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When asked how an innocent person is to prove he or she indeed received consent, (the bill's co-author Bonnie) Lowenthal said, “Your guess is as good as mine. I think it’s a legal issue. Like any legal issue, that goes to court.”
Lowenthal's basically saying "LOL NOT MY PROBLEM NAO! U FIXIT" Some more information on Lowenthal.
Vaguely worded legislation that slowly strips away due process is an excellent example of how "the road to Hell is paved with good intentions".
Stay safe, CA students. Be careful where you place your trust...or just film everything.
Just wanted to share this:
A sane feminist investigates the ongoing online moral panic surrounding video games and the gamers who buy them. The video's short (six and a half minutes) and doesn't play into any particular "side" of recent debates.
Despite her interviewer trying to create strife from nothing, she parried the distraction wonderfully. I see this a lot in journalism ("find a buzzword/acceptable topic and set another example in political correctness") and it gets pretty old, but when an interviewee dodges the guided discussion and responds sanely it's a thing of beauty.
this is totally not from last year >_>
Anyone else watch a celebrity you're not really interested in respond in ways that defy the interview's rails?
Some disgusting trends are steadily being exposed thanks to #gamergate raising awareness of corruption in video game journalism.
"So it's just corruption in video games journalism, what does that have to do with your topic title?" Think about this: what if a group of academics decided to use social pressure and selective censorship to slowly change the culture and aesthetics surrounding a particular hobby (while the majority of enthusiasts didn't care for the interference). It would be wrong on so many levels. It would also be a conspiracy worth keeping an eye on.
I really want to support independent titles, but now I've got to research them to death before I throw a dime at them.
- Can an android's nanites be controlled?
- Can portions of an android's nanites be extracted and used in other tecnology?
- How androgynous are androids as a whole?
- Can Star Trek's Data serve as an example for an android's Emotionless quality (with regards to dialogue)?
I know these questions will come up at the table, so any input would be appreciated.
This campaign's been finished since about a year ago and I found some of my notes.
Beware, Here Be Spoilers...
My changes to The Stolen Land during a successful Kingmaker-meets-Ravenloft campaign. I left all the classes mostly the same and avoided my usual enhancements.:
- Race options were limited to human, aasimar, dhampir, and tiefling in order to provide a more Dark Ages feel to the game. Class options were trimmed just enough to exclude anything terribly exotic or tribal. Alignments were restricted to LG, NG, CG, LN, N, and LE.
- Minimize animal encounters in favor of undead or evil fey.
- Describe occasional disembodied moaning or unnatural howls while resting so that the players really appreciate fortified areas (Oleg's, their kingdom's walls, etc.).
- Replaced Bokken with a crippled (human) alchemist. His wife and children are buried nearby, but a drekavac haunts the site and prevents any peaceful mourning. If the PCs remove the threat, the alchemist finds his way back to Oleg's and sells discounted potions. The alchemist might request an escort to the graveyard and back for a small sum and some experience.
- Replaced Tyg-Titter-Tut and Perlivash with two or three fiendish wolves. Change the wolves' type to aberration. These predators were once human, but the exact details of their transformation are a mystery. As long as the characters are unaware of the wolves, the creatures will mimic cries of distress in hopes of attracting prey. The wolves do not eat flesh, but draw their energy from negative emotions such as fear and misery. If the party is defeated, the wolves linger for a time before leaving the characters unharmed. However, future subsequent encounters will taste "old" and "stale" to the wolves and the party's chances of post-defeat survival drop.
- Replaced the kobolds in area G with insane humans (with bite attacks). Cannot be reasoned with and do not speak any known languages. One wears a cursed wooden charm that fills the wearer's ears with unintelligible chatter and is deafened as long as they remain in contact with the charm.
- Removed the giant frogs in area I. If anyone approaches the pond, one 1/3 CR skeleton per party member quickly rises out of the water and attacks. The skeletons wear decayed and ruined copies of each party member's gear. If the any of the ruined gear is touched after its undead wearer's death, the items crumble into ash.
- Removed the boggard lair in area O. The two ruined buildings covered in bizarre markings (Aklo-speakers meeting a DC 25 linguistics check can interpret the following: "bound King do our Labor Sealing") have been nearly swallowed by the bog. Within the first building, the characters can find a large, ominous chest bound in rusted chains. The chains can be easily broken with a successful strength check or melee attack. Upon opening the chest, two pairs of crawling hands fly out and flee the scene immediately. Left behind is a simple spellbook containing one or two low-level abjuration spells. The second building is less a structure and more a pile of rubble guarded by an intact wall. A DC 20 perception check reveals several corpses buried beneath the rubble and mud with each of their hands severed.
