Archive for December, 2012

Let’s Play X-Com (LPX2), this time with less letting my friends die.

Monday, December 17th, 2012

So my last “Let’s Play X-Com” was an unmitigated disaster. Many gave their lives in an ultimately doom attempt to stem the vile invasion. As a commander, I’ve learned something. And that is “Classic” difficulty isn’t messing around. So we’re going to try it again, this time on Normal difficulty. Still Ironman mode, because if I was going to Save-scum, I might as well just start the game on Impossible difficulty.

 

First Contact, Operation Crimson Engine. March 1, 2015

Aliens are attacking the planet. An elite organization, composed entirely of my friends, has been tasked by the shadow council to fight this menace and save the planet. As yet with little funding, and only half a dozen recruits, four men and women have been sent in to investigate an alien incursion in Leeds.

An illfated construction worker covered in alien goo.The Skyranger sets down on top of an old office building that is in the midst of being renovated. A half dozen construction workers’ corpses litter the roof, their bodies covered in a disturbing green goo or slime of some kind. The squad doesn’t have time to investigate before a pair of gray aliens with big eyes are seen scurrying into cover. The squad takes cover, and Naeem trades fire with one of them; both are wounded in the exchange and return to cover. Another pair are spotted taking cover on a raised platform to the north.

Wendy fires a clean burst into the closer of the two on the platform, putting it out of commission. Sadly any hope we have of using their weapons against them are dashed. When the x-ray goes down it’s weapon explodes. Maybe we can capture some alive, or acquire a weapons cache some how.

Caitlin takes cover behind a giant spool of cabeling and finishes off the alien Naeem had wounded earlier. Joanna moves to closer cover, but can’t get a bead on the remaining alien. Naeem takes a shot, again glancing the alien but not putting it out of action. It hunkers down and one of the ones we saw earlier moves up and fires on Naeem. Fortunately, whatever is under the tarps he is hiding behind is sturdy enough to hold up to the plasma fire.

Naeem tries to finish off the x-ray on the platform, but between fire from the other one, and the first one taking cover his shots are ineffective. Caitlin moves closer, taking two solid hits before she can get to cover, but she manages to ignore her wounds and put down the alien on the platform.

Wendy runs forwards, grabs cover behind a shipping container and unloads into the last alien. Caitlin and Naeem are both hurt bad, and after quickly searching the roof-top the squad heads back to base This mission was a pretty resounding success all told.

Wendy and Caitlin have both been promoted, though it’ll be a week or so before Caitlin or Naeem are well enough to return to duty. All 4 alien corpse were recovered as well as most of the fragments of the alien weaponry. Maybe we can reverse engineer their guns.

Welcome to the new Blog, Same as the old blog

Saturday, December 15th, 2012

Welcome to the new site of my blog. I’ve imported almost everything from my old Tumblr blog. I’m going to try and stick to a schedule, and post different things each day of the week. For the moment I’ve got 5 categories, so I’ll only be posting 5 days a week. Hopefully however this will allow me to build up a little bit of a buffer, so missing a day won’t be so bad. If you have suggestions for what to do on the other two days (or think one of the existing categories is ass) let me know in the comments. For now the categories/days are:

  • Monday: Let’s Play writeups
  • Tuesday: Tabletop gaming discussion (Board, Card and RPGs)
  • Wednesday: Review time (Movies, books or whatevs)
  • Thursday: Rant day
  • Friday: Choose Your Own Adventurous Post

Since I haven’t gone to sleep yet, it is technically still Friday as far as I am concerned, so I think it’s time to start the story!

Choose Your Own Damn Post

Your day started like normal, and everything was going great. You did that one thing that you were good at a bunch, and it was really fulfilling. That person you admired complimented you on your attire. Your day was almost over, and you were reading this unimaginably boring blog post when you decided to stop because:

1) As a Barbarian you don’t actually know how to use the internet.

You smash the computer with your ax and try to find your way out of the cube-farm maze. What do they even grow here?

2) As a Troll you could certainly write a much more entertaining and grammatical correct post.

 You begin to write a comment to that effect but only get as far as “You suck because…” before you hear sirens outside.

