Letter from Dr Marhaba to Tom Ovenbird, &al.

Greetings Mr Ovenbird, Greetings!

Please convey my regards to Misters Turner and Glizzard, and thank you for the story of their recent adventures. I’m sorry to hear they have suffered wounds, but am greatly gratified they are in recovery with good prospects for full recovery.

Dangerous as the our worlds are, they are made safer and better by our mutual support of each other becoming our better selves. Do let me know if there’s something I can help with using my resources to aid their progress; but I have arranged for a case of supplies to be sent as soon as possible with items that may be useful in that regard.

I read your notes about the music Turner and Glizzard discovered to a colleague who suggested something interesting. Apparently, my colleague was reminded of some ancient materials recovered from research on the long lost Serpent Kingdoms. There were recovered several examples of musical notation from those ancient days, which have been reconstructed as best as we are able. I’m of course not suggesting that the music you found was from that ancient period, but we were reminded of these reconstructions. I have included a sample being sent by my colleague, which you may enjoy and consider.

Who knows what layers of ancient past might be hiding under the surface of the estuary, just waiting to be discovered. We know that the ancient Serpent Kingdoms covered much of our world, and maybe farther, so finds both of direct artifacts and also lingering influence on subsequent eras are to be found everywhere.

When you mention the broken urn, I wanted to share two practices I’ve used to repair similar artifacts to some success. The first practice has proven useful for preserving the original appearance while displaying the historical damage, but in a way that conserves the efficacy of any effect of magic within, often allowing me to not only preserve the item but to engage in a process of repairing the magical function of those artifacts as well. In this technique, use pure gold to fill and repair crack and defects in the object, which is highly malleable and also allows magic to function. Another property of pure gold is to mellow ill effects from any maleficent magics in the original, possibly creating a much more useful artifact than the original even.

The second, as is true of so many broken things, contemplates that breaks are never fully healed, even in hearts as in urns, but that we can grow larger than our breaks. One can sometimes create surprising new artifacts using the materials from older objects by embedding the older material in new, when the older artifacts are not repairable or to be preserved as examples as they are for research.

I will send some material we’ve used successfully at the University to do this. You’ll be interested to know that this material is actually derived from mud! You may be able to create new supplies from the mud in your own estuary, so I’ll also include instructions on the preparation of more.

News of your Ms Frembas will be welcome when there is some to share.

I have recently received a crate, which I have not had a chance to investigate, from another new correspondent, Take, a small fellow who appears to have recently taken up with a newly unified tribal cohort of Goblins and is seeking out ancient forgotten places with the help of their rather amazingly well preserved oral histories, that stretch far beyond what history even those at this University know. I understand there is, as I write this, a remarkable Goblin Market being built to traffic in the arts, crafts and artifacts from those adventures and more. Sounds like a place of wondrous surprises.

Truly, much amazing news and discoveries are being made by all in many quarters, and I am honored and delighted to be able to play a part in those, applying what resources I have available to me, even if only remotely, whilst I make my own progress here.

Signed & sealed,
Hujambo Marhaba

OOC

(This is an in-character letter sent, with an OOC post-script, back in 2017, to someone playing a solitaire game using the Index Card RPG (ICRPG) rules, as a kind of meta-game correspondence play. Unfortunately, there was only one previous letter exchanged and no others, though I did come up with a draft idea of ICRPG Field Research activity, and so this didn’t develop much further, but there’s a lot about this kind of meta-game play, especially for solitaire, that appeals to me. Adding a series of correspondence to an existing game, that links different tables and players across time and space seems pretty awesome, and potentially wildly interesting.)

I know the work of Bach is not the same, and separated by much time, but as I listened to the music you linked, I was reminded of and ended up listening again to several reconstructions of ancient music, including the Hurrian Hymn to Nikkal and Ensemble De Organographia, who I got to hear in person a few years ago, playing at Marylhurst in PDX.

Thinking of that in ICRPG terms, I thought there might be threads of musical magic patterns that survive in subsequent compositions that are preserved from even more ancient works from the Serpent Kingdoms.

Consider what a reasonable but not awkwardly extravagant care package from Marhaba, a well funded adventurer at a magical University might include, and that might be send to Turner and Glizzard; perhaps roll a few times on the ICRPG loot tables, or just grab a few ideas; but something no doubt useful to them will arrive shortly or along with this letter. Something like this care package might be similar to one of many supply crates Marhaba would have on hand, prepared to take on an extended dig, for example, with health and wellness supplies, but perhaps with one or two additional gifts added to it, that may prove useful.

When talking about using gold to fill cracks, I’m of course thinking of Kintsugi, an exemplar from Japan of Wabi Sabi.

Also, when talking about creating something bigger than the original, I’m reminded of the Japanese art Dorodango, of making “shiny dumpling” mud balls, a kind of magical process!

That last, shiny mud balls, I can really imagine being a high art in Grung (from D&D) or Torton (ICRPG) / Tortle (D&D) cultures, and may be something of interest for filling out the culture of some non human settlements in the estuary area. Like finding glass balls from old fishing nets on the beach …

I’ve been on a kick thinking about Myconids, Grung, Torton/Tortle as fun “bioforms” for a swampy/wetlands area of play. I can’t shake ideas of Frog and Toad and Wind in the Willows when I think of adventures in a estuary. And, I’ve gone way off on a tangent now. But, I’ve always been very interested in non-human, even non-humanoid, characters, for a game. Lately, I’ve been dreaming of something set in a place similar to the D&D Chult, in the Snout of Omgar, with Tortle, Grung, and idek Kobolds, Myconids and Vegepygmies?!

