Monday, August 31, 2015

Community Game: Driftmoon XIII

You search the first building to the south--the Mayor's Office.  The Mayor's statue is seated at her desk.  The legs of the chair underneath her have cracked due to the sudden weight of the stone.  You can't recall ever seeing the mayor anywhere but at her desk.  A notebook is in front of her with the inscription, "DO NOT READ  If found, return to the Office of the Mayor.  PROPERTY of Mayor Bisquit."  On the shelves are stacks of legal documents.  You find some copies of the mayor's proclamations, including the one to Word's dad.  There is also one to someone named Plotho:  "Mayor's Order 231.  Plotho, I've heard about your terrible luck.  It is clear to me that the Gardening Tool of Doom or whatever it is called is dangerous.  I am ordering you to lock it up in your shed until further notice.  I will be coming to take away the key tomorrow.  Yours, Mayor Bisquit"  You also find a copy of Hogpuff's Biggish Book of Monsters, that ubiquitous tome.  You flip to the familiar section on wolves.  Young wolves are called morning wolves and older wolves are night wolves.  You wonder if it's impolite to ask a lady wolf which one she is.  (You may now consult this book for information on any creature.)

"Look at this!" says Word.  "It's a gargoyle.  I've seen one before!  We have one at the shop."

"Password," says the gargoyle in its stony voice.

"They are the latest thing.  It's guarding something, and we need to give it the proper key phrase," she says excitedly.  "Password...okay, that's not it," she adds.

You don't have the heart to tell her you've seen entire cathedrals full of the things in your travels.

Player B:  Let's check our reference book to see if there is an entry in gargoyles. Then let's investigate the mayor's secret book to see if we can find the password. 

Player A:  I second all of [B]'s motions.

Gargoyles are a new kind of technology, so you can't look them up in the monster reference.  You do think they are tacky.  A statue shouldn't talk, you know?
"Shall we open the mayor's book?" you ask Word.
"Ooo, we're going to get in trouble when she wakes up!" she says.
The notebook turns out to be a false cover for a bodice-ripping romance, but there is also a scribble on the inside.  "The password is Mr. Scrubbs.  DON'T FORGET"
You show it to Word, and she takes it upon herself to give the password.  "Password accepted," says the Gargoyle, and a previously-hidden wall safe pops open.  Inside is the Official Armor of the City guard, which the mayor hands out on the rare occasion that she needs a city guard for the day.  There is also a an old-fashioned long-stem key.
"I may need some armor," you say, pulling it on.  Word helps you with the adjustable straps.  "At least I have my apron," says Word.  You take the key as well.
South of the mayor's house is the Strawberry Juice Fountain with the Five Plaques of Holy Writings around it.  The road forks here.  To the east, the road curves down the cliff to the entrance to the abandoned mine.  To the west is historical landmark Hogpuff's House, which is in a sad state these days.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Community Game: Driftmoon XII

Walter "Fluffy"
Strength:  11 (WALTER SMASH)
Intelligence:  10
Dexterity:  9  (I'm just big-boned.)
Health:  10
Pottery +3 to base score
Nose of the Gods +3 to base score
Knots +3 to base score

Normal Clothing for + Clean but damp do-rag for Armor 1
3 changes of socks and underwear, damp but clean
About 2 days worth of food, including dried fish, cured meat, berries, and carrots.
Soldier's Dagger
15 steel arrows
1 Silver Feather

Word has:
Potion of Coloring Things Gold (2 doses remaining; lasts 6 hours)
Potion of Create Back Hair (3 sips remaining; permanent; only works on things with backs when ingested)
Potion of Banish Back Hair (3 sips remaining; permanent; only works on things with backs when ingested)
Potion of Reduce Weight 90% (only a teeny bit remaining, maybe not enough to work)
Apprentice Alchemist Leather Apron and Gloves + Clothes for Armor 1

Belt with Pouches to Hold Stuff
Big Stick
Water Flask

Walter attempts to find something to prop open the door.  (Rolls 13:  Failure)  "Word, do you have anything we can use here?"  (Rolls 11:  Success)  "I found some driftwood!," says Word.  Hopefully that will hold, but if not, you are on the side with the chain now, so you can probably figure out another way to open it.
"Okay, what are we going to do about the wolf," says Word.

