Chain Mauler

Necromancer's page

1,574 posts (1,612 including aliases). 1 review. 1 list. No wishlists. 6 aliases.

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San Gabriel Valley Tribune July article

SGVT wrote:

A pair of friends at Cal State Long Beach said the bill seemed well-intentioned, but questioned how practical it is when it comes to ensuring consent throughout sex with their partners.

“I feel like their hearts are in the right place, but the implementation is a little too excessive,” said Henry Mu, a 24-year-old biology major. “Are there guidelines? Are we supposed to check every five minutes?”

The remark drew laughter from his friend and fellow 49er, Sue Tang.

“If you were to do that, it would definitely kill the vibe,” said Tang, 27.

SGVT wrote:
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.

Foundation for Individual Rights in Education article

FIRE wrote:

Yesterday, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law SB 967, a bill that will require California’s university and college students to obtain verifiable “affirmative consent” for sexual activity. As FIRE has pointed out here on The Torch, under this bill students must receive not just explicit consent to sexual activity but ongoing consent—although it is impossible to tell how often students must pause to receive explicit consent in order for their sexual activity to qualify as consensual.
FIRE wrote:

In practice, the bill will shift the burden of proof to the accused student—and supporters of the bill have openly praised it for doing so. Students, though, should be very worried about lawmakers and college administrators adopting the idea that accused students are essentially guilty until proven innocent.

TIME article

TIME wrote:

The gender ideology dominating academe denies that sex differences are rooted in biology and sees them instead as malleable fictions that can be revised at will. The assumption is that complaints and protests, enforced by sympathetic campus bureaucrats and government regulators, can and will fundamentally alter all men.

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.

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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?

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Some disgusting trends are steadily being exposed thanks to #gamergate raising awareness of corruption in video game journalism.

A plain-language examination of Zoe Quinn's lies, behavior, and her defenders.

A plain-language follow-up covering damage-control attempts, double standards, and the appalling lack of professional ethics.

Another plain-language follow-up covering sexual relationships between video game journalists, developers, and the (developer's) games they're reviewing.

"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.

This one is worth watching all the way to the end.

I really want to support independent titles, but now I've got to research them to death before I throw a dime at them.

wide, disturbing grin

- 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.

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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.
If allowed, Felix will travel with the party and even aid in defeating the Stag Lord. Should the party decide they don't need the rogue's help, Felix makes his way to Oleg's and waits for another opportunity. Felix has the Nimble Faller and Curiosity alternate traits; he will fight, but will not kill unless the party is overwhelmed. After his imprisonment, Felix refuses to work with or alongside goblins and will not, under any circumstances, describe his years in captivity.

- 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
Oliver Crownley comes from minor nobility and uses an elaborate signet ring as his bonded item. Physically described as Jeffrey Combs from Re-Animator. If Crownley had any sense, he'd be dangerous; nothing fascinates this young aristocrat more than forbidden knowledge and nothing stops him from acquiring it...except poor reflexes, low stamina, no common sense,... Have an evil artifact that needs to be safely hidden until it can be destroyed? Crownley has to see it. Find an old grimoire that possesses everyone who reads it with a suicidal spirit? Crownley must read it. Despite acting as more of a comic relief than a threat, the young wizard makes an excellent scribe and apprentice. Just make sure you five-year-old-proof any real knowledge.

Eva, Just Eva LG female aasimar bard (archivist) 1
Eva was adopted by Iomedean clergy as an infant and readily prepared to join the priesthood. There was just one problem: she couldn't handle divine magic. Not even the simplest orison would manifest. After a brief depression, Eva poured all of her energy into academia and exhausted every book the small temple had to offer. An eager apprentice and dutiful to the last, Eva arrives when the characters begin constructing a library, mage tower, or magic academy.

Edward Litera LN male human inquisitor of Asmodeus 4
Ever a slave to procedure, Edward Litera spent twenty eight years as a minor scribe before ambition demanded a change. The inquisitor's knowledge of church policy could shame some of the highest authorities in Cheliax. His successes soon earned an honorary Hellknight membership and he frequently acts as a recruiter. Grim, determined, and oft merciless, Litera's presence can be used as a threat, aid, or whatever role the GM sees fit.

Phobos N male(hermaphroditic) tiefling urban barbarian 2
Phobos was born to a woman unprepared, and more importantly unwilling, to raise a tiefling. After many failed attempts, she finally sold Phobos to a traveling side show. When the tiefling grew past six feet and could no longer be cowed into submission, the proprietor ordered an early departure one morning. Since then, Phobos wandered for several years as a caravan guard before landing in the characters' kingdom. Despite the tiefling's unusual anatomy, Phobos identifies as male and, at nearly seven feet tall, few argue the point. He's a simple soul and will take whatever combat-related job is offered.

