Unscheduled

Jun. 4th, 2017 12:25 pm
tegyrius: (Default)
E has been out of town all week, visiting family. I am reminded of what an incomplete human I am without her. Especially where food is concerned.

I've gotten a surprising amount of stuff done around the house and yard, though, and I've kept up my exercise schedule. Not sure how well that would work in the long term. Fortunately, she's due back tonight.

I've also spent a fair amount of time doing nothing productive. I'm eight episodes into The Expanse. It's a pretty good adaptation of the novel series. The visuals are fantastic, albeit a little poorly-lit at times. I only have a couple of gripes. Some of the dialogue is unclear, and I'm not sure if that's the audio quality or my rapidly-aging ears. And I'm not very happy with the fact that it took the main crew seven episodes to start acting like a crew, in large part due to the ham-handed characterization of Amos (which I suspect is on the writers - the actor's doing a fine job with what they've given him). But things seem to be evening out as the situation on Eros begins to go sideways.

I've also spent a handful of hours this weekend on the fresh beta release of the new Battletech PC game. It's limited to 4v4 matches against the AI, so that's not going to hold my attention for long... but based on what I've played so far, and Harebrained Schemes' track record with story for the Shadowrun Returns series, I have high hopes for the finished product. I've been playing mainly in the lower end of the weight range, with light/medium lances totaling 15M C-Bills (the balancing system for this mode), with occasional forays into the 20M bracket. MVPs so far: Centurion and, surprisingly, Commando. And a full backshot from a Victor is just as spectacular as it should be.

Crossbreed

May. 7th, 2017 06:11 pm
tegyrius: (Default)
I've been fiddling with some D&D character concepts lately (see previous post about tabaxi). As is usually the case with D&D, character concepts lead into worldbuilding, because I like to have some backstory about a character's origins.

Something triggered a memory from a thread on /r/dnd, and I wish I could provide attribution, because this one throwaway line suggests a lot of really cool setting work. The premise is that humans are the result of elves and orcs breeding.

This neatly explains why you can get half-elves and half-orcs, but no other racial pairings in D&D result in half-breeds. It also implies a very interesting history of how and why elves and orcs once got it on in sufficient numbers to produce a viable human population. This feels more mechanically-supported in D&D5 than in 3.x/Pathfinder/OGL, given the former's lack of racial attribute penalties... notably, making the average orc no less intelligent, wise, or charismatic than the average human. And that change also neatly undermines the traditional setting design assumption that all orcs are barbarians, incapable of creating and sustaining civilized cultures.

Hmm.

Furry

May. 2nd, 2017 09:28 pm
tegyrius: (Default)
So, D&D5 character concept in search of a campaign.

I really want to take a tabaxi from Volo's Guide to Monsters and give him a cosmetic rework as a snow leopard.

And then take the kensai monk subclass from this week's Unearthed Arcana posting.

And play this character:



Because how fucking badass is a snow leopard samurai?

(Actually, I'd go Tibetan rather than Japanese for cultural inspiration, because snow leopard. But that's some great artwork.)
tegyrius: (Warning Motivation Hazard)
Occasionally, my brain does strange things with syntax. Such was the case when I recently became aware of the peacock spider. If we have peacock spiders, I asked, why can't we have spider peacocks?

So in my headcanon, the spider peacock is now a thing in the 7th Sea game setting.

It started out as a Montaigne attempt to breed a mute peafowl that would be decorative without disrupting garden parties with its shrieks. The result wasn't a mute bird, but rather one with raspy, rattling vocalizations - sounding, quite frankly, like a woman being strangled rather than one being knifed. As if that weren't enough, the breed's plumage lost much of its coloration, becoming silvery grey and the dark red-brown of dried blood. This might have been the end of the experiment if not for the elaborate patterns on the fowl's tailfeathers, which resembled unique, intricate spiderwebs when raised in full display.