(You attempt an intelligence-based Sniff.  You need a 13 or less (10+3)  Rolls 12.  A success!)  "It doesn't smell sick or hungry, so it's probably not dangerous," says Walter.
"Oooookay..." says Word, "if you say so.  Like, when did you get super powers?"
"It's a defense mechanism from growing up with an absent-minded alchemist."
You adopt a non-threatening posture and approach the wolf slowly.  It is, after all, by the path, and it will probably see you anyway if you try to sneak past.  "Nice wolf," you say in a soft voice.
"STAY BACK!" says the wolf.
"Whoa!  Sorry, ma'am.  No offense intended."
"I don't care what you intended.  You stay away from my cub!"
"Aww, her little cub is a statue too," says Word with liquid eyes.  "Poor thing."
The wolf sniffs.  "You seem different from the two legs that did this," the wolf says.  "I dooooooooooon't know what to dooooooo.  ARRROOOO"
"Can you tell me what happened?" asks Walter.

"I was in town to visit my two brothers.  They are..." she pauses uncomfortably, "domesticated.  Very sweet, but they just need a little help, so we sent them here.  Suddenly, flashes and bangs everywhere!  I was terrified.  A group of ten or so green two-legs with a pale two-legs come this way.  My hackles raise immediately!  But sweet, kind Jazz, my daughter, crawls towards them, wagging, and I can't even move.  She was scared, but she wants to be nice to everyone!  AWWWROOO!!!  They did this.  They did this!
"They got my father, too!" says Word.
"My mother," says Walter, "But the pale one, that might have been my father.  Do you remember anything about him?"
"I thought at the time he was with them, but he did seem frightened.  What can we do?"
"I'm going to get everyone back!" you declare.  "Do you want to come with us?"
"Noooooo...I will stay with my cub.  Guard her.  No one can come near."
"In that case, can you guard the rest of the villiage too.  Keep it safe until we can figure out a way to undo this?"
"I can do that, human."
"Thank you!" says Word.  She hugs the wolf, who barely tolerates it while showing her teeth a bit.  "We'll be back!"
The town is arranged in a ring around a central island.  At high-tide, the water floods the southern path and refreshes the tide pool around the island.  You remember it being an idyllic fishing spot.  You are standing in front of a bridge to the island.  The path curves north to another bridge to the northern part of town.  Town itself is arranged from the north side in a half ring around the island down the the southern path, which is currently not underwater, though it is, quite deeply, twice a day.  If you were to go south, you would find a path leading down to an abandoned mine in the cliff side.  Word says the new Alchemy shop in on the town ring West of the island with the rest of the buildings.  You can go straight there or investigate some of the other buildings.  There are also buildings outside the town that you haven't explored.

Player B:  Let's investigate some other buildings and see if we can find any goodies.

Player A:  Let's especially look for food and weapons.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Community Game: Driftmoon XI

At this point, I didn't reply for....a while, and one of the players decided to encourage me.  I received the following in an email from Player B:


[Me], a gifted mathematician who modifies video games off the cuff as an amusement for her friends.
[Player A], friend and everyday gamer.
[Player B], friend and everyday gamer.
Walter “Fluffy” Argylebutter, a video game character whose ability to be controlled by a trio of giggling females has yet to be determined.
Word, Walter’s sidekick of questionable cognitive ability.

Setting:  Interior of an abandoned 1950’s-era school building.  There is a long tiled hallway with windows along one side and lockers along the other.  Light streaming through the windows illuminates dust particles floating in the air.  A classroom door stands ajar in the background.  In the foreground is a 1993 Apple Computer with a black screen and blinking green cursor in the bottom left corner.  The system is rebooted and ready.
Act I, Scene I
A pin drops.
Fluffy?  Fluffy where are you?......Hello??......
                (The question is met by a keening silence.)

Monday, August 24, 2015

Community Game: Driftmoon X

Player A:  Would repairing the chain allow us to open the door from our side? I think not but if it could, then let's repair the chain or something. Otherwise we should go around the wall clockwise looking for a likely place to break in.

Me:  Repairing the chain would require some long distance welding through the peep hole.  It doesn't sound possible without some serious equipment.  The town is built against a tall cliff, and the fence butts into it at both ends.  It looks in good repair, despite the fact that the gate is usually standing open.

Player B:  Can we toss Word over the gate?  Can she stand on our shoulders and reach the top?  If there's no apparent way into the Village, then I guess we should go explore the Well and Stable to see if there are any clues.

Player A:  THROW WORD OVER THE WALL! Yes, this is what we should do! Human catapult!

"Here, let me give you a boost," you say to Word. 

