Archive | October 2014

My Favorite Thing About Korea

I realized my favorite thing about living in South Korea. And I don’t even think it’s a South Korean thing, as a hold over to being a country not the size of the USA thing. Like if I lived in Ireland or Italy, I suspect I’d encounter the same thing. It was also what made me like living in Queens, NY. I know, Queens!

Anyway, what I like is that the city where I live, Pohang, retains the quality where a single pedestrian who is probably elderly determines how the city is designed. It’s like if you took Betty White and made her a metric unit that measured urban accessibility. Okay, maybe not Betty White, maybe Jane Jacobs, but you get the idea.

Pohang is a kilojacobs city in that every neighborhood is self-sufficient. Within an easy walk of my house I have access to hardware stores, stationary stores, delis, grocery stores, a traditional market, and restaurants. It was something Joe Mitchell talked about in post-war New York where every neighborhood was a self-contained village. This single pedestrian is accommodated in other ways as well: lots of parks with places to sit down, a robust bus system, and cheap taxis. This is vastly different from the USA where the unit of urban measure is a family with an automobile, and therefore things can be spread out, the supermarket here, the school there, and your entertainment way over there. Public transportation is treated as a charity to be given to the unfortunate, and not as a tie that binds the city together.

Now, I am talking about a small city. I have no idea how Seoul compares, although even there I think it would conform to the model of Queens, NY as opposed to Detroit, MI. And like I said I don’t think this is necessarily a Korean thing, some kind of “Wow. Confucianism dictates that you treat your elders with so much respect!” bull shit, as it is related to country-size. The USA has “Settling This Vast Empty Land” as a foundational myth, and it shows in most of our cities.

Fortunately for me,  Korea’s foundational myths don’t seem to effect urban planning all that much.

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It’s Not That

“It’s not that these things happen or even that one survives them, but what makes life strange is that they are forgotten.”

– Jean Rhys, Good Morning, Midnight

That’s one of the books I finished recently. It’s pretty good if you like your modern novels on the short, impressionistic, and ultimately sad and depressing side. In fact if that’s what you like, it’s better than pretty good.

Now if only it had a wizard or some astronauts in it…

Welcome to Lazarus Sector!

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Welcome to Lazarus Sector!

A resource rich galactic borderland, Lazarus Sector serves as the buffer between several interstellar polities and is littered with the ruins of past civilizations. Adventurers, outcasts, and criminals call Lazarus Sector home, hoping to get rich and score big, before their luck runs out.

Here are the big players in Lazarus Sector, although by no means is this every one. Countless organizations and cabals have their agents in the Sector.

The Illuminated: An expansionistic technocratic empire that serves a mysterious God-Emperor known as the Omnissiah, the Illuminated have aggressively pushed into Lazarus Sector and made dubious claims at sovereignty over the region.

The Morn: A once advanced human civilization that destroyed itself in ancient times, the Morn now exist as arrogant scavengers on the fringes of society.

Panoplian: The inhabitants of the Panoply Republic, a vast collection of worlds, cultures, and societies known for its open-minded attitudes and dismally slow political infrastructure.

The Union Worlds: A splinter group of Panoplian corporatists that bristled at the constant meddling of Republican bureaucracy. Their worlds are known for their advanced technologies and gross economic disparity. Pragmatists to the extreme, the Union Worlds are everyone’s ally as long as the credits keep rolling in.

The game starts in Wendigo Station, a Union owned “free” station with lacks governmental oversight that orbits the ruined Morn world of Shard and serves as a crossroads to the Sector.

The group starts with a spacecraft. FTL travel is done via the use of “slipstreams routes”. Known slipstream routes will be on the map. Unknown slipstream routes exist and are a valuable commodity. Who doesn’t want to be the first trader to discover a lost world and fleece the poor souls for all they’re worth before the competition arrives?

The first adventure will be a salvage operation as the crew tries to locate a lost Illuminated ship and reclaim its cargo.

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It appears I’m running a space game for people here in town. Setting details are partially recycled from a few SWN games I ran last year and every SF RPG I’ve ever read ever.

This time around I’ll try and be less bloodthirsty.