Friday, October 31, 2008

Goldfarb fumbles Bluff check

I found this via here.

In case you forgot, Goldfarb is the one that slammed D&D players a while ago. Now he gets called out using classic antagonist tactics, the ubiquitous "they". You'd think someone working for McCain appearing on CNN would realize they were going to try to pin him down and would either have some facts to back up a statement like that or not bring it up. It's like having your 1st level character carry a bag full of gold into a cave full of orcs and being surprised when he gets mugged.

This brings up another thought I had. This campaign isn't being won or lost by the candidates themselves, but by the people around them. I think Obama will win because his staff and advisors are better than McCain's.

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Happy Halloween

Thursday, October 30, 2008

D&D - History and Growth

Here's an interesting article looking at the volume of material produced for D&D over the years, from edition to edition.

(edit: the following rant is not directly related to the linked article, I was just inspired to rant).)

The question has been bandied about as to whether or not Hasborg is ripping off gamers by cranking out more and more books for D&D in an ongoing succession of editions. To play devil's advocate, I'll say why not.

Gamers have always been cheap frugal, most lacking a great deal of disposable income. In the old days, we derided TSR as T$R while still purchasing the books. We hated to spend money, but hated even more not having the new rules options other gamers purchased.

But if all of these new books were merely to gouge gamers, would a customer base of arguably higher than average intelligence continue to mindlessly buy whatever came off the presses? When Hasbro acquired WotC, 3e was only a few months away, which means Hasbro wasn't the impetus behind the new edition.

What about 3.5? Well we could certainly be cynical regarding this "patch", but how many people stuck to 3 over 3.5? There were valid fixes and improvements made to the game, and 3.5 flourished well enough that WotC cranked out over 8,000 pages of material for it, but also really drove the d20 industry that started in 3e.

Is that to say that all of those 8,000 pages were "quality"? No, some material rang of "this is a neat idea, let's use it to fill pages in this book." But catering to this customer base is difficult especially when you consider the varied tastes of gamers. But regardless, it would be counter-productive of WotC/Hasbro to publish material merely to milk some cash from gamers. I think that any product they put out they hope will attract enough of a following to garner future purchases, because cranking out thousands of pages does no good if a spurned gaming community leaves them gathering dust on shelves.

While I don't agree with all of the design philosophies in 4e and I do think it was business motivated, I don't think it was part of an evil conspiracy to screw us over. Not only was 3.5 bloated from raw material put out, it had suffered a power bloat as classes and options in each successive book were cool enough to warrant purchasing the book. It was also counter-productive to bringing in new players. Buying a Player's Handbook didn't seem that much, but if everyone else at the table was using the full array of Complete X books suddenly it became much more daunting to be competitive.

Hasbro is a business, and in the case of Wizards it stays in business by selling product. Does that obligate us to buy every book that comes out just to support them and the game? No. In fact, the best way to make our collective voice heard is to only buy the material we consider to be of quality and use. I'm sure Hasbro is quite aware that not only do we have plenty of avenues to obtain what we need for our hobby, we are quite capable as a community of creating our own content. But I think we should knock off the "hating" until we see how they continue to support the game and at what level of quality.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Project 39 - Fighter first draft

I figured the fighter would be a good class to start my Project 39 endeavor. I'm using the overall template for classes used in Modern d20 and Star Wars Saga Edition (SWSE), with alternating feats and talents. I'm also only building to Level 20... my campaigns very rarely reach epic levels and that represents a whole new set of headaches.

This draft of the fighter is meant to be much simpler to run than a 4e fighter, with a lot of talents applying persistent modifiers to attacks to certain weapons with a few special moves triggered by burning surges.

I am eschewing the encounter/daily uses for fighter talents. While that system is better than the Vancian system for spell-casters, it didn't sit quite right with me for fighters.

The next step will be to sit down and build some fighters of the same level in P39 and 4e and see how they compare in performance on the battle mat.

Also, I've decided to use condition steps as in SWSE. My math for determining damage threshold is Fortitude Defense or Bloodied value, whichever is lower. This makes it easy to compute on the fly from existing stat blocks.

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Post 1001: Cats steals peanuts

Shit... they're figuring a way around that whole opposable thumb thing.


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Monday, October 27, 2008

Wassup 2008

Maybe the Obama campaign should hire this guy?


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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Building the Millennium Falcon

Here's an interesting article regarding the construction of the full-sized model of the Millennium Falcon used in Empire Strikes Back (and partially in Return of the Jedi). This was back before everything was done in CGI, in a "More civilized era".

I wonder if whoever made the call to scrap the mock-up kicks themselves. Sure there would have been some insanely rich person that would have paid a dumptruck worth of cash to have the Falcon in their backyard.

That's why it's good I'm not a PowerBall winner, because I'd do crap like that. I'd also want a full-sized Serenity. Actually I'd want to live in it. Screw your McMansions... I live in a Firefly.

Maybe I'll buy a PowerBall ticket.