She takes a running start, and you cup her foot and heave her mightily in the air!  (Rolled 3d6 against 10 Strength - 4 for difficulty.  You need a 6 or less to succeed!  You rolled a 4, a critical success!)  Word lands perfectly at the top of the fence and pulls herself up.

"Oooo...I don't know.  It's really far down," she calls.  (Word rolls against 14 Intelligence.  Word rolls a 10, a success.)  "Oh, right."  Word riffles through a pouch on her belt, then disappears on the other side of the fence.  You hear giggling, then she falls silent. 

"Word.  Word?" you whisper.

"Shhh!" she says in the same whisper.  "See if you can push the gate up." 

You bend your knees, wipe off your hands, and heave.  The door hurtles up and crashes back down.  Instinctively, you try to catch it, and to your surprise you hold it up in its track with ease. 

"What the..." you say. 

"I used the lightness potion on it.  Pretty neat, huh?  And check it out."  She leaps about 10 feet in the air and comes down grinning.  "No broken legs coming down from the fence, either.  There's only about a drop left, though."

"How long will it last?"
"I'm not 100% sure?  We should probably prop open the door or something if we're here very long."

"Why are we whispering?" you ask.
"Look over there...I think I see a wolf."
You look over in the grassy area that has just come out from the shadow of the cliff as the sun rises.  You see a small statue of a wolf...but the grass is swaying though there is no wind.  Behind the statue, a huge wolf is pacing.  You don't think it has seen you, but its pacing is taking it quite near the path into town.
WALTER HAS REACHED LEVEL 2.  Please suggest three skills or areas of expertise for Walter.  You may also increase one of his attributes by one if you provide a backstory to justify this (see last post).  You can also make suggestions for Word if you like.

P.S.--In the actual game, you have to locate a crab who will climb through the peephole and fix the gate for you.  I went ahead and let you try another way, as it seemed plausible (enough).  It's not like the crab scenario was terrible plausible...

Player B:  I suggest we increase +1 in Strength.  I'm envisioning a Hodor or Andre the Giant type.  His backstory can be that he wrestled in secondary school. 
Player B:  I also suggest one of his skills as pottery.

Player A:  Maybe there will be a lizard who we can bean later worth a poorly fired vase.

Player A:  I suggest a keen sense of smell as a skill. (He had honed it over his childhood sniffing out food his mom used to hide from him.) I hope his olfactory knowledge and awareness will aid him in avoiding danger and identifying substances. 

Player A:  As a final skill, I suggest that Walter loves knots and is fairly skilled at tying and undoing them. His childhood neighbor had an uncle who sometimes visited for two or three months at a time. He was a sailor and enjoyed teaching knots to Fluffy, because his own nieces and nephews were too unfocused to sit down to learn.

Player B:  Sounds good to me.  Now turning back to the story, what to do about the wolf?  I would guess the wolf is there grieving/guarding his stone-turned mate/child/friend, so he's probably not a bad sort.  However, one can never be too cautious around wolves.  Should we try and approach slowly, using our superior nostril prowess to determine his mood?  Being this early in the game, there's a good chance he's friend instead of foe.  Also, since the game has established that we can communicate with crabs, why shouldn't we be able to communicate with wolves too?

Player A:  I think we should prop open the door and approach the wolf.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Community Game: Driftmoon IX

There is much discussion, and eventually the players agree on an action.

Player B says, "He's tarried too long. He's probably run out of food by now. I know there are four different directions he could choose to explore, but my suggestion would be to have him hold the exploring for now and head on into the village to his father's shop, where Word was taking him. They need to try and get a handle on the situation and get some clues/explanations."

Player A says, "I think that's an excellent idea - Word is far more likely to have a sense of recent village history and the trustworthiness of various village personas."

The peephole where the viliage's retired soldier watchman scrutinizes strangers is open.  Through it, you can see a statue of the village watchman.  Clearly he won't be opening the door for you.  Looking around, you can see the chain which raises the door has broken.  Maybe the last lizard out struck it in case someone was pursuing.  Word suddenly attempts a running leap at the wall and scrabbles up about a foot.  She looks embarrassed.  Any ideas?

You may level up soon, so start thinking about 3 aspects you want to improve about your hero.  (These should be skills of some sort.)  Walter currently has a dexterity of 9 instead of 10 due to his fluffiness.  I will also allow you to change one of his inherent scores to 11 instead of 10 if you come up with a job or training background he has to justify it.  He has Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence, and Health.  If, say, he apprenticed with his mother as an herbalist, he might have Health 11.  Whatever you want to do.  :)

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Community Game: Driftmoon VIII

Player A says, "Wait wait wait, we left the tavern kinda quickly. What all did we take with us? Fluffy and Word need to take inventory."