3) You are neither of these things.

You write your true identity in the comments, and what the first “choice” is.

Once I have enough votes to be decisive, or someone posts something spectacular for option 3, I’ll write the first chapter. This does mean we’ll probably skip the first Friday to give me a bit more time to get the story that YOU want written.

EDIT: If you think someone else’s “Option 3” is the best, vote for that. I’m just going to go by democratic method, and whatever choice gets the most votes!

Real blog for grownups?

Friday, December 14th, 2012

So, I’ve implemented WordPress many a time for a variety of clients of varying levels of professionalism as a CMS. I’ve even made one for chronicling and keeping track of a Dwarf Fortress game. I’ve dabbled w/ blogging in a variety of formats from LiveJournal back in the day, to Blogger, to video blogging on the Utubes. Aside from here none of them have I ever really managed to stick to, yet I wonder if this isreally the best platform. 

I do want to try and write a little bit every day to keep in the habit of writing, and I have managed to stick to that … mostly. Though I’ve certainly cheated some by queuing up a few extra posts (especially for things like my D&D recountment, and X-Com w/ friends) but that’s kind of needful because some days I just don’t have time to write at all. Fridays when I have apocalypse world I work from 10:30-5, then from 5:30 to ~6 at my second job, then it’s AW until whatever time we finish, which is usually somewhere in the area of 11pm to 1am. Afterwards I have just enough energy to clean up a little, check my email, and surf the internet for a little while before going to bed. Certainly I don’t have the wherewithal to write a coherent thing.

So I am thinking about switching to WordPress or something and doing it on my own site, rather than here. So the next question is what do I use? WordPress is easy to setup, and I know it pretty well, but maybe it would be better to play around with Moveable Type or Drupal or Joomla or some other software just to learn how to use it.

I do like learning new things, but I worry that the added difficulty of learning a new CMS might inhibit my ability to keep posting daily. Also the minimal online comparison I’ve done seems to Suggest WP is the best for the job. So do I really want to go w/ MT or Joomla or something even though it’s inferior just for the sake of learning something I might never other wise use?

Also, how hard will it be to transfer all this info over? Should I even bother? I’m certainly not finished with the history of my Increasingly Misnamed D&D campaign, but if I do switch I’m going to want to have the whole thing at least be on the same platform.

Or maybe I’ll do some sort of crazy “Choose Your Own Blogpostventure” thing and crosslink between here, my new, as yet uncreated blog, LJ, Blogger etc. Yeah, that’s probably a terrible idea.

That said, I think I would like to have a bit more focus, even if it is 7 foci.

Hobbit

Friday, December 14th, 2012

Just watched the Hobbit. I enjoyed it. The “Good Morning” scene brought tears of Nostalgia to my eye. I was a bit saddened by the lack of the “Lots, and none at all.” line, but hey, they half of my two favorite bits from the book made it in right?

That said, it really bothered me how erudite the Goblin King was. He’s supposed to be the bad guy, and evil. Making him sympathetic made it that much harder for me to rejoice when he and kin were mercilessly slaughtered by Gandalf and the Dwarves. If nothing else, it gives me a lot more impetus to read The Last Ringbearer. Really in the end though, it just made me feel bad for liking something which maybe is problematic.

7 Things I hate about Blogging

Friday, December 14th, 2012

So I think I definitely am going to make the switch to a new platform soon. However I want to have different days of the week have a different focus, maybe even a seperate RSS feed, so people can ignore the stuff they’re not interested in while still tuning into the stuff they are.