Welp. I finally managed to record a bit of a new series for the forthcoming ICRPG Ghost Mountain setting, in Runehammer’s ICRPG Worlds, or rather, inspired by what I imagine that setting will be like. The first moments of that posted just now on youtube!

I spent way more time pulling together preparations for that than I thought I would need, but I think it turned out okay. I wanted to do something leading up to an actual Ghost Mountain adventure, as soon as the ICRPG Worlds book is out, whenever it is finished.

It has been getting darker and drearier here as the cold creeps in and the rain begins lasting weeks at a time, and I’ve not been keeping up with regular game streaming lately. I’ve been struggling a bit with that, but I do what I can.

This weekend is PAX Unplugged in Philly, so I’ve been watching streams from there. Last night was Dice Camera Action, a fun series, and tonight is Acquisitions Incorporated. Then tomorrow is The C Team. Those are all D&D live shows. Don’t know if you’ve ever watched any of that kind of thing, but I watch a few of them. Some day, I think it would be fun to be part of a live stream roleplaying game like those!

Anyhow, hope all is well with you and yours!

Thanks!

How to play ICRPG Field Research

Here is a draft from back in 2017 for a little experimental adventure using the Index Card RPG (ICRPG) effort system to do field research, especially for a solitaire adventure but, really, there’s nothing that couldn’t be used in general at your table.

This is the “brief discussion of proper sampling techniques and methods of recording observations” mentioned in Dr Marhaba’s previous letter. I’ve only really worked up structure here, and left most of the details free for your imagination in play. Let me know if you’ve comments, questions, or suggestions, if you use this.

ICRPG Field Research

Determine the maximum number of days in the season
– For example, 2d10+9 days total.

Target for each day is equal to the day number, modified by any momentum you’d like to apply, as below. In part, this represents the increasing difficulty of finding something not yet observed through the season.

Maximum effort that can be applied to tasks each day is equal to the day number x 10.

Work together, with equipment and technique, to gain effort faster; possible equipment or techniques might be things like magnifying glass, spyglass, tent blind, camouflaged clothing, sneaking to a new vantage point, having someone flush the area, trying to observe something that got away last time (as in Easy on repeat attempts), &c.

Locate

Beat target to locate a specimen or observation
– bank tokens equal to the difference above the target
– banked tokens can be used to boost other rolls as desired throughout the trial, an indicator of momentum

d6 which element is the specimen or observation found related to
– earth, air, fire, water, spirit, magic

d4 what is the specimen or observation rarity
– common, uncommon, rare, unique

Observe

d4 timer to indicate how long one has to observe the specimen or observation to get something significant

Rolls on basic effort against target to gather effort against rarity x 10 until the timer runs out
– bank tokens equal to the difference above the target
– banked tokens can be used to boost other rolls as desired throughout the trial, an indicator of momentum

Sample

d4 timer to indicate how long one has to gather a specimen to get something significant

Rolls on basic effort against target to gather effort against rarity x 10 until the timer runs out
– bank tokens equal to the difference above the target
– banked tokens can be used to boost other rolls as desired throughout the trial, an indicator of momentum

Field Notes

On successful observation create field notes

1 Description
– Facts
– Impressions
2 Illustration
3 Store sample for transport, if gathered
4 Reflection

Conclusion

Repeat until your season is complete. How many and how rare were your observations and samples for the season? What leads did you find for future research from those observations and samples? Who do you communicate your findings to and what do they do with them or say in reply?

A reply from Doctor Hujambo Marhaba to Mr Turner’s letter

Greetings Mr Turner, Greetings!

Of course I do recall meeting you at various gallery openings and soever. I’m flattered you’d remember me from our brief acquaintance at those events, but I am soever glad for the letter from you whilst you are on your adventures!

I myself am off on my own for a working sabbatical at the moment, but after I return in the coming month I would be glad to arrange a visit to hear more about these structures you have been exploring, and to help identify the mysterious substance you have found.

With more details, I may be able to help find some references to these creatures whose remains you have found in the academic library, and learn more about them and the history of those structures in which you found them.

As to this substance, I would likely need some time to safely determine the nature of it, so believe I would need to have some of the sample left in my care for longer than your visit. I could send word to you after your return to the estuary area with my results when those studies have completed.

Do let me know your plans and I will have one of my assistants make hospitable arrangements for you and your friend Glizzard at the University so we can discuss these matters of interest. Letters are forwarded to me with only minor delay as needed if they cannot be responded to on my behalf, so feel at liberty to discuss any specifics even if I am currently traveling.

Have you been at your art whilst traveling or, I hope, at least gathering inspiration for the same? The real treasures of travel are rarely only mementos one can carry, are they?

I am curious about this game you’ve mentioned learning from your local friend. Perhaps when you visit we can all find a way to play a round here, and perhaps introduce something new to entertain the faculty and students between their studies.

By the by, I have a colleague who has an interest in fungus, and I wonder about what grows where you are currently exploring. I understand that this is exactly the season my colleague would have staged a trip to gather scientific samples, during a traditionally abundant harvesting period, but was unable to do so. Perhaps you would be willing and able help?

You should look to find a variety of the unique local fungus growths from your area. However, I must convey a warning that some growths may be, as one says, aware of you if you approach them. There are in some locales living species who also are able to communicate your presence to others of their own kind and allies, and some locales have even more rare species which may also pose a danger to you. So I find I must caution you to be wary of complex fungus structures that appear to have been designed to a purpose, which may indicate the presence of these more rare and dangerous species.

