Cristian Andreu 186's page

No posts. Alias of Klaus van der Kroft.

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Anyone else playing this new citybuilder?

Developed by Colossal Order (same people behind Cities in Motion), Cities: Skylines is a pretty comprehensive city-builder in the same line of the SimCity series. It takes several hints from SimCity 2013 (on the surface they actually look very similar), while avoiding pretty much all the things it did wrong (in particular: No online requeriments, huge city sizes, functional simulation, and lots of modding tools).

Graphically it looks great, though I admit the style is a bit bland. But with thousands upon thousands of custom buildings, parks, intersections, and landmarks already available from the modding community, it's quickly being fixed.

Maps are huge; you start with a 2x2 km area, which you can expand by purchasing additional 2x2 km lots, up to 9 in total (with mods you can purchase up to 25, for a massive size of 100sq kms).

Difficulty is pretty low, particularly if you compare it with SimCity 4. Though there are ways in which the game can throw a wrench at your carefully built utopia, save for the very early stages you will never really encounter money issues.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the game is the traffic simulation. The engine can hold up to 1,000,000 individual agents, each with their own homes, works, and needs, which scurry about your roads and walkways in a very realistic manner. And with the extremelly flexible road tools, you will soon find yourself experimenting with 4-level fractal highway junctions and spiral bridges.

It also deals very well with gridless city shapes, as lots are subdivided into tiny tiles that orient themselves to the street rather than the ground, allowing you to have very natural curves and corners.

All in all, a fantastic citybuilder. A bit easy, yes, but it more than makes up for it with its depth and replayability. The absolutely ludicrous amount of mods also give it a constant stream of free content, and the devs are very committed towards quality DLCs, both free and paid (the publisher's Paradox, and they've announced a release system like that of EU4 and CK2, in which even paid expansions provide free content for everyone).

Truly, Cities: Skylines is the first citybuilder since SimCity 4 that has managed to enchant me.

Also: The game includes poop dynamics. Sewage drains actually add volume to waterways and, if you build a dam to close them, you can drown your city in literal, volumetric crap. Sewer surfin'!

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I was just doing my daily inspection of another forum segment when I witnessed an unauthorized summoning of a goblinoid, followed by the appearance of ANOTHER goblinoid!

This raises some serious concerns within the Department of Gnomeland Security, for it is clear these malodorous menaces are up to something.

So I ask you, good non-goblin citizens of Paizo, how can we deal with this?

We cannot let this continue! Next things we'll be seeing, what, bugbears tending at cake shops? Gripply masseurs? ABOLETH BALLERINAS?

Madness, I tell you!

So, it's the fourth day of Spring, sun's high in the sky, fluffy clouds are galloping the winds, flowers are exploding in colours everywhere. A group of horses happily trots in the distance.

And I'm -me, myself, the whole of yours truly- swimming in worms. As in actual worms, not metaphorical "woe is me, the dreadfulness of sorrow crawls around me" nonsense-worms.

You see, I work in the agricultural business. And one of the things I grow are plums. When we send these plums to places like Germany and China, we have to first dry them, a process which generates huge amounts of sugar water as waste, which is expensive to get rid of.

I like this business. It doesn't usually involve more than a few worms at the same time. I like not being surrounded by worms.

Today, however, I was visiting some friend's plum drying plant, where they showed me their ingenious method for dealing with said sugary water: A huge pool filled with dirt and sprinklers, which spread that sweet liquid around, which worms happily digest and clean in the process (the rest is filtered afterward and used for irrigation).

Thing is, while plum season's not upon us, they were testing the growth of these little buggers, and had been feeding them lots of sugar water they had stored precisely for this. So there were lots and lots and LOTS of worms, some as thick as my fingers, like Monster Manual-level stuff. These bastards had CRs, I tell you.

And of course I get offered to walk on the teeny-tiny catwalk.

Which of course has no railing.

Which of course is also wet from the rain.

Which of course makes me trip and fall head-first into the wormy abyss.

Do you know how it feels to sense you face plunging into a soft, sticky, cold, writhing mass of miniature tentacle-like creatures, which proceed to fill every available space as you keep sinking beyond your shoulders, infiltrating your beard to the point of almost replacing it, before your back twists forward from the impulse and causes you buttocks to land on even more worms and, since the whole thing is soft and watery, cause you to end completely under a quicksand-like morass of annelids?


We're still going to implement the bloody thing, though. It's a good idea. I'm adding extra-railing, though. Like shark-proof cages railing.

Goblin Squad Member

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Whew. It feels like just yesterday I was tempted by the Tech Demo and the funding Kickstarter, and now look at it, PFO is already in the middle of the Land Rush and so close to Alpha I think I can already hear the ominous Gustav Holz's "Mars, Bringer of War" tune in the background as the game slowly approaches!

