a lot cheaper, and a lot less hit and miss since exposure would be automatic. I think I'm going to play with it some more but probably sell it on eventually. More important, I had a good walk on a lovely (albeit cold) day, and a nice Japanese meal near South Kensington Station. I think it was a day well spent.
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Subject:More Photographic Crap
Time:11:05 am
Another bumper weekend for photographic stuff - mostly pretty crappy, but probably sellable for more than I paid for it, and one thing I'm going to keep for myself at least for now, a really nice Lensbaby 12mm Fisheye and mount I found in a CEX store on Saturday at about a third of list price. No photos yet because I'm going to have to get an aperture ring set for it (the little Lensbaby system lenses simplify construction by having the mount and lens as separate components, you put a ring in the mount behind the lens) and mail order will take a day or two - it works, but results are poor at full aperture.

I also got an immaculate and still boxed 28mm/2.8 Prakticar lens, unfortunately in Praktica's weird electric bayonet mount but still very useable with the right adapters, what should have been a nice Kyocera 35mm body and 50mm/1.8 lens but has a lot of fungus, a 50mm/2.0 Tessar that is seized solid for some reason (beyond my limited repair capabilities) but still quite nice optically, and another 500mm/8 mirror lens - unfortunately this also has a little fungus, but the results are actually better than I was getting with my old mirror lens, which was pristine. Doesn't say much for my old lens... Also a couple of photographic filters, some cables, some very old camera instruction manuals which I think have collector's value, and four electronic flashes - only one of them works, but I paid £1.50 for the lot and the manuals so I'm not complaining.

I've done better in the past, but I think I'll come out ahead on this stuff so I'm not complaining. And at some point I may actually go out and take a few photos...
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Subject:500mm lens
Time:01:19 am
I tried the cheap 500mm lens on the moon tonight - it wasn't a completely clear sky, but wasn't too bad. I think that the results aren't as good as with the telescope I tried a while ago, but better than I ever got with the mirror lens, largely because I could stop it down to get better definition. This is probably the best picture, 1000th second at F11 - I've converted it to monochrome since there were colour streaks caused by atmospheric effects.



and this is the picture I took with the telescope a while back - reduced in size a little to get it small enough for Photobucket



I want to try the lens under better conditions, but failing something really good turning up I think it's a reasonable lens for the occasional photo that needs it.

I still need to decide what to do about the telescope - the results are good (though it's a beast to aim and focus) but it's too big and heavy to set up casually, there are no impending astronomical events visible from the UK that might need it, and visibility from London is crap anyway due to light pollution, so I'll probably give it to my old school or something. Are there any charities or educational organizations that might want it, bearing in mind that it isn't in perfect condition?
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Subject:Another day...
Time:07:09 pm
...another camera lens.

This one was in a Cash Converters shop - they're generally overpriced but occasionally get it wrong. It's a Nikon AF 70-300 F4-5.6 G zoom, dating back to 35mm days but still working well on my D50, with hood and a rear cap - and I've got a spare front cap that fits. My guess is that they tried it on one of the later Nikons that doesn't support the older motor-in-camera focus mechanism and assumed that it was faulty. In fact it's working well, and a real bargain for £19.99.

By coincidence, I got my 18-55 VR zoom in the same store a couple of years ago - and sold my previous non-VR equivalent lens for £4 more on eBay, after fees I broke even. It wasn't such a bargain as this one, but it's one of the reasons why I always check out their stores if I pass one.
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Subject:Another RPG bundle offer - Buffy and Angel
Time:06:46 pm
This is an offer that definitely interests me - the old Buffy and Angel RPG from Eden Studios. I already own some of it, and this is going to be an opportunity to get the rest. Not sure I'll ever actually play it, but it's a fun read.

https://bundleofholding.com/presents/BuffyAngel

"This comprehensive collection features the licensed tabletop roleplaying games from Eden Studios based on Joss Whedon's hit TV shows Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. The Buffy and Angel RPGs use Eden's Cinematic Unisystem rules (All Flesh Must Be Eaten, WitchCraft).

We provide each ebook complete in .PDF (Portable Document Format). Like all Bundle of Holding titles, these books have NO DRM (Digital Restrictions Management), and our customers are entitled to move them freely among all their ereaders.

Ten percent of each purchase (after gateway fees) goes to this offer's designated charity, the American Cancer Society.