Do consider gathering what unique samples you are safely able, placing them individually in glass jars for transport. Any other details you observe will be of interest, to be sure. I have included under separate cover some brief discussion of proper sampling techniques and methods of recording observations usefully which you may find helpful. I know that my colleague will be quite excited to receive those to assuage the disappointment of not being able themselves to engage in gathering this season.

I look forward to arranging for your visit and to help apply my resources here toward resolving your current mysteries.

Signed & sealed,
Hujambo Marhaba

OOC

(This is an in-character letter sent, with an OOC post-script, back in 2017, to someone playing a solitaire game using the Index Card RPG (ICRPG) rules, as a kind of meta-game correspondence play. Unfortunately, there was only one more letter exchanged, and a draft idea of ICRPG Field Research activity, and so this didn’t develop much further, but there’s a lot about this kind of meta-game play, especially for solitaire, that appeals to me. Adding a series of correspondence to an existing game, that links different tables and players across time and space seems pretty awesome, and potentially wildly interesting.)

Doctor Hujambo Marhaba is a dark skinned, improbably tall, and wolfishly strong and lean ICRPG Hill Folk who is a visiting independent research-fellow and many-skilled scholar at the University. Dr Marhaba is rumoured to be generously supported by a controversial but ultimately secret endowment that is not popular within certain factions of the administration, perhaps unpopular particularly because they have been chagrined to find they are impotent to defund or influence the endowment, or Dr Marhaba, in any way. Ultimately even those in the opposition faction are loathe to pass on the research money and fully funded department, to be honest, which has begun to enhance the University’s reputation in many quarters of society.

Dr Marhaba often travels on elaborate and adventurous research expeditions, between much in-demand and irregular lectures about that research, often involving improbably wild stories that prove to be all too real when supported by the evidence of respectfully recovered artifacts and wondrous loot.

The increasingly infamous Dr Marhaba is often consulted by strange and unfamiliar visitors about such mysterious questions, and is glad to help with study and research leveraging University resources, including the use of several student assistants who are available for such assignments as are needed. Dr Marhaba thus also has an increasingly extensive network of contacts outside the University on which to rely when needed. These assistants and other contacts may respond to letters during the doctor’s periods of unavailability, when they are suitable to the task.

As a quirk, the doctor often uses repeated greetings, as in the salutation of this letter.

Dr Marhaba is active in the city arts and creative community, though not central to it, is an inside outsider to the art, university, and city communities. It is at several of these arts community events that Mr Turner and Dr Marhaba became acquainted.

In my thinking, if you are amenable, this could become a series of correspondence to advance the plot of your adventures. I am somewhat inspired by the De Profundis and Quill systems for my thinking around this idea, a way to roleplay via letters. I would hope if we continue that I could have permissions to post these to the Odd Order blog, and you might take a gander at a rather stalled out site for De Profundis that I’d made a while back for inspiration as well.

I’m excited by the way you’ve described your adventures and the golf game since they appear to be largely more about exploration than combat, which I’ve found to be ICRPG’s particular primary focus. My adventures with Take ran into at least one point in one of the sample trials where the main way forward, and way to get the subsequent reward, was clearly intended to be combat, which to which he was ill-suited against the challenge. I’ve been finding that I’ve focused a lot on combat in my videos, and have been thinking about how to include more … other stuff through Effort based tasks and storytelling instead of simply combats.

Anyhow, no pressure if the above correspondence isn’t of interest or doesn’t fit your particular adventures, but it occurred to me as perhaps being an added asynchronous dimension of play to enhance the rest of your own sessions. In any case, I thought Dr Marhaba might be a useful resource and plot device.

Feel free, of course, to include any OOC details, questions, suggestions, or hints to help craft replies as you like with in-character correspondence, thus.

Thanks!

Illimat Variant: The Butcher in Solitaire and Solitaire Variant Improved

In a recent stream, archived on my youtube channel, I tried to play the Solitaire Variant of Illimat [also], and hoped to actually follow the rules this time, as I had been unintentionally playing what I’ve called Easy Stockpiling. However, I ran into a bit of a pickle when I revealed The Butcher, a Luminary from The Crane Wife expansion.

The issue is that when The Butcher is revealed, the Luminary in the opposite field is discarded. However, according to the Solitaire Variant: “The goal of Illimat Solitaire is to reveal and collect all four of the Luminaries.” And if you’ve not already claimed the opposite Luminary, there are no longer four Luminaries to collect.

In the video, I muse over the question, for the result of my second game, whether revealing The Butcher ends the game with a loss, as it is no longer possible to claim four Luminaries, or could victory now still be had by claiming all possible remaining Luminaries (three, or four if The Newborn adds one more)? Or, perhaps victory is only possible if The Newborn adds back a new fourth Luminary?

Note that the Solitaire Variant also says, “If there are fewer than three cards remaining [in the draw deck] when a Luminary is revealed, the Luminary is discarded and a full victory is impossible.” This would suggest that the most proper reading of the variant is that if revealing The Butcher discards one of the four Luminaries, then full victory is now impossible.

At the table, I decided that I would try and see how it played out, but noted that I may have lost that game. I then continue to play and successfully claim the remaining three available Luminaries on the table.

After I was done streaming I asked Keith Baker, via Twitter, about this and he responded, “The Crane Wife Luminaries aren’t designed for Solitaire. The only one that seems like a good match for Solitaire is The Boat.”

Okay. Not with that attitude it isn’t. And, now, I’m going to go off on that.

First off that response didn’t actually answer my question, but rather shut it down. Way to put the kibosh on the enthusiasm of a player!

Point of order: Given that Solitaire is itself a variant, and changes the way Luminaries work, none of the Luminaries were designed for solitaire, per se.

