Monthly Archives: June 2015

Lots of Stuff

I was kind of at a loss for a title, so forgive me for so meaningless a title.

I was able to unclench after last week, but with one exception, I can’t remember what I was going to discuss. I started a post that was really just ending up a big pity-party after last weekend. I’ve decided that the draft is going to stay that way, or get ‘ported out into another program, but it will not be posted. I see no need.


One of the items I was going to discuss from last week was watching the previews from the upcoming DC Comics animation, JLA: Gods and Monsters. The idea is that the places of the DC Trinity (Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman) are replaced with other characters from the DC Universe, and they are very different. I felt these clips had a very “Watchmen” feel, being more gritty and dark, rather than the bright, hopeful world the DC Universe is usually seen as.

After watching the three videos (Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman here), I got to thinking how I’d like to do a game like that. Everybody selects a hero and warps that hero into something different. Even something like the Tangent Universe would work.

But I’m trying to avoid distractions from the StarSea, so this idea will just sit in the back of my mind and percolate.


I managed to finally complete assembly on my bard figure for our LFR games. I need to paint him now, but I’m vacillating a lot on his color scheme. He’s sort of based on Corum and Jhary-a-Conel, which might imply a good deal of red, but I’ve done red a lot in my figures, and I’d like to do something else. What I want to do is take some photos and try coloring him on the computer, but I keep forgetting to take pictures while I’ve got him out the game.


Caught the season finale of Game of Thrones, and like some others, I think I’m done with the series. I cannot think of a world that so deserves to be destroyed. I can live with characters being killed, but it seems that all of the characters with any knowledge of the threat to the world and any chance of saving the world are being killed off as well as those who deserve it. Except the ones that really do. The villains are winning, and with them, the evil will rise. Let it all burn. I won’t bother with witnessing it. I just don’t care any more. In fact, that’s almost more the problem: I’m now so apathetic about the remaining characters that I see no reason to watch any more. So fuck it. I’m done.


Yesterday was Free RPG Day. I finally got a chance to play Numenera, a game I kickstarted a few years ago. I read the rules when I got them, but I never played the game, and I set it aside a few months ago when I became disenchanted with d20-based games. In playing it, I find that my issues with d20 play have a possible solution.

To revisit quickly what my issues are with a d20, the additive nature of the d20 systems usually published means the die is grossly important at low levels, where bonuses are low, and virtually unimportant at high levels, when bonuses are so high that most challenges are overcome before the die is even rolled.

The Cypher System, which is what the core dice-rolling mechanics for Numenera and the Strange (the second game in the line) is called, deal with the issue by having the GM simply set the difficult of something, and then the player has ways of shifting the difficulty downwards, and then you roll to beat the final difficulty.

Outside of the pre-gen I was playing being poorly built, the  game played well. I always felt the possibility of failure, but it never seemed hopeless or too easy. The threats of the enemy’s seemed appropriate at every turn. I really enjoyed the game, if not the character.

[An explanation: The character I was given was a strongly Dex-based warrior-type, having a high Speed stat, a power chosen to increase defense when without armor, and the ability to do Speed-based things easily. The character’s equipment included armor, shield, and a heavy weapon. So, a fast character with nothing but hampering gear. I don’t blame the GM; he simply used the pre-gens that came with the adventure. I blame the adventure’s writer and editor for missing such a poorly designed character.]

The second game I played was the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, the newest set being based on the adventure path called Wrath of the Righteous. It was a very short game, being a simple introduction to the game for new players who had never played. I was a little disappointed with the brevity, as it meant I was free hours earlier than I expected to be. But I hung out for a while before leaving. I was interested in the game as I thought it would be something I would be able to play with the kids. I think the Boy will like it, if we ever play.

As to the freebies, I picked up the Wyrd Minis Into the Breach Quickstart and the Catalyst Games Valiant Universe RPG Quickstart. I also got the free Goblin character for the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game. Sadly, I wasn’t interested in many of the others. Too many OSR clones. The only other one I feel I missed was the 13th Age book, but I expect they’ll put it up for download eventually, so I’ll pick it up then.


I haven’t taken the time to do the research on weapons in Fate at this point. I’ve been working a lot, and when I get home, there’s always other things on my mind. I’m slowly parting from Kings Road, as I’ve finished the story adventures, and that leaves just trudging through the grind and gaining “levels” for no apparent purpose. So, I’m bored with the game at this point, and I’ll probably drop it soon. I’ll try to turn that time back to the StarSea.


I think that’s enough for now. I need to finish my laundry and get to bed for work tomorrow. So…

Later.

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This week’s post is cancelled.

I was going to try to write something, but my home life sucks right now, so I’m not very inspired. All I am is angry, and not in the productive sort of way. My head is throbbing from the effect that my anger has had on my blood pressure, and I feel about half sick.

Sometimes, you just really wish people would listen, stop trying to explain, and just shut the hell up.

There’s more on my Facebook, and if you’re a friend there, you can find out what’s going on. Otherwise, I’m done for tonight.

