Monthly Archives: December 2018

SpecterChess 1 Promo

SpecterChess 1: Allen vs Duaz on January 4, 2019

Emerald Specter 108: Creating a BuJoRPG Dev Blog

Once again, I delve into the world of bullet journaling and BuJoRPG (and BuJourneyRPG). Before I get started into the meat of this article, it’s important to understand what has been happening and why this subject (the one in the title) came up.

First and foremost, the “Christmas season” is my busiest time of year. I assist my wife with her dog and cat treat business (if you haven’t checked it out, I suggest you go there).

I also work for the US Postal Service and that, by default, means that I’m super busy (due to the much, much higher volume of packages this time of year).

Just these two things combined would be enough to break many people but I also have the added things of keeping up with certain games (I’ve invested a lot of time into Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes), social things I want to participate in (things like movies I want to see), work related meetings to attend (union related), and just everyday house maintenance.

There’s a lot on my plate this time of year… and to set myself up for success next year, I’ve decided on creating the BuJoRPG Dev Blog on this site. Let’s get to the meat of the column.

My initial plans for BuJourneyRPG have hit a snag that I just didn’t have time to fix before the holiday season washed over me like a tidal wave. Sure, there are fixes for these things but the overall idea is that I needed to start thinking of how I wanted to change that system in order to make it work with what I originally planned.

I also received a message from someone asking for a “chick version” of BuJoRPG… more on that in a bit.

Up to this point, I have not asked my wife for help on creating BuJourneyRPG. I haven’t really gotten any help from anyone, and that let’s you peak behind the curtain to learn the fact that all of this has been 100% me since the get go.

When I asked my wife to jump on board this little adventure, she was excited and I made the decision that BuJourneyRPG, while definitely still “adventures on top of self improvement” needed to be far more dynamic than the limited scope I was initially planning.

After doing some pondering, I also started to realize that I needed to be making notes, or updating things in a more open space, to show that some progress was being made… and then, of course, I didn’t have time to get that started, so I’ve lost a couple of the notes I’ve made already because I made them on paper and paper gets misplaced.

My new idea was to create a Dev Blog, something solely dedicated to working with both versions of BuJoRPG (which I’m pleased to say is still THE reason people come to this site).

Some time over the course of the next two days to two weeks, I’ll create the fancy new header/cover image for the blog and start posting in January (when work slows down enough for me to gather my head together to start putting things into words people can read rather than just being abstract images in my head). 

What’s going to be in the Dev Blog?

I need to let you know that BuJourneyRPG is going to be a revenue generator for me because I can only do so much if I’m not getting paid for the work. That’s 99% of the reason I haven’t gotten much farther by this point than I have. Having said that, the base system is going to be free… it’s the story and developmental elements that are going to cost some money.

Don’t worry, though, I’m not going to be trying to sell you something tiny for an extravagant amount… the idea is to make it an easy decision to purchase because you aren’t taking out a mortgage on the house. Think more “candy at the cash register” than “brand new hard cover book” purchases.

The Dev Blog itself will be about what I need to work on, what is being worked on, and some of the details of that work that is being done.

For example, I might mention that I’m developing a mechanic to represent a magic system. Then I tell you about the options I came up with and that I’ll be testing out those options to figure out the best one. Finally, I may tell you what I’ve settled on and what is coming up next.

Progress!

Is the character sheet mentioned way back when still happening?

Absolutely!

My first character sheet was designed to be something you could keep going back to in your journal rather than recreating the bones of that every time you updated (like I had for BuJoRPG Version 1). I still love the idea and while I don’t have a solid sheet to show you (yet), I happened across a completely awesome sheet while looking for the cover for this column (image seen below).

The full sized image can be seen here.

There is way more going on on this spread than my simple character sheet, but this is only going to make me alter the spread slightly… because there are things on this sheet that won’t apply to BuJourneyRPG (obviously) and things that need to be included that aren’t on this spread, too.

It’s at least something to fire up the creative thinking.

How often will the Dev Blog be updated?