Also, that’s weak sauce. If the response to trying to play the game with an expansion is that the expansion wasn’t designed for that, instead of trying to figure it out, then that is as much to say the expansion should be labelled as not valid for solitaire play, and I shouldn’t have bought it. Best request a refund. And, get off my lawn.

That seems also to be the opposite of what I think of as creativity and a game playing attitude.

Frankly, as a solitaire-only player, that makes me feel like I’m not welcome to play the game at all, and that the Solitaire Variant was a grudging afterthought. Perhaps it was only that. Perhaps I’m not. Perhaps solitaire players aren’t.

News from the game designer is, essentially, if you’re a solitaire player: Don’t buy The Crane Wife expansion. It’s not for you. If you want to play by the rules as designed, don’t.

Well, fuck that. That’s bullshit.

Beyond that I’m probably now less interested in trying to make solitaire work for any other Keith Baker games, and I had actually been considering another. But, even leaving other now unlikely game purchases out, I’ll have a bad taste in my mouth for any future Illimat expansions, and am far less enthusiastic about trying to participate in Society of Luminaries meta-game stuff or likely to follow through with buying several available, completely optional, Illimat tchotchkes I’d been seriously thinking about spending real money on as a would-be solitaire once-and-no-longer-future enthusiast of this game in particular.

With all due respect to Keith Baker, screw that wet blanket noise. I bought your damned game and the twice damned expansion with my damned limited and precious gold, and, by the eternally damned gods, I’m going to damned well play the freakin’ hell out of it. Moreover, I’ll be damned if I’m not going to do it now just to spite you. I mean, damn, man!

For the game and expansion I’ve got and paid for already, of course it is possible to play the game with the expansion as a solitaire player. It’s just a matter of figuring it out. It’s just a darned disappointment and dang discouraging to have the game designer say it isn’t.

Now I’m done ranting. Except in my head. I’m still mad and ranting about this in my head. Damn. Maybe I will put the game on a shelf not to be played again after all. I don’t know yet. We’ll see how I feel about it later.

On the other hand, to be fair, I think you can see why I’m single, live alone, have no friends, and only play games solitaire.

Welp. Okay then …

If you’re still here, here’s how I suggest you can play with The Butcher in Solitaire, served three ways. The first way is the closest reading to the canonical Solitaire Variant. The second is slightly more divergent. The third is my personal favourite of the three, and ultimately is my suggestion. For the third, I preface that with a suggestion about a change to the Solitaire Variant that I think improves it, makes it more fun and friendly.

The Butcher in Solitaire #1 — When The Butcher is revealed, the opposite Luminary is discarded. If not already claimed, the opposite Luminary is discarded and a full victory is impossible.

The Butcher in Solitaire #2 — When The Butcher is revealed, the opposite Luminary is discarded. If not already claimed, the opposite Luminary is discarded and a full victory is impossible unless The Newborn is later revealed in play and causes a new fourth Luminary to be made available, and all of the new four available are claimed before the draw pile runs out.

Solitaire Variant Improved — Where the Solitaire Variant says or implies the goal is to “collect all four of the Luminaries”, read “collect as many Luminaries as possible.” That means that you want to claim all the Luminaries available on the table, though that number might increase or decrease based on the Luminaries revealed. Then, you can always note how many Luminaries you claimed and if you got all Luminaries on the table before running out of cards in the draw pile, thus “2 Luminaries, Loss” or “4 Luminaries, Win”. Hey, and since we’re here, let’s also change the preamble to be less disparaging and dismissive of those playing solitaire, where it claims to exist to “provide solace” for those with “no companions” or only for “sharpen[ing] your skills when plotting revenge on a future opponent”. How about simply saying that this variant is for those who chose to have fun playing solitaire?

The Butcher in Solitaire #3 — Using Solitaire Variant Improved, when The Butcher is revealed, the opposite Luminary is discarded. This reduces the number of available Luminaries that can be claimed to three, unless The Newborn is revealed and causes a new fourth Luminary to be made available. (If The Butcher is not revealed, but The Newborn is, and causes a new fifth Luminary to be made available, that increases the available Luminaries to five.) Continue to play and claim as many Luminaries as possible before the draw pile is exhausted. If there are still Luminaries to claim when the draw pile is exhausted, you may wish to consider Solitaire Rounds to continue playing.

 

Twogether Baker The Decemberists Illimat

Illimat Variant: Easy Stockpiling

In a recent stream, archived on my youtube channel, I describe a few possible new variants for Illimat [also]. One of those is Easy Stockpiling, because I seem to have forgotten about the rule that I can stockpile only if there’s a way to claim the pile in my hand at the time, so …

Easy Stockpiling — One can decide to allow allow looser, easier stockpiling. In this variant, one can stockpile even when there’s no way to claim the pile in one’s current hand.

 

Twogether Baker The Decemberists Illimat

Illimat Variant: Market

In a recent stream, archived on my youtube channel, I describe a few possible new variants for Illimat [also]. One of those is Market, and here’s my current idea on what that could be.

Market Variant — In multiplayer games, the card that could have been dealt to the player after the dealer as their 4th card, which they are not given in regular play, is placed into the “market”, a separate single card deck on the table, face down.

A player may, on their turn, play a card from their hand, face down into the market, to claim the current market card. This is taking their cards to “market”, following the farming metaphor of sow, harvest, and stockpile.

 

Twogether Baker The Decemberists Illimat

Illimat Variant: Solitaire Rounds

In a recent stream, archived on my youtube channel, I describe a few possible new variants for Illimat [also]. The first of those is Solitaire Rounds, and here’s my current idea on what that could be.

