Archive for May, 2010

Lord of the Scraps: Session Six, Part One

31 May

(I may know what the problem with my computer is—if so, you’ll most likely see the triumphant return of Cahmel this week. Actually, there’ll be one Cahmel-related post anyway, but I’ll keep a lid on that until it’s finished.)

When we last left our heroes, they had officially accepted the gnome commander’s offer and defected to Vahtzen, the faction they’d spent the past few weeks slaughtering wholesale.

The commander, somehow, looked less than pleased that they’d actually taken him up on his offer. He shook his head, looking a little nauseous.

“Well, that settles it, then. We’ll take you off to a hidden area to be retrained and given new objectives, then see what we can do with you. In the meantime, we’ll have to extract you from this base before the men find out you were here. If the rank-and-file finds out we took you in, we’ll never hear the end of it.” He sighed. “Speaking of which, dare I ask how many gnomes you slaughtered on your way to my office?”

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The Internet Has Crapped the Bed

31 May

I am typing this from a computer that is not my own. All considered, this is rarely a good sign.

That’s right, my standard gamin’, writin’, workin’, toolin’ around go-to computer Vatsy is currently unable to access any kind of internet, at all, for reasons that nobody has been able to figure out. I’m going to go out on a limb and blame the local UC’s Clean Access Network, but I can’t be sure. Bottom line: I’m forced to use a spare laptop for the time being.

What does this mean? Well, it means the computer I’ll be using for e-mail and the internet (read: the things I use for everything, at all times) will not be my standard one, with it’s Photoshop, Morrowind installation, Steam games, processing power, etc. In turn, this means that:

  • The Morrowind LP will be difficult to do, as I’ll need to transfer either my save games/game installation or my screenshots over whenever I do a post. This will require the use of a gorramn thumb drive, like some sort of savage person.
  • I can probably still record Spoiler Warning episodes–just gotta get Vent running–so no worries there.
  • Drawings will be difficult to transfer
  • You’re not going to see me gaming on Steam at any point in the next two weeks.
  • I’ll probably end up getting more work done.

Never fear–the editing will continue, and I’ll still do posts of some kind. Frankly, at this point I’d just welcome the chance to write anything that’s not academic for a while. Dungeons and Dragons post tonight sound good to you guys? Sounds good to me.

Year’s almost over, and then I kick kick stuff out of neutral and hit the open highway. Just let me get to a point where my car’s not about to explode.

 
 

State of the Skarn

30 May

I would first like to dispel several rumors that have cropped up in the past week–that I was stricken with some form of extremely specific disease that prevents me from playing old Bethesda RPGs, that I’ve eloped to Brussels with a mechanical squirrel, that I’m actually a hallucination formed from your darkest and most self-destructive impulses, and that I’m secretly a member of the communist party. All of these are untrue: I’m healthy, swingin’ single, I probably exist, and I am a staunch plutocrat. I am also overworked, something that will continue for another week at the very least.

I’m going to post some things this week, make no mistake. These may be things that you recognize. Remember that thing where I played that videogame? Or that Dungeons and Dragons campaign that I sometimes talk about? Or that other thing that I’m editing? Some of those may or may not make special guest appearances along the way. It all depends on what I find time for.

And then, of course, there’s the awesome twice-a-week video series I’m a co-host of, Spoiler Warning, which I highly recommend to anyone who likes watching three people dogpile a terribly-written game in realtime. That’s over on Shamus’ dealie-o, which can be found here. Tuesdays and Thursdays. Don’t miss it.

Besides that, there’ll be doodles, there’ll be scraps I have lying around, and there will (possibly not this week, but soonwise) be some indication of what crazy madcap projects I’ll be handling over the summer. I’m also considering hosting a brief stopgap LP, maybe three or four episodes long, which I have some ideas regarding. Like I said: all depends on what I find the time for.

On a personal note, I did manage to lick that computer virus. Thanks goes out to the obligatory Family Member Who Wrangles the Voodoo Boxes; also, to their loose-cannon mad-dog team of edgy antivirus programs with nothing to lose. For what it’s worth: I’m probably being o’erhasty in blaming Diversion for giving me the offending virus, and it was really just paranoia that made me take down the link. Felix seems to think the thing is clean, and he’s the one who uploads the darn thing, so this is probably me jumping at the first possible offender without looking at the situation reasonably. If you still want to download the magazine, here you go. Just an FYI: If your computer starts coughing up smoke and leaking brackish fluids, feel free to send your assassins after Felix instead. I promise not to be offended. Well, maybe just a little.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some sleep that direly needs catching up on.