The total retail value of the titles in this offer at launch is US$104. Customers who pay just US$8.95 get all three titles in our Player's Collection (retail value $49) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks:
  • The full-color 280-page Buffy the Vampire Slayer Revised Edition rulebook (2005)
  • The Slayer's Handbook supplement (retail $15)
  • The Magic Box spellbook (retail $14)
Those who pay more than the threshold (average) price, which is set at $17.95 to start, also get our entire Director's Collection with four more titles (retail value $55):
  • Angel Roleplaying Game Corebook (retail $20): The acclaimed full-color 256-page rulebook about the brooding vampire-with-a-soul who hunts demons in Los Angeles -- a complete standalone game fully compatible with Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
  • Monster Smackdown (retail $15): The Buffy monster manual, with extensive entries on vampires, demons, and all the Big Bads.
  • Buffy Director's Screen and Angel Director's Screen (retail $10 each): Two booklets with adventures that continue the main rulebooks' scenarios, plus helpful charts and play aids.
There will be at least one more surprise item added after launch; "When a title is added after launch, ALL customers who previously purchased the bundle automatically receive the newly added title, REGARDLESS of whether or not they paid higher than average. This is their reward for buying early.

OK, I'm definitely going to be downloading this, and I think it's a pretty good deal, especially if you're a Buffy fan - it's easy to pick up and a lot of fun to play. But as usual I have to point out that I get these things free if I want them, if you don't your mileage may vary.
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Subject:Going RAID?
Time:12:14 am
OK, so I've ordered the D-link network drive box and I have a 3TB drive to go with it. I'd really like to go RAID, but that would require another 3TB drive (or two others the same size which sort of defeats the object of the exercise, by making it very expensive). Anyone know of any good offers in the UK at present?
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Subject:Another RPG bundle offer - The One Ring
Time:08:52 pm
As you might guess from the title, it's a Tolkien RPG. Not something that interests me a lot, I tend not to play many fantasy games, but a lot of people will be interested. It comes with a discount offer on material that isn't in the bundle:


https://bundleofholding.com/presents/OneRing2016

"Revived from its spectacularly successful October 2015 run, this is a large collection featuring The One Ring™ Roleplaying Game from Sophisticated Games and Cubicle 7 Entertainment based on The Hobbit™ and The Lord of the Rings™ by J.R.R. Tolkien. We're reviving this offer partly to promote the release of the brand-new Adventures in Middle-earth Player's Guide, Cubicle 7's adaptation of Middle-earth to the Open Gaming License. (Note, though, Adventures in Middle-earth isn't in this bundle.)

The One Ring Roleplaying Game is set in the Wilderland five years after the Battle of Five Armies. Wilderland is the region both Thorin's Company and the Fellowship traverse on their journeys. This land is filled with instantly recognizable locations (Mirkwood, Thranduil's Halls, Lake-town, the Lonely Mountain, Dol Guldur) and characters (Radagast the Brown, the Elvenking Thranduil, King Bard of Dale, King Dáin of Erebor).

Of several licensed RPGs over the years based on Tolkien's works, Francesco Nepitello's The One Ring has drawn high praise for its effective evocation of Tolkien's themes and atmosphere. The journey rules give the players the feeling their characters are embarking on an epic trek across Mirkwood or down the Anduin. Inventive Fellowship rules in the style of King Arthur Pendragon and Mouse Guard provide Heroes with the opportunity to rest and recuperate, to practice their skills or pursue a noble undertaking. But in every adventure there lies the insidious threat of Shadow -- the corruption of spirit and the destruction of hope. With its rich and detailed background information, character types unique to the world, and a setting that changes as the Tale of Years progresses, The One Ring Roleplaying Game lets you really feel you're playing in Middle-earth.

We provide each title complete in .PDF (Portable Document Format). Like all Bundle of Holding titles, these files have NO DRM (Digital Restrictions Management), and our customers are entitled to move them freely among all their smartphones, tablets, and ereaders. Ten percent of each purchase (after gateway fees) goes to this offer's designated charity, Reading is Fundamental.

The total retail value of the titles in this offer is US$129. Customers who pay $14.95 get our Starter Collection (retail value $45) with the complete RPG The One Ring (retail price $30) and its companion Loremaster’s Screen and Lake-town Guide (retail $15), both as DRM-free .PDFs. Those who pay more than the threshold (average) price, which is set at $29.95 to start, also get our entire Bonus Collection with four more supplements (retail value $84):
  • The Darkening of Mirkwood (retail price $23): Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan's massive months-long campaign against an ever-growing Shadow.
  • The Heart of the Wild (retail $20): The companion gazetteer for The Darkening of Mirkwood presents extensive details of the entire Wilderland region.
  • Rivendell (retail $23): Expand your campaign with this regional guide to eastern Eriador and the Last Homely House of Elrond.
  • Tales From Wilderland (retail $18): Seven complete scenarios set in Mirkwood, the Misty Mountains, Erebor, Lake-town, and other locales across Rhovanion. Play each separately, or combine them as an epic campaign spanning years.
There aren't any surprise extras this time, presumably because it's a repeat of an earlier offer.