Word has:

Potion of Coloring Things Gold (2 doses remaining; lasts 6 hours)
Potion of Create Back Hair (3 sips remaining; permanent; only works on things with backs when ingested)
Potion of Banish Back Hair (3 sips remaining; permanent; only works on things with backs when ingested)
Potion of Reduce Weight 90% (2 doses remaining; lasts 6 minutes)
Apprentice Alchemist Leather Apron and Gloves + Clothes for Armor 1
Belt with Pouches to Hold Stuff
Big Stick
Water Flask

Fluffy has:
Normal Clothing for + Clean but damp do-rag for Armor 1
3 changes of socks and underwear, damp but clean
About 2 days worth of food, including dried fish, cured meat, berries, and carrots.
Soldier's Dagger
15 steel arrows
1 Silver Feather

Player B says, "Would it be mischievous of me to suggest that Word use a Potion of Create Back Hair on Walter?"

Player A says, "No, don't use the potion on Fluffy! You might find a use for it later, a dire one in which, but for the Back Hair Potion, all would have been lost.

"Okay, I think we need to really hunker down and discuss what to do here. This seems to be a major crossroad with lots of choices."

I say, "I approve of mischief. If you can make a plausible scene or description of Word getting Fluffy to drink it, then it will be so.  You have to agree on your actions, so discuss amongst yourselves."

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Community Game: Driftmoon VII

Player B says, "We should go and search through Galpi's room for the key, since the room is open and that's the most likely place for it. If we can't find it there, we may need to discuss persuasive tactics to try and learn the key's location from the little girl, if she knows it."

Player A says, "I think Fluffy should carefully examine the statute of Galpi for the key (and for other possible secrets). But first he should ask how long she's been in there and get some other info if possible, especially about the lizards. It may be that he can't get the door open, or that he will be surprised soon by enemies, and it will be good for him to know as much as possible."

Walter says, "Who are you by the way? What did you mean by 'lizards?'"
The door replies, "Did you find my dad and get the key yet?"
"I don't know if you were aware...I mean I don't know how to put this...your dad is currently a statue."
"What a nightmare. Okay, I'm 100% sure. I'm 98% sure we can fix this...eventually. Just let me out!"
Walter hopes the key is in Galpi's room. He gingerly pats down the statue. It feels like solid rock, and Walter is not sure what to do if the key was in a pocket. Galpi's walls are decorated with embroidered samplers. Walter checks behind the one that had not fallen, "A stranger may not become a friend, but he will teach you." The key is not behind it. There is a note from the Mayor on the desk: "Order 234. Your snatcher customer is causing unrest. Yes, he's very entertaining with his pirate stories, but he's also been trespassing. I'm sending Cormack to arrest him. You have to let him in this time. I don't care whether you've barred him from the tavern. Yours, Mayor Bisquit." The key is not in the desk. Walter gets down on all fours and check under the bed. Jackpot! Galpi must have thrown it under there as he was reaching for his gun. Walter snatches at the key and just manages to reach it.
Walter unlocks the door to reveal a young girl ready to throw a bottle with an alarming yellow liquid at him. She lowers her arm, "Walter! It is you!" She runs past you.
"Hey!" says Walter. You find her at the kitchen sink drinking water from the tap.
"Okay," she says. "My dad's a statue. Right. Grab anything you can carry. We need to go to your dad's apothecary shop. I'm his apprentice, by the way, so you're practically my brother."
"Word?!" you say, shocked to barely remember the tiny girl who once tied your shoelaces together.
"Yeah," she says. She starts grabbing bottles from her room. There is a small desk here covered in mysterious stains. Herbs are hung in bundles from the shelf edges, and there is a rather...eldery fish on a cutting board beside a mortar and pestle.
"I've got a potion that turns things gold. Just the color, I mean. It doesn't sound great, but it was really complicated, you have no idea. I've got a back-hair remover. I've got a back-hair adder. That one was sort of an accident. I've got a weight-loss potion, but it only makes you like 90% lighter and doesn't change your shape, so not really what the people want in a weight-loss potion."
"What's the one you were gonna throw at me?"
"Leave that one," she says. "You got anything useful? WHO KNOWS what we may find out there?"
"Wait...what happened here."
"Okay, long story. They thought they were looking for me, so they hid me in here, but it turns out they were looking for your dad and wanted me so they could find him. By 'they,' I mean the lizards. I mean, and also my dad. The 'they' who was attacking was lizards. Your mom ran past calling them 'Rakan' or something. 'The Rakan are attacking.' I've never heard of them. They look like lizards. I heard, 'They've turned the mayor to stone,' so maybe they were meeting with the mayor at first or maybe not, but anyway I figured out the stone thing, so I knew, or alternatively, I could have misheard. Um, I also heard some of the lizards come in to search here, and they were all, 'Where is she?' and someone ran in and said, 'Come on, we've found him. The Master awits! We don't need the apprentice any more.' I think your father is not petrified because I heard someone say, 'Let him go.'"
"Are any of them still around? Do we need to be quiet?"
"I haven't heard anybody since you showed up, and you turned out not to be a lizard. On the other hand, I think we may be the only ones not petrified. Come on, I'll take you to your father's shop."
"I only have some basic supplies and a dagger. And I've been to the shop before."
"Oh no. The old one COMPLETELY blew up. He had to move it. He has been anxious lately. He's been researching something, but he didn't say what. In the lab day and night, no rest."
"He wrote me about a jewel. My brother too, apparently."
The tavern is just outside the walled portion of the town. Word takes you straight to the gate. Throw a small window, he can see Adahn the gatekeeper, still sitting in his chair, turned into stone.
To the West is the village wall. To the East is the well you were shoved into. To the South is Northrop Lake. To the North is a stable, and the tavern is on the lake front.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Community Game: Driftmoon VI

