Narratour in Milan — Narratour a Milano

The fine fellows of Narrattiva are coming to Milan and wherebouts as part of their tour to promote their games: the Italian editions of Dogs in the Vineyard and PrimeTime Adventures.

They will be in Milan this evening and tomorrow, in Sesto S. Giovanni, and Sunday afternoon in Magenta.

Take a look at the Official Announce on their forums.

—-aaand, in italian—-

Quei bravi ragazzi di Narrattiva (Michele Gelli e Claudia Cangini) saranno a Milano e dintorni questo fine settimana nell’ambito del loro tour per la promozione dei loro primi due giochi pubblicati: Cani nella Vigna e Avventure in Prima Serata.

Saranno a Milano stasera e domani, a Sesto S. Giovanni, e Domenica pomeriggio a Magenta.

L’annuncio completo e dettagliato lo trovate sul loro forum.

A RedBox Hack cover

RedBox Hack cover mockup
Click on the image!

…it’s a quick and dirty mockup-ish thing, and bear in mind that the license of the title font is unclear, and that the image is *ahem stolen* and slightly modified.

But well, it gives the idea about it: an old style, heavily Moldvay’s DnD inspired cover.

Learn more about Red Box Hack

Fixing bdist_rpm for python packages.

Ok, this is a quicky i found here.

I use bdist_rpm when building python modules, because I like them to be neatly installed as rpms, but it normally breaks, puking over not packaged pyo files.

Just put this:

———–8<————–8<—–
[install]
optimize=1
———-8<————–8<—–

in the project’s setup.cfg, or perhaps better yet, in ~/.pydistutils.cfg or
in $prefix/lib/python2.x/distutils/distutils.cfg. This will then always
set –optimize=1 when install is invoked.

This way bdist_rpm will not break (hopefully). Or at least not on pyo files.

Tried it with the Skype4Py package, it worked like a charm.

Using an EMC CX3-10 Storage with CentOS5

I have had the mixed pleasure of setting up an EMC CX3-10 Storage (fibrechannel and iSCSI) on a couple of CentOS5 machines, lately, and I’m going to share here the tweaks I had to make to the provided software. I hope this will come handy to someone else on the planet.

Before you proceed, the standard disclaimer:
If you break your costly servers and storage appliances using these instructions, you can keep the pieces. This is simply my experience, use at your own risk, and don’t come crying if you mess up πŸ™‚

The Drivers

CentOS5 recognized the HBA cards right away, so no sweat here. Hey, it’s RedHat Enterprise 5, after all, under the hood.

The EMC CX3-10 Storage comes with a couple of packages (namely NaviSphere and PowerPath) that install drivers and stuff so that the system can see the disks correctly. And here comes the quirky part: the software has to ensure that it’s been installed on a supported platform, and while RHEL5 is officially supported, CentOS5 is not: the software refuses to start, and if started manually it spews a phrase like “Ensure to install this software on a RedHat Enterprise machine”, or something.

Now, we all know CentOS is binary compatible with RHEL… what’s missing?

I’ll tell you what: the software is performing some tests that are a wee bit too clever… to work around them, perform these steps:

First things first, edit the file /etc/redhat-release and put in the single line
Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server release 5 (Tikanga)
so that the system is now identifying itself as a RHEL machine.

But it’s not enough for PowerPath;

Edit the file /etc/opt/emcpower/EMCpower.LINUX-5.0.1/enable, and substitute the lines that say

rhel_version=`rpm -qf /etc/issue | \
sed 's/redhat-release-\([0-9]\)Server.*/\1/'`

with these:

rhel_version=`rpm -qf /etc/issue | \
sed 's/centos-release-\([0-9]\).*/\1/'`

This way the script will be able to find the ‘5’ version number in the name of the package it is seeking (which is centos-release, instead of redhat-release).

The init scripts

The provided init scripts are a bit amateurish, to say the least, but proprietary software vendors are not really known for their ability to comply to the LSB specifications… even when they want them as mandatory…

So, edit the file /ect/init.d/PowerPath and add the line
# chkconfig: 345 20 40
just above the one that starts with # description:. Then, use the command chkconfig --add PowerPath to make that service manageable from the standard LSB tools. Just to be sure, also use
chkconfig PowerPath reset

chkconfig PowerPath on
chkconfig --list | grep PowerPath
and check that the service is configured as on.

Other than that, follow the normal instructions, and make sure that the naviagent service starts before the PowerPath service, which it should if you are using my numbers: naviagent already has LSB start and stop priorities, and they by default 25 and 35.

Spirit of the Century

I am trying to start playing regularly, and together with some friends we already started making some characters. I enjoyed the chargen session so much that I made the character’s Pulp Novel Covers. You can see them here (click on them to see the fullsize):

Michael G. Vengeance Jack Grey Bear
The Carrier Zak Quantum

I have so much fun playing with Inkscape and The Gimp that I’ve made also a couple of “Century Club” logos πŸ™‚
(click on them to see the fullsize)

The Century Club The Seal of the Century Club

And like I mentioned in a post, we also have some “online sheets” and Fate Points chips that I intend to use in Maptool, with a setup like this:

Spirit of the Century Maptool Table

The Fate Chips (english and italian version):

Fate Point English Fate Point Italian

Agon

The game of competitive greek hero roleplaying.

Think Clash of Titans meets Troy, meets The Argonauts… and kick some ancient monster ass!

I’ve produced a couple of handy toys for Agon: one is an Emblem to presonalize the Agon folder on my Gnome linux desktop. Here you can see it in action.