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.

Steam link

The game's considerably short for twenty (19.99 USD), but it's excellent and certainly worth your time.

Only two days left...oh, f!&% yes.

I have absolutely no idea what race/class combination I want to start with; I really don't think I've looked forward to a game this much since Dragon Age: Origins.

So who else is coming to Seattle 2054 with me and how do you plan on starting off?

You guys really need to watch this. American censorship has to end if we're ever to move forward (in the right direction).

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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.



Both will be released this summer. The Ouya looks more appealing due to its accessible hardware and software, but I'm also interested in seeing how the Gamestick does.


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:


The DEUS EX series continues on mobile and tablet devices

London (5th June, 2013) – Square Enix Ltd., the publisher of SQUARE ENIX® interactive entertainment products in Europe and other PAL territories, today announced DEUS EX: THE FALL™, the new instalment of the award winning DEUS EX® series, coming soon to mobile and tablet devices.

DEUS EX: THE FALL is set in 2027– a golden era for science, technology and human augmentation, but also a time of great social divide and global conspiracy. Powerful corporations have seized control from governments and command the drug supply needed by augmented humans to survive. In this chaos Ben Saxon, a former British SAS Mercenary who underwent physical augmentation, is desperate for the truth behind the drug conspiracy. Betrayed by his private military employers, the Tyrants, not only is his own life at risk, but for all augmented humans, time is running out...

Developed by Square Enix's Mobile division in Europe, in collaboration with the original DEUS EX: HUMAN REVOLUTION® team at Eidos-Montréal and N-Fusion, DEUS EX: THE FALL is a story driven action-RPG and the first DEUS EX in the series to be released on mobile and tablet devices. The game includes never before seen characters from the novel published by Random House, DEUS EX: THE ICARUS EFFECT, picking up directly where the book finishes.

"We're really excited to continue the DEUS EX series on mobile and start a new journey", said Jean-François Dugas, Executive Game Director at Eidos-Montréal. "The team has done an incredible job creating a whole new story and controls for intuitive touch screen gameplay, whilst staying true to the DEUS EX universe. Players can expect exploration, action, hacking, stealth, social enhancers, player choice and consequence- the full DEUS EX experience."

"Smart devices are central to Square Enix's platform strategy and we approach it with the same attention as our boxed and digital releases. DEUS EX: THE FALL is going to be testament to our commitment in delivering high quality entertainment on mobile and tablet devices," said Antony Douglas, General Manager of Square Enix Mobile.

Priced at $6.99/£4.99/5.99€, the first instalment of the mobile series will be available this summer.

DEUS EX: THE FALL will be playable at the Square Enix booth at this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in the South Hall #1647.

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.

Incoming rant:
"But you own a tablet, why are you so negative?
Here's why:

  • Deus Ex: The Fall is an action title requiring fairly quick reactions from the player.
  • "Smart" devices are not smart at all; I'm stuck using a stylus most of the time and the input lag is attrocious.
  • The game will release in installations over a period of time. Hell no. I'm not signing onto a subscription plan.
  • Eidos is dumbing the game down to better accommodate touch screen input systems. So it's a casual Deus Ex I'm not pissing on casual games, but to take a franchise and break it to fit the casual market is simply too much.

I really hope Square Enix finds their Waterloo next year and we get another THQ scenario wherein IPs get distributed to worthy publishers.

On Steam for fifteen, but right now it's 25% off.

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:

  • Smart protagonists. We might see them from time to time or find opportunities to play them (thank you for that, Fallout: New Vegas), but they're hardly the norm. Rarely are our (non-RPG) characters allowed to shine in mental pursuits. Instead, there's usually a plucky or moody NPC nearby that carries all the brains.
  • Female protagonists. Yes, I can still disagree with Sarkeesian's methods and still support this. I want more Heather Masons and April Ryans, please. Hell, I'd preorder an RPG that would let me play a character like Violet Crawley (current age); think I'm kidding--you make it, I'll buy it.
  • Mystery plots. Why aren't we seeing any more of these? Adventure games constitute some, but I'd like to see more games involving a central non-combat related goal that still manages to resolve conflict.
  • Wizard school settings not written by J. K. Rowling. I want a Skyrim-like RPG set in something like the school in Keepsake like there's no tomorrow.
  • Strategy stealth hybrid. Think of playing Thief using the X-Com: EU system.
  • Space opera RPG. I'm burnt out on Star Wars and Mass Effect. Give me something with a small focus that doesn't involve my character saving any galaxies.
  • Relationship-centered title using a real engine. A mundane, non-action game that revolves around the main character's daily life and relationships with others. I've never seen one of these developed on a real engine; Heavy Rain comes close.
  • More cyberpunk/steampunk with noirish themes. Provided it's not set anywhere near the 1950s, I can't get enough of these.
  • Protagonists with different body shapes. I'm tired of thin, average, or ripped.
  • Magic abilities that affect enviroment. Some non-combat spells and abilities besides movement-enhancement.
  • Extensive dialogue options and long conversations. During the conversation, I'd like to adjust body language, manipulate nearby objects for emphasis, change tone, etc.
  • Male protagonists taking on non-traditional roles and utilizing new avenues. Fallout: New Vegas offered a taste of this with the Confirmed Bachelor perk, but that's just one flavor and the tip of the iceberg.
  • Victorian/Victorian-esque settings. We need more. More!
  • Ghost protagonist with proper abilities. Let's say the player starts off as a glowing wisp of ectoplasm and slowly evolves their shape based on experiences and leveling options.

I could probably think of more, but that's it for now. How about you?

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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.

  • If it's an MMO or multiplayer-only title, I get it. I usually move on, but I understand why this particular application needs network access.

  • If the game contains a single player campaign, there is no reason whatsoever to demand a connection. What about the multiplayer sections? Let the game talk to servers when it needs to.

    *What about games like Diablo 3? The game needs to be online for the auction house.
    The reasonable solution is to disallow players to sell items earned during single player campaigns; if a player wants to sell anything, let them create a multiplayer character. If the game cannot adjust its difficulty based on the number of players currently active, then it doesn't need an auction house. If a player will never use the auction house, they shouldn't have to jump through the same hoops.

  • If the game is only available for solo play, it certainly doesn't need to constantly communicate with company servers. This is a massive waste of bandwidth and should never be used as DRM (there are better and less intrusive ways).

  • If a single player game offers leaderboards or other features that directly tie into gameplay, the game was never intended to be played solo and should be considered multiplayer-only. Otherwise, leaderboards and whatnot should be completely optional.

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":
If I'm playing a single-player title, without any player vs. player economy involved, I will modify any sprite, texture, model, sound, or script as I see fit. There is no sane argument in the world that says I cannot modify something I legally purchased for my own private consumption.

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:

  • Gothic horror themes mixed with east European mythology
  • solid graphics and monster design
  • polished voice acting
  • doesn't take itself too seriously and looks like it won't outstay its welcome
  • well-written ghost companion takes the place of a faceless pet
  • local installer that didn't take hours to complete
  • nice array of skills and leveling options
  • excellent music

Well, it certainly looked like an amazing title until I saw the system requirements section:

Steam wrote:
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).

The Good
- supports LAN, "mostly" co-op (up to four players)
- no real story other than, "a corpse fights through hordes of enemies for fun and profit"
- entertaining narrator with a wide range of taunts and general chatter
- art style
- better weapons are unlocked through experience and gold
- players can grind arenas and unlock content solo/offline
- a bestiary section on the main menu that allows a closer look at the game's monsters (every action title needs something like this)

The Bad
- lengthy melee animations make the option almost a last resort
- appearance customization is fairly limited and the unlockable bits are mostly themed costumes; cheap DLC options will likely follow
- sprint is nearly useless
- no pause option when playing solo (not a huge issue, but it's still worth mentioning)

The Ugly
- third person only...why the f%@# isn't there a first person option?! For a game like this, that's a massive mistake.
- players can't jump, only roll (this is equally g#$!&+ned ridiculous)

Closing, but not really "final", thoughts:
If you hate military-themed shooters like I do, this is a nice way to bridge the gap and get some LAN time in with friends that don't share your tastes in fantasy gaming. That said, the game has enough flaws to warrant catching a few gameplay videos before buying.

At the moment, it's 10% off at 13.49 USD on Steam.

First impressions
- Unreal-based, so controls are fairly straightfoward
- interactive areas look like chalk art and stand out against the game's cluttered maps
- so far progression is completely linear and a bit predictable
- saves are handled through checkpoints that occur too infrequently for my tastes
- the puzzles gain in complexity as the player journeys onward; one solution was so f+@#ing obvious I'm ashamed of myself for not catching it sooner
- graphics are decent and there is no HUD to speak; though why there should be, I have no idea...
- don't try to climb clusters of objects, the maps can glitch and trap a player forcing a restart

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.