Player B says, "Walter needs to get a weapon out of his knapsack if he has one, or if not then look about the room for a weapon. If no weapon is available, he should still approach the door cautiously. Then thrust it open suddenly with a loud shout to gain the element of surprise on whoever/whatever is inside, even though he'll probably end up finding a friend or ally."

Walter takes out his dagger, takes a deep breath, and rushes the door. "Ayyyyyy!" he yells. He pounds the door with his shoulder while yanking the doorknob, but the door doesn't give.
Someone on the other side screams like a little girl. Actually, it might be a little girl. "Who's out there!" she yells.
Walter jumps back from the door. "Who is that?" Walter shouts.
"Um, um, um, oh geez, friend or foe?" squeaks the door.
"This is Walter son of Winston. Can you open the door?"
"Walter? No, you're not Walter. Walter moved."
"Look, I came back. Open the door. What happened here?"
"My father locked me in here when the lizards came. I don't know where he is. I'm really thirsty."
"Your dad is Galpi?"
"Is he out there? If you aren't a bad guy, he would tell you where he hid the key..." The voice trails off and falls silent.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Community Game: Driftmoon V

Player A says, "A pot that has boiled itself dry is bad news. I hope there hasn't been CRISIS X during Walter's knock-out.

"I suggest that Walter pinch some food, wash up a little in the kitchen to appear as normal as possible, and cautiously venture out into the pub. If there appears to really be no one about, he should do some snooping in the opened room. If after snooping about the pub and there is truly no one about, he should pinch the arrows. Right now he should only take food, as that can be plausibly explained as 'hungry customer helps himself' if he gets caught."

You find some local cuisine: evil berry juice, dried tomato fish, hot carrots, some cured meats, and a few cans of food. You wash up in the sink and run some cold water over your sore head. You feel a bit more human. As you are drying your hands, you realize that all this time, you have heard nothing but a few birds singing in the distance.

You edge through the beaded curtain. The dining tables are set with clean dishes as they would be before the dinner rush. The innkeeper, Galpi's personal room is standing open. You knock on the heavy carved wooden door saying "Hello?" to an empty room. An embroidered sampler reading, "The hospitality of your house is the measure of your heart," has fallen to the floor. You replace it on the wall and look around the room some more. You spent your boyhood attending weddings, birthdays, and parties at the inn, so you recognize Mr. Galpi now, perfectly represented as a statue beside the bed. The statue is very clearly and distinctly reaching under the bed to pull out a solid stone gun.
You run back to the dining room and look at the statue there. It looks exactly like Rince the Hatmaker. You fall against the table, rattling the dishes. From the door of the closed room, there is a loud THUMP. You remember that that door is the other private bedroom in the Inn.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Year 2015 Lists: Books I've Read This Year Half-Year Edition

I haven't read much good stuff this year yet.  Hopefully the post-July period will see better luck.

Squire's Tales by Gerald Morris--a heart-stirring adaptation of the King Arthur legends.

