Jun. 11th, 2009


So, I got the Spirit of the Century RPG book, which uses the FATE system. (Interesting, and I might do a post on things like it that get away from some of the 'things we think we know about tabletop games'). Anyway, SotC models 'pulp' action stories -- weird science, a bit of mysticism, and a lot of action. One thing of note is that it has three combat skills -- Fists (Unarmed), (Melee/Thrown) Weapons and Guns (also used for bows and other ranged weapons). The game writer notes that all three have their advantages -- fists can't be taken away, melee weapons can be thrown or have extended reach, and guns have great range. They also have their disadvantages -- fists are limited range, guns and weapons can be taken away, and Guns cannot be used as a defensive skill. But things like damage are set by the skill roles, not by the weapon. Which works for settings where swords really do beat guns if you are awesome enough. (There are optional rules online for making Guns more deadly. You can also take stunts to make a character more of a bad-ass martial artist/brawler/weaponsmaster/gun bunny/etc. or to give them Future!Tech or a Legendary weapon or whatever, but again, those are character-specific things)

Which got me thinking about adapting SotC to handle a higher-magic setting than the default one -- Evil Hat has the rights to the Dresden Files RPG, and there are fanmade magic systems. Which got me thinking about the fantasy worlds I favor, like Avatar or Slayers, where the non-magic cast are just as bad-ass as the magic cast. Some of it in Slayers is that Gourry carried a magic sword, but against 'normal' opponents, he didn't especially need it -- the magic mostly seems to counter creatures not harmed by physical weaponry. (TRY did a bad job of handling this, but Revolution showed this well. Even when Gourry is captured, and his normal sword is removed, it took him only one 'grab for sword he didn't have' to get into 'defend Lina though unarmed stuff' and only ran into problems when a deadly swordswoman and magic-using assassin showed up. For that matter, he was able to hold his own in a swordfight against a foe with superior armor with an improvised weapon Lina made for him out of stone.) And in Avatar, characters like Mai, Ty Lee, Sokka and Suki (or, for that matter, Pian Dao) are all shown to lend their own skills to fights and hold their own against normal opponents, even benders.)

It's not quite about power, unless you consider different types of power. Pretty much, the old Justice League debate. Characters like Superman has a lot of innate superpowers. Batman has a lot of resources and contacts, and is at the high end of human ability in both smarts and brawn -- all of it is 'mundane', just exceptional -- so he can use planning plus 'stuff' to hold his own in an organization of Supers. One doesn't feel like Batman is a token member of any group of Supers he's in, or exists only to fund the group -- he gets his chances to be awesome, even if he can't punch through safes or fly.

I guess it's a fondness for a world where magic is Cool, but there are many ways to be Cool. You can be an amazing swordsman, or a deadly knife-thrower, or a martial artist able to disable with a single blow.

(For that matter, one of the Dresden File RPG development blog posts points out that Murphy might be a normal mortal, but she's got her own resources and skills that make her just as important to the plot as, say, Michael (a holy knight) or Molly (an apprentice wizard) or Thomas (an incubus) or the Alphas (weres).)

Mar. 10th, 2009

Blogging from Work

Code is running. I'm glad it works and I no longer have to deal with figuring out what the errors are, but I also get worried when it runs a long time. If it's not done in 15 minutes, I'll stop the run and spend the rest of the day testing to make sure everything runs separately.

Shopping, RPGs, Writing )
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Jul. 20th, 2008

So, yesterday someone in the Borders manga aisle asked me out of nowhere if it was true that Japanese was read backward -- her boyfriend/male friend/brother/some guy had just told her this and she didn't believe him. I also managed to ride on the same bus to the mall as two people I know. Yeah, Ithaca isn't that big, and I live on the downtown-mall bus route (at least on weekends -- the route changes on weekends to better swing by all the dorms instead of the part of campus with the classrooms. As a result, the bus stop where I live moves about a block.)

I had more thoughts, but I can't think of them. D&D continues to be fun. Dave is talking about running a one-shot of Paranoia, and I am temped to see how obnoxiously perky I can be while playing Paranoia.

I missed the Avatar finale tonight, but will catch it tomorrow.
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Jun. 14th, 2008

Dungeons and Dragons

So, I played 4th edition for the first time last night.

Which means you all want to here my thoughts on it. )
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Jun. 12th, 2008

Overheard in my Office

Dave-from-down-the-hall: *sticks his head into my office* Hey, Rebecca, fighter okay with you?

Me: Fighter is fine.

Dave: Great! *leaves*

Akshay-my-officemate: What was that for?

Aren't out of context conversations great?

In other news, I will be trying 4th edition D&D this Friday. It's the GM's first time GMing, and a lot of the players are novices to the whole console RPG thing.

Guess what class I'm being. XD
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