While I've not kept up with all the daily board minutia, I've tried to stay updated with the main updates and gee willikers, can I hardly contain the expectation.

I guess I just want to say: oh boy, oh boy, oh boy! Maybe add one more "oh boy" in there for good measure.

And a resounding applause of gratitude for Ryan and the Goblinworks team for having the vision and panache to convince us this was going to be the actual Next Big Thing and the force of will to drag us all along for the ride.

Of course, it's still a bit early to enroll with any actual opinions (see what I did there?), but as I said before: oh boy, oh boy, oh boy!

It's almost here!

And yes, I do realise I sound like a kid undergoing sugar intoxication. But with God as my witness, I am darned glad to participate in something that produces such level of immature excitement!

Go go go Dancey and the Dancing Goblins!

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Today's been pretty historical: For the first time in twenty centuries, two Popes have co-conducted a mass, and to canonize two other Popes simultaneously, no less!

In a tag-team of holy sacramental pontification in front of about a million attendees, Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI went on to proclaim the double-consecrated former popin' duet of Blessed Pope John XXIII and Blessed Pope John Paul II into sainthood.

For fellow Catholics worldwide, it's a great moment to rejoice, but also a great moment to think about what it means to be a Catholic and how these two men shaped the modern Church.

For non-Catholics, it's still a pretty cool occasion to witness, I would say!

Why did I drink so much water before this 5-hour trip?

Past Friday I was at a bbq with a bunch of friends, including a couple of lads from the Sweden and Dutch girl who were staying at a friend's home. Since around here everyone kisses and hugs regardless of whether you are a stranger or not, it was interesting to see their awkward reactions, but eventually they got a hang of it.

That led to the discussion of greetings in our respective countries.

How do people greet each other where you live?

Around here -Chile- it's usually hugs and/or kisses unless it's a man you don't know or a woman in business situations (in both those cases, handshake). Up to 3 kisses if the man in question is your dad.

Recently into Open Beta, The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot is a mixture of Dungeon Keeper and Diablo, where you both build a castle full of traps and monsters and attack those of other players in order to steal their belongings.

When you first connect, you get to choose one of three characters to play (a fourth one is available if you purchase a special pack): Blackeye Bogwart (The Archer), Sir Painhammer (The Knight), and The Earl of Evilosity (The Mage). Each has 3 different skill sets that you can mix to create your playstyle, and then everything else is defined by gear.

Once the character is chosen, you build your first -and modest- castle, by choosing different rooms to attach to each other (though there are two basic rooms -entrance and boss/treasure- that must always be included) and then fill them with various kinds of creatures and traps. You have a "defense rating" which limits the amount of challenges your castle can have, which can be increased by upgrading the castle (which also gives you access to new types of monsters/traps, new types of rooms, new items for your character, etc).

In order to build and improve your castle, you need Gold and Life Force; you get some of it from mines you build inside your castle, but for the most part you need to attack other people's lairs to get it. Part of the loot is generated by monsters/traps you defeat (which cost the defending player nothing), and another part comes from the owner's personal coffers (though these can only be plundered every 8 hours). In addition, conquering a castle takes Crowns from the defender and gives them to you. I'm still not completely sure what are Crowns for, but they seem to determine your ranking. You lose Crowns if you get killed at a castle or if your own castle is conquered.

Note that you don't have to actually be there to defend; attacks happen on their own and then you are informed when a player is succesful/gets defeated. However, before your castle's defenses can be tested, you need to be able to defeat them yourself, in what's called a Validation; if you fail to validate your castle, then your latest changes won't be encountered by other players. Validation also sets the "Target Timer" for your castle: If you take 3 minutes to finish it, then other players get extra Crowns from you if they beat it in less than 3 minutes.

The game has a decidedly humorous tone (it takes place in the Realm of Opulencia -though the technical terms used by Opulencians to refer to their country is "Prestige Feudal Heroism Community"-, where a real-state crisis forced people to take their castles into the sky, and where everyone constantly steals from everyone else, keeping the tiny sky-nation in perpetual conflict.

So far I've been having a blast playing it. The graphics are quite nice, the music is excellent, and the pace is frantic.

You can get is for free on Steam or UPlay.

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Just so I can cover all time zones pre-emptively, I'm doing this a bit earlier: I hope you have a merry, happy, and joyful Christmas!

While there is no specific reason we should have one single day of joy, it's always nice to have a day to remember the things that make us happy and the people we share it with. There's a lot of stuff going on in everybody's life, and sometimes it is easy to miss the tiny things that make it all worthwhile.