Anyone sleeping within this hex suffers terrible nightmares and quickly wakes to find a connecting scratch around each wrist. Regular rest is impossible within this hex until each mutilated corpse has been properly buried with funeral rites (if buried together, one rite suffices for all corpses). Funeral rites require a knowledge (religion) check: DC 10 is a basic success; DC 20 or higher confers a +1 bonus on all saves for the week.
- Replaced the thylacine in area V with three sagaris that swarm any character falling into the pit.
- Replaced the Sootscale tribe with an entirely hostile goblin tribe. Within Y5, the characters find Felix (NG male catfolk rogue 2) bound and gagged. Felix left his Iobarian catfolk clan a few years ago to join a group of wandering adventurers. After watching his group slowly succumb to curses, disease, and monsters, the rogue managed to get completely lost and was captured by goblins. The catfolk's hair is sparse, the little bastards plucked most of it out, but bears no significant wounds, broken bones, or mutilations; after a few days rest, Felix could fight alongside the party without penalty. After enduring a year's worth of torment and misery, Felix welcomes any aid and returns it tenfold. He can relate quite a bit of information concerning the Stag Lord's fort and readily admits he was nearly killed there.
- Left the Stag Lord encounter mostly intact, but none of the bandits are given special personalities. Each one is irredeemable and hostile due to a wicked genus loci subtly corrupting anyone sleeping within the hex. This presence doesn't reveal itself until much later and acts as an ongoing antagonist.
During Rivers Run Red, I spent a lot of time warping encounters and events before I gave up decided to adapt scenarios from The Expedition to Castle Ravenloft, Silent Hill 2, Labyrinth, and many more sources. Since the PCs generally stayed within their kingdom's borders, I mostly reacted to their choices and the result was a feeling of "a bastion of hope in the darkness" rather than the standard Kingmaker approach.
While nothing else in my notes directly converts from the AP, here's some non-hostile NPCs involved in the campaign:
Oliver Crownley CN male human wizard (universalist) 1
Eva, Just Eva LG female aasimar bard (archivist) 1
Edward Litera LN male human inquisitor of Asmodeus 4
Phobos N male(hermaphroditic) tiefling urban barbarian 2
So that's all I've got--enjoy.
...but the other players said NO (usually with raised voices and clenched fists). As a player, GM, small arachnid--it doesn't matter, list away.
World of Warcraft...I know, I know, but I've always liked the setting and I can't stand MMOs. Every time I've tried, the rest of the group either hates the setting or plays online (and thus cannot go pen & paper with it).
...I've gotten so close to either playing in this setting or running it and I'm foiled every time. The worst attempt was years ago when I had the group's DM interested and willing to do a one-night adventure. The rest of the players seemed okay with it and rolled up characters for the next session. The next week rolls around and one player had arrived three hours early with every Warhammer core book he owned. A brief discussion was held, I was told to "deal with it", and the other players began creating new characters... The funny thing was that I'd already brought three pizzas for the group. Funnier still was watching their faces as I fed the two pizzas I didn't want to the neighborhood's wandering dogs. I think that's the only time I've just walked out on a session.
His reasons for sacrificing his freedoms for others' and Julian Assange shows support. We've assumed our government was spying on us for years...turns out we were right.
Apologies for the Gawker-like title, but it's a lot nicer than what I had in mind.
Deux Ex: The Fall will release exclusively to mobile devices. I've pasted the press release for those who want to avoid the site's ads:
Press Release wrote:
This really didn't surprise me that much, but I was a bit amused that SE decided to move to mobile at the worst possible time. I'd given up on the franchise after the ending given to Deus Ex:HR and that absurd arcade boss battle.
"But you own a tablet, why are you so negative?
I really hope Square Enix finds their Waterloo next year and we get another THQ scenario wherein IPs get distributed to worthy publishers.
I'm a little over an hour into it and I'm enjoying myself. The sound design and overall feel is amazing. The story feels like it'll turn predictable at any moment, but the narrative had me sucked in so I don't expect it will matter that much.
The Anita Sarkeesian thread is clearly not the place for this, so I'll make a new one.