Solitaire Rounds Variant — Instead of a loss after the first round, re-shuffle claimed cards back into a new deck and start a new round. Scoring now includes how many round it took to win, with the goal of claiming as many luminaries as possible in as few rounds as possible.

In this variant, there are as many rounds in a solitaire game as need to claim all luminaries, or until the player decides to cease. If the player decides to cease play, then the number of rounds is noted as the number followed with a + sign. So, a player who claimed all luminaries on round 3 would note 3. However, a player who does not claim all luminaries, but decides to cease play on round three notes 3+.

One can record a result for this variant with the number of luminaries claimed and the number of rounds played, such as “2 Luminaries, 3 rounds” or “3 Luminaries, 2+ rounds”.

 

Twogether Baker The Decemberists Illimat

In conversation with community member LadyKDA

I recently had a conversation with LadyKDA, or Lady, who is a member of the streaming community and someone thinking about becoming a streamer. LadyKDA is a member of the newly formed FoxFyre gaming and streaming community and was selected as Featured Fox for December 2018, a recognition of involvement in that community. You should also check out LadyKDA’s Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.

Take a moment to introduce yourself! Who are you?

Community member and future streamer LadyKDA

Hiya! I’m Lady. I’m an aspiring content creator and soon to be streamer. I’m a tired mommy to a gremlin. Gamer. Smartass. Let’s 1v1.

What’s KDA stand for in LadyKDA?

Okay, so when I first played SMITE, right, everything was about your Kill Death Assist, or KDA. “Omg! you suck! Your KDA is negative” “Oh my god, I have so many assists because you keep kill stealing” “My KDA is better than yours”. That like … haunted me lmao. And then I played Overwatch. The KDA didn’t matter? It’s a team based game, kill everyone and get to the point. So KDA finally subsided from my brain. Until I started playing Call of Duty. Then here it is again “Omg! Your KD ratio is awful” “You’re a girl you can’t play video games” … And then boom. K/DA. A virtual K-pop group about the females in League of Legends. A fire ignited in me. My KDA mattered again and now it’s time to show these little boys who came to play. And, honestly, I’ve never been more focused. That song woke something up in me and I have actually grown as a gamer in the small amount of time that it’s been out.

How’d you find the FoxFyre community?

I was friends with Sideshow and he brought my long lost twin Veroicone around. We clicked instantly and it was only a matter of time before I was invited to join FoxFyre.

What does being a Fox mean to you? What are you hoping for as part of the community?

Honestly, I’ve never seen a community so caring and tight knit. Everyone cares about everyone. Being a Fox has changed my outlook on the gaming community. This is what a gaming community should be. No matter the skill level, the gender, the age; everyone gets along and has a great time together. I’ve already received what I wanted out of it. I received friends, teammates, and lifelong memories (and dank memes).

I hear the community has inspired an interest in starting to stream? Are you going to take the jump?

Absolutely! Everyone seems to have so much fun streaming and it’s so freaking cool to jump in a stream to just have fun, cheer them on and chat. And, if I’m being honest, I’m a stay at home mom who spends her time cleaning, tending to my daughter, watching cooking shows and playing games. Why not try and stream? I spend so much of my time on the computer anyway.

One of the things, for me, about gaming, that I don’t like is spending tons of time and not having anything to show for it, so, like what you said, I feel like, if I’m going to spend time on something, I should have something to show for it. Basically, I want some creative output, so, for gaming, that means streaming and archiving videos of my streams. It’s kind of a deal I make with myself so I feel like the time I spend on the games wasn’t simply lost. So, hey, yeah! Do it!

There’s a part of me that used to care a ton about Skill Rating, or SR, gain and stuff but now I just like to play it purely for the enjoyment. It kinda sucks the fun out of the experience when someone is going full try-hard mode and being kind of a dick about it. Know what I mean? I have several friends who get insanely competitive when I just wanna play and learn to get better. But not necessarily on a competitive level, if that makes sense and/or answers your question lol.

Who are you hoping to be as a streamer?

I just want to make someone’s day. Even if it’s just one, I’m content with that. I don’t care about being good at whatever game I’m playing (though winning is always fun lol).

Heck yeah, I don’t think I’m good at most of the games I play either, but I think the discovery of the game as I play it is my story, for most of the time. I mean, if people only streamed games they were super good at, all streams would be speed runs and only last 10 minutes or less! Ha!

Basically yeah! like I play quick play in overwatch almost exclusively to see what kind of plays I can get. Can i get 3 people plus in this shatter? Can i get play of the game with this dva bomb? With this solo queueing dva combo with my emp if i get the whole team? I don’t know but we’re about to find out! PRESS Q!

If I can laugh, and make the you laugh in the process, my job is done.

I’m not laughing. Oh, wait. Now I am.

Hehehe, glad you got a giggle in. <3

Any projects other than streaming you want to mention? Any hobbies or interests you want to mention?

I’m in the artsy stuff. Though I’ve never been too proud of it. Here lately I’ve found that spark again and I would want to do some make arts and crafts type streams. I think that would be pretty cool.

Do it!

What’s your current setup like for streaming? Or, what stuff are you hoping to have for your streaming setup?

I have literally nothing for it so far. I’m currently playing on a 720p TV and a tiny $20 microsoft office mouse. But once I get all the things I want to do for it, I’ll send you a “hey look at this!” email. ;)

Cool beans! And, definitely, I agree: stream with the gear you’ve got, for sure. I recently got an Nvidia Shield TV to try out, to play games I can’t on my main machine. I play that on an old TV with mouse and keyboard on the TV cabinet, and I sit on a milk crate turned over with a pillow on it! Totes janky! It’s DIY-awesome! So, I’m right there with you. I think that kind of stuff is part of the journey, part of the story worth telling, too.

