Saturday, February 19, 2011

02-11-2011 Pathfinder Game Recap

— Matt Harris @ 4:51 pm

Posted a recap of the February 11, 2011 session of the Northridge Pathfinder Game.

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Friday, February 4, 2011

01-28-2011 Pathfinder Game Recap

— Matt Harris @ 12:08 am

Posted a recap of the January 28, 2011 session of the Northridge Pathfinder Game

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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Electronic Publishing

— Matt Harris @ 6:52 pm

Ever since I started reading fanfiction, I have had an interest in following self-publishing in e-book format. After reading A Newbie’s Guide To Publishing, I am thinking self-publishing electronically is about to surpass dead-tree publishing. Probably not this year, but withing the next five. Now if only I were a decent fiction writer…

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Saturday, January 22, 2011

In The Service Of The Empire

— Matt Harris @ 10:28 pm

A friend of my from the Valley Area Gamers, who ran the 1530s Europe Campaign, is now running a Pathfinder Campaign.

The campaign is called “In The Service Of The Empire” and I am playing a half-orc barbarian air elmentalist called Speaks With Wind. As with the previous campaign, I am doing in character recaps of the game session and posting them here.

Speaks With Wind Background

01-07-11 Session Recap

01-14-11 Session Recap

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Sunday, January 16, 2011

How Matt Got His Geek Back

— Matt Harris @ 5:53 pm

A little over a year ago, I purchased a new Dell Studio XPS 8000 computer. Overall, I have been very happy with it, but a few months after I purchased it I tried to write a VBS script and got an error message: “Can’t find script engine VBScript”. Previous experience meant that I needed to install the dll, which is easy enough. Just open a command prompt and type “regsvr32.exe vbscript.dll”.

I did that and received a prompt sayuing “DllRegisterServer in vbscript.dll succeeded.”, which meant that it worked. However, when I tried running the VBS script again, I got the same error message. I spent severeal hours Googling it and trying various things. No luck. Fortunately, nothing critical I have needs VBScript. Also, I figured that it might be fixed in some windows update down the road. It still rankled, though, that my $1300+ PC couldn’t run it.

A week and a half-ago, I was working on a script at work and realized I needed a debugger. I came across VBSedit and tried it out. It seemed to be exactly what I needed, however, I would have to pay the $60 it costs myself, as technically it isn’t needed for my job. I figured that it would be much easier to swallow that if I could use it on my PC at home, so when I got home I checked to see if VBS was still broken. It was.

When I got home, I googled the problem again. This time I had a bit more luck. I found this page on NitroPDF where it mentioned a registry fix if registering the vbscript.dll didn’t work. Using that to refine my search, I found this page on answers.microsoft.com. I checked the registry for the class key mentioned. As mentioned in the thread, I found HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{B54F3741-5B07-11cf-A4B0-00AA004A55E8}\InprocServer32 pointing to a McAfee directory. Now I knew what the problem was.

One of the first things I did when I bought my PC was to uninstall McAfee. I prefer F-Secure AntiVirus and already had a license for that. I guess that McAfee redirects the vbscript.dll to iteself so that it can catch script virues. When it uninstalls, it doesn’t fix the redirection, so that a) windows thinks vbscript is still installed and b) it points to a non-existant dll. So basically my problem was due to a crappy McAfee unistall program.

I considered just deleted the registry key, but figured McAfee might have left more junk around, so I ran the McAfee cleaner the thread mentioned. I reran the regsvr32.exe vbscript.dll command. This time, when I ran a vbscript – it worked perfectly.

I decided to post this just in case someone else has a problem with “regsvr32.exe vbscript.dll” not working.

P.S. I was doing the above while I was in my regular Wednesday night chat. When it worked, I mentioned to Elais that “I feel like a whole geek” again and summarized what I had done. She replied “How Matt Got His Geek Back”. Hence, the title of this post.

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Thursday, December 30, 2010

An Analysis Of The Persistent Spell Feat

— Matt Harris @ 9:06 pm

In one of the Pathfinder Society Games I played recently, one of the other players commented that he thought the new Persistent Spell feat found in the Advanced Players Guide was overpowered. As I feel that most metamagic feats are worthless, I decided to do a little analysis of the feat to see if it was really worth a +2 to the spell level.