So hug your kids, call your friends, and go see your grandma (seriously, go see her more often. Grandmas are the best thing ever). Cherrish the memories of those who are gone, and fill yourself with optimism for those who are to come.

Whether religious or not, it won't hurt us to take some time to ponder about what we really need in life, be thankful for what we have and, more importantly, for those we have with us.

So Merry Christmas!

So the results are in for the groups of Brasil 2013:

Group A

Group B

Group C
Ivory Coast

Group D
Costa Rica

Group E

Group F

Group G
United States

Group H
South Korea

Seems we Chileans will be opening with Australia; with Spain and Holland also there, there is a promise for pain and entertainment. It'll be tricky, particularly with the Spaniards rushing to keep the World Cup.

Group D, though, now that will be pretty interesting to see; there's a lot of great football condensed there.

May the best country win!

Time Wizards! is a "roleplaying game" I wrote some time ago, based on a running joke which in turn sprang out of a typo we stumbled upon with some friends in the early 2000's on a splatbook forgotten by history.

You can download the rulebook (8 pages long PDF) from here: Download Link.

Basically, you take the role of a time wizard, holding power over causality and applying it context notwithstanding, such as Thursday Afternoon 15-Past-3 O' Clock -a time wizard-, endowed with such powers as "Closing the Door", "Donning the Bathing Suit", Splashing the Water", "Getting the Tan" and "Drinking the Pina Colada".

Game starts with the Time Master detailing the most uninteresting week he can think of (after the role of Time Master has been fought over), and then goes on with the players both trying to survive the rules (which are purposely obtrusive, often involving bananas, beards, and hats. Dice are used too, but mostly for slapping) and make sense out of the plot. And then fighting some more for the role of Time Master.

The last story we played got to a point we couldn't even understand what was going on, with physical space being promoted to the rank of Butter Knife and engaging in a duel of wits against a sentient barrel which had been previously turned into a dictionary entry and changed into a suffix. When another player finished the "encounter" with his signature phrase "But of course, I simply rewind the VCR", we had a collective brain meltdown and spent the rest of the evening laughing.

I'm not quite entirely sure what the purpose of the game is, but it seems that alcohol would make it easier to grasp.

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1.- Get to work in the morning.

2.- Open my mail account as usual, to check on important stuff.

3.- See a Paizo email about the Golem Sale.

4.- Check said Golem Sale.

5.- See prices.

6.- End up buying games I didn't even know existed, because discounts.

I hope you are happy. Between you and Steam, my wallet won't even talk to me anymore.

Hey guys.

Prompted by the Metric System discussion over at the Off-Topic forums, I made this PFSRD Metric Conversion Guide covering the most relevant measures and rules.

I'd thought I'd share for anyone who could use such a thing.

Here's the download link (it's a PDF, about 400kb. Host is WeTransfer, pretty safe to use): PFSRD Metric Conversion Guide

I hope it helps!

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What are your guilty pleasures? That song you sing while alone in the car you would never be seen hearing anywhere else? That weird and normally off-putting dish you make yourself when no one's looking? Those sandals you put on while still wearing socks when at home by yourself?

I'll start:

-I can't go to sleep anymore if I don't play Candy Crush first.

-If I order McDonalds for takeout, I will put some of the fries inside the burger.

-I once finished a jar of Nutella with icecream... and I can't wait to do it again.

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Well met!

I've recently started a Pathfinder campaign set in Planescape, and in order to make my player's life a bit easier, I concocted this special sheet that helps with some of the more particular aspects of the setting. It's meant to be added to the standard PC Sheet, and works just as well for Pathfinder, D&D 3e, and D&D 3.5.

Where to Get It: You can download the English version here and the Castilian version here

How to use it:

Magic Weapon and Armour Tracking: This helps track the plane of origin of each piece of magical armour and weaponry and includes boxes where you can pre-emptively reccord how they'll change as you move to other planes.

Magic Item School and Cancellation Track: For all the other magic items you carry, where you can quickly check which school they belong to and whether or not they are affected by a particular plane. The Null colum is checked when the item is cancelled so as to easily remember which ones are on and which are off.

Alignment Tracking: This is mostly an old house rule, but since alignments play such a big role in Planescape, maybe someone else will find it of use. PCs start in the middle box of their respective alignment, and then move around the track if their actions push them toward a different alignment (usually should be just 1 step, unless the action was very extreme). For each step outside their current alignment, PCs get -5% experience, and a -1 to attack rolls, skill checks, and saving throws, until they decide to embrace their new alignment and remove the penalties. This requires 1 week of instrospection and meditation; the PC can remain active during this period, but must spend at least 4 hours per day meditating or add another day to the process. The accumulated penalties remain in effect during this week.

Planar Distances: This is a referential chart (same as the one in the PS DM Screen) for easy checking of planar distances.