Ideally, I’ll be updating it weekly (or multiple times per week). Unfortunately, free time and creativity do not run on a schedule, so the updates might also come slower than weekly (but no less often than monthly).

The point of the Dev Blog is to update you when something needs to be updated, so if I make massive amounts of progress in a short period of time, then maybe you’ll get five updates one week. If things are moving slower, then maybe you’ll only get three updates a month.

Would anyone else be able to help with the creation of BuJourneyRPG?

I’d like to say yes, but that might also mean sharing the profits. While there is a plan for that in the future, I’m not quite ready for an entire team of people coming on board at this time.

This does not mean that if you make suggestions on how something might work better that your suggestion wouldn’t be taken in and used. Especially with the building of the base system, I would love a little involvement from others.

In fact, let me say that: I would love help with the base system. It doesn’t pay but you’ll help set BuJourneyRPG up to be a success in the future.

As far as the “after the base system is out,” I’ll be interested in developing some basic language learning adventures, weight loss adventures, and other self improvement specific items that would need someone to be fairly knowledgable in creating those. (I, for example, can’t run you through learning French because I don’t know a lick of French… and a French speaker would be able to adapt my Vietnamese learning method into BuJourneyRPG with far more robustness than I could provide).

What about the “chick system?”

I almost forgot to include this in the post!

A woman contacted me about BuJoRPG and asked me for a version of it “for chicks” (her words, not mine). What she was ideally asking for is a system that didn’t have “combat” in it. That lead me to start thinking up some stuff that might be an alternative…

BuJourneyRPG already had a version of “no combat” baked in and I hadn’t realized it until she made that request. Combat in BuJourneyRPG can be physical, mental, emotional, or social… which is more “conflict resolution” than actual combat. There NEEDS to be a system of conflict resolution, otherwise you’re just reading a book or learning something the boring old way.

My wife was happy to hear about the request and that is when I asked her to jump on board the project. When Christmas winds down, for both of us, we can start working on things. 

I do have stuff to post on the Dev Blog that has already been developed and I can post about with the new base system.

Why do you keep saying “base system?”

The idea is that BuJourneyRPG isn’t just a self improvement method like BuJoRPG was. There will be components to BuJourneyRPG that aren’t related to self improvement at all, while other elements will heavily rely on self improvement.

My base system will allow you to participate in different genres of adventuring and self improvement without tying you down to one specific genre.

You might start off in a space opera genre to get the story laid out and then head over to a high fantasy genre for your self improvements for the month. After that, you might hit up a military genre for another self improvement portion and finish up with some adventuring with mythological unicorns for story.

All of those will feed into the base system.

If I’m being honest, I really need some accountability to keep me moving forward. Too often have I promised something only to shove it under the rug to do something else.

I have a touch of ADD.

I look forward to making this happen and finally putting out a version of BuJourneyRPG that everyone will enjoy.

Emerald Specter 107: The ESCC and Chess Basho

I like chess. I know other people like chess, too. I’ve attempted to combine chess with a couple other aspects of sports or presentation to make them more appealing to an audience. That all actually begins with getting players involved, regular players, and making sure that there are firm ground rules for how to do things in these scenarios.

One of those is the Chess Basho experiment. 

I was originally going to write about how this is mostly a failure but things have perked up a bit and I wanted to begin looking back, then coming forward, to see where we’re at and perhaps drum up some consistency that has been sorely lacking.

I am going to go all the way back and look at Chess Basho I (for ease of explanation, I’m just going to use the numbering rather than try to parse out what each event was actually called). Who played, who won, and where did we end up?

Without running down all the particulars, the four Sapphire Adepts were the winner Alexin2, Nikbasketball12, Sim_zama, and dukenukem123. None of them returned for the following tournament and I did invite them.

The tournament was well received, filled up very quickly, and play was fun. I participated in the tournament and finished a dismal 11th out of 12.

