Posts by: Lucy Darling

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[#][F] Lucy Darling - 11/24/2016

Fine. You can wave your unspoken qualifications all you want, but my point about the management thing was as much for the onlooker as your wiki-link, except mine was pointing out that any chef would ask 'what kind of egg and is it room temp' before claiming some kind of empirical incontrovertible timing for boiling an egg, for example.

And if you want me to extend good faith to you for your claims, try extending it to the Devs, Rich, and the writers. But to address your specific points about mismanagement:

Originally posted by Daerian View Post

- the product was at least 2,5 year late when compared to stated official publishing time (and if I remember correctly after all these years that stated time was already late when compared to starting promises);
- the final product has few very big quality issues (that none of lead developers except for Robert Vance comments or explains here), as we can find from discussions on this very forum;
- actual developers pretty much killed 2nd Edition promising fast development and start of 3rd, as we know it didn't happen;
- from what we know some of actual developers are responsible for driving one of the best authors from Exalted and then trying to show his beloved by many work as cancerous to the line (Infernals);
- community got divided and many people who have been strongly invested into Exalted have been driven out by developers, their ideas and especially their comments and ways to talk to community;
- I will even add that they don't feel like posting official info or interviews on official forum of product;
- and now we know that second big book in line is going to be late (with no idea when it will be out, I think?)

Seriously, tell me why shouldn't we assume there isn't any mismanagement.
- delays have been discussed, multiple times, and while they may not meet your criteria for 'okay' that is not an objective criteria and the devs are not entirely responsible for every single step in the process (see: Rich's comments about 'art shenanigans' in the Monday Meeting notes a few weeks past).
- opinion and ftr, Vance is a great writer, esp. on Charms, is not a Dev and both Devs have explained things about, say, BP/XP (*throws salt over shoulder*), counterattacks, Charm intent and so on, and have clarified a bunch of things including Holden's 'how to roll hitting someone with another someone' very recently.
- I am struggling to parse what you even mean here - Ink Monkeys maybe?
- opinion again, and I assume your comments are about someone who has gone on record to state that he left of his own accord and wishes everyone well. And we're talking Infernals, in terms of Lilun etc? Because distancing oneself from things you find abhorrent, and distancing ones work from directions you disagree with, are both totally okay choices to make, but try not to conflate the two as you read them. The Devs have chosen to do Creation differently and this doesn't have to be seen in a combative fashion BUT the more you insist they defend every creative choice the more combative the conversation will get.
- it's been divided since forever, and the bigger attachment you have for one iteration of a thing the more likely you are to loathe anything about another (hi Sherlock fandom!) and asking the Devs to make a product without ever making a choice that upset anyone, or anyone with strong feelings, is impossible.
- I touched on this in my previous post, but just how much bereavement leave for 'not posting in a space where people tell you that you're shit' should someone get in your opinion, and how many times should they have to be personally insulted before they are allowed to leave?
- Arms is on its way, the Devs have pulled back on setting dates because even when every single thing is going right, there will be some horrible fuck up at the last moment (see: Gencon) and people will focus in on that instead of assuming with good faith there must be a good reason.

Pursuant to that last bit - management includes a lot of people, and personnel management. Rich tags it in the comments about art shenanigans, but none of us are in the business of throwing people under the bus. That is what a lot of these posts ask us to do - offer up someone to blame and when the Devs don't, they take the heat. From the outside there is very little any of us can know about personnel management and it is not okay to push to try and work out who did what, just to satisfy your own curiosity.

