Monday, May 28, 2007

Quotes II

"If I was in a gang, I'd totally run away from Wishbone, because I'd be all like 'Oh shit! It's Wishbone!'" -- David

"They sell themselves for money on the street. To inanimate objects." -- David

"I knew that someday Flava Flav would influence trends in European high-fashion." -- Dr. Thorpe

"You have failed to protect the Queen. Turn in your big tall hat immediately and report to the runway." -- Dr. Thorpe

"Whom the gods would destroy they first make mad with power." -- Charles Beard

“Wake up! We need to leave before the black market closes.” – Captain Blank

"No one ever shanked Jesus." -- Qwerty

"Anything genocide-related, I want to save as a last resort." Secretary of Defense Robert Stark

"I got a crush for the freaky one, and nothing feels better than Machinegun GoGo." -- Panzer AG

"Things are more like they are now than they have ever been before." -- Dwight Eisenhower

"A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week." -- General George S. Patton

"Cheerios are full of mystery!" -- Kevin Read (?)

"I think it's a helpful thing for the development of the character of a young person to be different from their peers. It's a blessing to be different and stand up for that." -- Mitt Romney

"Oddysey, Marill breeding is not a valid hobby." -- Rae

"Everywhere I go I'm asked if I think the universities stifle writers. My opinion is that they don't stifle enough of them. There's many a best-seller that could have been prevented by a good teacher." -- Flannery O'Connor

"There's no excuse to be bored. Sad, yes. Angry, yes. Depressed, yes. Crazy, yes. But there is no excuse for boredom, ever." -- Viggo Mortensen

"I realize I am generalizing here, but, as is often the case when I generalize, I don't care." -- Dave Barry

"It's kind of like porn, Keith. It's Star Trek." -- Margaret S.

"Saving world. Please don't turn off your computer." -- Fable

"It's like trip spec'ing, except with the Force." -- Rae

"If you are of the opinion that the contemplation of suicide is sufficient evidence of a poetic nature, do not forget that actions speak louder than words."
-- Fran Lebowitz

"What was his name? Banjo or something? Played the drums for the Beatles." -- Qwerty

"It is my opinion that if you put a hat on a bear, you deserve whatever comes next." -- Gabe

"You know, there's a fine line between excessive sarcasm and permanent bitterness." -- Phillip

"This is America, which makes you the Prince of absolutely fucking nobody." -- Paul

"Oh, sure. We're safe from Lite Brites. But what'll happen when the Lego people of Connectitron-5 attack?" -- Mike Dowden

"Think of alignment as crusty ol' grandpa in his rocker. Old, wants to help you, and not always very lucid." -- Rick_TWA

"If I had a reason for everything I did, I'd be crazy." -- Fighter

"That quiet chomping noise you're hearing is the noise that my backbrain makes while it's eating my forebrain." -- Darren MacLennan

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Catching Up, With Weirdness

Wow. This just kinda dropped off the radar. Things have been happening, I guess, but still. The bastards are gaining on us!

I sort of have an excuse, in that I lost net access over the weekend. (Sort of.) But that still only covers that one weekend, couple of days.

Weird weekend, though. Got me thinking that I might be a net addict. I lose access to it for one weekend, and I get all weird. Interesting weird--I wouldn't quite say "fun," or "enjoyable," but I'd definitely want to repeat the experience--but weird. Vivid dreams in the format of Order of the Stick weird.

Not about OotS. No. Dreams presented in the format of the comic, that specific comic, the art style, the layout.

Same thing--or something similar--used to happen to me back when I watched TV. Only dreamed on the weekends, when I hadn't watched the usual show that day.

Anyway. Spent Monday morning freaking out about it. That was fun. I like having dreams that stick with me like that. I enjoy that half zoned-out kind of feeling. Same thing happened after I played Oblivion.

I don't know if I'm unusual in this. It doesn't happen too often (maybe once in six months, at most) but when it does, for at least a couple of days I'll be zoning out, talking to myself, and writing. I don't notice this behavior in other people, but I don't notice a lot of things.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

My Latest 15-Minute Obsession

Argh. I want to play Promethean. Badly.

Because you know what I see when I look at this game?

Robot angst.

Probably because I'm a mutant.

I'm serious, though. I'm not one of those squares who thinks that "robot" has to mean bits and gears and dials. This game taps my inexplicable fascination with all things created, and alienated. Robots, golems, Frankenstein, heck, even the Hulk. No idea how solid the execution is, but the concept is brilliant.

