Journal Entries

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Assorted journal / blog entries.

Case In Point

TL;DR — A short post about the recent site outage and the new fan I acquired for the server.

👓 2 minutes

Last Sunday evening, quite out of the blue, the web server that hosts this site started making a horrible whining noise. A quick finger-check determined it was the fan making the noise. I tried to clean the unit (and the Pi4 beneath it) with some compressed air, but alas, the damage to the fan had been done.

My Pi4 webserver, heimdallr, in its original glory.
Top view of heimdallr, so you can see both the pins and the fan that would fail.
A slightly-blurry bottom view of heimdallr, from back when it had 4 screws AND 4 little rubber feet.

Thanks to the magical delivery gnomes, a replacement case arrived the very next day (well, technically it was the following night, which was unfortunately about 2 hours too late for Monday Night’s session of Planar Vagabond, but close enough). So, Tuesday morning, I started swapping the old case for the new one, and 15 minutes later, it was back online.

After some looking around, I went with a “ICE Tower Cooler” by GeeekPi. It was relatively inexpensive, easy enough to put together, and the LED in the fan adds a distinctive, #cyberpunk vibe to the machine (particularly compared to the somewhat professional-but-pedestrian original case).

The updated heimdallr, showing off its new LED powers.
Another view of the updated heimdallr and its color-changing fan.
Rear-view of the updated heimdallr, proving it looks just as cool from the back.
Video of the updated heimdallr booting up.

I'm Officially Licensed!

TL;DR — I've started hosting my own licenses on this very website.

👓 2 minutes

For the past few years, I’ve been releasing content under various licenses, usually linking to the “official” website for each one. But starting today, I’m looking towards the future, as I’ve finally added web-friendly versions of several of these licenses to this very website.

Right now, there’s only 3 (which makes sense, since that’s all I’m using at the moment), but with all of them excitement over the ORC license (and some other OGL alternatives), who knows what this brave, licensed future will hold?

Why Host Them Here?

Two simple reasons.

  1. I like having a simple, permanent link[1] to each license’s text (ideally, with my name on said licenses).
  2. If I’m going to have a simple, permanent link to each license’s text, it’s going to be hosted on my website.

See? Simple.

Where Are They Being Used?

I’m working on a few other fun projects right now, and I figure that having these links will be increasingly useful if and when I get them to launch.

Until next time, here’s to the future!

  1. Links updated 2024-01-26 to use directory URLs rather than direct file URLs. The old links still work and will continue to until they get replaced with “301 moved permanently” redirects to the new links. I also added the GPL to the list (in preparation for a super-secret project that I’m currently working on). ↩︎

The Planar Vagabond's Guide to the Multiverse Has Arrived!

TL;DR — I launched a whole-new site, collecting my custom OSR homebrew (and other content) into a single interplanar space.

👓 2 minutes

Announcing the arrival of the most important interplanar publication since the great Encyclopedia of the University Eternal; a wholly remarkable tome, more popular than the Idiot’s Guide to Running an Astral Business, better selling than Fifty More Things to do in Subjective Gravity, and more controversial than Balyx Balator’s trilogy of metaphysical blockbusters: Where the Gods Went Wrong, Infernus: Fairy-tale or Fiction?, and The Lie of Alignment

It’s The Planar Vagabond’s Guide to the Multiverse!

This incredible (but exceedingly portable) guide includes everything you might want to know about the various planes of existence, the creatures that inhabit them, and the strange (but potent) magic items that one can encounter while traveling among them.

If you want to know how to get around the astral plane on less than 5 silver pieces a day, this is your guide!


OK… Truth be told, the PVGttM is a new website that I recently launched which serves as a dumping ground for all of my OSR RPG homebrew (including classes, races, creatures, and magic items), as well as a place for documenting the rules that my friends and I use in our Monday night astral RPG[1] and the multiverse we’re building together.

From a technical standpoint, the site uses more-or-less the same engine that this site does, combining a custom markdown-based parser with some EJS templates to render static HTML, served with a smile by the same Pi4 + nginx combination that this site runs on.

There’s already a fair amount of content published there, and I plan to start posting here about some of my favorite things from the site, so stay tuned!

And until next time, Feare Naught!

  1. Now available via a truly libre license thanks to WotC’s shenanigans, but that’s a post for another day. ↩︎

Site Updates - Now with More Magic and LibreJS Validation!

TL;DR — I added some new content (including custom Magic and Illuminati cards, and an expanded blogroll) and did some JS housecleaning.

👓 less than 1 minute

A couple of website updates to announce:

While I was fixing the client code, I went and disabled my (already broken) concatentation and minification script, opting instead to serve up all 8(!) JS library files individually (and, thanks to HTTP/2, concurrently)

I mean, I’m using minification for the libraries I’m importing (I’m not a monster), but I don’t use it for the (small) bit of code that ties those libraries together and makes the site work. This way, anyone can see how (and why) the site works the way it does, as it should be, and all without the added complexity of generating source maps or similar unnecessary complications.

And for those minified libraries, I’ve provided a link to each library’s repo and added automated license info, so the LibreJS validator gives this site a ✅. #FreeSoftwareWin !

Killing Thur

TL;DR — I've removed the "Thur" section of the website because I'm ashamed of some parts of it.

👓 2 minutes

After hosting it here for the better part of a decade, I’ve decided to remove my RPG, Thur, from this site.

Thur was an RPG that I ran while I was in college, a custom system set on a world of my own design, full of all of the stuff that I thought was cool at the time (and still do, for the most part): Fremen, ninjas, Gunslingers, psychics, wizards, aliens, mutants, technomages, tears in the space-time continuum, a global economy (and shared culture) based on huge teleportation gates - all kinds of gonzo stuff.

I ran several adventures as 1-on-1 games with a former friend of mine, and ran a couple of sessions other friends, but eventually the demands of full-time work and parenting didn’t leave me with much RPG time, so I shelved it. I pulled it out about a decade ago when a friend was getting into Pathfinder. We played a couple of sessions, and that was when I published it here. However, since the rules were never really fully fleshed-out (and thanks to some bad writing on my part), the game fell kinda flat, and so was shelved again, where it’s remained since.

So, what changed? A few things.

As I said before, the rules were a hot mess, with the magic system in particular in shambles. Incomplete as it was, I probably should never have published it here in the first place.

Additionally, my thinking on rules has evolved over the years. I’m now much more interested in simpler systems that don’t systematize flavor (thus leaving more of room for roleplaying). I’m also more into tweaking existing rulesets over building entirely new ones, since it’s easier to introduce new players (and bring back old ones).

But honestly, the main reason I took it down is because I’m genuinely ashamed of some of what’s there. The version of me that wrote most of that was younger, dumber, and had a far-simpler (and naively incorrect) conception of the world at large. He was also far more casually racist, and for that, I am truly sorry.

So, I took it down.

It may come back, it may not. If it does, it’ll probably be in a very different format from what it was before, like an online zine for OSE (so others can play), but that won’t happen until after I’ve made it into something I can be proud of.