Archive for January, 2011

Inquire Within

31 Jan

Yes, there’s been a bit less content in your envelopes the past couple of weeks, and yes, I’ve been making strange time-related mistakes as far as broadcasting goes. It’s a direct result of how goddamned busy I’ve been, but it’s something I’d like to turn around all the same. I’m going to get back on track a bit this week, starting with some Cahmel tonight and moving on to include the fiction, some editry, and a nailed-down launch time for X-COM–something I’m considering revising, incidentally. The difficulty is that a lot of the times that are convenient for foreign viewers are downright impossible for me due to my rigid class schedules and demanding black ops sabotage/wetwork timetables. Still, I think I’ll take one more look at it and see what can be done.

Next order of business. The 100th Episode of Spoiler Warning is coming up, and while we kind of got the celebration thing over with for the Anniversary episode, we’re still doing just a bit of a thing. Specifically, we’re mailbagging it.

So, if you’ve got something to ask me or any other member of the Spoiler Warning crew, here would be one of the places you could do that. I’d recommend you ask questions that could be handled by all of the hosts–more, “Lawl favorite vidjagames,” or “How do you shot recording,” and rather less, “What was up with the editing in that one Dark Messiah video, seriously, that caused me to lose my trembling grasp on my sanity.”

Mind, if you do ask personal questions below, I might answer them now and get them out of the way, as long as they don’t pertain to the events of October 15, 2008.


Spoiler Warning

29 Jan

For those of you who haven’t been keeping up with Spoiler Warning, the show turned one year old the other day. To celebrate, we played through an hour of Amnesia: The Dark descent and trimmed it down to the snappiest bits.

I link this for two reasons: firstly, you need no prior Spoiler Warning experience to enjoy it, so if you’ve never seen the show, there’s still something here to entertain you. Secondly, I drop in one of the more elaborate puns I’ve had on this or the other site. You’ve been warned.

JaR is recorded and covered, and should be coming quite soon. As for the rest, a general, “actually am legitimately working on it.”


The Cyrodiil Look: Cahmel’s New Travels (Let’s Play Oblivion, Part 17)

26 Jan

When we last left our glorious hero, he was hopping from dank warren to dank warren and collecting the most mediocre trove of loot the world has ever seen. For whatever reason, Bethesda appears to have built this game on the assumption that people living in caves tend against being fabulously wealthy and powerful, and as such, all I’ve got to show for a hard day’s crookstomp is a bag of knitting sundries and a warm pear. Just don’t ask why the pear is warm.

Perhaps you guys out there are keeping score, which is commendable. If not, let me bring you up to date with my personally compiled exhaustively researched List of Things That Do Not Pay:

  • Crime
  • Escorting Old Ladies
  • Fighting Hobos
  • Killing Wolves
  • Dungeon Crawling

This does not make up a very impressive career trajectory. Frankly, the whole breaking out of prison thing appears to have been a lateral move at the best; If Bravil doesn’t have any work, I’m probably just going to become a hermit or something. I even know where I can find a largely unoccupied house in the middle of the woods, although admittedly some jackass stole all the amenities.

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Placeholder Hobo Because I Don’t Quite Have Enough Oblivion For a Post Tonight But It Will Be Up Tomorrow Pinkie Swear

25 Jan

Don’t worry, this hobo is every bit as disappointed as you are or are not.


Cuftomer Service

24 Jan

Spoiler Warning viewer Nate Brown submitted the following fanart of mercenary, opportunist, and all-around avatar of Chaotic Stupid, Reginald Cuftbert.

The torn coat, the blazing iron strapped haphazardly to his waist, the hooch, the random quest items on his belt–this captures the Cuftbert Experience rather nicely. Reg might almost have created it himself. In fact…

Yeah, best not to speculate on what Cuftbert does in what free time he can score in between his morning murder spree and his afternoon drug withdrawls.


The Pig Girl: A Summary

23 Jan

I’ve been taking my sweet time establishing the setting and characters of this story–probably more than I should have, but never mind. Point is, its pace is about to start picking up some. I’ve spent too long screwing around with scenes that don’t precisely go anywhere; time to kick into gear some, start pushing things forward. Getting to the actual story parts.

In the interests of that, let’s do a quick recap on a.) what’s happened, and b.) what we’ve learned.

The story starts with a man named Wallace traveling through the ruins of a city. He is armed, but does not appear confident in his abilities. As he travels, he encounters a pair of nearly identical wanderers, Reginald and Victor, who have strange attitudes and an even stranger mode of transportation–a massive heavily-armored battlewagon resembling the kind used by riot police in years previous. They themselves are dressed in defunct, torn riot cop uniforms with the nametags missing.