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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Star Wars The Old Republic announced

Bioware has officially announced their new Star Wars MMO, Star Wars The Old Republic, or SWTOR.

I don't know a lot of details yet, but given BioWare's track record, there's reason to be optimistic. Hopefully LucasArts will be more hands-off than they were with Star Wars Galaxies. Help us Bioware, you're our only hope.

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Claymation chess

Ok, I couldn't find the the embed link in Dutch, so here's the link to an odd and amusing claymation video.


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New Watchmen trailer

Hopefully this means the lawsuit that was holding up the release of the movie has been settled. And it was probably settled with truckloads full of money.

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Circuit City continues tailspin

Circuit City is an example of corporate karma at work. Already in trouble, a few years ago it decided that it would be a good idea to fire its most expensive (read tenured) line level employees and replace them with cheap labor. Retail workers across the country breathed a sigh of relief when the results were disastrous.

Today it has been reported on multiple sources that CC is looking at closing 20% of its stores to try to stave off (the inevitable) bankruptcy. You can read an actual article here and here.

While I feel sorry for the store level employees that will lose their jobs because a bunch of rich suits are boneheads, this is a classic example of a company reaping what it sows. Maybe they should lay-off 20% of the employees that make more than $100,000 and reduce the salaries of everyone making more than $100,000 by 20%?

I'm sure more than one vendor is considering kicking the legs out from under Circuit. If it goes into a desperate price cutting frenzy to try to draw in sales and keep market share, it will negatively impact prices across the whole consumer electronics spectrum. Vendors will have to decide whether or not Circuit is valuable enough in blunting the dominance of a couple of players to offset the price damage they could do in their death throes.

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

More info on GenCon Chapter 11

I found this article regarding the latest update on GenCon's bankruptcy proceedings. Hopefully they can manage it through a Chapter 11 reorganization as opposed to going to a Chapter 7.

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Friday, October 17, 2008

New Star Trek movie pictures

You can check out the gallery here.

Quinto totally brings his Sylar creepiness to Spock. Your brain is Spock's brain!

I think whoever wrote the captions got a couple of things wrong.

The Federation starship taking damage doesn't look to be the Enterprise. Look at the visible letters and ship number. My guess is the scene is setting up the bad guy showing him or his minions taking down another starship.

The scene that claims Kirk is slipping down into a crevasse? He's climbing out of what looks to be a crashed shuttle or some sort of landing pod.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

This is A... B... C...

Monday, October 13, 2008

DDi free ride ending

WotC announced today that the free trial period of DDi was ending effective 10/14/08.

Of course the question now is just how many people are willing to pay for what little they offer?

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You'll never be Lord of the Rings

Cats don't sleep

Based on my own cat experience, I'd call this pretty accurate.


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Sunday, October 12, 2008

Purists can be a pain

Check out today's Foxtrot.

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"Death Charity clause" - wtf?

I was reading this post regarding the RPGA's Living Forgotten Realms rules making the game "god-mode" when I saw this clause:

#2: Invoke the Death Charity clause. If the group cannot afford to pay for the ritual (or doesn’t desire to do so), the PC can choose to return back to life at the end of the adventure. Doing so forfeits all rewards (including treasure and story rewards) earned for the adventure except experience points gained prior to the character’s death (the character receives the experience point award for the encounter in which they died). The PC cannot participate in the same adventure a second time."

Wow... do they have respawn points? Don't get me wrong, I allow the use of Raise Dead in my campaign, though it's a little more expensive and there may be plot complications, but this is just... silly. All death becomes is an inconvenience, just like in an MMO.

And some people wonder why there's Edition Hate out there.

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Friday, October 10, 2008

Core Mechanic - WotC follows up on

The Core Mechanic had a post regarding a recent WotC article on death in 4e. (I'd link to the WotC article but their site is being temperamental). He points out that failed death saves remain in play until a character rests. This makes things a little dicier for characters that Chumbawumba.* The question came up as to whether "rest" meant short or extended. Given that the design philosophy seemed to be to get the minis back on the mat as quick as possible, they probably intended a short rest.

See my comments after the jump for my ruling for my campaign.

I had missed that also (failed healing saves staying in force until rest). As I run a slightly grittier world, I'll require an extended rest to clear clear all failed saves but allow healing surges to be used to clear failed saves during short rests (one surge per failed save).

* As in Tub-thumping... "I got knocked down, I get up again".

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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Captain Tightpants is "Nailing Your Wife"

Thursday, October 02, 2008

3PP 4e support

Here's a list of upcoming third party publisher products coming out for 4e.

There are two books focusing on the classes left out of the PHB, and now I am torn. My work on Project 39 is glacial, partly due to a certain greek alphabet and partly due to my push to advance my spider in LOTRO before MoM comes out. Also, I need to see a way to preview these books so I have an idea which one to choose.

I also saw an interesting twist on multi-classing here.

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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Evil genius youth

Take a look here. Those kids are brilliant.


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I'm a PC

Or to paraphrase another blogger "I'm a PC so eff you Mac."


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