[#][F] Lucy Darling - 11/24/2016
Hi! My name is Lucy and I DO have some insight to the Development process because John and Holden are my best friends, and I also write on the line, On this project, between writers and devs, you've had:
  • babies born
  • people die
  • people ill
  • more people die
  • more illness
  • exams and study
  • more long term illness
  • oh wait more illness
  • oh look other job stuff
  • what another death, oh for fucks sake
  • and now everyone is sick?
  • what the fresh hell is this?
  • ...dammit that didn't work, people are still sick
That's just the parts of the project I have worked on the past few years AND not even touching on the major mechanical stuff. I know it is super easy to link to wikipedia 'Project Management' triangles and chatter about management and make vague promises that 'no IRL I do know this stuff' but...each project is different. Each and every single one. And in particular rpgs are a cross section of publishing, art, creative writing, technical writing, project management, community management, PR, and personnel management. And are subject to the shortfalls of each and every one of those. While also being done around the edges of the mess that above list makes of your life.

Telling writers to 'write faster' generally ends up with: poor material*, overwrought writers, and a lot more work for the person in charge, either managing them or fixing the work you got. Sure there are recalcitrant writers out there who need prodding, but mostly? Creative stuff takes time, and some of that time is invisible. It's research, it's playtesting, it's talking shit with friends and working out that the idea sucks so you have to scrap it. Or sending it in and finding out you managed to miss a whole damn section of the outline so now you have to write that in while sticking to wordcount (*eyedart*), but yeah, we do have word counts and I am unsure as to how one would 'make an author work faster''s unlikely to be a profitable thing to do. I have ideas on how to manage this stuff but I'm rambling as it is, and I have other stuff to write, but managing the workload you give people, being aware of what is happening with them, and balancing finding new writers with keeping your workhorses is a fairly solid proposition.

Like, the assumption we don't work on word counts suggests that any management experience or education is not relevant to the particulars of this situation and it is the particulars on which any project actually rests (contrary to those attempts to shift JIT, MRP and the like outside the context it was created).

And "stop being such a perfectionist" doesn't mesh well with a community that is...less than forgiving about mistakes.

*hopefully something fixed by increased levels of copy editing, rather than 'scrap and start over', but you can't always tell that until you get into it, and in the conext of this project leads directly into porting stuff from previous editions that may or may not apply to Ex3.

(I am immensely grateful that none of my supervisors - be they Devs or the ones in my real life job - were 'write faster' style 'managers' when one of the above-mentioned deaths was my best friend. It meant that when I got back into my work, I was in a much better place than I would have been if I'd been working on it through that period, which in turn means better work and a lack of resentment towards it, or association of pain with it, which is important. That's why I put feels and emotions in there, because it does have an affect on work, usually for the worse.)

[#][F] Lucy Darling - 9/10/2016
Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
I'm a bit averse to the idea of a form of impregnation that is inherently traumatic. I've already stated my reasons for an inclination towards occasional complications, but I find the idea of something inherently harmful, at least with almost any kind of focus on it, to be crossing a certain boundary in invoking a certain uncomfortable brand of body horror with little justification.
For me, not addressing in any concrete way the physiological realities of pregnancy (see: for example) elides the actuality of it. One can romanticise all of this but ultimately the seven year old currently owning her dad at space invaders also nearly killed me in what was a very 'normal' pregnancy until it wasn't.

Not to say that all pregnancy is doom and gloom and horror but the miracle of 'I made a human out of my own body' is right there alongside confronting the closeness of death and the numerous ways that act still echoes in my flesh (not just the obvious, the hidden chimerism and the six monthly blood tests and so on as well).

What elements of my philosophy that made it into the writeup will obvs have to wait but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to link that wonderful essay.

[#][F] Lucy Darling - 8/19/2016
Originally posted by TGUEIROS View Post
You say evil priest. I say brutal, savage warrior.

Evil priest, brutal savage warrior, kung fu legend, OR! acknowledging the mightiness of your opponent in front of their people and taking their flesh into your flesh as a sacrament?

(okay, so Brawl is my fave 4eva, and I like being a bit weird and creepy with the heart-eating and ripping off of enemy parts and things, OF COURSE I love this charm)

[#][F] Lucy Darling - 8/18/2016
Originally posted by Kell_Tamer View Post

See, I've been excited about them since I first learned dragon bloods weren't basically like DND half dragons. I'm looking forward to playing my first fire aspect (I've played every other aspect almost twice... somehow fire has eluded me...)