Reginald and Victor offer to give Wallace a ride to his destination, a crappy burg called Greene Boulevard. He doesn’t seem to know much about it, although they do. They claim it’s full of unpleasant and cagey individuals who don’t take kindly to outsiders.

At one point, they stop to play a game that involves using a device that can read communication logs on several wrecked cars. This reveals to the reader, but not the characters, that the source of the city’s decay is at least partially a set of riots that occurred about a decade ago.

The three continue driving, and in the process, someone attacks their vehicle with a homemade cannon. That someone appears to be a member of a group of marauders referenced earlier, a group whose members have strange naming conventions, calling each other things like “Pillow,” “Pipe Wrench,” and “Bare Hands.” They’re led by an eccentric, but charismatic, individual just called Leader. Leader is apparently trying to track down several radio signals, one of which is nothing but numbers and is possibly coming from Greene Boulevard.

Two of Leader’s agents break down the door of a small safehouse and interrogate them about a man who passed through. Apparently, the traveler was a member of something called the Larkin Five, left a blue piece of paper, and is an enemy of Leader’s, wittingly or not.

Finally, as all of this occurs, a small girl named Lottie travels, alone, to a place of wind and ashes called the Red Zone…


X-COM, Judge Who

21 Jan

A stealth X-COM streaming session occurred today–there was no posted announcement, so I imagine some of you might have missed it. Never fret; for some reason, it’s been uploaded immediately to LiveStream’s archives, so you can view it right here. This episode’s actually pretty damn funny–if not for my banter and increasing incredulity, then as a beautiful study in awful luck and appalling marksmanship.

As I mention during the stream, the video and audio for the last few X-COM recording are giving me some trouble, but I’ll have those uploaded to as soon as I can.

Next on the agenda: this is apropos of nothing, and doesn’t fit within any of my various series and focuses, but I’ve created an alternate ruleset for a boardgame that I’d like to share. It’s a simple alteration, but one that measurably improves the game.

Base game: Guess Who?

For those of you who’ve never heard of it, it’s a British children’s game that’s successfully crossed over into the United States. There are two players, each of whom has a board with pictures of 24 distinct characters, each possessing distinguishing features such as horn-rimmed glasses, red hair, odd hats, and wild-eyed rapist expressions (actually, three-quarters of them have those). At the start of each round, you draw a card that assigns you one of the 24 characters, and your opponent does the same. You then take turns asking yes-or-no questions such as “does your character have a beard?” and “does your character have brown hair?” in an attempt to determine which character your opponent drew through the process of elimination. The winner is the one who guesses their opponent’s character first.

Obviously, this is a bit of a two-dimensional game. Players generally tend to figure out which questions eliminate the most options early on, which means the thing tends to hinge on dumb luck. As much as anything, the purpose of the game is to teach little kids logic and deduction, which is noble, but not a whole lot of fun.

Alteration: Judge Who? AKA Guess Who: Rutskarn Rules

This was invented on the spur of the moment earlier tonight. Me and my droogs had finished up a brutal game of Catan–the kind that ends with weeping and written death threats–and wanted something quick and light to cleanse the palate. We pulled a random game out of the dorm closet and resolved to play it, but as everyone else was setting up, I found a couple old Guess Who? boards and–out of nostalgia–insisted upon a quick game.

Me and my opponent drew characters. Each of us took a moment to survey the 24 slides, reacquainting ourselves with the most common attributes and planning our attack strategy. Finally, we each had our first questions planned out. My opponent went first:

“Does your character have red hair?”

“No. Does your character look like a douchebag?”

“Uh. Actually, yes.”

This continued; she asked quantitative questions, I asked subjective ones. Surprisingly, we progressed at about the same rate, and while I was not victorious, I did manage to narrow it down to a few possibilities, one of which turned out to have been the correct answer. We quickly re-evaluated, and instead of playing the other game, we set up the GW? boards again and punched out a new ruleset we came to call Judge Who?

Here’s how you play:

1.) There are two teams, Red and Blue, each having two players. Each team is assigned one character, as in normal gameplay.

2.) One of the teams is selected to go first–for example, Team Blue. One of the players on Team Blue must then ask Team Red a subjective question about their character, one that does not rely on concrete details. Example of a good question: “Does your character own a pickup truck?” Example of a bad question: “Does your character have beady eyes?”

3.) The two members of Team Red consider the question with regards to their character, then each gives their own answer–the players need not agree, but they must both answer honestly. They may also give an answer such as “maybe,” or “kind of.” The other team must interpret this data as best as they can and eliminate possibilities accordingly.