Yes exactly! i kind want to do the whole “started from the bottom, not we’re here” kinda transformation picture. I’m excited for it!

What have been your primary resources for information as you’ve been getting ready to stream regularly, on how to do it and set it all up?

Veroicone has been a huge source of help when it has come to my youtube channel setup. She even helped me with editing my first video! Cayden has also a huge help when it comes to info about Twitch.

Cool beans! That’s definitely a cool part of being in a community with other streamers. Figuring things out can be a struggle! Not just when one’s getting started either, as I’ve joked about something breaking every time I start streaming … and it’s not really a joke. I mean, it’s a joke on me, to be sure. But, Murphy is every streamer’s co-pilot!

Oh, good ole Murphy’s Law. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t lol.

Have you gotten any advice about starting to stream that you’ve taken to heart?

Take comments about appearance with a grain of salt. Everyone has their self confidence issues. And people rip you apart on the internet. Also, if you’re looking to stream to only make money, you’re doing it wrong.

Pretty good advice, to be sure, and unfortunately too true. But, hopefully always more fun for you than the other thing as you keep doing it!

I’ve also just understood that blocking someone is way less stressful than being trolled.

Hell yes. No one is owed your attention or has a license to abuse, even if you’re a public live streamer. I must admit that I’ve personally, for various reasons, ended up with a hair trigger and no patience at all. Block quickly and forget easily. I’ve come to believe that is a primary tool to being online, even beyond Twitch. On Twitch I’ve stopped including chat on-stream and have automatic filters turned on at least low. I dread the time I may ever require mods, but, wow, it will be nice to have someone else see it before I do, and ban hammer it flat. I’m happy for interaction from viewers and soever, but that’s got to be a privilege that can be unilaterally revoked or else insanity prevails.

I have thickish skin now that I’ve been apart of the good ole internet for a while now. It took a lot out of me in the beginning. Lots of nasty things said. I will hold a conversation with whomever. But you will not degrade me. That’s not what this is for or about. Let’s just game and have some fun.

What stuff have you played, and what are you playing now?

My very first online multiplayer game to play was Smite. Smite will always have a special place in my heart and I always return after every or every other god drops. I then attempted to learn the ways of World of Warcraft, When the Warlords of Draenor expansion dropped, it just wasn’t for me. I’ve been addicted to Overwatch since the moment it came out. I play Call of Duty pretty often these days too. The Forest is getting a huge update just now actually and I already have it re-downloaded. I don’t really have a “type” when it comes to games. If it catches my interest, I’m normally always down to try it.

Heck, yeah. Play what is interesting and fun for you, and share that with others.

What goals do you have for the future with your stream and in the community?

Even being able to hit Affiliate would be super cool. That’s first on my little goal ladder. I’ll probably cry on my first donation lol. I want my stream to be somewhere a person can be like “Ah! Lady’s on!” and just come and chill. To just like feel at peace to just hang out and have a good time. I used to watch YouTuber GassyMexican’s stream for that reason. They had a segmant called Fu*ked up Fridays and me and my boyfriend would watch it every week. (This was pre-baby of course, so now our TV gets taken over by Frozen and Trolls.)

Oh wow, I’ve lost more TVs that way! I hate having to melt and bury a perfectly good TV when the frozen trolls infest … wait, what? Oh. Never mind.

This was so exciting! Brought me back to the Myspace days when you did surveys on your bulletin board lol!

Oh, you think we’re done, do you?! Muahahahaha. This conversation is an escape room. Good luck getting out.

Hehehe more questions! More more more!

No, sorry. I lied. This interview is as over as Myspace. You’re free to go. Please exit through the Gift Shop.

Awwww, RIP Myspace. Yay Gift Shop!! :D

In conversation with streamer JDensey

JDensey, or Jacob, is a relatively new streamer. I had the chance to have a conversation about streaming with him recently. JDensey is a member of the newly formed FoxFyre gaming and streaming community and was selected as Featured Fox for November 2018, a recognition of involvement in that community. You should also check out JDensey’s Discord, Twitter, and YouTube.

Take a moment to say howdy and introduce yourself!

Streamer JDensey

I’m Jacob aka JDensey, im a fairly new streamer. I’ve always loved gaming, but only recently gotten into PC gaming. I’m a Cuban American, and I’ve lived a lot of places growing up.

What was the reason for the mobility? Military? And, I wonder where have been your favorite places to live?

Yes, military family, and most definitely Alaska! It’s definitely my favorite place. I miss living there.

I’ve been once, and got to fly into a tiny fishing village and then ride a fishing boat coming down the inside passage to Seattle on the way back! Were you close in to civilization? Did you get out to the wilds much? Or, I mean, put another way, what’s the part you miss most?

I lived in the biggest city, but we went out into the wilds very often. I spent most of my childhood fishing for halibut and salmon, and being on the water out there is easily my best experiences. You see a lot of amazing things out there, scenery and wildlife, etc. One experience that stands out is when we came across blue whales and one surfaced about 5 yards off the starboard side. You never really realize how big they are until they are that close.

Awesome experience!

You mentioned only recently getting into PC gaming, were you a console gamer before this?

I have played different consoles from Nintendo to Playstation 1 to Xbox and most recently Playstation 4. My main console games were Overwatch and Rocket League.

I keep thinking about hooking up some old consoles again. I lost most of my Nintendo 64 carts over the years, but I still have a few. You should do a retro day of streaming!