There are so many big-budget games I never touch because of either the protagonist or the premise. As I look at the targeted demographics, I can easily see why. This thread is an attempt to generate discussion surrounding the gaping holes that major developers either refuse to, or are not allowed to touch. I covered some of this in my Combat-Sim thread, but that focus was fairly narrow.
My wishlist for the industry:
I could probably think of more, but that's it for now. How about you?
This comes up a lot, so I thought it could do with its own thread.
When I see "Broadband Internet Connection" listed under a game's requirements, I don't get angry or depressed, I just ask WHY? This is not a question of corporate vs. customer rights as much as a question of efficiency.
An oft-quoted response to "why do we have to be online" complaints is "well you're online most of the time anyway...", yet we're not. Not really. I log onto Steam when I plan to play, I open a browser only when I need to, I download only when I feel the compulsion to do so. Every connection has a legitimate reason.
As to concerns about licensing and "proper usage":
How does this apply to the topic at hand? For an example: It is none of Bioware or EA's business that I modify NPC textures or models in my personal installation of Dragon Age 2. None.
I blame Square Enix's poor reaction to Nude Raider mods for all the "proper usage" legalese... Another example: I routinely edit a game's ini files to hasten its launch time. If every meaningless "is this a legal copy, no there's no real content in this update" update replaces those files and forces me to do everything all over again, I consider the process inefficient. Let's say that my ini edits were only to force the game to run at a tolerable resolution. Is that also improper usage? No, not in context.
Until I sign a service plan instead of a license agreement, I expect to be able to access content I paid for however I choose. With this in mind, it is inefficient for me to be connected constantly.
Your mileage may vary.
When I saw the title pop up in upcoming releases, I rolled my eyes and scrolled onwards. I'm not sure what exactly caught my eye and made me reconsider, but I saw the price on Steam and thought "what the hell, it's fourteen bucks".
I've not been disappointed.
Since I haven't finished it, I'll hold off on a proper review and just list a few things that I absolutely love about the game:
Well, it certainly looked like an amazing title until I saw the system requirements section:
Other Requirements:Broadband Internet connection
I hope this is a mistake; the Wikipedia entry mentions nothing of the sort. If this is an indicator of an always-online DRM method, Capcom just lost another customer. F*$$ing shame, really.
- 9.99 USD on Steam
Normally, I stay far away from arcade-paced action/shooter titles, but God Mode's art design peaked my interest. When I realized it was LAN-capable (and knowing that I'd lose interest in an hour or two on my own), I talked a few friends into buying it and we wasted around twenty minutes or so this morning. It took a few minutes for us to get serious, but by then we were all dead and the arena reloaded with a different array of enemies that ruined what little tactics we could devise. Only one really b$#%&ed about the gameplay, while the rest of us sat giggling at the narrator and occasional surprises the game would toss our way (no, I'm not spoiling those).
Closing, but not really "final", thoughts:
At the moment, it's 10% off at 13.49 USD on Steam.
I wished I knew nothing about the title going in, but that hasn't taken too much away from the game. It's not a bad title so far, though a few things are annoying me (I'll cover these once I finish).
On Steam for $10.
Review with spoilers:
Three major areas: Financial District, Slaughterhouse Row, and a slightly modified Flooded District. The story's not a long one and remains mostly spoiler free. I've just finished a rushed, high-chaos run and feel mostly satisfied--I'm trusting the non-lethal run to be more enjoyable. The nice thing about this DLC is the emergence of a side-plot that parallels Corvo's journey and new information about Dunwall that leaves us wanting more.
Overall, it's not bad, but I feel a bit like my lust for more Dunwall lore is dulling any disappointment I might have had. I'll post more after a complete play-through.
This video reminded me of why I'm steadily becoming more and more disappointed with today's games. I also recommend checking out the uploader's other videos...and I'm going to talk to myself occasionally, so bear with me.
It's really getting old. Really. I know good single player experiences are hard to come by these days, but I'm sick of spending 80% of my time murdering wildlife, bandits, "terrorists", guards, robots, undead, mutants, f!ing zombies (I'm actually just sick of zombies in general), psychotic wasteland nomads, and entire mythology creature catalogues. Keep in mind that I'm not against video game violence at all--I'm just bored.
Alternative routes such as hacking, lock-picking, persuasion, and stealth are slowly creeping into more and more action games. Hell, Dishonored and Fallout: NV feature the option to avoid homicide entirely.
"The Thief series did this as well, so what are you complaining about?"
