Whately's World
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09/04/15
Mysterious Minute #3 — Drowning In A Sea Of Registrations
Filed under: General, Mysterious Island
Posted by: Fete Fatale @ 4:50 pm


Yeah, yeah, we’re working on it. While I try to figure out exactly where we are with the 130+ registrations received so far, enjoy this picture:


The construction in this room is still in progress, and so for the last week or so there’s been a temporary 2×4 across this heavily used walkway. I expressed concern that someone was going to break a toe on it, so Scotti helpfully put up a sheet of paper saying “Gail WATCH YOUR STEP.”


However, I only stumbled on it maybe two times–turns out that years of periodic Whately construction seems to have trained my brain to adjust to these sorts of obstacles. However, other crew members don’t have that “advantage.”

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08/31/15
Mysterious Minute #2 — Groups Are Overrunning Our Runs!
Filed under: General, Mysterious Island
Posted by: Fete Fatale @ 7:47 am


And we couldn’t be happier. A number of folks clearly jumped right on talking to friends, and we have several groups of ten. Now, everyone needs to get their group members to register in a timely fashion.


Oddly, there’s been very little in the way of group collisions this time around. As of 10pm Sunday, here’s the runs with lots of room left:

  1. Playtest, 9/26: Wide open
  2. Sat, 10/3: Wide open
  3. Fri, 10/9: 2 spaces left.
  4. Fri, 10/16: 6 or so spaces left.
  5. Sat, 10/17: Wide open.
  6. Fri, 10/23: 3 or so spaces left.
  7. Fri, 10/30: It’s Halloween Weekend (Dig’s birthday, even), yet wide open.
  8. Sat, 10/31: It’s Halloween, the actual day, yet wide open.
  9. Fri, 11/6: Wide open.


If you’re doing the math, the groups who’ve contacted us to date are going to fill just over half of our currently scheduled slots. (Given how much we’ve spent on construction this time, I expect to be twisting arms among run crew to open additional runs if there are requests for non-weekend nights.) Those are just the folks who’ve contacted us about dates. The really exciting part starts when registration opens on Tuesday.

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Mysterious Minute #1 — Here’s a Little Proof of Construction
Filed under: General, Mysterious Island
Posted by: Fete Fatale @ 7:39 am


Minions painting. There’s more painting to do, if you’re willing.


Proof of Minion painting.


Moving wall to temporary storage after building. Yes, that’s 14 feet tall. I believe I may have said this is the most ambitious Whately ever?


Gee, what might we be doing with all this? A prop from a past Whately gets pulled out for repurposing.


But it’s not all work for our Minions. Break time for Ric, Scotti, and Becky.


Ric proves that there are indeed fish in our pond.

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10/07/12
Mayan Minute #7: Casting and Player Info Update
Filed under: General, Mayans
Posted by: Fete Fatale @ 5:32 pm


FYI if you’re a player wondering when you’ll get character info:


At this VERY MOMENT I am casting for next weekend (10/12, 10/13, 10/14). Tonight casting for each group in each run with “public information” on characters will be sent out. All character sheets will go out tonight or tomorrow.


Once those are out, I move on to the next weekend (10/19, 10/20, 10/21). You should see casting Tuesday, and character sheets Tuesday or Wednesday.


10/26 players will get casting next week.


I know there’s a little confusion about who’s playing which night in the November runs; I’ll be sending out complete player lists to each run later tonight.


Any other questions along those lines you need an answer on?

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09/22/12
Mayan Minute #6: More Action Shots!
Filed under: General, Mayans
Posted by: Fete Fatale @ 8:33 am


Scotti demonstrating his confidence in the safety of his design of a tall, perhaps stable structure.


Steve showing off part of the walls he constructed.


Malonys #3 and #4 assembling.


Mural work by Eliot and Anita.


Jill in the early stages of turning a cardboard box, masking tape and chicken wire into something awesome.


Don landscaping the Yucatan jungle.

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09/11/12
Mayan Minute #5 A Baffling Observation
Filed under: General, Mayans
Posted by: Fete Fatale @ 7:27 pm


I woulda never guessed in a million years that group requests would be running over 80% male right now for Indy-freaking-ana Jones, given that MOONBASE—Alien, fercryinoutloud—was nearly evenly split.


