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Fermius Firefly

A Dream Log, whenever I remember the dreams I've had.

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Location: San Marcos, United States

Fermius is a pen name drawn from a series of short fiction I wrote when I published the small press magazine Stellanova (on paper.) I play RPG games to escape from my daily grind as a technology wage slave for the state of California. I eat out a lot in order to do my part in supporting our increasingly service level economy. I am butler to 2 feline masters. If you ask them they will tell you I'm not very good at it, late with dinner, don't have enough hands with brushes in them, and sometimes I even lock them out of their office.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Spare Parts in Space, Game Convention Costume

              Spare Parts in Space, Game Convention Costume

              I dreamed that I was testing my MMORPG Spare Parts. The test scenario was that of investigation and settlement of a large orbital station. The satellite had appeared in orbit, and had broadcast an invitation to the peoples of the world. Respondents were beamed up into an Avatar which then undertook to shape the new resource as they choose.
              Essentially the player is playing a person who is in charge of an avatar on the large satellite parked in orbit around our world. The character safely controls a biological construct which, after their first, they design the balance of physical and mysterious attributes.
              In the dream I was running the game with several others, we were testing a GM generated quest line, to find a combination water and chi resource, clear the native hostiles and then secure it for a time against any other player operated avatars seeking to claim the resource as their own. The clear and hold action would result in the expenditure of many character points to create defensible towns along the length of the resource that would keep the chi draw to a minimum. We were being paid by the kill and by the chi that reached the GM's chi forge that served as our base of operations.
              In the dream we'd made our way to the source of the chi stream in our spike of the satellite, and discovered that it originated in another spike, or spoke of the satellite. We were making our way up the spoke, clearing large venomous creatures from the area of the stream, and debating over where to place our first settlement, either inside the spoke, or outside on the spike. We had all ready left several camps on the map to mark our claim and to provide useful foraging and repair services for those who would follow us.
              Visually, we were in a long verdant tunnel with rock structures leading up to the transparent roof of the spike. The evening sky outside revealed more of the satellite's construction, a web of spokes and spikes around a large central hub of stony material with hundreds of antennae and ports of all sizes. We could see space shuttles moving from earth to the satellite's docking arrays, bringing in new controllers.
              The trees and grasses looked much like those of earth, but with a slight twist in the colors and shapes. The creatures, though, instead of being four limbed, tended to have six limbs, and closer to the hub, four limbs and wings. Our little spike, with its avatar labs and docking bay at the narrow end, opened up to a tube that was a couple of miles around. The scale of the satellite was enormous. We could make out, on the perimeter of the structure, domes that were dozens of miles across. Telescopes would reveal some of what was in those domes, but the path to many of them remained to be discovered. Gravity, and thus movement tended to be variable, as full, or even slightly more than full gravity existed only on the equatorial band, the central hub and the poles of the satellite tended to be less gravity and therefore more leaping and flying was the order of the day. Exploration started on the main spokes leading to the equatorial regions, of course, and the spikes leading away from the terraced 10 mile wide shaft that had docking facilities that were still working. I wondered how the water was pumped back up into the more central regions of the world, as evaporation didn't really seem like a suitable mechanism.
              I remember thinking that later players would very much miss out on the whole “Pristine World to Explore” experience, and that bothered me a little. I figured we would have to find a way to open up new worlds to explore on a fairly frequent basis, and try to weight the filling of those worlds towards new and newer players. I explained to my fellow play testers that we might consider that when a player moves to a new world, they take none of their current world resources with them, and in fact have to start over with creating and training a new avatar. This would go a little bit against the concept I had of account experience recycling. (To keep and transfer experience a player permanently retires an avatar and then creates a new avatar with 85% of their previous avatar's experience available at avatar creation.)
              I remember that the combat system used a combination of keys on the left side of the keyboard to select the skill or maneuver used and the number pad or mouse clicks to select the target and direction of the skill use.

              Later, I dreamed I was at a sort of gaming convention where costumes were mandatory. I had managed to sew together some sort of detailed quilted magician's robes. The armor of which was a complex set of folds in four old space blankets. (Blue rip-stop on one side and reflective mylar on the other.) This folded kilt was my “armor” and was supposed, in the rules of the game, to be made of Kevlar and some sort of magic and laser reflecting material. I felt like I was in one of the Wizard of Oz witch's guard's costumes with their wide panniers. I thought the effect was to make my costume look barely a cut above the cardboard armor some of the other folks were wearing. I desperately wanted to lose the armored kilt, as it really covered up way too much of my quilting and appliqué work.
              About the time I was thinking of ditching those elements with the explanation that they were under the robes, someone approached with more space blankets and asked if I would play the arch Wizard, and could I fold these up and add them as neck and shoulder armor to my costume.
              “I'll look like a Piggly Wiggly after Katrina.”
              I really wished I taken the time to make the shoulder armor and high collar I'd intended.
              I got to folding and managed to come up with something that worked. I went with the GM to a staging area to learn my lines and my “new” spell abilities for the scene. Since I was really just a participant, I had no idea what my “old” spell abilities were. Explaining this got me no where, and eventually a gopher showed up with a staff badge to replace my participant badge.
              “See, now you're official,” the game master beamed a huge grin at me. When we started rehearsing, I realized that two of the other actors were former students, R and her boyfriend K. There were great huge hugs, after we figured out how to move around the stupid space blankets. The couple were more excited than I was about my playing the role.
              “I bet they don't even know you can act, they just picked you for the costume.”
              “We'll see, they might still be right. Melodrama isn't really my forte, you know.”
              “You're going to be great! Daddy.” R hugged me again.
              “Yep, I play your estranged daughter, come back to try to save you from your evil ways.”
              “I prefer to think of them as, pragmatic,” I said in my most imperious voice, then gave an evil cackle. “And watch the armor, it's dry clean only.”
              Everyone around us broke up, laughing.
              “This is going to be the best ever.”
              “Yeah, if you can't kill 'em with magic missiles, kill 'em with laughter.”

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