I'm curious to see how a Dragon Blood of equal essence to a Solar who isn't a combat supernal plays out. (or even combat supernal) Is the fight overly skewed, or is it more like watching two forces of nature trade blows with each other until one is left?
I can sorta answer this, in a totally baseless and not to be taken as canon sort of way:

A while back John and Holden sat me down and made me watch Samurai Champloo - great series btw - and there is a fight at the end of the series that had John saying 'this is what it's like when a DB meets a Solar'. The two badass warriors had been cutting swathes of terror through all of Japan at this point, meet this guy, and get totally waxed in very short order. But, due to some trickery and awesomeness and weirdness, do prevail.

So yeah, skewed definitely, but also forces of nature, and it's about the narrative too, not just 'who has E5 Melee charms'. It's about who uses their powers in the best way as well, acknowledging their weaknesses and using them.

Mostly, go watch Samurai Champloo.

[#][F] Lucy Darling - 8/12/2016
Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post

‚ÄčI don't know; I found the ideas of the Dynast notion of parenthood advocating distance and aloofness to be fairly plausible. Also maybe some ideas that, even sans body shame, nursing is something undignified for an upper class person.
Ah but where does the idea of that indignity come from?

(Also here be dragons, or at least finicky details that I wrote that may well get changed so I'm gonna bow out of the convo now)

[#][F] Lucy Darling - 8/12/2016
Thanks Kyman201 - not all of it is exactly how it ends up in the books, but it's a subject I find fascinating. And there's always scope for difference too, the Realm is large and contains multitudes. The there's Creation and I don't imagine there'd be less diversity than exists in our world too (just looking at contemporary birthing and parenting practices there's such a wide range as to make 'normal' fairly useless beyond 'want mother and child to survive').

I only ever played a character getting pregnant once, and it turned into a weird metaphysical thing with an Infernal, Sidereals, and so on involved. It was also an email game so I had time to work out my own responses to stuff. It's an incredibly powerful thing, so I think it deserves more respect than it often gets (rpgs or real life really).

[#][F] Lucy Darling - 8/12/2016
But yeah, it is highly charged as a topic and is definitely not something to spring on players because, beyond anything else, miscarriage is awfully common and even more awfully silenced - do you wanna take the chance of upsetting a fellow player with that?

[#][F] Lucy Darling - 8/12/2016
Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
Hmmm... fine.

‚ÄčIncidentally, remember that breast feeding discussion? I'm still not sure how that interjects with historical instances of using wet nurses.


Wet nurses are historically used in situations where mama can't feed, or you have class issues about sex and bodies. The latter isn't gonna mean much to Exalts or DBs while the former might. In situations where women did habitually use wet nurses due to social reasons, there was an understanding about what that meant to mama (you'd have to treat her for mastitis. Fortunately most of the population had a passing knowledge about animals, esp cows, who suffer mastitis and know how to treat it. Whereas nowadays, most mamas who get mastitis need to be told what is happening, they've never seen a woman (or cow) suffering from it. There's a balance, treating mastitis sans antibiotics, between expressing enough to clear the infection but not so much as to increase production.

In a society like the Realm, with Exalts being the top of the hierarchy in a culture where there isn't 'ew no not physicality' (i.e. Victorian era), wet nurses only make sense in a 'mama is on the battlefield'. Which is much less like the version of wet nursing where mama never feeds and poor lady with a supply does, and more like a co-nursing situation (which was also very common throughout history). I personally like the latter for the psycho-social bonds it creates as well.

[#][F] Lucy Darling - 8/12/2016
Haha! It is I, birth nerd who wrote that section in the DB book. I mean it might get cut for space but it was something I put thought into.