Outer Planes Chart: This one is both a referential chart for figuring out how the Outer Planes are called and related to each other and a track for the effects on Divine Spellcasters, where they can pre-emptively reccord which effective level they'll be casting spells as depending on how far from their deity's home plane they currently are (remember the distances for Divine Spellcasters are measured around the Great Wheel, and not through the shortest route).

Feel free to use it as you see fit. I hope this can be of help to other Planescape players out there!

Planescape has been my favourite setting ever since Dragonlance stopped being my favourite setting ever (I still love Dragonlance a lot, but after I stumbled upon Planescape somewhere around 1997, it was love at first sight). However, save for a couple of short AD&D campaigns in the late 90's, I've never fully devoted a campaign to it. Sure, I almost always include some Planescape in every campaign I run, what with some walkabouts through Elemental Earth and the occasional genasi visitor (or war for the control of Osirion with animated sphinxes wrestling each other. You know, the usual).

That is about to change in a couple of weeks, when our new Pathfinder campaign begins. We recently finished our second PF campaign (they tend to be pretty long. This one lasted almost two years, the one prior lasted over two years), and I decided it was time to get barmy.

So, after about a month of preparation and PC building, I am presented with 6 15th level characters who, after years of adventuring and world-hopping, decided it was about time they put their skills towards more exclusive endeavours and set up shop in the Market Ward of Sigil, selling their capabilities to the highest bidder.

The plan is for a more modular campaign than our previous ones; there's still going to be an overarching plot (involving, of course, yugoloths), but the day-to-day adventuring will take place in mostly self-contained stories. That was precisely why I chose this opportunity to use Planescape, since visiting all them barmy places and realms is one of my favourite things about it. It was also a good pretext to allow the entire Advanced Races Guide (though the party ended up pretty mundane in overall, with a Human Rogue, a Human Celestial Sorcerer, a Human Red Dragon Sorcerer, a Half-Elf Fighter/Wizard/Arcane Archer, an Aasimar Cleric, and a Oread Fighter which we rebranded as Earth Genasi, since the word "oread" sound very weird in our native language).

Just thought I'd share it, since I'm very excited to finally run a fully Planescape campaign, almost 15 years since the last time I did it. Starting at such a high level will be challenging, but an entertaining one nonetheless.

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After a while here, we are bound to learn new stuff. Not necessarily good stuff or important stuff, but stuff nonetheless. Which is using room in your head, which you could be dedicating to extreme kevlar knitting lessons or how to make hamburgers with the meat outside the bun yet still using a single burger.

So lets spew those lessons out to free memory space. What have you learned in your time here?

1.- We are all stooges of the plutocracy

2.- Yellowdingo would actually make a very interesting national leader

3.- The issue of the forums being way too long is compelling enough to have people talking about it for several tens of thousands of posts.

4.- The Paizo team really loves answering questions (I'm assuming they draw power from out questions for their own nefarious purposes)

What else?

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Player says the Dice Gods don't exist:

1.- Spends the rest of his days stepping on d4's.

2.- Dice fall off the table whenever he rolls.

3.- Doomed to pick d8's when all he wanted were d10's.

4.- Never crits again.

5.- Rolls d20. Gets "Go to Jail".

6.- Goes to buy new dice, all they have is those black marbled one with black numbers. Every time.

7.- Goes to the craps table. Gets actual, gooey snake eyes that stare back at him sternly.

8.- Orders a Pound o' Dice. Gets a Quarter Pounder, no cheese.

How much has your wallet endured for this year's Steam Summer Sale?

My current toll contemplates:

-The Spiderweb Software Pack (which includes the whole of the Avernum and Geneforge series, as well as Nethergate: Resurrection and Avadon: The Black Fortress).

-The Tropico 4 Complete Bundle (which includes all DLCs).

-The Old Gods expansion for Crusader Kings II.

So that's about 35 USD in total. Pretty nice deals, I have to say.

What's your damage count so far?

Has anyone else played this monster of a game?

Just got this boardgame last week, and while I still have some reading to do (it comes with a pretty hefty rulebook), I already have an overall idea of how the game goes. What I still don't know is how long and complicated it can get once it's being played.

Boardgamegeek puts the average time at 5 hours, but going through the rules I feel that our first run (scheduled for Saturday 15) might take considerably longer.

Do you guys have any previous experience with it?

For those who have never heard of it, Republic of Rome is a boardgame that seeks to recreate the years between the First Punic War and the assassination of Julius Caesar. Players take control of one of six different factions and try to win the game through influence, votes or control of the legions, while at the same time working together to avoid the republic from collapsing due to debt, war, rebellions, and so on.

Of all the manuals, booklets and tomes you have, which ones see the most use in your Pathfinder games?