That is what I'm complaining about: applying action-genre expectations to titles that were never really about action. Thief was always about snagging more loot and staying out of sight, but the expectation of possible action fans playing the game almost demanded an arsenal of weaponry. Garrett could barely hold his own against one combatant, much less an entire squad of armed guards; nevertheless, one could outfit the master thief with explosives and go to town. I maintain that the Thief series should focus entirely on stealth and trickery and leave melee combat to the professionals.
"So go play something else like Sims or Portal!"
Why should fantasy, scifi, and period-themed games focus solely on violent conflict? Why can't I teach or attend a mages' school without the threat of supernatural invasion? Can space operas only exist during intergalactic wars? Should every mystery game star martial artists that face off against waves of hired mercenaries on a regular basis? I don't believe that combat or combat-avoidance scenarios are the only path to entertainment. Nor do I believe quick-time events are the only way to engage a player's attention (I'm looking at you, David Cage).
Gameplay can be slow paced and dialogue-based without being dull and forgetable. Dishonored proved that excellent world-building can keep a player invested throughout a title's tedious bits of gameplay. How could a romance/slice-of-life game seem boring when set aboard an Enterprise-inspired starship?
My point is that there are gaping holes in the video game market and triple-A publishers are being too risk-averse to try anything other than a sports sim, WoW clone, or plotless military training software. This attitude cannot exist alongside "we need to expand our customer base" in a sane world. This issue has been on my mind for a while, but the initial intent was to link the video and generate some discussion regarding the over-saturation of violence in non-action genres.
It's been almost two years since Kalypso's Dungeons crawled into the market and disappointed most of its buyers. I didn't outright despise the title as much as I probably should, but I've spent less than twenty hours on it and it's been a year since I've touched the game. While Dungeons never claimed to be a third Dungeon Keeper, Kalypso did little to discourage the rumors. I hate, hate marketing in all its forms.
That said, both newcomers look appealing. Preordered.
I'm curious as to other GMs' preferences concerning bestiary design standards and related miscellany.
1 - Would you prefer creature layouts (non-animal, non-construct) built at 0HD (or close) in order to allow for maximum customization?
For example, basic goblin statistics can be used as-is for generic enemies, possible NPC, or as a race option for PCs.
2 - Do you advance creatures as needed or prefer to stick with whatever published builds are available?
3 - If you advance or modify creatures, what is the preferred method (standard HD advancement, class levels, etc.)?
Every time I play a bit of Drakensang: RoT I find myself looking for the German audio files. I'm sick to f@%%ing death of inferior voice acting in import titles. What the hell's wrong with reading the subtitles? I'm really tired of playing games with the localized voice-overs muted.
Anime fans know this feeling all too well.
I'm not asking the industry to change--that's like jumping the Channel--I'm only asking for the original audio to be included. Not default, just included so that I can have access to an audio track that doesn't make my ears bleed.
For many, a dead PC at low levels is simply a corpse; similarly, a PC captured and abandoned by their group is never heard from again, save a poignant mention of familiar broken and battered prisoner seen during the group's return. My current group never liked this approach for several reasons: enduring the mistreatment/slavery/etc. for a chance to escape, morbid curiosity, campaign foreshadowing, where did the corpse go?, and so on.
Everyone managed to get today off, so an early morning journey to Rappan Athuk was called for. Two characters fell within half an hour and I spent a solid ten minutes detailing the pair's death. The next Game Over involved a PC's capture that took almost twenty minutes to cover where, what, and how that character's end finally came. All of this has been at the group's request and they have yet to discover an entrance.
No other group I've GMed for or played with wanted to peek behind the "Game Over" screen. Getting to the point of the thread: How does your group handle "Game Overs"?
Anyone playing it? It's still $7.99 on Steam for the next 17(ish) hours.
It's not bad, from a survival horror connoisseur perspective, but the s#&!ty retro look gets pretty annoying. Sort of reminds me of the Clocktower series (visually). I find myself playing it in bursts of fifteen to twenty minutes thanks to the visual styles and an over-cautious attitude (something I fall back on with every horror game I play).
So far, it's worth the eight bucks.
*Avernum was released early for Macs, but the Windows build isn't available until it's up on Steam.
Thoughts? Since the Geneforge series was amazing and Avadon was (and is) beyond boring, I'm pretty much sold on Avernum.
Behold, the Order of the Chauvinist!
Cavaliers of this order must be male (aspiring female applicants must take steps to become male...*snickers*). Mighty warriors and wise mentors, these cavaliers reinforce traditional gender roles and protect the world against new and dangerous ideas.
