The Stochastic Game

Ramblings of General Geekery

Play A Game And Honor Greg Stafford

A few weeks ago, Greg Stafford passed away. He was best known as the founder of Chaosium (one of the greatest role-playing game publishers in history), co-designer of RuneQuest (one of the greatest role-playing games in history), and creator of Glorantha (one of the greatest fantasy universes in history).

Since then, there has been a lot of talk about his life and legacy, but I can mostly recommend Ken and Robin’s Special Podcast Episode, which has several anecdotes about Greg, and the Chaosium Forums' Condolence Thread, which has quite a few nice pictures, stories, and words on the subject.

Greg rune

Now, the folks at Chaosium recently made a call to play a game in honour of Greg next weekend (November 10th). Although you can frankly play any game and be certain that Greg Stafford had at least some kind of indirect influence over its design and/or its author, it’s obviously even better if you play a game that is more directly linked to him.

Sadly, our weekly Friday game night is on a hiatus from our Call of Cthulhu campaign – that would have been our best homage to Greg, short of playing RuneQuest or Pendragon. But what we’re doing is still not too bad, as we just started a 7th Sea one-shot adventure, and John Wick, the game’s author, recently posted a nicely worded blog post about how much influence Greg had on his career (which includes L5R in addition to 7th Sea).

So I guess we’ll be plundering ships and fighting sea monsters for the occasion. Farewell, Mr. Stafford.

Reminder: the Vancouver Mechanical Keyboard Meetup is in a few hours!

Today I tried Fortnite. I listened to a couple of 10 year old squad mates chat for 10 minutes as we were wandering around building random shit, and then I got killed by someone called “Archinerd14”. Pretty much what I expected, overall.

IRC turned 30

Last month marked IRC’s 30 year anniversary! Jarkko Oikarinen booted up the first IRC server some time in August 1988 at the University of Oulu in Finland.

The New Stack reminisced about the good ol' days:

“It’s the kind of place that slaps you around a bit with a large trout.”

Developer Khaled Mardam-Bey enhanced his 1995 Windows IRC client mIRC with a /slap command based on an old Monty Python skit. Typing /slap and a user’s name would type out a sentence indicating that you were slapping that user around with a large trout.

I used mIRC in the late 90s and early 2000s as a French student, and definitely remember this “feature” that I found funny but totally random. Of course, that’s because I didn’t know the Monty Python back then… I hadn’t given it any thought until recently!

This IRC anniversary is also a good opportunity to see how resilient open and decentralized communication protocols are – while proprietary platforms like ICQ or AOL IM came and went away, IRC just carried on. As Drew DeVault says, please stop using Slack.

Of course, IRC has its share of problems, but it’s sad how Slack is solving them not by improving IRC, but by building a different, proprietary solution. I guess this is what happens when the Internet stops being built by universities, governments, and communities, and is instead built by publicly traded companies and VC-backed start-ups… although you occasionally find a rare one that does the right thing.

Indeed, I had checked IRCCloud a while ago, but figured I wanted to keep “having fun”1 managing my own ZNC bouncer with multi-client support and notifications. But now, I realize that they’re helping with the IRCv3 standard (like, say, implementing reply threads and avatars), so I started supporting them by using (and paying for) their service (which, incidentally, you can point to your private ZNC if you wish to). Their client is pretty good, too (both online or as a phone app). Basically that’s me voting with my wallet.

Long live IRC! Or Matrix. Or something.

  1. For a certain definition of “fun” that not everybody shares.