Tuesday, May 31, 2005
Speaking of Nobilis, it recently occurred to me that if I were to try it again I would want to play up the war against creation. Previously I had tried to approach the game as machiavellian intrigue amongst the gods. That seemed pretty daunting. But coming at it as "you are the protecting the multiverse against the Supersonic Hellnazis from Beyond Space and Time" and suddenly I have a game that just might play in Peoria.
Saturday, May 28, 2005
Friday, May 27, 2005
Since Chet and Erik stopped updating Old Man Murray my knowledge of the computer game industry now comes entirely from Penny Arcade. Which is to say that I know dick about squat when it comes to the world of computer games and the business of producing them. Still, I can't shake the notion that 4 or 5 years is a long-ass time for a company to be in business before they produce a ware to sell. Maybe instead of spending their time sending cease-&-desists to Monte Cook these guys could maybe, you know, produce a game.
Thanks to RPGNetter Damiar the Wolf for the scoopy-doopy on the Malhavoc press release.
Thursday, May 26, 2005
Last night was the first session of my new D&D campaign, entitled Wild Times on the Wild Coast. Considering I was ill I thought the whole thing went rather well. My players are Loren, Doug, and Pat. Loren has a dwarvish cleric. And Doug brought a half-orc fighter/barbarian to the table. That leaves Pat's half-elf guerilla-scout to fill the rogue slot. We may recruit one more player, but things went so well last night I'm not sure if we need another player. The party could sure use an arcane spellcaster though.
Tomorrow night is my Home Team campaign. I need to figure out some stuff for that ASAP! I think we'll actually do some of that new fangled "roleplaying" I've heard so much about, instead of just another fight. Or in addition to another fight.
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
Big thanks to RPGnetter WombleHunter for the language power-up. In the same excellent thread one can find my new favorite phrase: "spine-snapping murder-factory", used to describe a half-orc monk's combat capabilities.
Tuesday, May 24, 2005
Sunday, May 22, 2005
Saturday, May 21, 2005
Friday, May 20, 2005
Thanks to RPGnetter E.T. Smith for providing the link to the Beeb article. I wrote Beeb rather than BBC because I'm hip.
Thursday, May 19, 2005
So far alot of peoples on the RPGnet are choosing to be Sorcerers and such. I'd go straight for a spellcasting class as well, but I think Bard is a better choice, given the additional skills and the healing spells. This immediately begs the question "Why don't I play bards?" I think the whole renfaire guitarist thing puts me off. Playing a bard with Perform (epic poetry) or Perform (oratory) or Perform (incoherent babbling) would suit me more than the standard lute-packing bozo.
Suppose you could instantly transform yourself into a 20th level, D&D 3.5 character but still be in your current real life situation. What do you become and more importantly, what do you do?
As to what I, Jeff the 20th level Bard, would do in my current real life situation. I think I would keep my spell powers for secret emergency use but turn my social fu towards career as a leftwing political activist. Or maybe I could take perform (acting) and become a rich and famous movie star. Or both. Also, I would spend some skill points on some languages.
Well, I'm convinced. Clearly evolution should not be taught in schools.
Also on the political front: My wife and I watched some CSPAN last night covering the senate debate on judicial appointments and the so-called nuclear option. I think Arlen Spectre made some great points. He said the problem in the senate is neither the filibuster nor these two or three utterly asinine Bush appointments (not his exact words ;) ), the problem is the insidious nature of partisan politics poisoning the process. Both sides are to blame for the escalation and both sides need to stand down and work out a compromise.
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
You scored as Postmodernist. Postmodernism is the belief in complete open interpretation. You see the universe as a collection of information with varying ways of putting it together. There is no absolute truth for you; even the most hardened facts are open to interpretation. Meaning relies on context and even the language you use to describe things should be subject to analysis.
What is Your World View?
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Next GameBlog update will actually be about games, I promise!
Terri was and still is two sides of a very morbid coin. One side believed she was the poster child for the right-to-life movement, which I guess likes to prevent people from going to heaven through the aid of scientific machines, and the right-to-die movement, which just wants to kill fucking everybody for little or no reason.
*Is there a good witty word for unfocused-anger-at-the-man? I bet the Germans have one. Hatrednugen or schadenragen or something like that.