Edicts: The cavalier must refute all lies regarding gender equality, education, and sexual "harassment". He must disrupt feminist rallies, protect reckless females from engaging in duels, and prevent women from reading outside of the 'Society' section of each day's broadsheet. He must also stop and admire any woman whose flesh is exposed beyond traditional standards, offering suggestions or approval as applicable.
Challenge: Whenever an order of the chauvinist issues a challenge, he receives a +1 morale bonus on all melee attacks rolls against any obviously male humanoid, monstrous humanoid, or giant. This bonus increases by +1 for every four levels the cavalier possesses.
Skills: An order of the chauvinist cavalier adds Knowledge (nobility) and Perception to his list of class skills. In addition, an order of the chauvinist cavalier adds his Charisma modifier to the DC on another creature's attempt to conceal their gender from him through Disguise (in addition to his Wisdom modifier as normal).
Other Abilities: A cavalier belonging to the order of the chauvinist gains the following abilities as he increases in level.
Enhanced Bravery (Ex)
Protector of Wenches (Ex)
Only intelligence-based casters (and alchemists) are required to physically store the spells they 'know'. It seems to me that a high intelligence score would indicate a good memory; why shouldn't wizards 'remember' their spells? What if spellbooks could be created as sort of expensive combined scroll? As long as the flavor was intact would it matter?
This is intended as a discussion (The battleground's that way...), so here are a few questions to get things started:
1 - Do you feel that the spellbook (or equivalent) mechanic--not flavor--is necessary for INT-based casters? If so, why?
2 - Do you feel that the flavor and themes surrounding an INT-based caster require them to draw their power from a book or pet? Could you cite examples (books, film, etc.) as to why?
3 - What would be your response to removing spellbooks (and equivalents) as a requirement for INT-based casters? This would not mean witches would have to give up their familiars, but rather that they could prepare spells without chatting up their pet each morning. The casters would still have to pay the necessary gold to learn new spells (outside of leveling up) and prepare them each day as usual.
4 - Have you (or has your GM/DM) made any house-rules regarding this? If so, what changes were made?
Background: I never played the original, but I've heard good things about it.
Since Bethesda's marketing department (or whoever) decided to delay the last bit of DLC for New Vegas when I 'needed' it most, I figured it was time for an impulse buy that would discourage me from getting the DLC when it came out.
Steam had a few titles that looked interesting, but everything's coming out later--wait? What's this, Deus Ex HR unlocks tonight? Well let's look at the trailers at leas--yep, $45 here you go.
Anyone else looking forward to this?
For those unfamiliar with the titles...:
REC: a Spanish horror film
Quarantine: remake of the above title aimed at people who fear subtitles and love long expositions before the plot kicks in
Everytime I learn of an American remake of a foreign horror film, I cringe. I believe that people who refuse to read subtitles should not get to experience the movie. US distributors have an opposing viewpoint: "You say you can't watch the movie 'cause of all the dirty foreigners speakin' their weird languages? Don't worry! 'Got a genuine American-made remake right here! And don't sweat the story parts 'cause it's just a horror flick; you know, people die and weird stuff happens. Enjoy the movie!"
REC 2 picks up where REC left off; same building, same night. The story centers around a four-man special forces team (each sporting a helmet-mounted camera) attempting to assess the situation within the apartment building.
The cinematography really shines in the sequel, allowing for immersion and quality visuals. There's quite a few creepy moments to be found and the acting is top-notch. A weird story development comes out of nowhere and surprisingly (despite my personal opinions of the writer's choice) manages to cement my interest for the remainder of the film.
As for Quarantine 2: the story does pick up after the events of Quarantine, but it also leaves the apartment building and boards an airplane. The plot pales in comparison to REC 2. Predictability and cardboard characters dominate this film; the actors (well, some of them anyway) do their best, but shoddy writing and editing overshadows all their efforts.
The actors with the most screen time interested me the least and moreso with regard to the characters portrayed. I truly hated the main female character within the first ten minutes. At the film's mid-point, the actors I cared about were gone (or on the floor face-down) and all I was left with was a low-grade zombie-fanboy of a film that should have never left the runway.
REC 2: The film rivals its predecessor and stands as a solid horror title worth watching.
Quarantine 2: A garbage plot, awful script, and horribly portrayed (and written) main characters eclipse what little gems this film could have offered.