Oh! That’s right, Comment of the Week. Let’s go ahead and pass that one on to KBF.

Vatsy’s neck scares me. If I have nightmares about it, I’m suing Chocolate hammer for all of it’s mallets.

I’m really at a loss as to how Vatsy’s neck could be construed as scary. I mean, I’ve had the drawing as my wallpaper for a while–helps me spot the flaws, don’cha know–and it hasn’t really affected me so far. It did do that thing where it whispered for me to take a straight razor to everyone I’ve ever met, then build a tower from their bones, but all of my drawings do that after a while. Hell, I got the same schtick from a bowl of popcorn last night. And from my textbook. And from my straight razor.

Huh, what’s this doing out here? I was sure I had it put away somewhere…

Maybe I should do something about that sleep deprivation thing.

http://diversionmagazine.blogspot.com/
 

Contest! Contest! Contest!

26 May

New issue of Diversion, the free fiction-and-other stuff magazine I do stuff for, is up! That link leads to a download, which, I’m assuming, you’re going to be proceeding to directly. Go ahead, you know you’d vaguely like to. And you should! Because within these pages is the information for a little mini-contest I’m sponsoring.

The gist is: my content for this week’s issue is a super-fun-time activity book, four pages long. Complete these pages in some sort of image wrangling software, then mail them to me at rutskarn@chocolatehammer.org, and I’ll judge them based on content, ingenuity, perseverance, odor, and conformity. The winner gets a prize, the losers get personalized abuse in e-mail form. The winning set, and maybe a few losing images that tickle my fancy, will get posted up here.

Deadline is…geez, I dunno. June 5th? Yeah, that one.

The activity pages had to be squashed a bit to get into Diversion, so here’s a link to a PhotoBucket that contains the whole thing. Best of luck, gentlemen, ladies, bipartisans, and may the most cracked of you win.

EDIT: Link to Diversion removed. I’m not sure, but I suspect there may be a virus on the download, as it’s the only thing I’ve DL’d recently and I seem to have one. I’m not sure, but stay tuned.

 

Art Congestion

24 May

The only things I have fit to share at the moment are the following bits of artitude. First, another sneak preview of Vatsy and Bruno’s cover-in-progress:

Every time I draw Vatsy and Bruno, they look a little different. I’m not sure this is the drawing of Vatsy I’m going to go with, but I’m reasonably fond of it.

Secondly, I did work a bit more on that sketch of Reginald Cuftbert:

I drew him like he’s about to visit bodily harm on you…because frankly, there’s rarely a situation where that’s not the case.

 

State of the Skarn

23 May

Alright, obviously, posting’s been on the scarce side. It may continue to be sparse for the next two weeks–finals are nigh, essays are coming ’round, and I’m editing the largest and most important work I’ve ever produced in my entire life. As a result, it’s tricky to find time to play enough videogames to keep the LPs afloat. I may yet find time to squeeze in the usual updates, but don’t be surprised if there’s some dead air in the immediate future.

Of course, once the year’s over, I’ve got a crapload of mysterious projects I want to launch. I’ve even begun a few of them now–some of them I might be able to debut in the immediate future, actually.

Bottom line: I’m going to continue to produce exactly as much content for this site as I can. During crunch week, this may be markedly less than during non-crunch weeks (here defined as ‘almost the entire rest of the year’).

It’s getting late, and I still have some work to do, so I’m going to just about cut it off here. One more thing before the Comment of the Week is announced: I have been working on a cover for Vatsy and Bruno. So far, the only sneak preview I can offer is this:

He’s going to have a hand clamped over the front of his face–hence the half-drawn state, at present. Also keep in mind that this is the rough outline, so the anatomy isn’t quite lined up properly. Still, the expression makes me smile, so the final product will probably much resemble this in style.

Right, time for the Comment of the Week. This week it goes to acronix for summarizing my thoughts on CoC:

Phase: If we are very kind, the “Survival Horror stuff” happens during the fetch quests. But basically it´s just Call of Duty starring fishmen.

Precisely. Once you pass the Innsmouth parts, the game doesn’t just stop being survival horror–doesn’t just stop being scary, even–it stops trying to be. The rest of the game contains all of the chills of playing Area 51 in an arcade; freakish enemies pop up, and you can’t take too many hits, but at the end of the day it’s just shooting at uglies and waiting for the next boss to show up. Then there’ll be the puzzles, which range from I-have-a-key-and-there-is-a-lock stupidity to Roberta Williams reptile logic.