Right now here are the ideas I have for foci:

  1. A Choose Your Own Adventure style dealie, where each week I write a bit of an adventure, and let people comment to vote on where the adventure goes next. When an adventures concludes (either in death or happily ever after or whatever) there will be the option to back up and choose a different choice… maybe even backing up super far? I don’t know but I loved CYOA when I was a kid, and I’m super excited about hamletbook.com
  2. Let’s Play chronicle of some kind. I do want to try another X-Com w/ friends, but on an easier difficulty setting, so everyone doesn’t just die right off the bat.
  3. Gaming, whether board and card games, or RPGs, I do pick up new games pretty frequently, and would love to discuss them, especially to find out about new and awesome games before they go out of print.
  4. Reviews. I read a lot of books and comics, and watch a lot of movies and tv shows. Some are awesome. Some are terrible. Most are in between.
  5. Whatever. Let’s get meta and have a day where we discuss what to discuss. Or maybe I’ll just be narcissistic and talk about myself. Or whatever thing has pissed me off. Maybe call it Rant Day and just rant about something.
  6. Pictures. I like pictures. I have a terrible addiction to downloading them. My “Random pics” folder is approaching 4gigs. In an ideal world I’d create an app that would let other people look at them, and tag/categorize them for me. Or I could do it…. but I’d have to write this program. In the meantime maybe each friday I’ll just pick a random picture to upload (or a dozen).

So that’s 6 things, really I only need to find one more subject, and I could have a different thing each day of the week… then of course building up enough of a queue so I didn’t miss any days would require a bit of work…

Though really, several of things should probably be done “day of” instead of in advance.

Pathfinder Society

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

No, this has nothing to do with the Orson Scott Card book Pathfinder, rather my local game store hosts Pathfinder Society on Tuesday nights (Saturday too, but I work and so can’t play) and I’m going to try hard to get into some of them.

I need to actually make a character though, and so rarely do I start out at level 1, I’m not sure what’ll be fun to jump in with. Though it’ll practically be level 2, as I have played in two PFS events so far, and after the third one you can level a character up.

On the one hand, with all of the Apocalypse World I’ve played recently, I’d kind of like to design a character with “character” as a driving force. On the other hand, since D&D in general, but especially module based play like in PFS is less RP driven I feel like such a character could make for a less entertaining experience for the other participants. I suppose I could go with a Charisma based class and try and be a Face character and still be a contributor.

Or I could do ye olde “Thick as a brick” Fighter/Barbarian type. I’d love to hear suggestions… I really don’t have a character in mind that I want to create, and I kind of think it would be more fun to learn about my character as I go.

Is Peter Davison a proto-Matt Smith?

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

So for years and years I’d been putting off watching Doctor Who because I’m a terrible chronologicalist and completionist. That is to say, I can’t abide unfinished works, or reading things out of order. Things like Star Wars only being Episodes IV-VI has long bothered me. And of course the new trilogy did little to assuage my mental dissonance relating to the SW universe. I may never start reading the books because there are so damn many, and this  is one of the things that’d kept me from DW for so long. Everyone was talking about how awesome the new Doctors were, and how it didn’t matter if you hadn’t seen all the old stuff. So I decided to start with the 4th Doctor, Tom Baker, for a number of reasons.

  1. At the time it was the earliest Doctor with no episodes missing.*,**
  2. He was several of my trusted friends’ favorite
  3. Douglas Adams was editor for the series, and even wrote several episodes.***

Anyways, I finished watching the fifty or so “Stories” of Baker a few weeks ago, and I’ve been rather enjoying Peter Davison. I’ve also been watching some of the Matt Smith and I must say, having watched Matt Smith before I finished the Baker years, that watching Davison, he really reminds me of the current Doctor. I wonder how much of that will bear out in the next few Doctors. Anyone else noticed this?

* Since I started the final missing episodes of Doctor 3 have been found.

** I’m not counting the Unaired Shada Episode, since this wasn’t finished due to writer’s strike, and was eventually aired w/ Baker doing narration for the missing parts.

*** Including the unfinished Shada Episode.

Pathfinder and Ruins

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

So I just finished the second book in the Pathfinder series, by Orson Scott Card. This is a quite excellent pair of books (with it being very likely that there’ll be a third.)

You’re likely familiar with the Clarke’s Third Law:

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

Some minor spoilers, these books are science fiction, not fantasy, but they very much appear to be fantasy at first. The books involve time travel, and preventing the end of the world, and those are all minor enough spoilers I don’t think knowing it will adversely affect your reading of the stories.

