Archive for September, 2008

30
Sep

Review: History Channel’s “History Hacker”

   Posted by: Avaril    in Tech, Television

Ever since the ‘Mythbusterification’ of reality science TV, History Channel has been scrambling for its piece of the metaphorical pie (mmm, metaphorical pie).  There has been misses, such as Combat (which I kind of liked), and the more recent Surviving History (which is condescending and stupid).  So, what is this new series like?  Check it out after the break.

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24
Sep

Of all things Mega

   Posted by: Avaril    in Video Games

The Blue Bomber

I remember Megaman.  I remember thinking the first one was nigh-impossible.  I remember carpet-thumping, controller-throwing frustration.  The second was slightly easier, but only in the sense that pushing a bulldozer through a field of jello is “slightly easier” than towing a battleship with a frog kick.
Honestly, I think I got to like the game more and more as the series went along.  I loved Mega Man 3, 4, and Capcom’s Magnum Opus, Mega Man 5.  According to Wikipedia, there was a Mega Man 6 on the NES, but I was preparing to graduate High School (and everyone had moved on to the Super Nintendo) when it was released.

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24
Sep

Things that Worked

   Posted by: Wolfgod    in Fantasy, RPG, Sci-Fi

IN THE GAMES I’ve played and run in the past, there have been a lot of devices that ‘Worked’ - ideas or actions that really made the game or the character special.

Check out the upgradable Sword, below.

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23
Sep

Making Loot Worth More

   Posted by: Wolfgod    in Fantasy, RPG

A WORD ABOUT loot;

D20 games occasionally allow you to randomly generate the treasures a given foe will have in their posession.  Though I believe generating the treasure on purpose is better - and giving it some history.

There’s nothing quite as absurd as an old Diablo II graphic, where your avatar slays a swarm of bugs - which promptly drop a chain shirt.  While this wasn’t bad loot, it was kind of an open question as to where the bugs were carrying a chain shirt.  Was each one carrying a single link?  It’s not like they have pockets.  How did they lift it?

Treasure in campaigns should be similar.  It wouldn’t make much sense for a giant octopus to have a few scrolls, for example (unless they were locked in a waterproof chest), or a fire elemental with a bunch of magical robes.

Some of the best loot I’ve ever created for my heroes was custom-made for that hero.  One Fighter in particular got a single sword from a tomb.  The sword had a name, and a history - it had belonged to a great champion from a century before.  The sword had a twin, which that Fighter began questing after for many adventures.  Once the pair was aquired - famous swords, that he’d worked to obtain - these swords were maintained by this hero for campaign after campaign, even after the point where they really weren’t quite powerful enough to be held on to.

In other games, I’ve worked out a backstory for the treasure of a particular monster or hero.  How did they get this loot?  Why have they kept it?  What’s it’s story?

Finally, I started doing one more thing - that probably wasn’t intended by the rules.  I started looking through the loot for things the creature owning it could actually use.  Assuming the foe in question was smart enough and could use it, why wouldn’t they use the +2 Flaming Sword that was in their ‘treasure’?  A PC certainly would.  There’s nothing like a mid-level foe suddenly attacking with an unexpectedly powerful magical weapon or armor - after all, it was in his treasure hoard.

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21
Sep

On Dungeons, Dragons, and Devoutness

   Posted by: Avaril    in RPG

Chatty DM has Read the rest of this entry »

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19
Sep

Pardon our Dust

   Posted by: Avaril    in Uncategorized

We’re trying to get this thing off the ground, so bear with us while we fiddle with the themes, add authors, and such.  But feel free to go ahead and get all googly-eyed in love with us, our content will be here.

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19
Sep

City Designer 3 Released

   Posted by: Avaril    in RPG

On el blogo de Simon J. Rogers, it appears that City Designer 3 has been released.  According to his blog, you can make miraculous and beautiful maps of your favorite in-game city.  The example shots show a city that he claims was built in four hours.  With shading and everything.

So, I guess that means that those of us who have been using sticks and dirt to plot our cities are even that much more behind the times.

No, seriously:  This thing makes friggin’ great looking city maps.  It’s on my want list now.  The major drawback that I could see was that there is not a Mac version.  My Powerbook is not dual-boot capable, but when I finally upgrade, I will be getting this program.

This purchase could cause a whole new dynamic in our group, where we no longer have to blackmail our map-maker to get things done.  We can finally free him from his tiny cubby hole under the stairs, where he has been subsiding on dry ramen, and wearing Kleenex boxes on his feet.  Those people at ProFantasy Softare are humanitarians, I tell ya.

City Designer 3

ProFantasy Software

$39.95

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19
Sep

Running a Theatrical Campaign - Part Two

   Posted by: Wolfgod    in RPG

SO HERE I am, in the humdrum world my character starts out in.  Now what?

A giant hook descends from the sky, siezes the Hero, and drops him someplace far more exciting.

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17
Sep

Game Review: SPORE

   Posted by: Wolfgod    in Video Games

MY OLDER BROTHER and I have Spore, which if you haven’t seen it is worth looking at. It’s a pretty neat game.

Basically, you’re playing evolution. You start as a little organism and
work your way up to a spacefaring race. The game runs in five main
stages, all of which are pretty fun, but some of which are really neat.

I have to rank the game like this:

Stage 1 - Cell: Fun, arcade like, but entertaining the first few times you play it. No flexibility, loses interest quick.

Stage 2 - Creature: Probably the best phase in the game. Can be played very long and with many different strategies.

Stage 3 - Tribe: Limited but fun in a simple strategy game kind of way. Not nearly as interesting as Creature stage.

Stage 4 - Civilization: Probably the next best phase after creature, though it’s replayability suffers.

Stage 5 - Space: A nightmare of micromanagement. The interface
would be fun to play if only the game would make up it’s mind whether
you’re a free trader or a government agent, and handle income
accordingly. It would be *nice* if at least some things would manage
themselves, or the Empire would build MORE THAN ONE STARSHIP to handle
it’s problems. Even if I had to buy them myself!

The best thing about SPORE is the creature and vehicle creator.  We’ve built several of the alien species from Universe Zero  in the creature creator.  More fun than that, you can share creations with your
‘buddies’ in the game, so my friends can see what I make, and I can see what
they make. We’re also making ground vehicles and starships.  Now, even
the scary predators look a little cartoonish, but it gives a good
general idea of what your aliens actually look like.

As of the time I write this, we have made: Jakari, Dambaro,
Tikmijn, Mantid, and Acai Maj. I’ll make more as I get a chance.  Even though I’m making aliens in Minnesota, my friends in Oklahoma can just look at my creations on my brother’s computer instead of a simple screenshot.

I believe we plan to use the SPORE creation engine to build some placeholders for the Universe Zero wiki - aliens, ships, etc.  It’s not quite the same as getting everything done by a team of professional graphic designers, but it allows pretty good representations of your sci-fi races, vehicles, starships and buildings.

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6
Sep

Running a Theatrical Campaign - Part One

   Posted by: Wolfgod    in RPG

ONE OF THE THINGS I’ve been learning a lot about lately is screenplay structure - and I’ve been thinking about how to apply this structure to an RPG Campaign.

Want your campaign to feel epic without saving the world (again)?  Try the structure I’ll outline below the fold.

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