To promote the game there's also a discount offer on material that isn't in the bundle at the Cubicle 7 webstore. Quote these discount codes:
  • TORBOH16$ if you are paying in US dollars
  • TORBOH16£ if you are paying in British pounds



If you're into Tolkien and RPGs this is probably a very interesting offer - if not, it probably isn't. I think it looks like good value, but I'm not going to be buying it or downloading it, so I'm not necessarily the best judge.
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Subject:It's dead, Jim
Time:05:52 pm
My network hard drive, a Seagate Central thing, has been flaky (losing connections repeatedly) for a while and has now died completely. It's the housing that's dead, the drive (3TB Seagate SATA) is fine. So I need to replace the housing; anyone got any recommendations for a reliable housing that will provide basic storage capabilities, isn't noisy or a power hog, and won't break the bank? I don't need to be able to access it via the internet, or do anything other than use it as an external drive any computer on the network can access. Having said that, I would like to be able to use it for Time Machine backups on the Mac, and run an occasional backup from my desktop machine (which is Windows 7 Home, so doesn't have this capability in the operating system). At the moment I'm OK with USB and Firewire drives for backups but that isn't ideal for moving files around. I'm not a huge fan of Seagate's network hard drive software, something else would be preferable.

The one that seems affordable and has two bays (which should be useful) is the D-link sharecenter, but I know nothing about it. Does anyone know it?

Any other suggestions? Recommendations?
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Subject:Election thought...
Time:04:32 pm
And once again we're living in the wrong leg of the Trousers of Time.
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Subject:November 5th
Time:06:56 pm
Once again thousands of fireworks are detonated, and the odd house set on fire, in celebration of a 411-year old failed attempt to destroy Parliament. You have to wonder why anyone bothers, given how Parliament seems to be set on destroying itself at the moment, but never mind...

I'm not a big fan of this particular bit of conspicuous destruction, for reasons I've mentioned in a previous post -
http://ffutures.livejournal.com/2003/10/31/

but if you're doing anything explosive tonight I hope you'll be safe and enjoy yourself.
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Subject:MIDI question
Time:05:29 pm
I picked up one of these today:

ESI RmMI/O
1 in 2 out USB MIDI interface
http://www.esi-audio.com/products/romio/

It appears to be discontinued, and I really don't know much about MIDI, is it still used much? And if so, what seems like a reasonable asking price for it? There's only one on eBay and I think the vendor is a bit optimistic, and I have no way to test apart from seeing that it powers up if plugged into a USB socket so can't offer any warranty.

later - I've listed it starting at £1.99 plus P&P, we'll see what happens. Also listed the Canon lens I mentioned a few days ago - already has bids on it - and some other stuff.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/marcusrowland0/m.html
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Subject:Guardians of the Galaxy II
Time:05:53 pm
Just noticed that this first trailer is up



Looks like the mixture as before, which hopefully means it will be fun.
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Subject:Another RPG bundle offer - Old School Revival +4
Time:12:12 am
Another collection of material aimed at emulating the early days of D&D etc.:

https://bundleofholding.com/presents/OSR4

This is our fourth annual offering featuring the Old School Revival -- the neoclassical movement to recapture the vigor and style of the earliest days of Dungeons & Dragons. The OSR offers tools, not plotlines -- rulings, not rules -- a gamemaster who doesn't railroad players onto a prearranged script but lets them sink or swim through their own actions. Encounters aren't necessarily "balanced," and outcomes are seldom scripted. Characters who don't use their heads usually wind up losing them. These fantasy RPGs, supplements, and modules are part of the passionate movement to reinvigorate and popularize play-styles associated with the first incarnations of D&D -- whether brown/white-box Original D&D, Holmes-Moldvay-Cook Basic/Expert, or AD&D 1e. Many, many "retro-clone" games recast the rules of one or another of these games in new language.

This huge new collection features vivid campaign settings, strange megadungeons, unsettling modules, hundreds of maps, and -- ta dahhh! -- the new edition of Tunnels & Trolls!

We provide each ebook complete in .PDF (Portable Document Format). Like all Bundle of Holding titles, these books have NO DRM (Digital Restrictions Management), and our customers are entitled to move them freely among all their ereaders.

Ten percent of each purchase (after gateway fees) goes to this offer's designated charity, Doctors Without Borders.