Trouble is, it's a World of Darkness game. Which means that it'd be hard to find someone to run it, and other people to play it. And I'd have to buy at least one book, maybe two. I know Rae has the basic World of Darkness book, but I don't know that she'd be into running a game this summer.

If it doesn't happen this summer, I'm going to either have to wait until next year (by which time I will have lost interest) or try putting together a game with a bunch of strangers. Which I am not sure is such a good plan. Because, at the very least, the particular nature of this game's GM responsibilities means I would be very wary about playing with a GM I don't know. And I'm not terribly interested in running this game myself. This concept engages me on a character level, not a story or environmental level. (Unlike D&D, and standard fantasy in general.)

Also, I worry about World of Darkness people being freaks. For some reason.

The other big problem is the book itself. I've only read a little bit of it, but what I have read falls in an uncomfortable place between "Damn! That's awesome!" and "Get to the point already!" Maybe this is the D&D player in me talking, but I don't care how six different groups interpret the whatsit's creation myth. I want to know what the whatsit does.

Not that it doesn't make for un-entertaining reading. (Especially the bits about ectoplasm coming from the pineal gland. That's totally how science works.) But from a "how do I use this in a game?" perspective, it's frustrating.

Then there's the game fiction. Oh, the game fiction.

I figure I can get past that, though. What I know of the basic system looks pretty neat, and the additions that Promethean bolts onto it don't look too onerous. Especially when compared to Exalted, which is the most similar system I have any actual experience. Exalted is cool and all, but talk about option overload. Yowch.

If someone to run it. And people to play it. Who aren't scary.

In all likelihood, this will turn into one of those things I get really obsessed with for a week, and then forget about. Forever!

At least I've gotten some decent ideas out of it.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Call of the Weird

I want to run a game where the dungeons are really weird. Nonsensical, illogical, and happy to be that way.

I got the idea from Jeff Rients. I want to run a game where all the dungeons are like that.

Most of the dungeons I've made have made a certain amount of sense. I knew who the designers were, and a lot of the structure sprang from that. I knew why all the monsters were there. True, for one dungeon, that reason was "a wizard did it," but I knew enough about the NPC in question for it to make a certain amount of sense, at least to me.

Still. All the other dungeons I've made have been pretty straightforward. I'd like to run a game where they were, for the most part, intentionally irrational.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Evil, The Thought Goes

You know what could be fun? Running an evil campaign.

There are mechanical advantages. I've got the Book of Exalted Deeds, and I'd like a chance to try it out. There are a whole slew of monsters in the core manual that would be fun to use. Or, rather, use in a different way; I've brought, say, celestials into a game before, but always as allies or characters to be negotiated with. It'd be interesting to use them as antagonists, and, conversely, it'd be fun to use some of those evil monsters as allies.

And then, of course, there's always the Book of Vile Darkness. I have an unaccountable fondness for that book.

It'd also be a chance to run "the good guys." Not that I don't already do that--my campaigns tend to be fairly ally heavy, and I have yet to decide whether that's a bad thing--but in this case I'd be running the actual "heroes," rather than people who are intended to make the heroes look awesome-er.

On the other hand . . . I don't really mind playing bad guys on the DM side (hate it on the player side, but that's a story for another day) and the advantage to that is that, in the end, the bad guys lose. If I've done my job right, and the players have done theirs right. If the players are the bad guys, then either we're going to have to sit down for some serious discussion of assumptions, or the bad guys are going to win.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Keep on the Borderlands

When I first heard of the adventure, "Keep on the Borderlands," I thought the "keep" part was a verb. The players had to keep on the borderlands, whatever the "borderlands" were.

This impression was compounded by what little I knew of the composition of the adventure, that it was easy to retreat. It seemed reasonable that there would be stuff, towns and such, on or near the "borderlands." Or something along those lines.

Now I know better. I know that the "Keep" part is a noun, that it refers to the location of the adventure rather than what the players have to do. I know that the big reason it's important is that, rather than being a huge mega-dungeon, it consisted of several smaller, shallower dungeons. Allowed the players to work at more their own pace. Or so I've been told.

I still think my idea would be an interesting adventure, though.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Fable

Finally played some Fable, after months of meaning to. It's an interesting game.