The Good
- modified Blink ability that freezes time while in action main
- character with an established personality and voice
- new areas (specifically a "modernized" slaughterhouse that oozes human inhumanity with every pixel)
- interesting side story centered, loosely, around the Outsider's involvement in human affairs
- no hub between missions; instead we're treated to a Daud-narrated intro just like Garrett's briefings in the Thief series
- easy-to-hate secondary villains
- sexy, new graphical textures and models (we are treated to a whale close-up)

The Bad
- short length
- quick, slideshow ending that left this player a bit annoyed
- maps aren't as sprawling as in the main campaign

The Ugly
- recycled guard chatter pasted onto overseers in the last map
- triggered dialogue occasionally overlaps other triggered dialogue
- new gang, Hatters, are barely present and effectively repainted Bottle Street boys

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.

Hello, Pathfinder Core product's been a while.


War for the Overworld

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.

DLC trailer without an intro ad

what's known so far

Bonemold and chitin armors are back!
Early xbox release, of course; beta testing.

It's $3.99 until October 12; from Spiderweb, the same guys behind Geneforge and Avernum (Exile).

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.)?

It's out on Steam at $4.99. Offers five new decks and more campaign levels.

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"?

Runic finally gave us a release date. Four new class (both genders for each) and over-world exploration this time. Looks good.

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Imagines applying mythic rules to a 1st level party for anime-level mayhem. Can hear players drooling over the prospects already.

To chew on? That's a meal!

Tell me I'm not the only one that read the title and heard Bonnie Tyler's voice and Steinman's music...

I'd like to end my Adventure Path subscription after Skull & Shackles #6 (From Hell's Heart, ISBN–13: 978-1-60125-422-1). I'll likely pick up again after Shattered Star, but for now please cancel my subscription after Skull & Shackles. Thanks.

Holy s!+@ and biscuits, the whole lot's $13.49. Ends Thursday.

These are three of the best games I've ever played. If you like steampunk (gaspunk tbh), stealth, and don't need DirectX 10 for everything you touch, check these out.

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.

Legend of Grimrock looks fairly interesting and, even though it's not visable on steam yet, Avernum: Escape From the Pit* is said to go live on 4/11/12 (info from Spiderweb Software forums).

*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.

Link to the announcement on Bioware's forum; if "verbatim" confirmation is needed, dig through several pages. I had a feeling this was coming--either that, or a surprise Dragon Age 3 trailer/promo material.

Has anyone tried this? Read it? Opinions?

I'll just leave this here.

I cannot stress how much I appreciate this change. Thank you.

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ProfPotts wrote:


Okay... now I want the Order of the Chauvinist to be an official new Cavalier order... :)

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)
At 2nd level, the cavalier no longer fears women. He receives a +2 morale bonus on all saving throws against fear effects as long as he is facing two or more obviously female humanoids, monstrous humanoids, or giants.

Protector of Wenches (Ex)
At 8th level, the cavalier can keep any barmaid within 30 feet from harm. Whenever an unarmed female humanoid threatens an attack of opportunity, as a full-round action, the cavalier can rush to the unarmed female's square and receive the attack in her stead. Both the cavalier and unarmed female fall prone. The unarmed female uses the cavalier's AC until the cavalier takes another full-round action to get up. The cavalier also suffers a -10 penalty to AC from the unarmed female for the next two hours.

Strong Hand(Su)
At 15th level, the cavalier can smack prone a humanoid feminist wearing medium or heavy armor. As a standard action that provokes an attack of opportunity, the cavalier reaches out and strikes an adjacent humanoid female (wearing medium or heavy armor). The attack deals no damage, but counts as a bull rush. The cavalier suffers a -5 penalty to AC against all attacks of opportunity from female humanoids, monstrous humanoids, fey, and giants for the next 12 hours. This ability can be used twice per day.

gallops away...


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.

Final thoughts:

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.

Are metal cartridges the only option (on table 3-6 in Ultimate Combat) for advanced firearms? If not, what are the prices for silver/adamantine/etc. bullets housed in metal cartridges?

Barely-contained possible spoiler:
Ratlings!! Thank you, so much! I've been using rat-things from d20 Call of Cthulhu up until now. The write-up is fantastic and Lovecraftian critters are always useful regardless of setting. Thanks again.

The pre-order's available on Steam; octopus-shooters and man-cannons for everyone. I haven't felt this happy about losing fifty bucks since well...a while.

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