I don’t think I have my Nintendo anymore unfortunately, but I have thought of streaming some older games like Knights of the Old Republic.

Doooooo-eeeet!

So, then, who are you as a streamer?

I’m a pretty new streamer, as I just got into PC gaming recently. I like to try to be as interactive with viewers as possible, while attempting to give them entertaining gameplay.

How long have you been streaming?

Hmm, maybe six months off and on? Maybe two months so far of more regular streams.

Oh, hey, that’s cool. Good luck on the adventure! Where are you on your Twitch Achievements?!

Not very far! Haha. Coming up close to Twitch Affiliate though!

Huzzah! And, being Featured Fox should help a bit with that too.

How’d you find the FoxFyre community, and what’s your involvement?

I found FoxFyre through Rafthree, a fellow Twitch streamer and FoxFyre community member, who was one of my main influences to start streaming. I try to stay very involved in the Discord and now through my stream as well, because the people of FoxFyre are very cool cats, and they throw a lot of support my way.

Hey, yeah, Raf and I got to talk before. And, it’s been great to watch the FoxFyre community start up and keep growing. Having that kind of group for mutual support seems great.

Any projects other than streaming you want to mention? Any hobbies or interests you want to mention?

I’m a big racquetball player, although I don’t play as much as I used to. I’m also trying to get into graphic design as a hobby. Also I’m a huge trivia buff, and I have a knack for memorizing useless movie quotes and song lyrics.

Yeah, not sure how to work racquetball into streaming, unless you do VR or maybe a Wii! Have you thought about doing something like that?

Haha! Maybe someday.

Sure, sure. Okay, I hear you. But, I’ll just say: what’s a home without room-scale VR? A house. That’s what. Just a house. And, you need a moat. Just sayin’. Priorities!

Can’t disagree with you there!

What’s your current setup like for streaming?

JDensey streamer desk

Very basic! Just got a new desk and a new mic (Thanks, Raf!) and hopefully I will be upgrading my single monitor setup to dual. I have plans to get a new mouse and keyboard soon.

If you want my PC specs they are as follows: 1060 graphics card, 250GB SSD M.2, Intel core i7-7700, 16GB (2x8GB) Ripjaws.

Haha! Cool cactus lamp. I think a good quality mic can really step things up, so glad to hear you got that going. Going to go with a blinky keyboard and mouse? Extra buttons on your mouse can really help in some games too!

Haha! The lamp doesn’t quite work without a shade on it, just a bit too bright. I want to get a Redragon brown switch keyboard soon and I just bought a Logitech g502, it hasn’t come in yet, but that will have 11 buttons on it.

This mouse goes to 11!

What do you know now about streaming that you wish you’d known earlier? Or, best advice about streaming you’ve gotten?

Investing time into improving your overlay is tough stuff, and finding the time to stream is always hard. I would say make sure that you are willing to dedicate the time and effort into it!

Putting time and effort can mean different things, but yeah! Having a regular schedule is something I’ve struggled with myself, and I think it’s a big one. I’ll probably never be a streamer that’s live for 6 hours every day, but I have a strong feeling that a regular schedule, when I’ve managed it, has been a very good step.

Most definitely. Working a full-time job and balancing time between work, streaming, and spending time with friends and loved ones is a challenge, to say the least. I try to stream regularly after work on weekdays, but things come up to prevent it sometimes.

What stuff are you streaming now?

I stream Overwatch, my favorite game, and Call of Duty 4 Blackout.

Anything coming up that you’re looking forward to?

Not really, although I may give Fortnite another chance.

I hear that’s popular with the kids!

What goals do you have for the future with your stream?

I would like to build a community of friends that can come to my stream to interact and just have a place that people feel welcome.

Being involved in a streamer community, like FoxFyre, seems like a good way to work toward that, but what other ways are you thinking about creating that for your stream?

I have a few ideas, but nothing concrete. I just try to be myself and stay positive, and eventually I’ll introduce new things to the stream.

We’ll look forward to seeing how you develop your stream.

Thanks to JDensey for talking with me. I hope you’ll go check out his stream!

In conversation with community member Eeyore

Eeyore, or Tim, is a member of the the newly formed FoxFyre gaming and streaming community. He was selected as Featured Fox for October 2018, a recognition of involvement in that community. I had the chance to have a conversation about that with him recently. Eeyore is just starting to stream on Twitch, so be sure to check him out with encouragement. You should also check out Eeyore’s Twitter and Instagram.

Take a moment to introduce yourself! Who are you?

Community member and new streamer Eeyore

I am Eeyore, just a person who would rather stay home all day to play video games than be at work.

Haha, well, bless your heart. There’s the dream, yeah?

How’d you find the FoxFyre community?

I was invited to FoxFyre by Cayden Vierra, who I met a few years ago playing video games.

Wait. In real life you mean? You met a wild Cayden in her natural habitat?

I met her through a mutual friend playing Destiny when it first came out. I have met her in person and she has been a great friend, especially since she introduced me to Vanilla Bear, aka her husband.

Hey, that’s cool. I’ve met some other streamers in real life, I mean, other than myself. I meet myself a lot. It’s kinda crazy how often I run into myself, when I think about it. Have you met any other streamers? Thought about doing any meetups or anything?

It would cool to meet up some of the people in this group but there is nothing planned.

There was a bunch of local areas trying to organize meetups, so its worth checking if there’s one in your area. Or, start one up!

What does being a Fox mean to you? What are you hoping for as part of the community?