A summary of the feat: by increased the level of a spell by two levels, any targets that need to make saving throws need to roll two separate d20s, taking the lower of the two results. To see how this played out, I set up a spreadsheet to roll 5000 sets of 2d20, taking the lower and seeing what the percentage of each final result was. I also calculated the percentage if each was taken singly and compared that to the statistical 5% chance for each value. I ran it multiple times and got fairly similar results each time. I have shown one set of the results below, as well as a graph comparing the values.

Result Straight 1d20 Lower Of 2d20     Result Straight 1d20 Lower Of 2d20
1 5.23% 10.32%   11 4.53% 3.90%
2 5.16% 9.46%   12 4.76% 4.04%
3 5.26% 8.96%   13 5.18% 4.06%
4 4.76% 7.76%   14 4.98% 3.32%
5 4.93% 7.44%   15 5.27% 2.56%
6 4.96% 7.66%   16 4.89% 2.06%
7 4.99% 6.80%   17 5.03% 1.96%
8 5.49% 7.00%   18 4.93% 1.06%
9 4.81% 5.36%   19 4.68% 0.54%
10 5.19% 5.46%   20 4.97% 0.28%

Normally, using 1d20 you would expect a 25% chance of a roll of 5 over lower, 50% of 10 or lower and 75% chance of 15 or lower. The average roll would be 10.5.

For 2d20, take the lowest, the average was a little over 7 (7.07 in the numbers above). The odds of getting a roll of 5 or lower were about 44%, 10 or lower was about 76%, and 15 or lower was about 94%.

Range 1d20 Lower of 2d20
1 – 5 25% 43.94%
1-10 50% 76.22%
1-15 75% 94.10%

What this actually means is dependent upon the Difficulty Class of the effect and any bonuses to the saving throw. Still, I think this fairly equivalent to raising the DC by 3 to 4. As I think that +2 to a DC is worth a +1 increase in spell level, I actually think that Persistent Spell might actually be one of the few worthwhile metamagic feats.

The OpenOffice.org spreadsheet I used for the analysis can be found here

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Monday, August 16, 2010

Book Recommendations – The Chronicles of Elantra

— Matt Harris @ 12:44 pm

Another set of books I recently read, courtesy again of the Los Angeles Public Library, are the The Chronicles of Elantra by Michelle Sagara West. The series, currently six books, with a seventh planned, follow the story of Kaylin Nera, a police officer (although that term isn’t used) in the fantasy city of Elantra.   These aren’t high fantasy novels – more urban fantasy along the lines of the Dresden Files or the Jhereg novels. Suffice it to say that I have another story addiction to feed and my next fix (Book 7 – Cast In Ruin) isn’t out until next year.

The author has posted the first chapter of each novel on-line:

  1. Cast in Shadow
  2. Cast in Courtlight
  3. Cast in Secret
  4. Cast in Fury
  5. Cast in Silence
  6. Cast in Chaos
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Book Recommendations – Skinjacker Trilogy

— Matt Harris @ 12:15 pm

Courtesy of the Los Angeles Public Library, I came across Neil Shusterman’s Skinjacker Trilogy. The first two books (Everlost and Everwild) are quite good. The third book, Everfound, hasn’t been released yet – it is out in June 2011.  While they are not post-apocalyptic stories, they remind me of John Christopher’s novels – aimed at teenagers, but they don’t talk down to them and are enjoyable for adults to read as well.

Quick summary – a couple of dead children find themselves in a limbo (the Everlost) between life and death.  A lot of adventures occur while exploring the nature of the Everlost, themselves and looking for a way out.  Kind of a "coming-of-age" series about dead kids.

P.S. Apparently Everlost is being made into a movie by Universal Pictures.

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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Every Doctor Who Theme

— Matt Harris @ 2:30 pm

Found via Megan McArdle.

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Sunday, April 4, 2010

RedLetterMedia Attack Of The Clones Video Review

— Matt Harris @ 10:22 am

RedletterMedia has another wonderful 9-part review of a Star War prequel – this one being Part II – Attack of the Clones.

All 9 parts are on YouTube. Linked here, as he hasn’t put a playlist together yet.

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8 Part 9

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