For my group, Ultimate Equipment has become a stapple of every single session, being perused more than any other manual on the table, even the Core Rulebook. Ultimate Magic also has a lot of stage time, followed closely by that monster that is The Tome of Horrors Complete. I love how it still scares players when I open that colossal book.

What about you?

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So, I go to this meeting. Meet a couple of gentlement. It all goes very well and all, until the waitress comes by to ask what we're having (we're at an icecream cafe -a coffehouse where you also, well, eat icecream-). She suggests trying out the tripple delight icecream, when one of the gentlemen says:

"No, thanks. I do not like icecream"

The gentleman. He does not like icecream. Ice-cream. He dislikes it. A human being who has not an ounce of love for a cream of ice.


Lads and lasses,

It just came to my attention that I have somehow accumulated 30 DOTA 2 invites.

If anyone's interested in one, give me your Steam username (or send it by PM if you want to keep it private) and I'll toss one your way.

I've always been pretty happy with the sort-of Magical Medieval/Rennaissance style of games like D&D and Pathfinder, and honestly I don't think I'll ever get tired of it. It's a comfortable setting and commonplace enough that you can spice it up with just about anything without throwing it out the window.

That said, I do like trying out new stuff now and then.

Which settings, themes, subjects, cultures or epochs do you think have been traditionally underused/ignored by RPGs in general? Which ones would you like to see more often?

Personally, I've always been a sucker for Bronze Age "Cradle of Civilization"-type cultures, like Babylonians, Assyrians, and Sumerians. Something about the awesome beards and towers that pierce the sky.

I also feel the earlier stages of the Age of Discovery have been generally forgotten. I mean, few periods have been more ripe for adventure than the Conquest of the New World, with mustachioed conquistadors searching for golden cities and fountains of youth.

Lastly, though it is generally present in one way or another in most fantasy settings, Middle Eastern settings, both pre- and post-Islamic, very rarely get a properly in-depth treatment, usually just a Hollywood Arabia thing that, while I still enjoy immensely, still leaves out so much awesomeness.

I'm sure we've all got a handful of games that we just have to keep installed, regardless how old it is and how many times we've changed the 'puter, those games that make things like DOSBox and SCUMMV a necessity just between "drinking water" and "underwear".

Which ones are on your "DO NOT UNINSTALL" list?

Mine would be:

-The Settlers II: The Bluebyte classic about making tiny people build tiny houses to raise tiny pigs and then club enemies to death with porkchops.

-SimCity 4: The game that, in my view, perfected city-building.

-Masters of Magic: That marvelous crossbreed between Civilization and MTG. Casting Armaggedon just never gets old.

-Star Wars Rebellion: The much-maligned Star Wars strategy game from the late 90's, that for some reason I adore. I still play it on MP once in a while.

-Rollercoaster Tycoon 3: A slightly newer game, but one that I never manage to get bored of.

-Baldur's Gate II: I have finished it several times already and I just can't bring myself to not having installed. My favourite RPG of all times.

Got this game a couple of days ago. I was never much of a fan of the first one, but I decided to try out the second installment (either that or Steam is effectively transmiting radiowaves to force me to buy stuff).

CiM2 is a transport game, in the line of the fabulous Transport Tycoon and the not so fabulous Locomotion. Rather than a lengthy review, I'll just give the good and bad points I've noticed:

The Good:

-Graphics: Pretty realistic and detailed. Nice reflections on the water, trees move with the wind, people walk around town doing their business, streets alight during the nights. All in all, a nice-looking experience.

-Dynamic Cities: This is one of the coolest things ever. While you cannot actually build appartments and shops, people will slowly grow their buildings around the transport networks you lay. You just connected that nuclear plant to a nearby town and there are not enough workers? Some houses will start plopping along your road. A hotel you just linked has no nearby entertainment? Maybe some shops and a cinema will get built in the area. This creates very unique experiences every time you play, and makes the game seem very realistic.

-Route Construction: CiM2 gives you a huge level of freedom when building roads and rails, allowing the construction of some really convoluted networks. Best of all, the game uses an intelligent adaptation system that changes the surroundings to fit your work, making ledges, bridges, tunels, and whathaveyou without any kind of fuss, and making it look right in the process. Just building roads is a load of fun in this game.

-Map Editor: The game comes with a very handy map editor, with several automation tools that make creating new scenarios a breeze. For example, you can lay down some roads and activate the building generator, which will create communities around them; the bigger the street/network, the larger the urbanization.