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
Maybe I'm getting soft nowadays, but I think I prefer the victims of my simulated violence to be axe-wielding pig-snouted goons with no history of exploitation and/or neglect by the West. Sign me up for a day of rolling dice and pretending to punch Nazis, but this pitch for Modern Ops makes me a bit queasy. Just this morning I was considering running for my d20 Modern campaign an adventure featuring a thinly-veiled Aum Shinrikyo as the villains. You remember those guys? They were the apocalyptic cult that released the sarin in the Tokyo subway back in '95. I guess the difference here is that right at this moment in history my country doesn't have people on the ground in Tokyo fighting the Aum. The idea of playing a game in which I'm a SEAL or Green Beret is cool only up until you reach the point where you start shooting the exact same people that the real SEALs might really be shooting right fucking now. Foreign policy as it appears in the typical Bond flick is more along the lines of what I like to do in my modern games. Thwarting Dr. Maybe in his underwater volcano on the moon sounds way more sexy than creeping through Tora Bora looking for that bastard bin Laden. Modern Ops and similar products (d20 Afghanistan and d20 Somalia immediately spring to mind) seem to lack that crucial element of escapism that I like in my roleplaying games. The VietNam rpgs (Recon, Tour of Darkness, was there another?) at least give us a few decades to find some perspective.
Modern Ops is GO!
In the crowded streets of Mogadishu sits a downed Blackhawk surrounded by a tyrannical warlord and his drug-crazed warriors.
In the villages of Iraq lurk insurgents led by the ruthless al-Qaeda.
In the arid desert of the Bakaw Valley is a terrorist training camp.
In the mountains of Tora Bora lurks Osama bin Laden and his fanatical followers.
Against these desperate foes are the most advanced armies ever created. But after the smoke from the smart bombs has cleared, it's the infantry who must go in and finish the job.
These are today's threats. These are Modern Ops.
Modern Ops lets you recreate the battles of the modern world, from regular military operations to special forces actions in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Soviet Union, and more. You'll find complete troop lists for today's combatants, including vehicles and aircraft, as well as our trademark Savage Tales and random Events that make every battle a surprise.
Head over to Smith & Robards and pick up either the full color PDF, or the black and white POD (in soft cover or hardback) now!
Check out our free batch of Modern Ops figure flats, including US Marines, Al-Qaeda, Taliban, a Bradley, a Little Bird and a Huey! Come back next Tuesday for more Modern Ops goodies!
Monday, May 16, 2005
Sunday, May 15, 2005
Yesterday I ran another d20 Modern session. I had 3 players, my nephews and Michael's friend Cody. The session ran short but everyone had a good time. These kids continue to entertain the hell out of me. The two highlights of the day had to be the interrogation of Squiggy and the fight with the Big Bad.
Squiggy: I wanna talk to my lawyer.
PC: We don't work for the government so the Constitution doesn't apply to us. *points Desert Eagle at Squiggy's head*
Squiggy started talking pretty quickly after that. The fight with the Big Bad involved 16 pounds of C-4 and a house full of druglab chemicals. I don't think I need to explain that further. Good times, good times. With the drugdealers blowed up real good a little ahead of schedule we had time to play some Carcassonne and Fluxx.
Saturday, May 14, 2005
As a player, yes I have lost the dungeon. My characters keep looking for them. They go up to random NPCs in a town and ask,"Hey buddy. Where's the nearest abandoned castle built by a crazy wizard several centuries ago which is now overrun with strange and terrifying monsters but still full of treasures beyond the ken of mere mortals?". The NPCs give my character weird looks and walk away, then the DM throws a book at me and tells me to get back to writing my 15 page character backstory due by the end of the session.
Of course, I make up for that by putting lots of extra dungeons in my campaigns. The PCs in my campaign can barely walk around without tripping over or falling into a dungeon entrance.
Despite the fact that my players seem to really enjoy the dungeon-ful campaigns I run, they never seem to create the same type of campaign when they GM the games. IMO it's a culture thing. There's so much anti-dungeon prejudice out there that people who would otherwise hearken back to the good old days of 10x10 rooms choose not to because they're afraid the "real roleplayers" will mock them as unevolved, rollplaying boobs.
Terms like "mindless hack-n-slash" just prove my point.
The only "mindless" thing about the play in my campaign are the undead who will kill your character and eat his brains if you're not paying attention, playing smart and treating combat as a last resort option.
--EN Worlder Ourph
Friday, May 13, 2005
--Me, on EN World. I thought this paragraph was totally awesome.
I got out of bed really early because my mom was yelling at me.
I feel sad, because Sarah and Britney are complete bitches. They told everyone I have an STD, just because I slept with both of their boyfriends on Saturday night.
I'm so angry. Paul is grounded. AGAIN! And I'm not allowed to see him. EVER. It's just NOT FAIR. I hate my mom and I wish she was dead. This wouldn't happen if I was allowed to live with dad.
Last night I had to shave my entire body. Apparently, the lice that I caught from Amanda's friend are really hard to get rid of. I look quite strange with no hair and eyebrows. I'd post pictures, but my webcam is broken.
I want to tell the world to get fucked.
I am making this journal friends only because I don't want the world to read what I'm writing, even though I'm posting it on the internet.