This is a tough question, What being a fox means to me, well lets see. At first I thought this is just going to be another Discord I put on mute and forget about, but after talking to and getting to know the people that I didn’t know yet I haven’t muted my discord at all. I really enjoy talking to people in there and they make anyone feel welcome. It is just another family community. This group has brought me out of part of my shell, which is good. So, in all, being a Fox is a special thing. It feels good to be a part of a community.

For the second question, what am I hoping for as part of the community, I am hoping that we get a full squad for raids in World of Warcraft.

What sort of stuff have you been doing in the community that got you recognized as Featured Fox this month?

When they started the World of Warcraft guild, I reinstalled the game and set up a new character on that server. Ever since then I would ask people if they want to join for dungeons and help out.

You’re thinking of starting to stream regularly! Have you seen a doctor about curing that?

No doctors involved! Haha.

But, hey, there’s your way to stay home from work and play video games all day … by turning that into work! Haha!

If I was an epic streamer then that is the way, unfortunately for me I am not yet.

Ah, see, you just got to step up your merch game! Residual passive income is the FuTuRe! Haha.

What else is it about streaming that you feel drawn to, as you’re just starting?

The potential of making new friends.

Ah! So, who are you hoping to be as a streamer, what kind of community do you want to build to attract potential friends?

I am hoping to be someone who people enjoy watching play. I am not the greatest at playing games but I really enjoy it. So, I hope others can enjoy watching when they aren’t able to play themselves.

Any projects other than streaming you want to mention? Any hobbies or interests you want to mention?

The only hobbies that I have besides playing video games is playing pool. Which I cut back on doing for a little bit.

Ah ha! Are you a pool shark? Do you play the rubes like fiddles? Are you a Newman or a Gleason in The Hustler?

Just like video games, I am not the greatest at it. It is just another hobby I enjoy most of the time. I have a few friends that are the best in the state I am in and they have taught me a lot.

What’s your current setup like for streaming?

Eeyore's streaming setup

My setup is a 17″ HP Envy laptop. I have the HP Omen Reactor for my mouse, and a HP Omen Sequencer for my keyboard

Oh! Hey, that’s not something that I usually hear. I also tend to stream using an odd setup myself, so it’s interesting to hear you’re using a laptop. How’s that working for you?

So far it is working, It is temporary until I can build a better PC so I can have all the games!

Have you tried something like Nvidia Geforce NOW or have an eye on Google’s Project Stream? I thought about using a Nvidia Shield TV with that service, with keyboard, mouse, and camera, to play Steam games I couldn’t run locally, but they removed the built-in streaming function; though I understand that’s finally back, at least until they remove it again! Or, do you definitely want to go with a full streaming PC?

I just want a high end computer that won’t crap out on me in a couple years and I can run games on the best quality without issue.

The struggle is real!

What have been your primary resources for information as you’ve been getting ready to stream regularly, on how to do it and set it all up?

FoxFyre has been my primary resource, I have done a couple test streams where Raf stopped by and helped me get it set up and Shammy as well since he knows about WoW and that was the game I was setting up for.

Hey, that’s cool, and a great community can be awesome for the mutual support and solidarity, for sure!

Wait. Also in real life, you mean? Raf and Shammy stopped by, you say?

I don’t know them in real life, they stopped by my test stream and we chatted in Discord where they helped me fix certain settings and get things set up to where I could minimize the lag.

Oh, right! That’s a good thing too. Having other streamers you know that can be an external eye and help is cool. That’s another thing that communities of streamers are great for when they hang out and lurk in each others streams and so on.

Have you gotten any advice about starting to stream that you’ve taken to heart?

I have! Just being told to enjoy it and have fun and don’t let one bad stream ruin it for you.

Pretty good. I’d add: if you’re thinking about doing it, just do it. You’ll find out if it is something you like doing or not. Then, do what you can with what you’ve got for as long as you are able to do better than the time before. Being cool with being scrappy is a good way to go; just look at fun stuff like, for a couple examples, classic Doctor Who, MST3K, and Elvira! And, yeah, “enjoy it!” … or really, I mean, most of us are essentially unpaid interns on our streaming platforms, so why else do it?

One of the reasons I want to stream is so I can come out of my shell to be a more energetic person and not someone who just sits back and watches. There is a reason why I have the nickname Eeyore.

Oh yeah! Put up a sticky note to remind yourself of that goal and try improving each stream just a little bit!

What stuff are you playing now? I see you’ve got some past videos from streaming Fortnite, Overwatch and World of Warcraft. Are those your jam?

I enjoy playing Fortnite and WoW a lot. I got Overwatch to play and slowly starting to enjoy playing it more. I also have played Hearthstone a little bit but not as much as I used to. I will try any game out once if I like it i will play it until I get bored or find a better game. Also any game that has a long story I am down for, not a huge fan of a game I can beat in 3 or 4 hours. That to me is just a huge waste of money and time.

Any stuff you’ve seen that’s upcoming that you’re interested in playing? Anything that sounds really entertaining or with lots of story coming up that you’ve got your eye on?

Nothing in particular that is coming out that I am looking forward to. I honestly don’t know of any games besides of Call of Duty that are coming out in the near future.

I’ve been watching things like Cyberpunk 2077 and Red Dead Redemption 2 which both seem like a lot of story and gameplay value, and cool. I’m sure there’s others!

What goals do you have for the future with your stream?

Realistic goal is just to have fun playing the games I enjoy, Unrealistic, make all the money where I can get paid doing something I enjoy.

Haha, it’s like an uncanny valley of streaming! Well, it can’t happen if you don’t give it a try; but, yeah, do it to enjoy it!

Thanks to Eeyore for talking with me. I hope you’ll go check out his stream and drop in and get active in chat to show some encouragement!