Friday, April 18, 2008

Damn you Chinese fen!

Four cents short of an even hundred. Four fen in the return slot.
Such is life.

Last Day of Work

And I'm pimped out! MMO world here I come!

The Lost Room

I should be packing. I move on Sunday. I start a new job on Monday. If all parties sign the paper I'll be divorced next week. But instead I'm sitting here reading blogs and drinking homemade Micheladas and watching The Lost Room.

This is one of those shows that I feel would be the basis of a good campaign. A d20 Modern or maybe as the MacGuffin in a regular D&D campaign. It's got that nice "Gotta Catch 'em All" plot device that can let players both act and react. It's got a stable of nice magic items that are numerous enough so that every minor baddie can have something trixie up their sleeve, but rare enough that they are something you may want to fight to the death to posses. It's got all these secret societies and cabals fighting it out and betraying each other. A perfect environment to run a campaign where you can let the players run loose and chart their course towards the end.

Would it work in a fantasy campaign? Does the mundane world give the magical objects their power? Or can these be artifacts? That when combined will power up along with the rapidly increasing power of the PCs. Hmmmm I could integrate this into my first Taliesin campaign for the 4th edition, make it part of the event that destroyed the Eladrin empire. Would changing the items from mundane objects of the modern world to kingly regalia ruin their power? Though enough of the objects can be mundane, and due to the nature of them a kingly crown can have little power, while a shoe horn can have ultimate power.

Ok campaign figured out. Pack a little, last day of old job, pack a lot, move, first day of new job, finalize divorce, then onto new life.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Frakking Shazbot

The Blog-O-Cuss Meter - Do you cuss a lot in your blog or website?
Created by OnePlusYou

How are my blog posts so clean and yet my real speech so filthy?

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Sunday, April 6, 2008

A Witch Shall be Born

I just finished reading the Savage Sword of Conan's version of "A Witch Shall be Born". I'm reminded again that this would make for an excellent arc in a campaign. There's a number of good adversaries highlighted in the story, Salome; the lost twin of queen Taramis, Constantius the Falcon; leader of the Shemite mercenary company, Olgerd the greedy and cruel desert chief, and the monster that Salome had summoned within the dungeon bowels of the desecrated temple of Ishtar. While it's not something that can just be translated verbatim into an interactive adventure, it has nice starting points. A fallen city, political intrigue, scandalous and titillating debauchery by the villains, environmental hazards after being abandoned in the desert after being defeated by the Falcon and his men, a dungeon crawl to rescue a beautiful queen and finally a large raid battle against a giant hideous monster that had grown strong from human sacrifice to it.

This is definitely making it's way into my next D&D campaign.

I wonder though if it would make a good MMO adventure? Warcraft has gone for the far more traditional dungeon crawls for all of it's instances. You run through a hallway and fight things in the way until you clear through to the end and fight the boss. There are very few alternate strategies to these adventures. Rogues can't sneak past the guards and drop the defenses at a critical moment, characters can't enter town and have the "face" guy make some critical alliances (not that Warcraft has any social skills really aside from the half ass faction system), nor can one do much of anything other than choose an alternate pathway to a boss.

Actually that's not entirely true. You can use skills like stealth to play the game in a different manner, but that has the feel of unintended content bypassing rather than having different party makeups having a different experience. These stealth runs are fun because they do change the experience from the typical (and very much near exclusive) party of tank, healer, DPS. But this works despite the design intent, not because of it. And often the designers must go back into a zone and make changes to prevent players for daring to use their stealth to sneak past enemies.

I think that there is a lot of room for experimentation in this area. Warcraft has shown us how simple dungeons where you kill everything from point A to point B can work when you polish them up. Don't feel that I'm being dismissive of this, the polishing was the hard part, most other MMOs can't seem to get that part down. But there is so much more that could be done in terms of dungeon and adventure design and remain a simple Hierarchical State Machine and not branch out the possibility of action, or introduce a million ways to exploit. Here's to future adventures in MMOs to ramping up to the bar of the pulp serials of the 1930s.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Everything2

Do the guys that started Everything2 shake their fists angrily every time they see a link to Wikipedia? I seem to remember Everything starting years before Wikipedia was a gleam in anyone's eye. Back when I was a Webmonkey I believe. I often wonder about who is whose arch nemesis.

Message from the Makers

I've actually been obsessing about the mystery over who created the "Beware the Believers" video. I love the whole production, but it's generated some furious debate over who was behind it. Was it a viral campaign for Expelled? Was it pro Intelligent Design? Was it anti-scientific method? What did Richard Dawkins think about it? (he didn't get why it was supposed to be funny.)

Now a message from the makers has come out. It doesn't answer many questions, but it shows that whatever happens, it's all in good fun.