Today, I got a digital camera! Yes! Here's ten thousand photographs of my cat.
I want to say thanks to the world for absolutely fucking nothing! You all suck. I feel so alone, no one ever reads this journal, or even comments to let me know that I'm not suffering alone. It's cold here, and I want to die, but I cannot figure out how many of you to take with me when I go.
I went to the doctor yesterday, and he said I have bipolar disorder, which makes me different enough to be interesting, but the same as all the other cool people with bipolar disorder.
You should all do this quiz! It's amazingly accurate. You just put in your name and birthday, and it will tell you who you're sexually compatible with.
That's enough for now. But I'll leave you with my favourite Buffy fan-fiction piece I wrote last year when I was in hospital.
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Thursday, May 12, 2005
Wednesday, May 11, 2005
I'm also thinking about adapting Dave Hargrave's ultraviolent critical chart from Arduin to my new campaign. This chart would not replace the current system but would supplement it. When natural 20's are rolled both on the to-hit roll and crit confirm then you would get to use the Arduin chart in addition to the normal crit rules. Similarly, a natural 1 followed by a second natural 1 could send you to Hargrave's fumble chart.
Tuesday, May 10, 2005
Monday, May 09, 2005
Last Friday's J-Con 2 event did not go exactly as planned. Our DM for the night ended up cancelling but waited until late enough in the day that only Thom Hendricks in Bloomington got the email. Fortunately Harold, the fellow that James invited, was a good sort and agreed at the last minute to run "Joren's Tomb" for the rest of us. I'm starting to question this Living Greyhawk stuff just a bit. Joren's Tomb had no monsters in it. Zero. Nada. Zip. Zilch. I was expecting, at the very least, for this Joren chap to take umbrage at our trespass in his sepulchre. In my mind he was going to rise up from his stone sarcophagus and go at us zombie style. Instead we get some lousy traps. Not even enough traps to kill Pat's first level rogue, much less the rest of the party. The author of the scenario must've been told by his editor to put some damn monsters in it, because there was a tacked-on epilogue with some orcs. I haven't quite given up on Living Greyhawk, but man there needs to be more critters to kill next time. My swashbuckler made level 2! Yay! According to the last working draft of my level progression, that means I should take a level in fighter now.
I'm working on the second adventure for my campaign. The first adventure I plan to run pretty much as published. The second adventure of the campaign is labeled "for characters levels 1-4" but looks pretty wussified for a 3rd or 4th level party. I think the monsters need some templates and/or levels and such. And I'd like to make up some NPC adventurers to fill out the party for days in which not all players show up. I'll probably start small: here's a basic healer, here's a sword-swinger, etc. But I also have some wild ideas like a flumph paladin or a half-machine ogre ranger with a large orcish double axe.
Wednesday, May 04, 2005
Tuesday, May 03, 2005
My Feng Shui game is set to run this upcoming Wednesday at the pancake house. I don’t know how long I’ll be able to keep that up before having to move either the meeting place or the day we get together. It takes me about 35 minutes to make the drive at the speed limit, and I find myself not speeding during dark as I have NO idea where the county Mounties like to hide on my route home.I gotta be honest and say that I'm a bit trepidatious about a venue change. I don't want a late night drive back from Homer for pretty much the same reasons Dave doesn't want to drive back to Homer. The only thing that would fix that would be to run during earlier hours, which would involve mucking with the weekend. I don't think I'm in a position to schedule a regular game on the weekends. I was kinda concerned that Dave would quickly tire of the drive from Homer. I don't blame him at all for that. It took me months to get Don & Sue to come in to Urbana once a month for my supers game, and they live closer than Dave does. I think if Dave wants to avoid being isolated from the rest of the gang back in C-U, then he probably needs to do something like what the McKinney's did: put together a gamegroup that's willing to make the drive and host all the games in Homer. Unfortunately I don't think I can be a regular part of that group. If I could maintain such a committment I'd already be playing more games in St. Joe.
So the writing on the wall seems to be saying that my days in the Feng Shui group are numbered.
Monday, May 02, 2005
I just don't know if I can bring myself to play an elf, but the free sword and bow proficiency really sounds sweet right now. Imagine an elf monk used as a mobile arrow-launching platform. And you get all the other elf superpowers too. Half-elves I have no problem with playing. I like the whole angle of having one foot in seelie court and one in man's world, but belonging to neither. My fascination with half-orcs comes at least partially from this same idea. Assassins being illegal in LG kills many of my uses for that race. Their penalties to both Cha and Int do in a bunch more options. If I want to play a half-orc spellcaster he has to be Wisdom based. And we all know what that means: divine caster. I think I have some non-sucky ideas for half-orc clerics, especially with the "surprising good guy" switch flipped. And a half-orc druid could have a nice shamany feel to him, especially with a handly level of barbarian. I've given some thought to making my greataxer a half-orc or a dwarf, but somewhere through my level plan they end up using an orcish doubleaxe, an urgrosh, or waraxe-n-shield. I'm not sure if I like that or not. Maybe I should just go with a Suloise northman with a bad attitude and a horned helmet.