You know, I really am coming down hard on this game–and while it dearly deserves every insult I’ve slung at it, I have to admit, I don’t look back on my experience with it all that unfondly. It wasn’t unfun, and there were good bits, especially the parts where you’re running away from things and sneaking around enemies–you know, the horror stuff. Everywhere else, the creators tend to drop the ball, then chase after it ineffectually until it rolls into a gutter and washes out to the sea.

Also, it could have used more fish puns.

 

Tell Me You Like My Hat

22 May

Because the UC system loves absolutely nothing less than bureaucracy, and the schedulers here can’t experience love unless they screw over at least six people a day, I’ve had to work on straightening out my schedule for the past few days. This, on top of all the standard end-of-year bullsquid I’ve had to deal with, means I haven’t had time to replenish my Morrowind buffer or finish CoC over the past few days. Consequently, all I’ve had to give you guys is artscraps. I’ll try to get some Morrowind under my belt today, but in the meantime, here’s some a sneak preview of some art I’m working on:

That’s right, it’s Reginald Cuftbert from Spoiler Warning. The armor’s a pain to draw, but I’ll get it sorted sooner or late.r

 

More Danged Sketches

20 May

Right, time for tonight’s post. So, what, that’s a Vatsy and…huh. I guess I finished that series. Right, what’s next in the queue?

Morrowind. Oh, eesh. I found the CD for that and all, but I haven’t had the time to play ahead/get all my missing screenshots yet. We’re looking at over an hour of something that could, by the absolute most liberal application of the word our language is capable of, be construed as “work”. In bad conscience. So, not tonight.

Clod of Cthulhu? On the one hand, there’s no screenshots for that, because there’s no way to graphically illustrate the extent of Jack’s stupidity. On the other hand, I was planning on just finishing the rest of the game in one post, largely because we’ve run out of big targets and it’d get tedious if I described every pointless puzzle we have to undertake between here and the finish line. Because I’m still not quite done with the game, this will have to wait.

D&D? I kind of just did one.

So, it looks like you’re getting more character sketches. I know of exactly two people who won’t complain! Unless they do. In which case, uh, I got nothing. I can promise a full refund on the zero dollars you paid for them, though.

On the left, we have Torpedo Vegas’ Dair Allant. I’m not 100% on how a thin, roguish moustache goes with big ol’ chops, so I sort of fudged it a bit. On the right is Duncan’s Lotho Brandybuck.

 

Character Sketches (TwoFer)

17 May

Knocked off two character sketches today. The first one I rolled, Heather’s Mojh, was a bit tricky. I wasn’t sure if it was disguised as a humanoid, or if the extent of its subterfuge was playing pretty-dress-up with (semi) period clothing. Ultimately, I decided it’d be better just to go full dragonoid, although I’m not quite sure I nailed the look of the species.

The other one, Phase’s Hazir, was somewhat simpler. The expression’s not perfect, but then again, this is a sketch.

Don’t forget, there’s still time to request your own sketch in the SotS thread.

 

Lord of the Scraps: Session Five, Part Two

16 May

It’s been a while since the last D&D post, so let’s do a recap: when we last left the heroes, they were about to go infiltrate/go nuts on a gnomish fortress. They had taken out the hidden bush sentries, and now only needed to find the entrance before they could sneak in and clear the place out.

This was easily accomplished. Eyda sees evidence of footprints, and manages to uncover a secret tunnel in the side of the base leading to an elevator. The party files in, readies weapons, and starts the descent.

My concept for the gnomish base was that it used to be a mine. It was abandoned during the cataclysm, and was quickly forgotten by the natives of the area, but Vahtzen knew where it was located due to some maps they uncovered in their archives. They co-opted it as a forward base. This gave me a convenient, plausible place to put a massive hidden cavern full of dudes to murder.

The tunnels are torchlit, and fork off confusingly. At first, the players have no idea where they’re going—they decide to send Kelcinator ahead as a scout. She veers left, finds a doorway, and opens it.

Inside, she sees a table, some cleaning supplies, and an (occupied) bed of Gnomish size. Not willing to take any chances, Kelcinator fires on the sleeping figure, then brings in the rest of the party to investigate.

It appears that she’s managed to murder the cleaning lady. The individual on the bed is a goblin woman, and her quarters are full of various mops and soaps that one would use to tidy things up, so unless she’s actually part of a very obscure special forces unit Geneva’s not going to like this one.

Oddly enough, Kelcinator’s player felt a little remorse at shooting the custodian. I think this might have had more to do with the gender of the target than their occupation, honestly.

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