Browsing the blog archives for September, 2006

Aramoor Character Crunch

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Personal, RPGs

My character sheets from the Aramoor campaign. My first character followed up by my backup character.

Crunch below the cut…

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Character Doom

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Personal, RPGs

As I mentioned in the previous post on this subject, our group is facing inevitable death at the hands of Voris.

We have six characters:

Prince Valtran of Aramoor
Zyhran Mournblade
Tor, adopted brother of Valtran
Riven, the Priest
My character, Agon
And Gunther.

Of these six, only Valtran, Riven, Agon, and Tor are at risk for immediate death. Gunther is with the party and it is his duty to create a distraction while the group of four leading the incursion into the enemy base tries to escape. Nevertheless, creating a distraction as one man against potentially hundreds of enemies is a dangerous task, and it can be assumed that if the group of four dies then Gunther dies as well.

What to do? I asked the other players what they thought about the situation and they seemed rather blithe about our inevitable death. And, while I agree that our characters ultimately seem doomed to die, we certainly have a better chance at surviving if we flee now rather than attempt to kill Voris when we have little health and are surrounded on all sides by his men.

In terms of metagame analysis, I’m certain that our GameMaster has things roughly planned out on where he wants to take the campaign. However, if we essentially throw ourselves onto the blades of Voris then he will have to completely abandon any previously planned plotlines and attempt to deal with the untimely death of a major figure (Prince Valtran) and his retinue. I think so long as we attempt to survive he’ll be a bit lenient with us.

Is there a character contradiction in coming as far as we did and then turning back? I think only insofar as we did not turn back earlier. It’s easy to be blithe about impending death when you’re not the one being dismembered to get there.

I suppose I’ll try one last time to convince the group, and if not then I’ll deal with it. I did want to play this character though, and it makes me somewhat disappointed to feel that I need to create another character. I suppose this time I’ll play someone a little more hard-nosed about his own survival and less loyal to his friends.

Aramoorian Campaign

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Personal, RPGs

I finally dug out my character sheet to discover the name of the place where our characters in this campaign are from, rather than constantly referring to it as the pseudohistorical campaign.

Backstory:

Aramoor is a small country in this fantasy world that was recently conquered by the Nymerian Empire. Prior to being a vassal state of the Nymerian Empire it was independent, and prior to that it was a province of the neighboring country of Talistan. Aramoor is, geographically, a highly prized region not only because it has excellent horses, but it also borders on the pass that leads from the Nymerian Empire into the neighboring Empire to the east. (Sadly, I can’t remember the name of this other Empire.)

Relations between the two countries are not hostile, as each Empire benefits from trade with the other. The Empire to the east is inhabited by people known as Trin, or colloquially/pejoratively referred to as Gogs. However, there is a rebel element in the Trin Empire that seeks to overthrow their emperor.

Our adventure begins with our group, all Aramoorian nobility of one stripe or another, being deployed to guard the city that borders the trade route between the Nymerian and the Trin Empires. The city, and us as its erstwhile guardians, has been under assault from a rebel group led by Voris, the Wolf for several months.

This is where our campaign started. Our first session covered a raid by the forces of Voris the Wolf on our encampment outside the city. Our second session picked up with the after-the-battle scene, caring for the wounded and reinforcing our defenses. One of the characters, Prince Valtran, met with the representative from the Trin Empire. Through one means or another, Prince Valtran decided to lead a small group of men in an incursion to attempt to capture or kill Voris.

For this dangerous mission he selected five other men. However, the Lord Mournblade seemed to think it was a better idea to stay in camp and plot against Prince Valtran. Together with the emissary from the Trin Empire, the five Aramoorian men set out under cover of darkness into the wilderness to attempt to find the Trin Rebels’ encampment.

The first obstacle we encountered was the neighboring river, which several people nearly drowned in. Natural obstacles like rivers and cliffs always seem a bit problematic, as it seems like they are all-or-nothing. Who wants to die on a cliff on their way to doing something important? Not to mention you’re entirely at the mercy of your dice for success.