The main causes of mortality in birth for the mother are avoided given the healing and sheer vitality of Exaltation. Even something like placenta praevia will be less of an issue for a character who is not going to bleed out, or suffer massive infection. Same with shoulder presentations - fourth degree tearing is less likely to be an issue, or breaking pubic bones, and Exalts are hale enough that they are unlikely to be in birth positions that exacerbate that (plus non-medicalised birth practices favour those positions).

Not to mention that the question of 'mother or child' is heavily weighted to mother as an Exalt. So there would be some of the more horrifying interventions of the middle ages being used as well. So in severe cases of dystocia snapping the baby's collarbone would be fairly unremarkable (fun fact: this was the intervention used for my mother and three of her siblings back in the 50s). And if the baby is dead? It gets gruesome but they dealt with it back in pre-anaesthetic eras fairly competently. Google at your own risk.

Same with injuries/accients close to birth. Mama gets prioritised, baby is still a mortal baby. Albeit with a bad ass protector. She is unlikely to suffer premature birth but it does happen. I tend to think babies of Exalted mamas are a little more hale than their counterparts, just because of the shared immune system and so on.

It was a fun section to write, for a fairly horror-centric value of fun.

[#][F] Lucy Darling - 8/10/2016
Originally posted by blindST View Post
I'm sorry to hear about the personal tragedies that are effecting the lines writers. I don't have the ability to read all the threads on the forums due to my disability and the only way I can read, well, anything, on the internet or pdf (it's through JAWS. I'm blind) so I missed this terrible news. My apologies if I came off, on any post, as being insensitive. I'm sure that's why I got the reception to my opinion that I did, but, again, I had no idea. When it comes to Gaming vs. Real Life, RL is ALWAYS more important. I know it may not mean much, but please convey my condolences.

I also know if doesn't help, but, even though I argued about a lack of support, I've found the work that has been done on E3 to be a work of art. As someone that rarely gets to read, I've had a wonderful time reading what they created and I know the rest of my group, other Visually Impaired people like myself, feel the same. I've found that many games rely on art to get a point across, but the E3 core has writing that helped us visualize in a way most RPGs don't give us. It's literally some of the highest praise we in the Visually Impaired community can give.

Again, I know it means little in such a trying time, but please let them know that they brought joy to a table of blind folks.
I did figure you probably had missed that thread - support for screen readers is usually suboptimal at the best of times! I just wanted to remind everyone that the past three months has pretty much wrecked them and they are still recovering.

I guess my main point with this is to emphasise how important it is to remember the humans on the other end. John and Holden were chosen for their vision and their capabilities. Not because they live charmed lives free of issues that impact their ability to work. If something is delayed it is due to any number of things from 'horrible personal trauma' to 'oh god we need to rewrite all of these charms' but 'didn't work on it' has never been on the list. Same goes for most products! We are working on this stuff because we chose to, which means some level of love or dedication to it, or the craft.

I want y'all to see this stuff, buy it, play it, twist and work it, as much as you do. I wanna see the stories my little bits of words make at your table and in your head.

[#][F] Lucy Darling - 8/10/2016
Yeah, we are working on this as hard as people dealing with the deaths of loved ones, the illnesses of loved ones, the vagaries of child-rearing, providing primary care to ill people, personal illnesses, tertiary education demands, work, other writing, creative mojo, and assorted other unnameable but ineffable issues will allow.

But as I said in the Gencon Apologies thread, the Devs are dealing with an enormous personal trauma right now, hence their inability to attend Gencon themselves, you can extrapolate from that to other work as necessary. Forgive my reticence to explain further but I don't particularly want to parade my personal life or the tragedies of others on the team around just to see if that suffices as reason enough for the delays. It's something of a rigged game, really.

[#][F] Lucy Darling - 8/3/2016
I took Persona charms for a Night I played, and she primarily used them in order to infiltrate DB outposts, the retinues of the enemies of her Dawn, and other nefarious deeds done in service of the Sun and righteousness. They fit perfectly for her character.

