Archive for December, 2009

Crossfire Tango, Part 19

30 Dec

The revolutionary’s cottage had gone dark, and nobody had moved to light the lamp. The last bit of fresh air had come when the father had opened the door to leave.

There hadn’t been an abundance of noise since then. In the first half-hour, Vatsy had a quite enthusiastic conversation with his adoring fans, whose contributions consisted of blank stares and the occasional squirming. The conversation trailed away, and none followed it. In the next hour after this, the children fidgeted on the floor; then even this stopped, and there was only Vatsy’s pacing and the slow, rhythmic tapping of Bruno’s finger on the countertop.

Then dinner was served. There was the meat being put onto plates, the clinking of silverware, and the sound of plates being stacked. And then the mother sat down, bleary-eyed and stiff, and silenced reigned once again.

Another hour passed.

And then another.
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Lord of the Scraps: Map

28 Dec

Thought I should get this out there and be done with it. Here’s a map of the area Lord of the Scraps currently takes place in:

They won’t get to the Perimeter Fortress until this week’s entry, and won’t get to the Vahtzen fort for some time after that. This is just a general window into the world situation: Vathzen invading from the north, Deathgrip trying to hold the mountains. The Royals are, at this stage, irrelevant.

So far, I’ve given the players somewhat vague maps. This is partially because I wanted to ease them into the large-scale setting and not make them feel overwhelmed, partially because their characters never really got a good map, partially because I wanted them to feel a little lost…and, yeah, partially because I knew I’d fiddle around with where the territories are once I got a good idea of how the campaign was going to go down.

 

In a Hostile Country: The Saga of Cahmel (Let’s Play Morrowind, Part 29)

28 Dec

(Hadn’t realized how much of my buffer I’d eaten through—not a whole lot to today’s LP. I’ll get some more gameplay under my belt before next week’s entry.)

When we last left our mighty hero, he’d been inundated with curses until his muscles turned into licorice. At least, I’m assuming it was the curse that did it. It’s possible that it was just a radioactive bonewalker, since I seem to have gained the proportional strength and agility of a rotted corpse.

I had to tweak this screenshot heavily to make the bonewalker visible. I guess the CHEAPNESS is fogging up my vision.

No hyperbole: my strength score was actually reduced to zero. This left me in a bit of a quandary. In Morrowind, your ability to carry objects is tied directly to your strength. The higher your strength stat is, the higher the upper ceiling of weight you can carry is. I’d been lugging around some 240 pounds of assorted crap—some of it essential (my armor/weapons/teddy bear), some of it valuable stuff I couldn’t be arsed to sell just yet, some of it random rubbish that I picked up by accident when I was quicklooting chests or trying to pick up specific objects in crowded areas.

Anyway, 240 pounds had been a comfortable load when I was Cahmel, muscle-boy and idol of ladies everywhere. Now that I’m Cahmel, weed-boy and poster child for degenerative muscle diseases everywhere, my comfortable load is a little closer to -5 pounds. In fact, if I want to be able to move at all, I can carry somewhere in the neighborhood of no pounds, nothing ounces. Doing the math, and considering the average weight of my equipment and random loot, this works out to a carrying capacity of anywhere between zero and none items. If I want to powerwalk my fur diaper thing across the room, I’m going to have to do so entirely unburdened, leaving all of my armor and weapons behind.

Alternately, I could chug a potion of restore strength, which all experienced adventurers carry with them for exactly this purpose.

…Uh. I, uh. I think I left it in my other diaper. I mean, obviously, I wasn’t dumb enough to go up against a cult of necromancers without carrying restorative potions. Duh. I guess  I just, I just misplaced it or something. Maybe a scrib drank it while I was sleeping or something, I dunno.

Well, I do have a spell that will boost my strength very temporarily, but I have to rest 24 hours between uses. I can’t rest here, since there’s bogies about, so I’d have to cast it, do as much tomb-clearing violence as I could in a very short window, and then run outside before it expired so I could rest up again. It’d be like deep-sea diving, only with evil skeletons, and I’d be wearing a more ridiculous helmet.

No, I don’t like that idea. Nor do I like the idea of pressing on, sans gear. Something tells me that attempting this dungeon naked and unarmed is something other than a winning strategy.

I scroll through my inventory, racking my brain for a solution. Unfortunately, I find one.

Divine Intervention.

