It's an Exciting World

The life and times of David Geisert

Traveller RPG

Lee set up a group to play the RPG game Traveller. The group is composed of Adam, Tina, Andrew, Tim, and myself. Tim is someone I hadn’t known before, and he is very knowledgable about RPG games. A few weeks ago we rolled our original characters.

I was pretty happy with my character, Kenzie Carson. She is a law officer who is a beast with the blade. Adam rolled a social pariah, who is a decent pilot. Andrew rolled a trader, gambler, rogue, and entertainer, who’s a great shot. Tina rolled a minor noble who was locked away for the crimes of a gang boss she was impersonating, who became streetwise after being locked away. Tim rolled a navy careerist who is a great mechanic and gunner.

We got together the next week to roll alts, which all turned out much better now that we knew what we were doing. I rolled a crazy Vargr (wolf like alien) Doctor, who likes to remove unneeded body parts. The others also had better rolls on their characters.

We had our first gameplay session last weekend and it went pretty well. We all got our missions and were able to discuss with the rest of the group how we were going to proceed. My character is desperately poor, so I wasn’t able to get the best gear to start out, but I should have the skills needed to make up for it.

We left Flammarion station heading two jumps away to Walston. In this session we made the first jump and ended up at the planet that hasn’t even earned a name, just a serial number. The planet was mostly empty, but seemed like a place that would have lots of pirates. We found out about a possible pirate crew member, so left as soon as we could. We had trouble starting our jump to the next system, which is where the campaign paused for the next session.

I’ve also been having fun making materials for the game. I made our backstory timelines:

I also made the Flammarion system map:

Then I got sidetracked into making world maps that could be used with the traveller world system. I got pretty far in making visually pleasing spheres that could unwrap into the traveller hex maps of worlds.

Foothills Park Hike

Steph and I took an afternoon to do Los Trancos Trail Loop in Foothills Park. This is the park that was controversially open to only Palo Alto residents up until 2020. The trail is 7.3 miles with 1460 ft elevation gain, so a moderate hike.

The trail and park was very nice. I especially enjoyed the bench under the large mossy rock covered in ferns. The small stream next to it was a pleasant way to take a break.

Back to Food Exchange

Since the cases in San Mateo have dropped significantly, we again felt comfortable with a food exchange in our back yard. We had over Tina and Amit, Paul and Yutong, and George. Each group got their corner of the patio table, which quickly filled up with delicious food. Yutong brought a bunch: Orange and Kiwi Kombucha, Okonomiyaki, Coconut bread sticks, and Mango Sticky Rice. George brought several dishes as well: Brunch Scramble and Hashbrowns, and a Noodle Dish. Tina brought her world famous Mochi Waffles, and all the fixings to go with them. Steph made Snickerdoodles, and I made Tom Yum. We had a ton of great food. We kept the gathering at 4 groups, but Steph stopped by Michelle and Michael’s new place to deliver offerings from the others and receive some Scallion Pancakes and Pasta Salad.

Alviso Slough Kayaking

Tina and I decided to break in her new kayak with a trip through the sloughs leading from Alviso to SF Bay. I estimated the trip would be about 2 hours, and that we could time the tides so that there wouldn’t be too much flow to fight on the way back in. The trip out was nice and we made it to the power towers in about 45 minutes. The trip back was much harder and took much longer than I anticipated. That was probably due to the rain we got the night before, which increased the water flow by about 4x. Even though we weren’t fighting the tides, we were fighting the flow of the stream. It wasn’t too fast, and we were able to hide in the eddies for most of the trip back up the slough, but it was hard. Both Tina and I were worn out at the end of it, but all in all it was a very nice paddle.

Survival Class

Steph got us spots in a survival class in the Santa Cruz Mountains. We made a debris hut, which was meant to hold one person tightly and stay warm. There was a young kid there who had tons of knives on him. He was a big talker too, and we were convinced he was going to hurt himself. He did, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as we were expecting.

We also made fire with bow drills. Almost everyone was able to get it to work.