[#][F] Lucy Darling - 7/29/2016
Originally posted by haren View Post
Lucy Darling But hey, at least there's no Exalted Curse!
After the year i've had, and what I know the devs have dealt with, I'm not so sure there is no curse.

All I have to say is please be kind to people. You have no idea what they are going through, and they owe you no private information in order to bargain for it. Work is being done, as health and circumstance allows, and we do what we can.

[#][F] Lucy Darling - 7/27/2016
Originally posted by Navar View Post
What I am reading from this seems that OPP and the Exalted team are currently slowed down significantly because of "synergy" problems. I almost hate to use that word as it is such a buzz word in business at the moment, but I cannot see a better word to describe that problem as I am understanding it. Now I don't have a good solution to synergy problems (and if I did I would be teaching it to other businesses at a premium.) BUT it seems to me that as OPP grows and moves forward that some investment in some kind of infrastructure might be a good idea.

The whole "mama needs new shoes" from earlier shouldn't be an issue.

Professionally I save the world, and am just wetting my toes into the book publishing industry with the impending release of my first book "Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response." And my eyes have been opened quite a bit as to what happens between manuscript and finished project. In fact networking with OPP writers and developers actually helped me quite a bit, but I digress.

The issue here seems to be one of equipment and training. If I need to hire someone to move soil for me, then I would allow them to use the Yellow Iron I already possess. If I employ an individual to track shipments of hazardous waste then I provide that individual with access to our system. It would seem to me that providing freelancers with licenses for software (perhaps through logins to a shared computer network) or requesting that the product they deliver to you be in a specific file format might be something that would help OPP a LOT in the future. The Exalted kickstarter raised just north of 675 thousand dollars. A small infrastructure investment would likely pay off immensely.

OPP only makes money (in the long run) when they publish books. And any way those books can be published faster will only increase the total income of OPP and the profit margin per project as well.

I have capital. I want OPP to deliver more products to me that I may purchase. I recognise that synergy is hard, but from a customer point of view it is frustrating that a company that has created 20 Kickstarter projects, and delivered more than double that in high quality (really, by and large wonderful) books are still struggling with these issues.

I LOVE Exalted. Holden, John, and crew have truly created a new edition for a project that has brought me a lot of happiness and entertainment already. By and large the other lines from OPP are also fantastic, and I really applaud Rich Thomas for all of the hard work he has done to make me, and tens of thousands of other gamers like me happy and entertained. I just want more.
Er, I'm sorry to have given you entirely the wrong impression - mama needs new shoes was hyperbole (I mean, I'd love a nice pair of flat ankle boots that were comfy and looked good and fit but while I'm in the realm of fantasy I may as well pretend I can wear heels) because I have a real day job that actually pays my bills and rpgs are something I write because I love to. I don't particularly WANT to learn to draft my work in LaTeX or InDesign or whatever and I'm not going to buy it for the small amount of work I do in rpgs because it makes no sense to me as a writer to do so, and it isn't going to significantly change the bottom line given that this isn't structured anything like a single author work, or even an anthology. It requires a different skillset entirely and I need to emphasise this - none of y'all have any clue. Not to mention just how irritating it has turned out to be, this desire of mine to say 'things don't work the way you want it to, here are a few reasons why' and now you're using it to tell Rich Thomas to restructure his entire business? And even if you do work in publishing, do you work in this part? Do you work with these kinds of books? And let me also point out - I'm talking from the vantage point of being a writer and being friends with the devs so there is a WHOLE HUGE aspect of it (the actual layout, working with printers etc) that I have no clue about outside my experience elsewhere, and I haven't even touched on.

The chicken little routine about every single aspect of anything we say gets tedious.

And these are the kinds of pipeline issues all publishing has, for what it's worth (see: my day job).