We passed through the river with a series of ten swim checks each. Our Cleric nearly drowned and we found him coughing up water downriver. After resting a bit we set out through the wilderness. The emissary went before us, using bird calls to identify his position. We nearly lost track of him but one of our characters had hunting dogs who easily figured out where he had gone, and I signalled the rest of the party (who had fallen behind) via bird calls.

The emissary led us, after about two hours of travel, to the location of the Trin rebels’ encampment. There we were ambushed by two enemy guardsmen, but quickly dispatched them. We then studied the layout of the place. It was a huge encampment with space enough for at least a thousand men, likely more. In the middle of the encampment was a pavillion which we surmised would be the tent of Voris.

Prince Valtran decided to lead us into the enemy encampment to ambush Voris and kill him. Valtran’s brother, Tor, prepared several poisoned daggers for use on Voris. Although we were successful in making our way to Voris’ tent, we were identified by several rebel Trin who we had to dispatch silently, and we all took some damage… Our session ended with us outside of Voris’ tent, all badly wounded, debating whether to attempt the suicidal task of attacking Voris and if there was even another option…

Nightfall’s End

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Games, Guild Wars

The Guild Wars: Nightfall Preview event ended sometime earlier today. On the one hand, I’m relieved. On the other hand, I’m disappointed.

I’m relieved because I was seriously straining trying to make some time this weekend to play the event. The end of the event means relaxation and relief. What was done was done, and nothing more can change it.

I’m disappointed because I didn’t have enough time to complete the preview event. I consider that a pretty ringing endorsement for the game — If the preview event is too extensive to complete in one weekend, I can’t help but think how much more extensive the full campaign will be.

Anyway, for the time being I’m a bit Guild Wars-ed out, and will give myself a few days before I go into my screenshot repository for pictures or critiques of the new game.

Guild Wars Nightfall: Dervish Dolls

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Art, Games, Guild Wars

With the Nightfall preview event going on since yesterday, I had some time to jump in the game and take a look at the new content. Aside from downloading a huge amount of content for the new release, more than I’ve ever downloaded previously, the first thing I did when I jumped in the game was to take a look at the new character appearances.

Both previous Guild Wars have had some fantastic options for making really attractive characters, so I was eager to see Nightfall’s expansion of these options. I’ve taken about 100 or so screenshots thus far so it’s going to take me awhile to upload all of my pictures. Expect some updates to this post.

Naturally one of the first classes I looked at was the Dervish:

NightfallPreviewDervish1

This hairstyle doesn’t look like much from the front…

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But the side is more promising…

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…the long hair in the back is extremely beautiful. The jewelry used to keep the hair in the tail like that is simple but functional and attractive.

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This one, again, is fairly plain face-on…

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But the ponytail here is very nice, although it could use a little more volume to it.

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This is one of the more noticeable hair styles in the character creation process, as it seems to be one of the few Dervish styles that isn’t a pulled-back hairstyle. It’s nice, but not excellent.

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The layering effects seen from the sides offer a nice sense of volume, although there are some angles where you view the hair polygons edge-on and it spoils the effect.

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However, I think the back kind of looks bland and flat. A little bit more attention could have been paid to making it look distinctive in the back as well.

NightfallPreviewDervish3

The above style is probably my favorite of the bunch, combining the classy look of a stylized bun with the short off-the-shoulder tail to add a bit of uniqueness to it.

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Not a big fan of dreadlocks.

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This is a bland style, in my opinion, but I’m sure there are people that like it.

Below I have a series showing off the browsing windows for hair styles, hair colors, and face styles for Dervishes.

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Personally, a few more hairstyles would be appreciated. Although I must say, all of the Nightfall hairstyles, even the ones I don’t like aesthetically, are typically much better executed than any of the Prophecies hairstyles. Lots of long hair and voluminous hair … Most of the Prophecies styles are closely-cropped or buns. I do feel like having a “bald” option is essentially a cop-out as a style, though.

The colors are fine, but I would like more options with regard to colors. I feel like every character class should have the same color options, perhaps a total of about 16 or more. Restricting hair colors to professions doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me.

The faces are alright — My main problem is the latter four all have inhuman grey-white-blue eyes. Other than slight variations in eyebrow arches and eye colors, none of them are all that distinctive from each other, though. I think there should be a few more options available for faces, even if it’s just an existing face with palette shifted eyes.