-Easy Line Creation: Creating transport networks is extremely user-friendly in CiM2. You create a depot, plop some stations around and then create a line, selecting which stops you want. The game automatically finds the best routes (showing it with spiffy flowing lines on the game), calculates the time it takes to reach each station, and even gives you the average and optimal amount of vehicles of each type you'd need to service it. You don't have to manually assign each vehicle, either, as depots intelligently assign available vehicles to the various routes they service. Everything also nicely adapts to the changes you make on the timetables: If you, say, increase the frecuency of buses going though Station A by 15 minutes, the depot will adapt the vehicles to the new requeriments (though it will likely ask you to purchase aditional buses, or you run the risk of them arriving behind schedule and making passengers angry).

-Map Size: Maps in CiM2 are pretty huge. Never as big as those in TTD, but still very large, enough to house giantic metropolises or several smaller cities, with large tracks of countryside and tiny villages in-between.

The Bad:

-Number of Vehicles: The game has very little vehicle variety. Even though you can work with buses, trolleys, trams, trains, and waterbuses, you only get 3 models for each category, and that's it. The shop already has several additional vehicles as DLCs (at 0.99 each), so it is clear the route the devs wanted to take the game.

-Emptyness: I'm still not quite so sure how exactly the game fills up, but it seems that cities are static until you connect them. This means that cities will seem empty and lifeless for a long while, with hardly a car of person walking around. Things get better once you start connecting things, but I found this odd and rather disconcerting.

-No Random Maps: Even though the game has a great editor, I miss having a random map generator. There is already a hefty number of player-made maps (even one uploaded by yours truly), but it's not the same as the good old automagically generated scenarios of TTD.

-Types of Goods: Unlike games like TTD and Locomotion, in CiM2 all you move around are passengers. It is still very fun and challenging, but you won't be playing around with production chains and selling goods to distant cities.

-Music: There is almost no music to speak of, just some themes when the sun goes up or down. You'll be cracking open some MP3s or Grooveshark soon enough.

After seeing a picture on the Science is Cool topic, I remembered a conversation I had with my dad some years ago, when I was teaching him how to use Google Earth on his iPad:

Dad: So can I see the house in this thing?
Me: Sure, dad. Here, we just type the address and... there. That's the house.
Dad: Hm
Me: Dad, you've always loved sci-fi. Did you ever expect to be looking at your house from space, while sitting on a couch in your room, using a computer smaller than a book which you control by touching it's screen?
Dad: To be honest, I was expecting a lot more tubes, wheels, and guys in labcoats.

So, particularly to the older ones among us, how has the state of things surprised you (for better or worse) compared to what you imagined years ago?

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Just got the news: The Conclave has elected Argentinian Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, to be the CCLXVI Pontifex Maximus of the Catholic Church! He has taken the name of Francis I, most likely in honour of Saint Francis of Assissi.

It's a pretty historical election as well:

-He's the first non-European Pope in 1,200 years.
-He's the first American Pope.
-He's the first Jesuit Pope (so technically we can speak of a Black Pope, hah!)
-He's the first Spanish-speaking Pope in 500 years.
-He's the first Pope to take the name of Francis (Franciscus).

As a Catholic I'm pretty happy with the election. Cardinal Bergoglio is well-known for his keen interest in helping the poor, his simplicity, his humility, his acute theology, and his criticism of the dehumanizing routes modern economical and social models can take. He's pretty adamantly against homosexual marriage, however, so that might cause some controversy.

As a Latin American, I'm ecstatic. We've been waiting for a Latin American Pope for as long as I can remember, our continent being home to 40% of all the Catholics in the world. I'm glad our particular culture and way of seeing things and understanding Christ will have a chance to assist and enrich the Universal Church.

And finally, as a Chilean, I'm proud to see a fellow Argentinian brother on the Throne of Saint Peter, one that underwent his Jesuit formation here in Chile interestingly.

Thought I'd share the news.

I understand the Golarion World Map is explicitly not to scale, but it still leaves me wondering, how far, approximately, is the Crown of the World/North Pole (I'm not too knowledgeable about the Crown of the World, so I'm not exactly sure if it represents precisely the North Pole of the region near it) from the Inner Sea region?

It's mainly for a campaign I'm currently working on, that will have an important "Let Us Traverse the Northern Frost Atop These Quant Numerian Machines While Hunting Mammoths and Linnorm!" segment.

Just a rough estimate would help me greatly.

Thanks beforehand.

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Here, I offer you a topic surprisingly not started by our esteemed Grand Magus.

Come with me if you want to live!

Goblin Squad Member

Considering PFO will be likely filled with P&P roleplayers, who have a predilection for miniatures, what about considering the option of deal with, say, Reapers (given how they have been working on the reward minis) that would allow to purchase miniatures made out of PFO characters?

Since we know PFO will feature some sort of microtransaction store, such a service could be put into that.