4.) It is not Team Red’s turn to ask. It is also recommended that the members of a team alternate which one of them gets to ask the question.

5.) The game progresses until one team is willing to make a guess. A tentative ruling stipulates that a team must have eliminated all but three possibilities before attempting to guess who their opponent’s character is.

Example of play:

Team Blue, with players A and B, has drawn as their character the greasy redneck-lookin’ Justin. Team Red, with players X and Y, has drawn as their character the frankly unstable-looking Andy. Team Blue goes first: it’s player A’s turn to ask a question. He asks:

“Does your character have someone buried under his porch?”

Players X and Y look at Andy and conclude that yes, he almost certainly does. Team Blue dutifully eliminates the stable-looking characters as possibilities, of which there are few.

Now it’s Team Red’s turn; player X asks the other team, “Does your character look like a disillusioned high school teacher?”

Player A looks at Justin and decides that yes, he kind of does look like an algebra teacher with an alimony, a bad back, and a vacuum of enthusiasm for his subject. He answers, “Yes.” Player B disagrees; no way Justin has had a higher education. He answers, “No.” From this disagreement, and knowing their opponents, players X and Y have to reason out which characters player A would consider teacher-like and player B would not, eliminating all extremes–the obvious teachers, the obvious rednecks.

If it sounds incredibly slippery and subjective, it’s because it is, but you’d be amazed how often the correct answer was arrived at. In fact, in roughly 75% of cases, both sides were considering the correct character when the game ended.

Now, you can only enjoy this game if you’ve got a Guess Who? board handy, but there are a few free printout knockoffs available online, and if you hang around, I was kicking around the idea of making one myself. Anyway, if you’ve got a board lying around, a couple friends, and nothing better to do, I highly recommend this game. I do recommend either using the original board or a similar one–the game’s no fun unless the characters have a lot of, well, character to them.


The Cyrodiil Look: Cahmel’s New Travels (Let’s Play Oblivion, Part 16)

19 Jan

Today's forecast calls for low draw distances with scattered premeditated animal assaults.

When we last left our dedicated hero, he was wandering around the countryside looking for hostile life forms—that is to say, life forms. Yeah, I’m about as likely to find a nonthreatening man, animal, or manimal in the Cyrodiil countryside as I am to find a 7-11. We’re talking vast ecosystems, economic models, and criminal syndicates based solely on harassing that one guy who occasional wanders out to pick flowers and bum around mountain ranges. Alternately: squatting in a depressing, vermin-infested hole in the ground and waiting for him to show up.

Don’t believe me? Explain the next drabyrinth I came across: an old, abandoned fort full of necromancers. What, exactly, were they doing there? I can buy caves full of bandits—bandits need some place to crash, not to mention store all the illicit yarn and calipers that nobody in this country will buy from them. But necromancers? Yeah, I know, blah blah Mannimarco blah blah cult blah—you can definitely argue that this makes sense. It just seems a little silly at first blush, like when you try to imagine their weekly itinerary:

Monday: Wake up, eat rat for breakfast, necromance.

Tuesday: Wake up, eat rat for breakfast, play with ball of yarn, necromance.

Wednesday: Wake up, eat imp gall for breakfast, vomit, stand guard outside the door all day.

Thursday: Wake up, eat rat for breakfast, necromance.

Friday: Wake up, eat rat for breakfast, contemplate career change.

Saturday: Strip bingo in the lobby.

Sunday: Killed along with everyone you know by a lone adventurer.

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State of the Skarn

17 Jan

EDIT: Some people were asking where the X-COM stream was going to show up. It will eventually appear in the stream history, but I’ll probably have it up on Blip before then–I’ve almost finished getting the audio synced up. There’ll almost certainly be some sort of video done before tomorrow night.

A few items of good news: firstly, I’ve received my Oblivion disc, and will be able to resume the LP presently. Secondly, as today is a holiday, I’ll have plenty of time to edit some video. That means X-COM, and probably some Hitman, is on the radar.

Nothing else I can talk about at the moment. Now, if you’ll pardon me, I found a Wikipedia article entitled “Sleep,” about an hour ago, and I’ve decided to give it a go. Just as soon as I finish this Order of the McGenius Adventures archive binge.


JaR: Finalmission

14 Jan

This is the last of the intermission episodes–after this, it’s Synergy until there’s no more Synergy to be done. In it, Jibar makes a portrait of me, says some horrible things, and does some even more horrible things.

I take no responsibility for any of the atrocities Jibar commits in this episode, and want to go on record as finding his lack of a soul or human empathy only a little bit funny.*

*Okay, not really.