While a few eccentric Montaigne do still keep flocks of these "spider peacocks," the primary market for the breed is, unsurprisingly, Vodacce. There, they are cherished pets, allowed to freely roam their owners' estates. Some Vodacce believe that spider peacocks also can sense when a sorte strega tugs the strands of Fate in their vicinity, and that their ubiquity in certain nobles' presence is more than simple ornamentation or ostentation.

Loa

Feb. 14th, 2016 01:49 pm
tegyrius: (WWGS keep calm)
Cleaning my desk. Ran across some handwritten notes on a Changeling campaign that never happened. This is disturbing:




The net is a realm of dream too. How can you tell where its Hedge begins? Is it the same Hedge? Or is it the border of another Arcadia, one whose inhabitants hold no Contracts binding them to the material world? Ancient sleepers stirring in the starless cyberspace. Under neon skies, Bobby Newmark's loa are coming. Korea was first. Addicted gamers in cybercafes never come back, not entirely. Online, no one can tell if you're a dog - or if you just have the head of one.

Sectoid

Feb. 7th, 2016 08:38 am
tegyrius: (paranormal tongue-in-cheek)
I could use no other avatar for this post.

One of my players in my XCOM-derived play-by-post campaign asked me for my thoughts on the newly-released XCOM 2. In case anyone else is interested...

It would make an excellent RPG setting in its own right. The premise, if you have not heard, is that it's the outcome of playing the 2012 game on Impossible Ironman mode and losing.

It's 20 years after the fall of XCOM. Earth lies under the heel of an alien-controlled puppet government which is slowly driving the Avatar Project, a shadowy master plan toward probably apocalyptic ends. A global propaganda campaign recasts XCOM and other resistance groups as terrorists and the aliens as benevolent elder space-brothers.

Members of your core command team have kept the flame lit. They've recruited a scattering of willing operatives and have established a mobile base in the hulk of a downed UFO. Your mission is to unite the scattered resistance groups still fighting across the globe and use that network to seek out information on Avatar with the eventual intent of bringing it down.

Technically, it's running okay, though our gaming machine is five years old and is choking out on framerate. We have a new rig on order, originally bought so we could play The Division at max graphics; XCOM 2 should be screaming fast on it. I'm supposed to pick it up sometime this week. I have seen quite a few annoying typos in the game text, which leads me to believe no professional writer was involved in the dev effort (cue professional-offended huffy cat face).

Strategic gameplay is a bit more complex than XCOM. You have multiple resource types: space in your mobile base, power to run the facilities in those spaces, communication links to resistance cells (analogous to satellite control facilities in XCOM), alien alloys, elerium crystals, scientific staff, and engineering staff. It's easy to get sucked into an incident pit where you're short on multiple resources at once and struggling to get yourself back to operational viability.

And time. Oh, gods, time. Time is a resource and the whack-a-space-mole nature of not being able to solve all the problems has been turned up so far the dial broke off.

Tactical gameplay is very familiar, with the addition of a simple but beautiful stealth/ambush mechanic. If you start an op in stealth - and not all missions will allow you this luxury - the enemy forces operate in laid-back patrol mode until you walk into their vision range (which is clearly indicated when you plot movement). This allows you to put most of your squad on overwatch, then have one shooter start the party. The resulting cinematic kill-cam action as your other troopers pop up and mow down the aliens as they scatter for cover... that will never get old.

You have to fight smart, though, because the AI is much smarter and the enemies have some much nastier abilities. And many missions have timed objectives, which means you can't hunker down in defensive positions and wait for them to come to you. You have to keep pushing forward. And your people get shot to shit. Many times, I have had to recruit new resistance fighters because I had so many people in med-bay or in body bags that I couldn't field a full squad.

All of this may make it sound like a horrible play experience but it's really not. It's a lot of fun. The challenge level is just high enough that when you pull a mission success out of your ass, you feel like you've accomplished something.