Another Three Week Post

Life has been both hectic and slow at the same time. I really didn’t think I had enough to report on in the week before Memorial Day, as I’d only last posted on the Tuesday before, so I put off posting on Memorial Day weekend. That week of the last post had been pretty average at work, but the following couple have been in all over the place. I only worked the Saturday before Memorial Day, and the Tuesday after, but not again until Friday, so I had very few hours in. This past week, I worked pretty much every day (including lots of overtime), and had something going on most evenings (including collapsing and falling asleep early a couple of evenings). I’ve been thinking on things, but not really formulating full ideas. I’ll cover some of those below.

One of the things I’ve been distracting myself with is a tablet game called Kings Road. It’s a Diablo-style RPG. I became obsessed with acquiring a certain set of equipment for my character, and spent a good deal of time playing in my spare time, and not thinking on the StarSea. I’ve had some creative flashes, but nothing lasting. I need to indulge those impulses at some point.


Weapons and Why They’re Important to Me

I’ve commented on one of my babies in the StarSea: Weapons. I feel I need to explain why they’re important to me, and the setting. This is likely to work something out in my own mind, or to justify to myself a choice, or to figure out if this is something I can remove.

In my source fiction and in history, the sword is the symbol of those invested with a certain level of power and responsibility. The Jedi are signified by swords, the Christian Knights were symbolized by their swords (which also looked like crosses, so they served two purposes), the Samurai and the knights of Saladin, the Furusiyya, were also defined by their relationships to swords (and typically, also horses). I want that relationship as part of the setting. However, I have no idea how necessary it is to the setting, or the game in question.

It’s the mechanics of Fate that are creating a break in my mind. I don’t care for any of the game’s mechanics, and that frustrates me. I think I may need to sit down with the various books, enumerate the rules, and figure out how to apply the Fate Fractal to the weapon rules, without creating something that overwhelms the magic rules. Or maybe just tone down the ideas I have in mind for weapons. Maybe just requiring them to work the Wyrd is all that’s necessary, beyond some simple rules for making them somewhat superior to what the average soldier carries, which is all I really need.


Dice Mechanic – Zombie Dice

One idea that I was sort of obsessed with about a week ago was using weighted dice as a method to shift dice probabilities. The idea came with a thought about Zombie Dice and how that game functions.

The different colored dice in Zombie Dice are weighted. Green dice have more brains and fewer shotguns, and red dice are weighted in favor of shotgun blasts. Yellow dice are neutral, and work like Fudge/Fate dice. The thought I’d had was that one might weight rolls by using Zombie Dice to represent an advantage provided by a superior weapon or superior armor, with the red shotguns reducing damage, like the armor rules in the Fate Toolkit. Unfortunately, I have no idea how to calculate the new probabilities the different dice would produce, as I’m not that good with the level of math involved. I was able to figure out that getting a +4 result with 4 green Zombie Dice would be about 1 in 16 rather than the 1% or so the regular dice provide. Ultimately, I think this idea would require a new system, rather than a modification of the Fudge/Fate system, especially without the ability to work the probabilities.


High Elf Skycutter and similar models

A couple of weeks ago, I got a bargain on this model, the High Elf Skycutter.

I’m planning on building it with a more draconic motif, and without the eagle (he’ll be built separately, as an individual unit). This model very much fits some of the ideas I have in mind for the vessels of the StarSea.

I also picked up this Lego set: Naida’s Epic Adventure Ship.

It’s a very cool little model, and it also sort of fits the thoughts I’ve had about vehicles in the StarSea. The Girl and I built it, and it looks very nice, if a little girly with the color scheme you can see above.

I believe there were others I was going to comment on when I originally outlined this post, but I’ve forgotten the others now. I’m sure I’ll remember then at some point when I won’t be able to post about them. 🙂


Playing MTG

Thanks to the Boy, I’ve been cycling through collectable card games lately. We did some Yu-gi Oh! for a few weeks, including me replacing a deck that was stolen from him, but now he and his friends have moved on to Magic the Gathering. So, I bought a Deck Builder Kit (no, these I won’t link to) and we built decks and played. I was able to keep up with him, and I actually kept him on the ropes in early play, and even beat him once. He’s got an amazing mind for strategy, as well as the ability to pull off his strategies.

I finally see the appeal of the game, one I’d resisted because of the feelings I’d had back when MTG first came out. At that time, the owners of TSR had started pissing away all of the cachet that had been built around the D&D brand. D&D 2nd Ed was in its waning days, and people were dropping D&D for this new game, Magic the Gathering (or, as I called it in those days, “Money the Gathering”). I developed a resentment of the game, feeling MTG was draining away the players that D&D used to have.

MTG is easy to learn, plays fast, and has enough possibilities in even a limited number of cards that you can find numerous variations on the game play, thus replay-ability is high. I can see why MTG garnered such a following, one that made the publishers, Wizards of the Coast, enough money to buy up TSR and the D&D brand, resurrecting D&D with 3rd Ed. I expect we’ll be playing more this summer, maybe including the Boy’s birthday party next month.


The Art of Blizzard Entertainment

I mentioned Diablo above when I discussed the video game that ate my brain. Friday, the Family and I went to Barnes and Noble for the first time in years, and I found a copy of the monstrous tome named above. I read it cover to cover today (not hard as it’s an art book), using it as an escape from my addiction. Wasn’t a lot of meat there, but I am interested in poking through it again and again, looking for ideas for my own designs.


That’s pretty much it for this post. I’m up late as it is, and my eyes are feeling it. It’s time for me to head for bed. Later.