It was a scroll I’d saved for exactly this kind of emergency. When cast, it would take me from wherever I was and plop me down at the nearest Imperial fortress. Once there, I could rest up, cast the strength booster, then run inside and search for someone who could sell me a restore strength potion, or at least a protein shake or a gym membership or something. I wouldn’t even have to abandon any of my gear. I’d just have to abandon this entire dungeon, and very likely all of the progress I’d made in it so far.

Only that, huh.

I wish I could say I thought long and hard about it, but…well, there wasn’t a whole lot to consider. True, there were a few possible solutions to this problem, but only one of which them was easy in the short term. I mean, in theory, I’d have to re-fight my way through the tomb at some point after porting away, but that was in the future. This is the present, where I have a choice between streaking my way to the nearest town and blowing a scroll and calling it a night.

I cast it, appearing outside Fort Somethingorother.

The patrolling soldiers (well, milling around soldiers, anyway) seem rather unimpressed that a bloodied black Steven Hawkings in bug armor has just appeared in front of them without warning or explanation. Their apathy seems a little strange at first, but it makes sense once you think about it. The spells are widely available, and get shilled by random NPCs during conversations, so adventurers randomly teleporting into their courtyard is probably a pretty frequent occurrence. The first time a half-naked guy appeared out of nowhere with a dozen slaughterfish in his pants, impossibly both soaking wet and on fire, they probably got used to the whole thing. I wonder if there’s ever any awkward civilian applications—like some middle-aged guy teleporting in with some lipstick and a sheepish expression on his face, or someone appearing clutching a couple bulging sacks of coins and trying to walk away casually.

Now that I think of it, there’s probably some sort of Divine Intervention betting pool going on. “Man, if one more flaming wood elf appears this week, I’ve got next month’s rent all sewn up!”

Anyway, I cast my magic Charles Atlas Build Bigger Muscles In 1 Seconds spell and run inside. It doesn’t take long to find a potion maker—unfortunately, he only stocks the watery kind of potion, and he’s barely got enough strength restorers to bring me back to my former glory. So…if I’m going to do this properly, I’m going to have to go get supplies somewhere else.

Great. Looks like I’m walking to the nearest town, first.

 

The Week to Come

27 Dec

If you are anywhere near as exhausted as I am from the holidays, then you’ll understand the terseness of this post. Suffice it to say: we’ve got a full, regular week this week. I’ll try to slot in the one I missed last week on top of everything else–it occupies the D&D category, so I could cheat my way out of that one this week, but I risk being hunted down and scalped by my players if I skip out another campaign summary.

Here are the steps. You know the tune.

  • Teleport With Great Terror
  • The Overground
  • That Kobolds One
  • The Usual Campaign
  • Helpful Diagrams

Fun Fact for the Week: Interestingly, and contrary to what one might expect, a random terrorist armed with a gun held together by string and Russian ingenuity is able to hit a bullseye from 50 yards, while an extremely well-trained counter-terrorist armed with the finest hardware on the market is lucky to hut a bull from 5 yards if he makes any sudden moves, such as blinking or shifting his diaphragm. This information comes to me via a very reliable source; namely, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six 3.

 

An Excessively Vatsy and Bruno Christmas

22 Dec

(This is out of the major continuity. If you’ve never read V&B before, you’ll still be able to read this without a problem.)

The snow had been falling for a while now, covering the streets, buildings, and sleeping vagrants in a lovely blanket of white. Freezing winds, collapsing roofs, and particularly festive cases of frostbite were popping up all over the city. It was beginning to look a lot like something or another; theologians couldn’t agree on exactly what.

They’d tried to light a fire inside the tin washtub, but Vatsy hadn’t wanted to burn his notes and there wasn’t much flammable to be had. Still, Bruno had nipped round and done everything he could to keep the worst of the cold out. The craters in the wall had been patched over with cheerily moth-bitten blankets, and the drift of discarded papers had been stuffed in the wall cavities as insulation. The result was a room that wouldn’t actually freeze your kidneys solid.

Bruno sat in his chair, shivering under a well-used quilt. Vatsy was curled up attentively in his, reading over some ink-stained drafts.

“I must say, Bruno, this is some of my strongest work yet!” He flipped through them excitedly. “12 pages of journalistic fury, containing interviews, an artist’s rendition of the nostril in question, and quite an amusing little sonnet, if I do say so myself. The margin quality goes without saying. If the Writer’s Guild rejects this one, it’s their own folly.”