The next tournament was Chess Basho II, with almost an entirely new crew of players who joined the system (me being the only returning player from Chess Basho I). With no returning players, the aforementioned Sapphire Adepts were changed being “kyujo” (or absent) in this tournament. The new SAs were winner ArturFaust, homozzapien, anujvaniya78692, and biraandrada. This was also the first tournament I established being a member of the club to be technically promoted. I finished 9th.

In Chess Basho III, I returned again as well as King_of_Not. Mmuse would also first appear here and become part of the returning membership. The SAs were once again brand new as none of the Adepts returned for this basho. The new ones were winner FlashyFerrari, syibil, Pauliow1967, and mapru. I finished 10th.

Chess Basho IV had none of the Sapphire Adepts returning again, so we had a whole new slate of them for this one. They were winner miki1701, PRIMAT_RU, King_of_Not, and EmeraldSpecter (me). This tournament is also a catastrophic failure as the tournament started abruptly, while not being full (there were only 4 players), and was generally thrown out. Technically, though, I am including it as we did have a definitive ending.

Chess Basho V saw myself and Mmuse return but no King_of_Not. None of the Sapphire Adepts returned and that left yet another new slate: winner mrstasky, DarrylAG, DalkyiAK, and Goridulich_Evgeniy. I finished 10th… I also decided that this was going to be my last Basho as a participant because of my other project, SpecterChess, being my focus for the future. (Side Note: SpecterChess will be getting some alterations in the very near future due to my writing of a story that had things going in interesting directions)

Chess Basho VI is the one currently running as I write these words (though it should be over by the time this column is released). Currently, both Mmuse and King_of_Not are participating, and though Mmuse has currently attained the Sapphire Adept threshold, they’ll be too far down the rankings to actually be granted the title. 

This leads me to why I’m writing this big column.

As of about 45 minutes ago (as I write this), I announced and posted on Chess.com the new Chess Basho VII event. This will introduce a few changes to the basho system in the hopes that things start moving forward and people start coming back into the fold… here’s the nifty new logo, too, which will be part of the trophies on the website (and hopefully entire players to keep coming back to earn more of them):

Unlike the logo I had been using, this one is more compact. The trophies simply have a “1st, 2nd, and 3rd” in the bottom right corner of the logo.

What are the changes, though? 

First and foremost, the membership requirement for the ESCC is out the window. No one is joining and the only real reason to have the ESCC as part of chess basho now is to alert those players when another tournament is announced. Players can come and go as they please but the new trophies I’m hoping will start drawing in more returning players (enough to launch a second, invite only, division).

Second, there will be expanded numbers of titled players to allow for those who return to actually achieve what they came to achieve without always being pushed down by much higher rated players that pop in and never return. The new number of combined Sapphire and Ruby Adepts will now be six and that applies to the new Chess Basho VII event forward.

Third, players will be able to earn points based on their returning statuses. So, for example, since Mmuse and King_of_Not keep coming back AND they seem to achieve the Sapphire Adept title thresholds, they won’t lose their titles to players who haven’t returned to other tournaments. Using King_of_Not as my primary example, they have participated in 3 tournaments and will have 3 points over players who have not returned in the past. Mmuse also has 3 for returning. If they both achieve the Sapphire Adept threshold in Chess Basho VI then they’ll both be given the Sapphire Adept title, which they will continue to hold as long as they return for Chess Basho IX.

But what if they don’t place in the top 6? Not placing in the top 6 would be unfortunate, but will not disqualify them. Players in the top 6 who haven’t participated in more than one tournament will not earn the Sapphire Adept title. If more players start returning more often, this point system will be reevaluated.

Finally, the tournaments will no longer begin on the same days as actual sumo tournaments. The tournaments (starting with Chess Basho VII) will begin on the first non-holiday day of the month. If participation starts ramping up, there will be a consideration for 12 tournaments a year rather than just the 6.

This is still an experiment and I’m hoping that something comes of it sooner rather than later. I’m willing to run this tournament schedule for up to three years (we’re already done with year one) to see if this is worth continuing afterwards. The concept is solid, the participation just needs to be ramped up.