Other classes next…

Spycraft Writeup

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Personal, RPGs

At the beginning of this week I was thinking about the Spycraft game we had played the week before and the upcoming Pseudohistorical Fantasy D&D game. As I mentioned in this previous post, there were a lot of issues I had with the pseudohistorical campaign that were making me wary of it.

As I was thinking about it, I realized just how well the previous week’s Spycraft campaign had went. Things started off fairly slowly: We had ended a previous mission to investigate a certain facility and retrieved information from a private computer that the man we were tracking was now in Japan. We then flew to Japan to track him, received some intel on his position, and took awhile planning out our course of action.

Once we had decided what we were doing, we set off in a Humvee to the undisclosed location where our target was hiding out. As it turns out, the place was infested with guards, but the cool part of this situation was that, while we were all in the car, some other guards came up to us and chased us around. This was my first introduction to the Chase mechanics in Spycraft, and it seems like a cool little system — Not too cumbersome, but a lot more interesting than a simple opposed skill check or other tactic. There seems to be an actual strategy that gets opened up via the mechanics that would normally be relegated to the realm of pure luck (via dice rolls). That’s pretty pleasing to me. Not to mention, we have a “Wheelman” class character and it was a real chance for him to shine.

After the chase we went about tracking down the target, who fled the scene as soon as our presence was detected. One of our members saw the direction his vehicle was heading in, and we tailed him to an airport where he boarded a private jet and took off. We were all pretty stumped at what to do at this point, as we really had no way of figuring out where his plane was going. I proposed a plan.

My character is a Telepath, using the class from the Shadowforce Archer book. Although I don’t really have very many abilities I can use at low levels, one of the things I can do is to receive telepathic impressions left on objects from past owners. The airport was guarded by several armed guards patroling the facility, but if I could make it to the vehicle our target was using I could try and get a psychic impression from the car perhaps revealing to me a snippet of conversation our target may have had on the phone relaying his destination to an associate. We devised a quick plan and executed it: Our driver crashed the gates, running over two of the guards. One of our soldiers began sniping at guards as a distracting, taking out two. A second soldier was in the car using a SAW to mow down the guards from within the vehicle. Meanwhile, in the chaos, my character rolled out of our Hummer as it came to a screeching halt near the target vehicle. Taking cover behind the vehicle, I managed to spend a few moments receiving a psychic impression and successfully identified the destination of our target.

I was extremely pleased with how well this plan went down. Almost everyone felt like they had contributed to the scene in a crucial way, and we didn’t have any serious problems that could have arisen (such as an untimely death). All in all it has me quite excited for playing the Spycraft campaign again. Best of all, this encounter was one that was entirely unplanned on the part of the GM. Although we could have, as he suggested after we completed our plan, called in with our parent organization to track the plane leaving from that airport, what we did was more entertaining in every respect, and made use of all of our character’s abilities.

Guild Wars: Nightfall Preview Weekend

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Games, Guild Wars

Quick update here for those who might be interested:

The Guild Wars Nightfall Preview Weekend is going on right now. Even if you don’t have a Guild Wars account you can play this weekend for free using the keys provided by ArenaNet here. It’s a pretty good opportunity to check out Guild Wars if you’ve never tried it.

I’ve ended up spending some time taking screenshots of some of the new content, which I’ll post up perhaps tomorrow. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to play through the various quests and such as well, but, as usual, I’m pretty busy this weekend.

A Note Left on a Car

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Personal, Politics

Shared with me by one of the guys in our D&D group:

Army Boy,

You dickhead, mass-murdering slime, the only thing you defend is your right to kill poor brown-skinned people. Die you scum!

How pleasant.

Clarity

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Art

ZhangZiyi1

A rare beauty in the North…

ZhangZiyi2

ZhangZiyi3

She’s the finest lady on earth.

ZhangZiyi4

A glance from her, the whole city goes down.

ZhangZiyi5

A second glance leaves the nation in ruins.

ZhangZiyi6

There exists no city or nation

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That has been more cherished

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ZhangZiyi9

Than a beauty like this.