Even if Dvorak does cause it to crash. Apparently, it can't handle non-standard keyboard layouts, and it causes crashes in very specific parts of the game. Crashes that involve the character aging prematurely, at random times. It was weird, and very irritating.

The tutorial was not so much fun, either, but that was probably because I had to do it about eight times. Compared to Lionheads other efforts in this area (Black and White 2! The horror!) it was positively divine.

But enough griping. There are lots of aspects of the game that are engaging, interesting, and fun. Like having the townspeople refer to your character as "Piemaster." No other game provides this experience!

One thing that stands out about the game is its strange tendency to wander into the whimsical. One minute, you're getting a Beauty and the Beast-style story time, the next minute you're hearing a guard--who's wearing a baseball cap--tell you about how he only got a "C+ in hostage rescue."

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Wonderful World of Work

They have jobs like this. This is a legitimate source of employment. It's an entire field, even.

I had no idea.

(Quoted because that link will probably change at some point.)

Creative Designer – Digital Games
Requisition ID 1999
Full/Part Time Full Time
Location Renton, WA
Description Suits Optional ...
...Brains Required!!

Wizards of the Coast, a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc. and the world's largest publisher of adventure games, including Magic: The Gathering® Trading Card Game and Dungeons & Dragons® Roleplaying Games, has an exciting opportunity for a Creative Designer to join our team.

Why us? Because we offer competitive salaries, a great benefits package, and the excitement of working in a creative organization. But the best part of working here is that most of us think selling games that bring hours of enjoyment to millions around the globe is an inherently cool way to earn a living.

PURPOSE
The Creative Designer in the Digital Games group is responsible for the development of concepts, names, and flavor text for Digital games under development.

In this position you would be responsible for sourcing and coordinating a team of internal and external writers to produce creative text for cards, packaging, inserts, and assorted other purposes. In addition, the Creative Designer contributes to world-building and Intellectual Property (IP) development for Digital games.

Key Relationships
-Project Team: Producer, Art Director, Lead Developer, Lead Designer, Concept Illustrator
-External contacts may include illustrators, writers, and vendors.
-Interactions focus on information exchange, receiving and providing direction, or receiving and providing training.

Duties and Responsibilities

Creative Direction:
-Ensure continuity and quality of names and flavor text
-Meet all quantitative and qualitative goals and strategies defined by the R&D.
-Coordinate a team of writers and possibly other creative staff providing hands-on direction.
- Monitor design and output ensuring all text is editorially appropriate for the product line.
-Help connect textual materials with art assets
-Assure excellent quality, consistency and timely completion of all projects.

Administration:
-Ensure that timely and effective communications are affected among the various parts of R&D (Design, Development, Creative, etc.) to enable successful development.
-Establishes consistent scheduling and resource use in coordination with the Lead Developer.
-Work directly with writers and designers to execute world building on a scheduled basis.
-Manage external contractor, either teams or independents.

Process and Standards:
-Work with the R&D leadership to define non-existent or dated processes and set goals and participate in action to establish, eliminate or improve these processes for the benefit of all stakeholders.
-Meet or exceed all department and corporate standards for business, including work hours, professional conduct, mutual respect, and teamwork.

Knowledge, experience and Skills

Required:
-Minimum 2 years experience as a writer or artist or manager of creative talent
-Demonstrated ability to write high quality, concise creative text and explanations
-Working knowledge of game mechanics, ‘races’, characters, environments, and their trends and implications.
-Ability to develop, coordinate, and maintain the overall style of intellectual property
-Must foster a highly creative environment, and manage (self and others) effectively in a fast paced environment.
-Strong oral and written communication skills, with the flair to “sell” creative ideas
-Strong creative intuition and ability to recognize and develop outstanding creative/written work produced by others
-Consistently have authored creative materials through an understanding of the target customer, consumer patterns, usage patterns, popular and economic trends.
-Enthusiastic and knowledgeable about other fantasy entertainment properties.
-Strong initiative, stays current on emerging products as well as industry trends.
-Ability to lead and participate in brainstorming sessions to develop unique concepts.
-Strong interpersonal and team building skills, must be an organizer and a motivator.
-Ability to see the big picture and ensure that all the small details support it.


Strongly Preferred:
-BA or BS —Creative Writing, Technical Writing or other creative field preferred.
-Previous work in creative writing is strongly desired.
-Ability to produce quality sketches and paintings is a nice bonus.
-Ability to write fictional prose in multiple genres (fantasy, science fiction, etc.) is strongly desired.