It will be interesting to see what the final ratio is, in a couple days when the dust from registration settles.

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09/10/12
Mayan Minute #4 Will No One Show Some Love For Fridays?
Filed under: General, Mayans
Posted by: Fete Fatale @ 9:36 pm


I can see my week stretching out before me now: the Slidey Puzzle that is getting dozens of people with group preferences and date limitations sorted into groups of ten on specific dates.


This is NOT the funnest part of Whately prep.


Ok, we KNEW that losing Saturday Night Of Halloween Weekend was going to cause difficulties with scheduling. [Liz, you had better never question your uncle’s love for you.] Saturdays always fill up the quickest—we understand that for many people Friday nights just aren’t feasible (we have an amazing percentage of players who travel more than 100 miles to come to Whately). And Saturdays have the advantage of all day to prep. These are all reasons why we charge less for Fridays. :)

This year our schedule only has 4 Saturdays (not counting the playtest). As of 11pm Monday, here’s what people have asked for:

  1. 10/6: No requests
  2. 10/13: Two separate requests for the entire run, plus another pair for whom this is the only possible date.
  3. 10/20: A request for the entire run.
  4. 11/3: A request for 6 spots in this run.

We have 6 Fridays, though:

  1. 10/5: No requests
  2. 10/12: No requests
  3. 10/19: Somewhere between 5 and 10, still in flux.
  4. 10/26: It’s Halloween Weekend, yet no requests.
  5. 11/2: A request for 3 spots.
  6. 11/9: A request for 2 spots.


We also received a request for a run on any Sunday in October, from friends who have jobs where they work Friday and Saturday nights. Given the price of plywood, this is pretty likely to get added.


Those are just the folks who’ve contacted us about dates. The really exciting part starts when registration opens Wednesday.

1 comment
09/09/12
Mayan Minute #3: Some Construction Images
Filed under: General, Mayans
Posted by: Fete Fatale @ 12:10 pm


I’m not allowed to post any images that will give any props or plots away. So you’ll have to take my word for it that seeing this working got the minions all excited.


Ian adding paint to a Prop in progress.


Maggie and Aggie sanding, with Don supervising, and more odd marks on the driveway.

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Mayan Minute #2: About Groups & “Something Optional”
Filed under: General, Mayans
Posted by: Fete Fatale @ 11:28 am


Being chased by Mayan villagers with pointy objects looking for sacrificial victims is so much more enjoyable when shared with friends!

Way back in the dawn of Whately, we opened registration without much prior warning, and within a day or so, had sixty registrations listing the dates each person could play and the people they hoped to play with. This led to us spending a day sitting at the dining room table with sheets of paper labeled with dates and post-its with players’ names, trying to put together runs that would make the greatest number of players happy.

The next year, we sent out a “Registration Opens in A Week!” type announcement, giving the following instructions:

We’re handling registration this way to allow folks time to arrange their groups in advance. We encourage you to coordinate your preferred play date with your friends before you register, so that we can spend our time on devising devious devices instead of verifying groups’ schedules (”Dick wants to play on Friday with Jane, but Jane wants to play on Saturday with Spot, while Spot’s got a dog show that weekend and wants to play with Dick and Jane the following weekend.”). Talk amongst yourselves and find a date now that will work for the group you’d like to play with.

That year, we learned that we should have asked groups to contact us BEFORE registration, because we ended up with several large groups all waiting to play Halloween weekend. So now we add:

Do email us with a heads up asap, if you’ve got four or more people intending to register for the same date. That will allow us to deal with any possible conflicts (i.e., 5 groups all planning to play the same day).

Up until Meddling Kids, every Whately held an even dozen players. Mayans holds exactly 10 (no bogus spots for hopefully-stealth-NPCs this time :) ). We are once again having players start as two separate groups of characters–we know it’s nearly a cliche by now, but we keep finding nifty plot things to exploit with two groups. We nearly went for three groups this time, but that was too crazy even for us.