Overgothed

Jan. 7th, 2016 09:37 pm
tegyrius: (paranormal tongue-in-cheek)
"What is your character concept?"

"Invulnerable black-clad moody lone wolf in a black trench coat wielding twin titanium monokatanas and smartlinked Desert Eagles firing incendiary moonsilver depleted uranium cold iron explosive tracer bullets while a bloodthirsty yet mournful heavy metal soundtrack wails distantly over the incessant rain that falls like the tears of a thousand fallen angels crying over the heart's mournful lament for a lost paradise."

"Um... no."

Iron 4

Dec. 26th, 2015 08:26 am
tegyrius: (Warning Cognitive Hazard)
I spent some time yesterday thinking about how to do an IK-to-5e conversion of the warcaster. )

Iron 3

Dec. 25th, 2015 10:40 am
tegyrius: (Warning Self-Evolving System)
The next low bar for converting Iron Kingdoms to D&D5 is races. )

Iron 2

Dec. 25th, 2015 10:22 am
tegyrius: (Warning Antimatter)
Next up in my IK-to-5e tinkering, some equipment conversions. )

Iron 1

Dec. 25th, 2015 09:28 am
tegyrius: (Warning Chaotic System)
Doing a bit of tinkering for a lightweight port of Iron Kingdoms into D&D5e. First up, the gun mage. )

Operations

Jan. 4th, 2015 07:48 pm
tegyrius: (snark ORLYsaurus)
Night's Black Agents is the spy thriller vampire RPG that I never knew my life was incomplete without.

Also: holywaterboarding. Win.

Everglades

Dec. 17th, 2014 09:07 pm
tegyrius: (snark ORLYsaurus)
Today at work, we discussed southern Florida's wealth of natural options for body disposal. I have the best office.

Whackem

Dec. 7th, 2014 10:25 am
tegyrius: (WWGS keep calm)
LARP: The sound a baby seal makes when you club it.

Ahem.

Attention, my three loyal readers:

Over the weekend of April 17th-19th, 2015, I'll be running a two-night Vampire: The Masquerade LARP at Lexicon in Lexington, Kentucky.

Y'all know what to do.

Restless

Nov. 29th, 2014 05:04 pm
tegyrius: (WWGS keep calm)
Since the Deadguy has let the cat out of the Six Demon Bag, I'll say it here for my three loyal readers:

Wraith: The Oblivion, 20th Anniversary Edition. Kickstarter spinning up within the week next Tuesday at noon.

Me. Writing parts of it.

https://www.facebook.com/wto20

Retcon

Nov. 16th, 2014 09:21 am
tegyrius: (Ol' Velvet Nose)
I love my PbP players:

Screen Shot 2014-11-16 at 9.19.53 AM

MICE/RC

Oct. 20th, 2014 08:32 am
tegyrius: (AEG Spycraft)
Agents, how do we get the information we want from the sources who have access to it?

Classic intelligence theory references MICE - Money, Intelligence, Conscience, and Ego. I've recently run across an updated variant:

Material - we have a tangible thing they want (money, coke, hookers).

Ideology - their beliefs are congruous with ours and they want to help us.

Compromise - we find an existing fear (i.e., a secret whose exposure is feared) and leverage it.

Ego - we reinforce (or challenge) their self-worth.

Revenge - we facilitate their need to get back at someone who wronged them.

Coercion - we create a new fear (make them afraid of us, usually) and leverage it.

Dip

Jul. 25th, 2014 08:06 pm
tegyrius: (Ol' Velvet Nose)
I've never been particularly good at detailing minis. Drybrushing, highlighting, washes - these are skills that elude me. Last year, I became aware of a technique called dipping, which uses brief immersion in wood stain/sealant to add both contrast and a glossy protective finish. I dug out a couple of old Devil Dog Miniatures figures (relatively poor casting jobs, with a good amount of flash and slop, so I wouldn't feel bad about expending them) and painted them up for experimentation. )

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