The total retail value of the titles in this offer at launch is US$112.50. Customers who pay just US$8.95 get all eight titles in our Starter Collection (retail value $42.50) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks:
  • Deep Carbon Observatory (False Machine, retail price $10): A harrowing underground quest by Patrick Stuart (Maze of the Blue Medusa) illustrated by the redoubtable Scrap Princess.
  • The Pod Caverns of the Sinister Shroom (Expeditious Retreat Press, retail $6): The first Advanced Adventures module by OSR pioneer Matthew Finch (Swords and Wizardry).
  • Castle Gargantua and Mad Monks of Kwantoom (Kabuki Kaiser, retail $5 each): A Gothic megadungeon generator and a spectacularly fun Asian campaign sourcebook.
  • One-Page Dungeon Compendia 2013-2015 (Shattered Pike Studio, total retail $9): These three official collections present 270+ entries in the popular One-Page Dungeon Contest. Sales of these collections support the contest.
  • 2014 Dodecahedron Cartographic Review (ZERObarrier, retail $7.50): Dyson Logos, archmage of dungeon cartography, gathers works from his Dyson's Dodecahedron blog.
Those who pay more than the threshold (average) price, which is set at $18.95 to start, also get our entire Bonus Collection with six more titles (retail value $70):
  • Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls (Flying Buffalo, retail $20): The latest and greatest edition (386 pages!) of Ken St. Andre's 1975 classic. Includes the Gamemasters Screen (retail $1).
  • Dwimmermount (Autarch, retail $10): The Labyrinth Lord version of Autarch's colossal 400-page science-fantasy megadungeon and campaign setting.
  • Yoon-Suin (noisms, retail $9): David McGrogan's acclaimed roll-your-own campaign setting, a languorous Yellow City in a remote Purple Land.
  • Misty Isles of the Eld (Hydra Cooperative, retail $12): Chris Kutalik's acid fantasy mini-sandbox standalone sequel to Slumbering Ursine Dunes.
  • Chthonic Codex (Lost Pages, retail $18): Paolo Greco's unique campaign setting of cutthroat academic politics in a magical university.
There will be at least one item added after launch. "When a bonus title is added after launch, ALL customers who previously purchased the bundle automatically receive the newly added title, REGARDLESS of whether or not they paid higher than average. This is their reward for buying early."

I'll be honest, I'm not a huge supporter of the "old school" movement, I think it's hearkening back to a "golden age" that really wasn't. I'll probably look at the new Tunnels and Trolls because the original game was fun, the rest of it doesn't really appeal to me. But if you like this sort of thing it looks like a fairly huge collection for the money, and probably reasonably good value. But as usual YMMV
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Subject:Today's charity shop bargain...
Time:05:24 pm
...A Canon 90-300mm f4.5-5.6 autofocus zoom - for a tenner. Works well on the old 35mm Eos body I use for testing lenses, and it's stopping down and focusing as it should and seems to be a very nice clean lens. I've got a rear cap for it and found a rubber hood that fits, no cap but what I'll probably do is buy one before I list it on eBay - for various reasons I won't be doing so for a few days. A bit old, and I'd imagine designed for 35mm cameras, but still ought to be a nice little earner. Oddly, this is from the same charity shop that sold me the weird Sigma lens for Canon last year, it's the only other time they've had any photographic equipment I can remember. Pleased anyway.
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Subject:Torchwood's Psychic Paper
Time:08:03 pm
Does this sound like plausible Torchwood equipment circa the 1960s?

[Jack] quickly flashed the Torchwood version of psychic paper, a warrant card printed with a subliminal fractal pattern that triggered obedience and short term memory fuzziness. He took care to cover it before anyone had an epileptic fit.
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Subject:Dragonmeet Scenario - Case Nightmare Orange
Time:10:07 am
If anyone was wondering, this is what I'll be running in the afternoon at Dragonmeet on December 3rd:

GM: Marcus Rowland
Scenario Name: Case Nightmare Orange
Game System: Diana: Warrior Princess
Description: As Queen Elizabeth approaches her ninetieth birthday there are rumours of trouble that may mar the ceremonies. Thatcher the Undead Chancellor has risen from her grave (again), the Church of England predicts the rise of an Anti-Queen, and strange lizard men seem to be doing their best to assassinate the adventurers. Oh, and the island of R'lyeh has apparently applied to join the UN, but that's probably someone else's problem.

Business as usual, in other words, for Diana: Warrior Princess and her friends...

At the moment I'm not planning to run anything in the morning, but this may change.
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Subject:VERY Quiet
Time:11:24 pm
It's probably just general "everyone's busy doing something else" but for some reason it's now three weeks since anyone commented on any of my posts. Are people seeing them?

later - looks like it's just everyone busy etc.; I was worried my posts were being blocked or invisible for some reason but it's OK.
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