Scuba by the Monterey Pier

Steph and I took a short drive down to Monterey to do a scuba trip there. The Pier is a fun place to dive as you never know what you’ll find and this time was especially interesting. We saw a crab wearing a beanie hat. The crab was a Sheep Crab or Spider Crab depending on how you want to call it. The hat was decently stuck to it, and it was happy with the hat. The video below is from one of the other groups that was there that day, and we got a screenshot in case the video goes down (like what happened with the urchin smashing).

On a Boat in Moss Landing

Steph and I wanted to get out of the house for a bit, but do so safely. We decided an outdoor set of excursions would be a good plan, and staying at a no contact airbnb. We went to Moss Landing where we stayed on a small sailboat. We went to the nearby beach that evening and saw the sunset. The night was spent on a very small bed with some knocking on the dock, but we made it through. We brought our electric kettle and backpacking meals and that worked perfectly.

The next morning we slept in a bit, and then went kayaking in Elkhorn Slough. We saw tons of otters and harbor seals.

We then had a takeout lunch in Santa Cruz on our way to Halfmoon Bay. The waves were too big to make it to the outer rocks where the sea urchins are, so Steph wasn’t able to collect any. We did have a good time walking along the beach.

We headed back to the boat and had another decent night. I really like the warm cozy area with the outside so close and cold. The boat was so cozy and it was nice cuddling with Steph while she played games on the switch.

We didn’t make it diving the next day due to sleeping in and the waves being so large. The kitties were so happy to have us back when we got home.

Visiting Adam’s New Place for Thanksgivings

We had a decent sized group head to Adam’s new place in Kanab, Utah for the week of Thanksgiving. Paul and Yutong came and picked Steph and me up, and make the 12 hour drive. The other car, Tim, Amit, and Tina, headed out slightly after us. We had all been self quarunteeing and got Covid tests before leaving. Some of the results hadn’t come back by the time we left, but by the time we got there we had the results, negative.

The drive was pretty uneventful, but took a little over 12 hours. We got in a little after dark, and brough in all the food and games. The other car arrived a few hours after us, and we settled in. The house is very nice. Steph and I were in one of the top floor bedrooms, with Paul and Yutong in the other.

Here are some views of the house. Zillow Listing

Behind the house was BLM land, and the second day we went up the mountain behind his house. I made it to the second from the top cliff with most of the group. Amit and Tim, being the climbers, made it part way up the top cliff. We came back to the house and people were cooking and playing games.

Some of the great meals were had over the week were dumplings made by Yutong, mac and cheese by Steph, fesh pasta and meatballs by Yutong with a nice white sauce by Adam, A pot pie by Tina, a turkey by Adam, butternut squash curry, sourdough by Tim, cornbread by Steph, devilled eggs by Yutong, and breakfasts by Adam.

We played a lot of board games. One play of Mage Knight, three times through Terraforming Mars, and two plays of Feast for Odin. We also played a lot of party games like 25 Words or Less and One Word. The One Word game was especially good, and we played it repeadedly and in different ways.

We went on a few hikes, all of which were nice. We headed up to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, and did the highest point there. It was a cold windy day, so we didn’t hike for too long. We also walked aroundt he lodge, which was closed for the season. Another hike was through a small, easily accessable slot canyon. We also climed a second mountain near where Adam is living. On that hike we saw some petroglyphs and dinosaur footprint fossils.

It was an amazing time, and Adam was a great host. It was so nice to get to hang out with people again

A Long Overdue Update

During shelter in place there hasn’t been much going on in my personal life.

Professionally, I got a new job, which I love. The latest game I worked on came out on PSVR.

I’ve been playing lots of games on and Tabletop Simulator. I’ve enjoyed playing there, but it isn’t the same as in person. I’ve continued reading a lot and breezed through the latest Stormlight Archive from Sanderson.

I’ve been doing a lot of gardening, including putting in a trellis with a wisteria. I plan to grow the wisteria up to the top of the trellis and put a bench underneath.

I’ve done some chores around the house I’ve been meaning to do like changing the locks on the gate and cleaning the solar panels. The panels especially needed cleaning after the heavily ashy days.

I’ve been playing a lot of VR games and enjoying them. Nothing has stood out that much recently. I still like the basics of In Death and Beat Saber.

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