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After reading of Mikaze's wonderfully generous actions which still have me smiling of joy, I felt it was time to join in the Christmas spirit and try to do at least something in the same line, hoping to make someone else at least a bit happy somewhere.

So in the same line as Mikaze, I'm giving away a 25$ Paizo Giftcode to the first 8 people who request one, so you can spend them however you like. No need to say, give or do anything in return, except getting something you like.

Just post here and I'll contact you via PM to handle out the details.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

EDIT: Thanks everyone who participated! To those who got their codes, to those who didn't; to those with outdated afro haircuts and to those with missmatched socks. Regardless if you call it Christmas, Holiday, End of the Fiscal Year or Wednesday, I wish you a merry day regardless to you, your friends, and your families.

As everyone with History Channel should know by now, the world is 3 days from ending.

What are your plans for what's left of history?

I hadn't paid much attention to the Gears of War series, to be honest, until a friend gave me the third installment for my birthday last week.

And oh-boy am I happy he did. The game is like a trip into the Elemental Plane of 80's Action Hero Tough Guys, oversized chins and everything; the over-the-topness, it never stops. And I'm loving it. Not to mention the gameplay itself is tremendously entertaining. I'm particularly happy with the Horde mode multiplayer.

Anyone else plays this thing?

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This is the counterpart to Forum Rivals, so we can pat on the back forum users we think are particularly nice and congratulationable(even if it is not an actual word). This is independent of whether or not we actually interact with them on a regular basis; some users seem outright cool just from reading them.

Off the top of my head (thus likely forgetting someone) and in no particular order:

-Doodlebug Anklebitter: One of the most entertaining and indecent posters to read. Also, I like the way in which he showcases his ideological views, even if I can disagree with most of them. Plus his aliases are awesome.

-Orthos: All-around cool guy and very even tempered. Always a good addition to a discussion and one of the voices of reason in this otherwise mad world of Paizo forums.

-Meatrace: Quite a clever and assertive poster, even if we sometimes bump heads on certain delicate matters. I like his argumentative consistency and debate stamina, and can be a pretty fun poster to read in less serious topics.

-James Jacob: This man has the patience to answer even our silliest questions. I particularly enjoy the fact he takes the time to personally explain the reasoning behind design decisions, and that he does so in a light-hearted and pleasant to read manner.

-TOZ: Has probably the best one-liners in the forums. And his coments seem to have the capacity to quickly defuse otherwise tense topics, which is a remarkable quality.

-Mr Fishy: Mr Fishy does not care if you like Mr Fishy. Mr Fishy likes Mr Fishy.

-Aberzombie: Very entertaining and informative fellow. I keep reading his name as "Amberzombie", however.

-Gorbacz: Funny, clever, and polemic, all wrapped up inside a bag that will eat your magic items in the worst possible moment.

-Mikaze: Always an interesting read, and able to delve in often ignored but important subjects in a well-versed and thoughtful manner.

-Evil Lincoln: A very clever and articulate poster that consistently brings worthwhile material into topics, regardless of subject.

-Crimsom Jester: Makes justice to his name. A very comical, entertaining, and clever user. Seeing his name on the posters list often drives me to check the topic in question.

-Celestial Healer: I can't quite put my finger of it, but there is just something very cool and stylish about this guy that makes him very likeable.

Do you feel like adventurers never appreciate what you do for/to/with/on them, their items or their organs?

That DM's only call you in when they want to fill a nasty corner of a dungeon, never getting a chance to be that important NPC everyone wants to rescue or at least get allowed to hand out a sidequest?

Does it seem like all you can do is force people to make saving throws, when all you really wanted was a hug?

Then, my friend, this is the place for you. Grab a chair, pick up some donuts, join the circle, and tell us your woes. We're here to listen, not to judge.

After unadvertedly hopping into a DeLorean, you travel back in time a number of years equal to the sum of the digits of the hour currently being shown in your closest time-keeping device (most likely your computer's clock).

Where did you end up?

11:02 here, so I travel back in time to... 910 AD.

According to Wikipedia, the year started on a Monday. That can't be good.

What kind of aether pressure waves are currently being absorved by your ear canal?

Oberon, by Carl Maria von Weber

This information is important. I need it for my nefarious plans. Would you deny a man his nefarious plans?

Myself? I was just reading an article regarding avocados.

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Context: Last Sunday, just after morning mass, I meet up with my brother and a friend to visit a faire being organized at our old school, to catch up with some teachers and in general check how everyone is doing.

Intention: To eat a caramel apple being sold in a caramel apple stand, because I was in the mood for a caramel apple.

Reason To Suspect: The student handling the stand is the little brother of a well-known prankster from the time I was in school. Also, the apple was unusually round.

Problem: After the first bite, I find out it was a caramel onion, not an apple.