Part of my hesistancy when designing these characters is the constant tension between optimal character design and suboptimal designs that I think are rilly kewl. Like I had an idea for a barbarian that isn't from an distant realm. He's just a filthy Flannish peasant who happens to be a wee bit tetched in the head. Because of his untreated psychoses he can flip out ninja style with his trusty scythe. But is a scythe a sucky weapon? I think there are better options. And the padded armor I mentally picture him wearing is clearly a suboptimal choice. Similarly playing a half-orc cleric opens an interesting array of roleplaying possibilities I'd like to explore, but every time I start to work on one a little Bruce Gletty appears on my shoulder in a puff of smoke and lectures me that a cleric needs a Cha bonus for turning purposes.
Not that I'm losing sleep over this crap, but I do want to get this stuff right. I don't want to make sucky characters if I can avoid it. And I don't want to use the intentionally-nerfed PC crutch either. You've maybe played with a guy who uses this tactic. He hobbles his PCs and then tells you he's a much better player than you because he's not a munchkin. Somedays I hate that guy more than the munchkin, maybe because somedays I am that guy. I guess I want to have my cake and eat it too. I want an interesting, lively character who also happens to totally kick all kinds of ass. Is that too much to ask?
Get another random fact about Vin Diesel.
Your True Birth Month Is March
Shy and reserved
Loves home decor
Not easily angered
Sensitive to others
Loves special things
Loves to serve others
Loves peace and serenity
Observant and assess others
Loves to dream and fantasize
Appreciative and returns kindness
Hasty decisions in choosing partners
Naturally honest, generous and sympathetic
I suxxor at music trivia:
You Scored 45% Correct
You know some 80s stuff
Like that Paula Abdul was a star back then
But you're not sure who Suzie Q was
And you don't know what Samantha Fox was really famous for!
And two items from the Separated at Birth department:
You Are Socks!
Cozy and warm... but easily lost.
You make a good puppet.
You Belong in 1962
If you scored...
1950 - 1959: You're fun loving, romantic, and more than a little innocent. See you at the drive in!
1960 - 1969: You are a free spirit with a huge heart. Love, peace, and happiness rule - oh, and drugs too.
1970 - 1979: Bold and brash, you take life by the horns. Whether you're partying or protesting, you give it your all!
1980 - 1989: Wild, over the top, and just a little bit cheesy. You're colorful at night - and successful during the day.
1990 - 1999: With you anything goes! You're grunge one day, ghetto fabulous the next. It's all good!
I hate cars.
You Should Try Car Racing
You've got an unbelievable need for speed
No little fear of crashing will stop your lead foot
I found errors in the grammar test itself. Also, I don't care what anyone says, the way I answered number 14 ought to be the correct answer. And they should report your errors at the end so that you can make corrections in future usage. Did I mention my scores were embarrassingly low?
I also hate Chicago.
American Cities That Best Fit You:
55% New York City
I'm suprised Minneapolis/St. Paul didn't make that list. I would love to live there.
You Are 24 Years Old
Under 12: You are a kid at heart. You still have an optimistic life view - and you look at the world with awe.
13-19: You are a teenager at heart. You question authority and are still trying to find your place in this world.
20-29: You are a twentysomething at heart. You feel excited about what's to come... love, work, and new experiences.
30-39: You are a thirtysomething at heart. You've had a taste of success and true love, but you want more!
40+: You are a mature adult. You've been through most of the ups and downs of life already. Now you get to sit back and relax.
How Your Attitude Ranks
Your Attitude is Better than 30% of the Population
If you scored...
80-100: You've got a winner attitude. You're always optimistic and cheery. Your personality will get you far in life.
60-79: You have a good attitude. While a realist, you do see the positive side of most things. People love to be around you.
40 - 59: You have a positive attitude... somtimes. You prefer to see the world through clear glasses, not rose colored ones.
20 - 39: You have an average attitude. You take the good and bad in life as they come. Though sometimes you could use a little more good.
0-19: You have a negative attitude. You tend to see the dark side of every situation. Free ice cream? No thanks, it will just make you fat!
Your Dominant Intelligence is Linguistic Intelligence
You are excellent with words and language. You explain yourself well.
An elegant speaker, you can converse well with anyone on the fly.
You are also good at remembering information and convicing someone of your point of view.
A master of creative phrasing and unique words, you enjoy expanding your vocabulary.
You would make a fantastic poet, journalist, writer, teacher, lawyer, politician, or translator.