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Tell us about that twenty-sided die, Barney - Many a mickle maks a muckle

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September 15th, 2005


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11:44 pm - Tell us about that twenty-sided die, Barney
Things are generally at situation green here; work is rolling on apace, one more set of shifts to go and then I'm off to see Meg. Before then, I'm off to London tomorrow. All that and I have my driving test booked for November 12th. Life is going pretty steadily, all told.

So Netscape co-author (back in the days when it was good) and current San Francisco nightclub owner jwz mooted Celebrity Dungeons & Dragons as a reaction to the fad of celebrity poker shows stateside, only for geek celebrity poster-boy (and, incidentally, inhabitant of jwz's Fantasy Celebrity D&D League team) Wil Wheaton to respond that he'd already helped people try to pitch it. Unsuccessfully. Fie on you, Comedy Central. There may or may not be sufficient backlash to make a difference. This would be ideal for television distributed by IP - over BitTorrent or somesuch, maybe even a live stream - but IPTV probably doesn't have the budget to bring in the celebs for the show. I guess we're down to hoping Wil will get a load of (celeb or non-celeb) buddies together for a game and then just record the proceedings.

Considering the current fad for British shows whose titles begin with Celebrity these days, it's tempting to wonder whether they just pitched it in the wrong country. However, a British Celebrity D&D would probably be a travesty; can you imagine any of the usual suspects who maintain their celebrity status purely by appearing on shows with celebrity in the title taking the game at all seriously and being anything other than lazy-modern-Britsh-comedy ironic on the show? Even if they were to get the likes of (say) Jon Tickle - and that's a generalisation about his areas of geekiness - I can't imagine he wouldn't play without an air of "I can't believe I'm doing this" about him. Now the game not taking itself seriously would be a good thing, but the show not taking the game seriously would make it a waste of time.

Legend has it (which translates to "I think I read somewhere, or maybe mr_babbage told me, or maybe I'm making this up") that there have been discussions about putative TV D&D in the UK in the past, but they've always struggled in the past with conveying the cause and effect of the die rolls in the game and what the rationale for the particular numbers being required is. As a case in point of what can be achieved, see the three episodes of TV extremely-simple-rules abstract-miniatures war-game Game Of War. The obvious rejoinder would be to remove the die-rolling altogether and run it as a live-action game; the last time celebrity LARP was tried in the UK - before some of you lot were born - the result was The Adventure Game (albeit with space trimmings rather than Tolkein fantasy). I think it's fair to say that at least a large minority of history judged this a critical hit.

Unrelatedly, Google have launched Blog Search, which has an extremely interesting feature whereby you can subscribe to a blog made up of an aggregation of every mention in the blogosphere it can find of (search topic of your choice). This seems like a decent interpretation of LJKibo, extended from just LJ to the entire blogosphere. Effectively this gives you an automatic weblog on whatever obscure topic, or whichever local politician you choose. It's very much like Google News Alerts except that it searches the blogosphere instead of the newspapersphere. You can trick Google News Alerts into producing output as a RSS or Atom feed, though the procedure to do so doesn't seem to have a GUI. These two halves are surely due for optional amalgamation at some point, aren't they?
Current Mood: creativecreative
Current Music: Johnny Vaughan being a small-town kind of guy

(17 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:leathellin
Date:September 16th, 2005 12:18 am (UTC)
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1) Google blog appears to be being rather impolite and ignoring 'do not spider' messages

2) Interviews with Vin Diesel do seem to have outed him as a clear supporter of D&D and even suggested he persuaded Judi Dench to play...
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:September 16th, 2005 12:28 am (UTC)
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2) Such a game would surely transcend "Celebrity" and enter the hallowed realms of "All-Star".