The Martian: A Novel by Andy Weir--A traditional sci-fi novel of Asimov descent.  Strictly no characters whatsoever.  Science to word ratio is 1:1.  The subtitle is there so you will know you have a novel on your hands and not, say, a work of Noh Drama or a lawn flamingo.

Dirty Parts of the Bible by Sam Torode--a barely-adult pastor's son is sent on a cross-country mission in the 30s and chivarously sacrifices anything in his power for every woman he meets.  On the title, your guess is as good as mine.

Rachel Griffin Series by L. Jagi Lamplighter--A group of students goes to magic school in a world vulnerable to destruction from instabilities in the multiverse.  Rachel is an interesting character that one never sees these days--a young teen who is giggly and boy-crazy.  She is not involved with her ONE TRUE LOVE WHO IS HER DESTINY BUT TRAGICALLY IS IN ANOTHER ROOM RIGHT NOW; she simply crushes on whatever boy that happens to be around.  A much more realistic portrayal of middle-schoolers than the usual.  And, that cover on the second one.  I love it.

Allan Mendelsohn the Boy from Mars by Daniel Pinkwater--two boys meet a series of weird guys, culminating in one who sells them a course on developing one's psi powers.  I like the way the crazy slowly creeps up in this book.

Wayward Pines by Blake Crouch--A federal agent finds an amazing amount of resistance to his investigation in a small town.  He also can't seem to leave...

Unsung Villains by Missy Meyer--Meyer's chic-lit superhero series continues.  This time, our heroine leads a caper on her own.  It's all pretty low-key but enjoyable.

Hard Luck Hank by Steven Campbell--Hank is dense enough to deflect bullets.  He thinks of himself as a small-time tough on a ganster-ridden space station, but people keep asking him to save the universe.

Queen of the Trailer Park by Alice Quinn--The charm of this book is its not-quite translation to English so that the pages are filled with interesting turns of phrase.  This is about a French welfare mom who alternates applying makeup and miniskirts with yelling at the Mafia and herding her kids.

Sweet Dreams are Made of Teeth by Richard Roberts--The Archetype of Being Chased in Dreams is our protagonist, and the plot is the origin story for Jeffrey Dahmer.  It just gets weirder from there.  I don't know, man.

Ill Met by Moonlight by Sarah Hoyt--Fairies mess with a young apprentice glovemaker  and his wife.  The humans may escape, but will life ever be the same afterwards?  Much of the text is Shakespeare quotes worked into the story.  An interesting endeavor, but the resulting story is a bit meh.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Year 2015 Lists: Games Played in 2015 Half-Year Edition

Lili Child of Geos--You play a grad student who is researching for her dissertation on an obscure island.  What this actually involves is chasing down living mounds of dirt and violently ripping flowers out of their backs.  You can use flowers to purchase upgrades or keep them to...write your dissertation.

MASSIVE CHALICE--Careful turn-based combat over a backdrop of a centuries-long battle with a Cloud of Evil which is slowly covering the entire world.  By the time your battle is over, many generations will have come and gone.  This game is currently riding First Class on the Internet Hate Train.  *eyeroll*

Sine Rider--This game attempts to teach the young'uns about function transformation via letting them adjust constants so that the people on a sled on the function ride through certain dots.  It uses some non-standard terminology, though.

Fearless Fantasy--This game is a series of combats with a painfully thin story.  To do combat moves you have to swish your mouse around in specific patterns, which is fun!  The art is REALLY WEIRD

100% Orange Juice--I can't figure out whether this game is in English.  Is it English with the consonants removed?  Or am I grasping for meaning from a language I can't understand?  A very luck-based board game.  Real title:  "Ah-unna pa-sen oh-ah-szu"

Grim Fandango--I had never finished this game before the new remastered version came out.  This is often called the best Point-and-Click of all time, but I prefer the Monkey Island series.

Morphopolis--The advantage of this game is that it is sometimes $0.10.  The disadvantage is that it would be about 5 minutes long if your bug moved at a normal speed.  Instead...30.  Very pretty, though.

Brothers, a Tale of Two Sons--Two brothers climb and jump their way across a big fantasy world to collect medicine for their father.  If you actually play this with your brother, and he keeps killing his character accidentally, emotions may result.

Her Story--Interesting non-linear storytelling.  You attempt to piece together your mother's story by searching a database for clips from her arrest interviews.