And no, the onion was not softened in water prior to caramelization. Tears were shed, oh indeed they were.

No, really, what are you getting for lunch today?

Little time for me today, so I'll just have to take a quick trip to the closest Burger King.

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There comes a time in every person's life that they must ask themselves the question: Do I like Borneo or Sumatra more?


Good Things
-It is not Borneo - Objectively awesome.

-Sixth Largest Island in the world - Six is a good number, ie, having six donuts is better than having five.

-Home of the Sumatran Orangutan, Sumatran Tiger, and, according to Peter Jackson, the Sumatran Rat-Monkey - Cool fauna which also can turn your enemies into zombies.

-Was visited by Marco Polo - What would we play in the pool if not for him?

-Has lots of gold deposits - Gotta love the bling.

-The indigenous population didn't have a name for it - So cool they didn't even need to call it something; people just know when you're talking about Sumatra.

Bad Things
-There is only one Sumatra - Curses!


Good Things
-It could have even more bad things - Being bad is not as terrible as being worse.

Bad Things
-It is not Sumatra - Psh, amateur.

-Third Largest Island in the world - Having three donuts is worse than having six donuts, QED.

-Its name comes from Boring Neo, in reference to Keanu Reeves' poor acting skills - Self-sustaining argument.

So, with these compelling reasons in hand, is it Borneo or Sumatra for you?

PS: It's Sumatra.

PPS: Because Borneo sucks.

PPPS: Really.

Last saturday, after we finished our Pathfinder session (where I'm the DM), we came to realise one thing: It was the first time since we've been playing together (since 1996; we all started roleplaying together and the same group continues to this day) that a dragon of any sorts has been featured in one of my campaigns. It has never really been something I do on purpose, but for some reason I never create stories that include dragons, and this time it was mostly because, when we started the current campaign, one of the players directly requested me the option of, eventually, becoming a dragon rider of sorts.

What typical elements of D&D/Pathfinder, that you feel ought to be fundamental to the game, rarely or never show up in your campaigns?

Anyone else has gone throught this wonderful series of books?

Written by french historian and former Minister of Culture Maurice Druon, The Accursed Kings is a novelized history series of 7 books (about 300-400 pages each) about the life in the french court of the XIV century and all the issues that sprang from the curse that supposedly threw at them the Gran Master of the Templar Order when the King of France sent him to the pyre.

Although it starts a bit slow, it quickly picks up pace and becomes an incredibly enthralling morass of intertwined stories, that give a really amazing view into just how complicated a time period was. The number of characters is staggering (although Druon takes his time to carefully detail every single one of them, with proper historical refferences, in the appendix found at the end of every tome. I would advice not reading it until finishing, however, as while a historical reccord, it does contains spoilers of an otherwise captivatingly twisting story). All this while throwing in all manners of very interesting facts about medieval life, in the masterfully detailed and well-documented style of the writter.

I fully reccommend these books to anyone. I cannot begin to say how many campaign ideas I've taken out of them.

Who else is into these brick-laying, street-drawing, people-controlling sort of games? And what are your favourites?

I'm currently caught by Anno 2070, a city/resource game set in the near future when the seas have risen and you have to play as either the Tycoons (heavy industrialists who put efficiency first, and tend to pollute a lot) or Ecos (enviromentally dedicated folks who try to remain at peace with nature, but in return sacrifice efficiency) to dominate the world's last remaining spits of land. While I thought the sci-fi would swim against the style of the previous installments, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by how deep the game is.

My heart remains with SimCity 4, though. Verily, t'was the pinnacle of builder games.

In a time where most topics in Off-Topic Discussions count themselves in the hundreds and thousands of replies, there must be a place for us to enjoy the peace and lack of redeeming content of a short thread.

So here is a short thread, only ONE reply long. You are welcomed to walk around in our exceedingly small but comfy living room.

Earlier today, when I was driving from home to work, I was stuck in a bit of traffic, about 10 blocks from where I'm currently sitting. The weekend had been raininy and windy, with snow falling in the mountains, but other than that a typical late-may weather (I live in Chile, so it's the start of the cold season down here). The sky was very cloudy, but there was no rain or snow.

Then, all of the sudden, a white ball of ice drops from the sky and splatters right in the middle of the street, about five cars further ahead. I couldn't tell how high it came from as I only saw the last 100-or-so metres of its drop, but it was clear no one had thrown it (there are no tall buildings in this area, and in fact I was between a hospital and a supermarket, both which, as far as I understand, lack ice-ball cannons).

The ball looked like it was at least twice as big as a soccer ball, and when I drove past it, it looked just like your average pile of snow.

So, any ideas on what could cause this sort of phenomenon? It's like the clouds were having connection issues and the snow came together at the end of the stream.

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