But that doesn’t mean we haven’t upped the crazification factor for this Whately. This time, player groups can choose to turn the game into a two-session event, by having a “planning session” before their run which will allow them to pool their knowledge and prepare for the expedition (this includes doing some puzzles beforehand; if you don’t opt for the planning session, the puzzle results will be props that exist in game). Details are on the About the Game page on the website, so I won’t repeat them here. The ramifications for group coordination is that you should also be discussing whether your group are interested/have the time to do a “planning session”. Since each of the two groups will be doing separate planning sessions, that should also be discussed, although that’s of much greater importance if your group is filling a run or has more than four players. [Groups will either be both 5 players, or one group of 6 and a second of 4, based on casting preferences and planning session considerations.]

To recap:

  1. Coordinate with your friends your preferred/possible nights to play.
  2. If that’s 4 or more people, email us with your players and date preferences ASAP so we can head off any big-group-collisions.
  3. Discuss people’s interest in doing the optional “planning session.” [Final decision won’t need to be made until after casting is sent out, but knowing your general preference will help us schedule dates.]
  4. Make sure that everyone in your group knows to register starting September 12th, what dates to indicate and what group to specify on the form.

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09/08/12
Mayan Minute #1: In the Fall a young man’s fancy . . .
Filed under: General, Mayans
Posted by: Fete Fatale @ 6:30 pm



. . . lightly turns to thoughts of Whately.


The proof of which is odd paint marks on the driveway.

1 comment
10/28/10
Dig & Drew’s Whately Construction Planning Philosophy
Filed under: General
Posted by: Fete Fatale @ 10:06 am


“Construction will finish at some time prior to game wrap for the final run.”

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10/21/10
Moonbase Minute #4: About Makalu Station
Filed under: General, Moonbase
Posted by: Fete Fatale @ 7:07 pm


Life Support


Comfortable life—or at least comfortable breathing—in Makalu Station is dependent on the life support system, the Dual-phased Ergonosphere System Monitor and Energenetic Transducer. See this example of a typical system display.

The main station building has two levels: the Crew Level (containing the Galley, Mess, CCIC, Lounge and Crew Quarters), and the Operations Level (containing the Medical Lab, Maintenance, Storage and Utility, Staging Dock and Drill Head for Shaft # 5). To ensure that any breach in one area of the station will not be catastrophic for the entire facility, sections are separated by pressure and atmosphere sealed hatches. There are five hatches: on the display, they are indicated either with a green bar when they are sealed or a red bar when they are open. In the example above, the hatch at the top of the gangway and into the maintenance area are open, but the remaining hatches are all sealed. So the Crew Quarters, Storage and Utility, Medical Lab and Maintenance are all sharing the same air supply.

The gauges indicate the air reserves in each section of the station. Readings in the 900-1000 range show that the reserves are full; readings of 0 or less indicate that the section is open to Titan’s methane atmosphere. If the life support system is on backup, the air reserves will dwindle as inhabitants breathe the air.


The Galley is a self-contained section: it is the entry from the Main Airlock and contains the hibernation pods–the Biological Environmental Atmospheric Thermal Temporal Insulating Enclosures–included in case of catastrophic facility failure. A pod is configured for each of the station personnel.


Mining Operations


When Makalu Station was built, four mining shafts for He-3 and hydrocarbon production were drilled, each about 5-10 kilometers from the station in opposite directions. A drill head contained within the station itself was also installed, with the plan that after the other shafts were at full production, Shaft #5 would be bored primarily for research, not materials production. [Presumably that was the reason it was placed within the artificial earth atmosphere of the station.]


Computer Systems


Life support, mining operations and the medical facility are all highly automated, with an integrated computing system coordinating tasks and performing analysis of operations. This system (K-VN, known as “Kevin”) was specifically designed for the objectives of this facility. For security purposes, access to “Kevin’s” analysis engine is restricted to those with clearance to enter the Computer Core Interface Chamber, or CCIC.

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08/30/10
Moonbase Minute #3: About Registration
Filed under: General
Posted by: Fete Fatale @ 10:32 pm


Killing a little time before pushing the website out to open registration…


We feel fabulously fortunate to have such an, ummm–what’s the word?–ENABLING audience of players. If we didn’t have players willing to spend an evening with our twisted imaginations/let us send Scary Monsters To Jump Out At Them, we would have stopped redecorating our house for Whately years ago. That might have been better for our sanity, but certainly not for our sense of creative satisfaction.