XCOM Enemy Unknown--I liked the fact that the female scientist was a weird staring hunchback with protruding eyeballs, but then I realized that was just the art "style."  Fun, but the big budget was used for endless nagging cut-scenes (and not improving the art).

Saints Row 2--A painfully bad game.  You can watch my SLOW playthrough progress on my blog (here).

Dwarf Fortress--Latest bug:  many chickens think one-night stands are beneath them, but chickens can't get married, so eggs are rare.  This year's release will include Dwarven Poetry.

Divinity Original Sin--a 2-player game that's great for connecting with a distant friend

TIS-100 and Untrusted--two games which are just coding.  The second uses JAVA.  The first is VERY DIFFICULT.  I am on puzzle 16, and we are to the point that actual paper and pencils are involved.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Year 2015 Lists: Movies Watched in 2015 Half-Year Edition

The Heat--Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy in a typical cop movie, except the typical cop movie has at most one woman in it, and she's never given the funny lines.

We Are the Best!--Three Swedish middle-schoolers form an awful punk band while their tween drama slowly reaches critical mass.

Horns--Daniel Radcliffe grows a rack of firey ram's horns and develops psi powers when he is accused of murder.  I also do that.

Frank--MICHAEL FASSBENDER.  A band full of crazy people is infiltrated by a sub-par but EARNEST musician.  He becomes obsessed with another band member's paper mache head.  5 STARS MICHAEL FASSBENDER

Moonstruck--Cher plays a middle-aged romantic who has given up on finding love.  Nicolas Cage's hair is the broody love interest.  YESSSSS

The Mirror Has Two Faces--This used to be my One Romance Movie.  Now that I have found see above, I have two.  Contains actual math.

John Wick--So basically, don't kill Keanu Reeve's dog.

A Bunch of Movies Where Someone Wanders Around a "Haunted House" and Searches for Jumpscares--This plot needs to die.

Babadook--I don't think "scary" movies work on me.  But at least it is not see above.

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night--Remember, just because you are a vampire now doesn't mean you shouldn't wear your hijab.

Miss Granny--I...

Mad Max Fury Road and Beyond Thunderdome--My veins are now running PURE AWESOME.

Young Doctor's Notebook--An old doctor (Jon Hamm) recalls his youth (Daniel Radcliffe) while trying not to hate himself too much.  Young self makes it very difficult...

Snowpiercer--In a world of snow, the entire human population lives on a moving train, and boy are they angry about it.  Premise Plausibility Rating:  China Mieville.  Punch, fight, fight, suffer, horrible realization (TM), fight, brood, blahdity blahdity blah.

What We Do in the Shadows--Four vampires are in "a flatting situation" in New Zealand.  This movie makes me very happy.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Community Game: Long Live the Queen XXIV (Fatal Finally Dies (Fatally))

Fatal: :) Being declared the BEST in front of everyone in the domain is the BEST possible prize.
Joslyn: Very well. I will draft the announcements.

Dear Diary,

After I talked with my ever-affectionate father, I wandered back to my room. That same creepy hall I mentioned previously was being creepy again. This time, all the flowers in the window vases were dead. I...think they were alive when I had gone that way that morning.

(You fail a Divination + Decoration check.)

I think, for the sake of my sanity, I'm going to blame Alice. Speaking of which, she brought me yet another gift this afternoon.

"Your Highness," she said, giving me a brightly-colored box, "A present has arrived from Kigal."

"From the Duke? I guess he heard his poisoned pillow trick did not work."

"No, it's from a merchant house."

(You fail a Trade + Production check.)

"That's okay, then." I grabbed the package and ripped off the paper to reveal...CHOCOLATE!!!

(You gain Cheerful +1.)

"They look lovely, your Highness." She paused and said tentatively, "They're not even in...unusual shapes."

"Alice, I'm shocked. Are you trying to develop a sense of humor?"

She thought about it. "That depends."

"It's a start. And don't worry, I'm not going to kill you today either. Not for that, anyway. Sadly, though, you're right. It seems the Castle Pervert and I have had a falling out. We were getting along so well...."

"What kind of chocolates, Your Highness?"

I studied the lid. "Lavender, Blood Orange, Caramel, Lychee, Curry...oh, here's one that's just chocolate."

(You fail a Court Manners skill check. You fail a Dog Handling skill check.)

I popped it in my mouth. Diary, it was absolute heaven. I haven't had such lovely chocolates since my thirteenth birthday party. It had a thin, snappy shell and a smooth creamy center, and it was big enough to fill my hand.





