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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

In the meantime...

Wow, uh... it's been a while!

No, the blog isn't utterly dead, but I have not found interest nor courage to post about new things in detail. So here's a summary post instead!


First thing of note : I've been veeeery tired lately. Might be my allergy, a lack of vitamin or something else. In any case, it definitely affects my output.

DBZ game + Mythic

It's a strange thing but I have been having fun with it! I picked up Dragon Ball Z - Budokai Tenkaichi 2, a fighting game on PS2 which I've played quite enough to be almost bored with (I know the story from the manga, the anime and playing the game multiple times).
And then it occured to me I could use Mythic to create a whole new story. Instead of using a RPG ruleset, I'd push the story towards brawls and use the game (which is customizable to an extent) to play through the fights.

It worked rather well, providing a pace very similar to the source, with surprisingly lots of talking and searching around and not that many fights (in spite of my pushing!). What I really liked in the end was how it breathed life into a game I barely played anymore (a few fights once every two months) and how losing a fight is actually a possibility with an impact on the story (the provided story mode, of course, has you retry until you succeed... even when the characters are supposed to lose in the story).

I might apply this to other games in the future.

Planescape Torment

Got back into it after a lot of thinking back to how fun it was but how I never finished it. I had a renewed blast dicovering Sigil and its incredible setting and meeting so many interesting characters. Sadly, after some time, the game seems to throw a lot more dungeons at you than story and it's already making me less motivated :/. Hopefully I can muster enough motivation to go through them to grab at the better bits.


Following my new Torment craze, I gave a more extended look at the original Planescape setting (AD&D 2e). I'd really like to get the original box and/or the book about Sigil but man have these gone rare and pricey (double and more the original price for new or almost new quality).
I hate this rarity thing :|...

Random dungeons

It seems I have finally found the game to play when I'm too tired for the rest! I went with something strongly inspired by Raiders of the Ruins of Kanthe, removed things, added new ones and ended up with something fun (for me at least).
RotRoK (grrmf) goes with a simple idea : create your own random tables ahead of the game (10 monsters, 10 room features, 10 types of traps, ...) and roll on them to generate your dungeon content.

Where Kanthe pre-generated the dungeon layout, I do room by room generation. Where Kanthe uses a pool matching system, I use a "dungeon skill" one (dungeon has Treasure +2, roll dice + 2 and try to beat a medium number; success means there's a treasure here). But the rest is pretty much all Kanthe and I'm probably going to grab a few more things from it like item generation.

The great thing about the core concept is that even though you're the one writing the tables, you have no idea when or IF something will appear during your crawl. And you don't know in what context. The mix of room types, monsters, their power, the treasures you might find, wether doors are trapped or locked, and so on and so on, makes for actual surprises, and yet does not have to feel terribly vanilla. The dungeon is what you make of it: good tables should end up giving good adventures.

Also, to avoid too much randomness and add a bit of logic in there, I associate features and other things with dungeon skill bonuses. You're more likely to find a treasure in a chest for example, so the Treasure roll is boosted for that feature. You are more likely to encounter opposition if you hear strange noises coming from the next rooms, so the Opposition roll is boosted.

The mapping is still rather random and it's certainly not worth a Mythic-run session, but it lets my brain rest by giving me clear cut answers to "what's in there?" and yet pleasing me, since I devised the answers beforehand.

My most lucky rolling so far was a dark room where I managed to sneak through, avoiding four goblin archers who could have had an easy shot at me through a metal portcullis.

Gutter Skypes

I have also gone back to my pre-sleep half hour of listening to the Gutter Skypes podcast. I'm very bad at going to sleep on time when I have nothing specific to do when nearing midnight, and the podcast gives me that clear cut "half an hour of fun before sleeping" (note: I split the session in half-hour parts myself; the actual stuff is usually two and a half hour long)

Oh and it IS fun. A loads of it! The Skypers have gone through games of Spirit of the Century, Starblazer, Hollow Earth Expedition, Cartoon Action Hour and Swashbucklers of the Seven Skies. The guys are hilarious, both with their asides and with their (good!) roleplaying. One of the listeners said it was "like being at the table with a group of friends" and it is utterly true. I highly recommend it!

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