I fear that we are due a rash of people impersonating Sean Connery issuing utterances such as "I'm going to check for trapsh" and "Doesh my eleven shave againsht shpellsh?"
[User Picture]
From:imc
Date:September 16th, 2005 11:05 am (UTC)
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1) Google Blog Search says it respects robots.txt files and meta tags; however, the truth is that there is no standard for including `do not spider' messages into RSS feeds — so it's not that Google is ignoring them so much as the fact that they aren't actually there. (LiveJournal does not have a useful robots.txt file because it would be huge and unmanageable, although for paid users the exampleusername.livejournal.com virtual sites do have them.)
[User Picture]
From:leathellin
Date:September 16th, 2005 11:10 am (UTC)
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There has been further information -
http://www.livejournal.com/users/undyingking/25424.html
[User Picture]
From:imc
Date:September 16th, 2005 01:39 pm (UTC)
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From that I'm guessing that the "fix" has something to do with reading the HTML page associated with the RSS and obeying the meta tags in that. Which is a round-about way to do it, but if it works…
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:September 16th, 2005 06:25 am (UTC)
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Haven't seen it - am just going based on the "tune" uploaded here.
[User Picture]
From:undyingking
Date:September 16th, 2005 08:29 am (UTC)
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Celebrity D&D would be a complete waste of the concept. If you want to have role-playing on the TV and make it be fun and interesting and not a pure exercise in piss-taking, D&D is the last game you should choose. Its only strength is brand recognition.
Now Celebrity My Life with Master, or even Celebrity De Profundis, that would be worth watching...
[User Picture]
From:undyingking
Date:September 16th, 2005 08:31 am (UTC)
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Oh, and how about Celebrity Are you a Werewolf (a rebadging of the Mafia game)? That could be fun, with a good set and some costumes. You could even have interactive audience participation...
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:September 16th, 2005 05:58 pm (UTC)
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It's been done, albeit with a slightly different theme.
[User Picture]
From:undyingking
Date:September 17th, 2005 11:58 am (UTC)
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I don't remember that at all, must have blinked and missed it...
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:September 18th, 2005 01:15 am (UTC)
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It was only on for a week, at 6pm on BBC 2.

I don't remember it being great, but equally I can't remember anything specifically being wrong with it. Perhaps the dread saying "it's more fun to play than to watch" really does apply here after all, but I hope not.
[User Picture]
From:oldbloke
Date:September 16th, 2005 11:19 am (UTC)
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Anybody want an unused "Traveller - the game of the far future" intro set?
[User Picture]
From:hedwig_snowy
Date:September 16th, 2005 02:01 pm (UTC)
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Sounds like fun. Thanks for all your support lately. I really wanted to thank you for the email expressing your concern about all the problems at TWH. I was really impressed. Thanks for sticking up for me. You're a real pal.
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:September 18th, 2005 01:21 am (UTC)
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Mike, mate, I've been keeping out of this one and deliberately trying not to form an opinion rather than trying to form a biased one. I regard you as a friend, of both capitalisations, but I'm not always going to agree with you completely on every issue. (I'm not sure to what extent I agree with you on this one, and I've deliberately been thinking about it as little as I can.) All I will say is that I think the situation has been far less easy than it need be and I still hope that we can all pull together - though right at the moment I don't see how, though I do think and hope we still can - to do all the things we originally wanted to do.

And I hope that's clear enough to you and vague enough to the world at large.
[User Picture]
From:hedwig_snowy
Date:September 18th, 2005 02:50 pm (UTC)
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Yes, it was diplomatic enough. LOL I appreciate (non-sarcastic this time) the comments. I had hope to stick around, but in reality it wasn't neccessary (as my duties had been curtailed to the position of hall monitor) and would have only caused more problems. I didn't expect the group (as a whole) to be supportive of the decision because they did not have the facts and I wasn't planning on telling them those (although this may come out later). What I guess I expected (which I did get from 3 others) was that they would understand or wish me well or be disappointed that things had turned out the way they did, but accept that it was the only decision I could make otherwise I wouldn't have made it. I had worked for some time to keep the problems aways from them and, since they weren't privy to the facts, I wasn't asking them to take sides. I just didn't want them to be mad at me personally for somehow abandoning them. Because, in the end, they really don't need me anymore. They can do what's left to do on their own.

I offered to go ahead and ship the stuff on Friday, but since they haven't responded, I guess they've given up. Oh well. Good luck. I mean it.
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:September 18th, 2005 10:22 pm (UTC)
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I do hope that things can work out, not least because it would be tremendous to see you again and because you have very considerable skills that it would be a terrible shame not to use.
From:mr_babbage
Date:September 16th, 2005 11:21 pm (UTC)
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I believe it was TV Diplomacy I told you about.

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