All in all the stories feel fairly internally consistent (which can be important in any book involving time travel) and even though the book is thick as a brick I tore through it in what feels like just a few days, though a quick look at Good Reads tells me it was almost exactly week, since I finished Erebos on the 2nd, and started Ruins the day after.

The unbearable sadness of being happy.

Monday, December 10th, 2012

I’m going to be all super serious for a bit. If that’s not why you come here, please feel free to skip today’s post.

On the one hand I’ve got a pretty awesome life. I like the things I do. I do the things I like. On the other hand I’ve got a pretty depressing life. I’m so alone. Maybe even forever alone. 

How do you define a ‘good life’? Do I have one? I really don’t know. I am pretty much depressed all of the time, but I compensate by enjoying the fuck out of life pretty much all the time. A typical day for me is doing work I enjoy, and then going and goofing off in a variety of ways.

What brought on this maudlin contemplation you may way ask, and rightly so; and the answer is some drunk fucktard’s off-hand comment in a bar. Yay. So here is the breakdown. Said fucktard brought up Yankee Swap aka Dirty Santa aka a million other names. This a is a dumb Xmas game akin to secret santa, except with the option to steal gifts. If you don’t know what it is go look on wikipedia you lazy fuck. Anyways, I’d recently acquired from a charity auction a fantasy game called Gauntlet of Fools that has much in common with Dirty Santa… Each player gets to pick one hero to face a gauntlet of monsters (everyone faces the same monsters) but much like Yankee Swap you can steal heroes by making bigger boasts (My barbarian can face the gauntlet hungover. Well MY barbarian can do it hungover and with one hand tied behind his back). 

Anyways drunk ass fucktard made baseless aspersions upon my, and my friend’s ability to have girlfriends because we were even talking about board games. Never mind that my friend’s GF was just outside smoking, and he was drunk and stupid, it still hit home and reminded me how sad and alone I am. 

That’s not to say that on the whole I don’t enjoy the majority of the moments of my life. However I often feel like there could be, should be more. Do i really need an SO for my life to be fulfilling? I don’t know. It certainly wouldn’t make things worse, but I get by.

Is Apocalypse World the best RPG ever?

Sunday, December 9th, 2012

Or are you wrong, that is the question. For serious, I continue to be amazed by how awesome this game consistently is. I’ve been gaming for two and half decades. I cut my teeth on the Red Box and 2nd editions. Toon, Shadowrun, Paranoia, and Call of Cthulhu were all played with great abandon. In college White Wolf’s storyteller games promised Story based games and totes failed to deliver; I even larped for a few years, because the first few times were completely sweet and awesome. Disillusioned I ran GURPS with almost no rules, played D&D because that was all there was.

Still I do love a good board game, tactical strategy, miniatures. And really to a much larger extent than most people are willing to admit, that is what D&D is. A series of battles loosely (sometimes more or less, depending on the DM) tied together by story. There’s nothing wrong with that. I enjoy it. Love it even.

AW has won my heart over completely. I can’t wait to try my hand at it (albeit Monsterhearts, and AW Hack). I can barely stand the wait to play the game again next week (especially when we have to skip a week or more). Part of it is surely that we’ve got a rocking MC. No offense to Dave though, a huge part of it is just how the game itself is set up. I don’t worry so much about what my characters can do, or how I can make them better. No, I worry about how Eliza is going to fix everything. I worry about how Twice is going to keep all the promises that have been made. I empathize with my characters and then I do my best to be them for a few hours. That’s not to say I don’t think about how I can make the other players’ characters’ lives more interesting and entertaining for them, but I trust the players to play the characters, and I’ve gotten to know most of the characters.

It’s like watching a great ensemble cast TV show, but you get to be one of the characters. And maybe some episodes not everyone gets screen time, and usually even when someone gets what they want there are strings attached. And even though it seems like things just keep getting worse, hope is always there.

If you play table top RPGs of any stripe, you owe it to yourself to check this game out. There are tons of APs out there. I recommend checking out The Walking Eye* and Jank Cast, and of course our play group is posting our APs too (though we started a bit late.

*As I write this The Walking Eye is having some server troubles. You’ll just have to check back later and find the APs yourself.