At this point, I would write more, but my Diary seems to have disappeared.

"Hi," said my mother. She was standing beside me. At first, I was too shocked to do anything, and then I finally hugged her, but it was awkward. I mean, I've been at boarding school since I was six, and then, well, she died, and all. We haven't spent a lot of time together, is what I'm saying.

She kissed me on the forehead and stroked my hair, running her fingers through to the ends and picking up a strand. "Pink?" she said. Geez, Dead Mom, it's cool, okay?

I smoothed my hair back down and said, "So...." but I kinda had to stop there.

"So you died," she filled in.

"What? When?!"

"Just now."

"I was writing my diary..." I thought aloud.

"And then you dropped it for all the thrashing and foaming at the mouth that came next."

"I don't remember that at all! Are you sure?"

"Of course I'm sure...I just thought you could skip all that and pop up here a little early."

"No, Geez, Mom, Queen Mom, it's nice of you, but I don't want to die yet. I might survive????"

"Oh no," she said thoughtfully, "I don't think that would have had happened considering what orifice your spleen just oozed out of."

"Ugh," I said.

"Exactly," she said. "So, here you are. You were poisoned, by the way."

"What?! But I took so many poison classes."

"And yet you still failed that last critical skill check."

(You fail a Poisons skill check.)

"What does that mean?" I asked, but my mother just floated there looking ethereally smug.

"Okay, who poisoned me?"

"I'm not quite sure. It was one of the thirty-nine people who wanted to kill you personally, or maybe just a political murder."

"Well, shoot." I thought about it. "Thirty-six weeks as queen, though. That's got to be some kind of record. For brevity. At least I will be remembered."

"Well, you were never actually crowned, so..."

"Okay, so, fine, I get to meet the Good Lady now, or what?"

"Well, about that. You didn't exactly manage to become enlightened during your life, did you?"

I rubbed my hands nervously. "Was there a class in that? Look, I only had thirty-six weeks." Plus fourteen years, I added silently to myself. Desperately, I tried to think of something impressive. "Ooo, I did learn to blow up people with my mind!"

My mother looked shocked and appalled, "You've been doing that!?"

"Who me? No, no. I wouldn't do that. Why, it's so, so wrong. I that. I...didn' that?"

"A Lumen should live to serve her people, not blow people up!"

"I will get right on that, as soon as I can get back to being alive. Is there a form to fill out?"

My mother sighed. "Fortunately, despite your lack of good deeds, your achievements towards becoming a magical being qualify you for reincarnation...unless you want to stay here and mediate on the nature of reality."

"Well, that's out. What are my reincarnation options?"

"Right now, the only magical being we have available is a terrible beast of darkness whose very name--"

"I'll take it!" I said.

My mother sputtered. "Fatal! Take the rabbit instead. You'll be perfectly...innocuous."

"Geeze, Mom. I'm not a little girl anymore. I've spent most of the year in constant danger honing myself into a killing machine. I sat in that stupid strategy classroom so many times, and the teacher wouldn't even let me wear my Magical Girl costume, and I had to listen to the Countess and the Priestess titter at each other day after day while I practiced. And I had to wear a corset, and curtsey, and dance with Dad, and every single person I knew hated me. No, I'm not a little girl anymore. I'm a terrible beast of darkness. Hopefully. As soon as possible. Whenever it's convenient."

So that's why I'm a Keythong now, a beast who's very name is....pretty ridiculous. But man can I rampage. My claws are named Terror and Destruction, my wings are Overshadowing, and my Maw is Hell, but my Tail is pink, because, dammit, I can do what I want now.

I guess this is the end, Diary. I'm an immortal beast of horror, you're a book, and written in you was a list of people whom I needed to revenge myself upon. Do you remember? I need to go work on that.

You have earned the achievements:

1. Died at least once
2. Transformed into a Lumen
3. Ordered an assassination
4. Been poisoned
5. Reincarnation as a Keythong

Thanks for playing, guys! It's been fun.

Player:  ugh. That's just nonsense. I don't approve of games where you lose for failure to do things you did.  (Namely, preparing well for the possibility of being poisoned.)

Me:  Sorry. I'm sad too, but I tried to make Fatal's ending at least entertaining. You guys managed to luck your way past vast numbers of unfair deaths. I'm surprised you made it this far, but making it this far makes the game seem like it just suddenly turned unfair. Believe me, it was unfair all along.  (several likes)

Player:  d*** I really want to beat this d*** game now. It was kinda fun  (lots of likes)