Emblem usage example
…and here you canΒ download it.

And, planning for a possible online playing session, I also made a png of the Range Strip to use in MapTool: coupled with some nifty shield images I got from the Agon forum at the Forge (IIRC) it should enable me to play online.

Click the image to see it fullsize:
Agon Range Strip

Just drop it in a MapTool cobblestone map, and you are ready to go.

Post ModCon 2007

Saturday I went to Modena, to attend ModCon, a board and roleplaying con. Not huge (not even big, probably), but very centered around the idea of “go play”. That is, there were some booths selling stuff, but the center of the con were the tables.

You only pay a ticket if you intend to play at a table in the main room, and there are lots of tables. If it’s not booked (it’s written on a strip of paper on the table) you simply go there with your buddies, sit down and play. Easy peasy πŸ™‚

The result was a crazy mishmash of tables with people playing literally any kind of tabletop game: when I arrived my friends were playing Infernal Contraption, a non collectible card game, and next to them was a table with a HUGE Risk (or risk-variant) board. Next to them was a table with people playing with biplane minis πŸ™‚

Nice. Loud, but nice.

My loot was small, but not at all bad:

Me and my friends (one of whom I met that day for the first time) went and played Tsuro right away. The rules are not really that well written, but they are very short, and playing a game or two clarifies the gameplay. We enjoyed it greatly! People was laughing their asses off, when the paths triggered mad wanderings of the player tokens. Four or five games went on, one after the other.

And I’ve lost all of the time! πŸ˜€

Then, I proposed an improvised session of Don’t Rest Your Head. There were five players, and I consider that maybe a number a bit too high for my tastes (and for DRYH), but I guided them through character creation (which is very easy, with no crunch at all, and they “got” pretty much right away). We ended with a mixed group of misfits (including an urban parkour-ninja, a greedy finance tycoon, a porn superstar guy, a violent wifebeater and a mafia killer).

I decided to do the intro scenes individually, and unfortunately being short on time I got to do only three out of five. In retrospect, I wonder if I should have gone round the table action by action… but that risks to be confusing, for starting players.

Anyway, they had some weird and disturbing experiences, each of them got to experiment with the dice rolls and use his talents, and they experienced the various effects of Dice Dominance, got some Responses and Exhaustion, and even used the Despair/Hope Coins.

And… they had a blast!

They are all pretty “trad” gamers, in the sense that I am the one known for “introducing these weird new games” πŸ™‚ but coming to the game with no preconception they simply enjoyed it. I did not make long theory speeches, I simply said “this game works a bit differently from what you are used, but just bear with me and try it”. They even enjoyed narrating their results when Pain did not dominate (a tweak we agreed upon at the beginning).

And what’s best, Germano, the one that seemed the most “traditional gamer” of the group said he would buy the game right away if it was translated in italian! Woot! πŸ™‚

Now I’m looking forward to MOAR Don’t Rest Your Head!!! πŸ˜€

Dresden Files Extravaganza!

Yeah, I received today the package from IBS with the latest books I and my gf bought. Amongst others, in the huge box, there was the entire series of Jim Butcher‘s books about Harry Dresden, Wizard.

Actually, all the books published in softcover format, since I am a cheap bastard *grin*

Now there will be a short pause, while I read through them… and then I’ll start craving again for the Dresden Files RPG, that the cool guys at Evil Hat Productions are writing.

A night at the Opera

Yesterday me, my girlfriend, her sister and her boyfriend packed up, and went to Verona, to go tho the Opera!

The quite different part in this it that the opera (Rossini’s “Il Barbiere di Siviglia”) is performed in the Arena di Verona. And yes, it is a roman empire era coliseum (much like the one in Rome), almost perfectly preserved, where every summer a lot of shows are held.

Mostly opera and synphonic music, but sometimes also rock and pop concerts.

It’s a strange experience to walk on those pinkish stones, knowing that they have been worn out by millennia of people going to all manners of shows… from the gladiatorial games of the past to the concerts of nowadays. You step inside, go up a couple of stories, and bam, the arena opens in front of you. The thing is huge. The sensation of open space, and of height, is exhilarating (pictures like this on wikipedia do not really convey this feeling).

Then the sun sets, coloring the stones of all kinds of variations on the tones of pink, cream, gold and orange, and the time for the show arrives.

I’ll not make a complete account of the evening. Let’s just say that next time (if there will be one, and it probably will) we’ll try to take a place lower, even if maybe not so directly in front of the stage. All in all, anyway, we had a really good time. I liked the opera, and all of us today is singing snippets of the arias πŸ™‚

Summer Hero

As seen on Fred Hick’s Blog

I am a summer hero! And you can be too!

Summer Hero!

The 2007 Ennies votes are happening, and the small press games that are up for awards need your help. If you’re a fan of Spirit of the Century, Burning Empires, Lacuna, Dictionary of Mu, Dawning Star: Helios Rising, Faery’s Tale, or Hollow Earth Expedition, this is a chance for you to stand up like me and make a difference. The voting is happening starting July 16th over at the Ennie Awards site and lasts only two weeks. There’s no better time to cast your vote than today!

You find a sample ballot here: Grab a Sample Ballot

And you can place your votes here during the voting period starting on July 16th: The Ennie Awards Voting Site

Together we can be heard. Become a Summer Hero. Cast your vote, and let other people know how to become heroes themselves!

Find out how to put this message in your own blog!

…and I just want to add…