Bruno yawned, pulling the blanket around a little tighter. “Post should be open tomorrow, boss. I’ll get it over first thing.”

At that moment, there was a conspicuous pounding on the door. It was knocking’s inarticulate drunkard cousin.
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A Visit From Saint Cahmel

21 Dec

T’was a fight against ghoulies, and all through the tomb

The undead were stirring to bring ‘bout my doom

The skellies had teamed up, the fight was unfair

From the very first moment I’d walked off the stair

The Hlaalu were nestled all snugly, the knobs

As I scrambled about the place, doing their jobs

I was starting to feel a small bit of regret,

For I knew the faint praise and reward I would get

But I was bound by my conscience, my job, and myself

If not the desire for fame or for wealth

And so, all disgruntled, I went door to door

To run, and to fight, and to bleed out some more

I cleaned up the trash, ‘till I screamed with delight:

“On this floor, there are no more bonedaddies to fight!”

That’s where I left off; right before I remembered

There were floors full of skellies I hadn’t dismembered
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The Week to Come

20 Dec
It’s Christmas week*! There’s a thousand luridly irritating songs doing their thing on the radio, there’s colder temperatures in areas that get colder around this time of year, and things can generally be considered, excepting certain stresses and when considered as a balance, festive.
Expect a little extra holiday cheer in your envelopes this week.
  • T’was the Night Before Getting My Arse Kicked By Undead
  • An Interlude
  • Kobolds Ate My Fruitcake
  • Not Pictured: Festivity
Fun Fact for the Week: I’m currently playing Myst. The first one. It’s a little too easy, except when it’s not. On an extremely related note, I need: a new keyboard, a new set of teeth, new neighbors, and coronary surgery.
*If you’re into that sort of thing.
 
 

Lord of the Scraps: Session 2, Part 1

18 Dec

When we last left our party, they’d cut the throat of one of their fellow prisoners to save the life of one of their own slavers. Now, they had to follow him through to a camp hidden in the woods, a place where they could hopefully situate themselves in this hostile world.

As they travel, they converse a little, always out of earshot of the slaver. Most are in agreement: they don’t know what awaits them in Deathgrip’s camp, but it had to be better than wandering through strange and predatory woods. If they could find employment, maybe they could find and assassinate the leader, the individual who’d gotten them into this grim situation in the first place. Even this is a dim notion—survival, not revenge, is their real priority. The fat man hints that they could be shipped back home if they performed well enough, but none of them are interested. They’ve got enough problems in their respective homelands.

After a while, they reach a clearing. “We’re here,” he says. “Alright, uh, I’ll just go do the talking, okay? Just stay here so he doesn’t get jumpy.”
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Three Samples

17 Dec

We’re deciding which radio serial concept we’re gonna go with this Satudary. In preparation, I’ve created three sample scripts to go over voice acting with–they won’t actually be incorporated in the final show, and they’re intentionally given very generic contexts. None of them give away any real spoilers, so I feel pretty comfortable posting them here.

Keep in mind, these aren’t really that polished–they’re really just placeholder lines, and I put only about an hour’s effort into the lot of them. Still: If you like the character dynamics on any of them in particular, point it out. We’re a little bit deadlocked on which concept we like best.

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Crossfire Tango, Part 18

16 Dec

(Illness can suck it. Here’s part 2.)

Not far away, in a pitch black room that smelled like wood on a bad day, Striker was waking up by degrees. He didn’t know where he was, and the only things that were giving him anything to work with were his nose and his pain receptors. This didn’t make for the best cocktail of sensations to wake up to.

He tried to stand up, and didn’t have much luck. It wasn’t that his legs weren’t working, it was more that he couldn’t figure out exactly what to do with them. He sort of awkwardly pushed himself up the wall a few feet, thrashed a little with his right leg, and then slid back to the ground, trying dimly to remember what he was supposed to be doing at that very instant.

He became aware that someone was talking, not far from where he was. His splitting headache had drowned out most of it, but as the voice grew closer he could just about make sense of it.

“…couldn’t trust any of them. There was just about one associate in this city I could rely on, and he was walking right beside me. As for the others…posers, for the most part. If my employers hadn’t forced me to take them along, I would have just done the job myself. That’s why I gave them the easy job—all they had to do was shadow the two of them up to the checkpoint, then leave somebody behind to let me know where the targets were headed towards.”

The voice paused. There was a canine bark from his general direction, and then the sound of cracking knuckles.

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