Some shout-outs to groups near and dear to our hearts:


And there is of course our wonderful crew, but that will be the subject of an upcoming Minute.


Did you know that Zaya Rum is the official drink of Makalu Station?

1 comment
08/26/10
Moonbase Minute #2: About Uniforms
Filed under: General
Posted by: Fete Fatale @ 8:49 pm


Unless it’s onboard a smuggling vessel, don’t uniforms seem to be the rule in space, present-day or future, fictional or not?


Early on in the planning for The Curse of Whately’s Moonbase, we knew that our characters were going to include members of the military as well as employees of the corporation mining at the moonbase. While you can argue either way for uniforms on the corporate employees, one of the distinctive features of on-duty military personnel is that they are in uniform.


Once we decided we had characters we wanted in uniform, we had to consider the possible logistics of doing so. We quickly realized that providing them a) was not going to be that hard (using our warped definition of reasonable Whately effort, that is), b) would allow us to provide precisely the visual distinctions we wanted for the characters and c) would mean slime would be landing on the garments we provided, rather than players’ clothing.


Kelly O’Donoghue volunteered to serve as Moonbase Chief Costuming Minion. We gave her the basic requirements and worked through some ideas with her, and when she and Don came to Chicago for Under Angmar’s Shadow, she brought prototypes. Last weekend Don came down to work on “some props” and he brought with him a second round of prototypes. So Labor Day weekend, Kelly, Gail’s mom Barb and Gail will be firing up an assembly line of cutting and sewing.


This scheduling dovetails nicely with registration opening August 31st, because we should have a good idea by the weekend how many of each size we should need for each run. Therefore, we beseech you: please find a tape measure or a friend with a tape measure so your registration can include chest, waist and height measurements. The Uniform Minions will thank you.


* We must mention at this point that Anita Szostak has also contributed many hours towards the uniform project. Not mentioning what form her contributions took yet, though. :)

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08/24/10
Moonbase Minute #1: About Groups
Filed under: General
Posted by: Fete Fatale @ 12:59 pm


A no-win scenario and/or death at the hands of unforgiving space is so much more enjoyable when shared with friends!

Way back in the dawn of Whately, we opened registration without much prior warning, and within a day or so, had sixty registrations listing the dates each person could play and the people they hoped to play with. This led to us spending a day sitting at the dining room table with sheets of paper labeled with dates and post-its with players’ names, trying to put together runs that would make the greatest number of players happy.

The next year, we sent out a “Registration Opens in A Week!” type announcement, giving the following instructions:

We’re handling registration this way to allow folks time to arrange their groups in advance. We encourage you to coordinate your preferred play date with your friends before you register, so that we can spend our time on devising devious devices instead of verifying groups’ schedules (”Dick wants to play on Friday with Jane, but Jane wants to play on Saturday with Spot, while Spot’s got a dog show that weekend and wants to play with Dick and Jane the following weekend.”). Talk amongst yourselves and find a date now that will work for the group you’d like to play with.

That year, we learned that we should have asked groups to contact us BEFORE registration, because we ended up with several large groups all waiting to play Halloween weekend. So now we add:

If you are getting together a group of 5 or more–PLEASE don’t wait until registration opens to let us know which dates you’re considering. We’ll email you immediately, should there be more than one group hoping to play on the same date.

Up until Meddling Kids, every Whately held an even dozen players. Moonbase holds 10-12 (and, while you may ask, we’re not answering questions about the range). In order to better handle onesie-twosies registrations, we ask that your group not exceed ten players. Groups larger than that will most likely get cut off at ten anyway.

To recap:

  1. Coordinate with your friends your preferred/possible nights to play.
  2. If that’s 5 or more people, email us with your players and date preferences ASAP so we can head off any big-group-collisions.
  3. If it’s more than 10 players, be aware that we may have to cut you off at 10.
  4. Make sure that everyone in your group knows to register starting August 31st, what dates to indicate and what group to specify on the form.

1 comment