Sunday, 28 February 2016

Why I Hate Character Creation

I was having a lot of trouble with character creation for a new game (Exalted or something). Lots of false starts. Finally I decided to explain it to the GM by writing this and showing it to him.

GM: Create a character.

Me: Umm...there's a lot of stuff here. And I don't have time to read this hundred-ninety page book about the lore. How do I pick?

GM: Play what you want.

Me: Uhh, are you sure?

GM: Yes.

Me: <goes away, creates a hopeless fop who could only be construed as useful if 'telling jokes' is a skill.>
   <Really got into the role playing this time. Terribly proud of self.>
   <hands character sheet to GM>

GM: <reads sheet>

Me: You said create what I want.

GM: NO. This is NOT what I meant by that.

Me: Uhh, okay. Could you be more specific?

GM: This game is about FIGHTing with SWORDS. Create someone who FIGHTs with SWORDS. They'll need a reason to FIGHT with SWORDS. <Replace FIGHT and SWORDS with appropriate lore-related verb and noun.>

Me: Okay. My character is the same, except zhe fights with swords.

GM: And why does zhe fight with swords?

Me: Because you said zhe should.

GM: No I didn't! And you need to give a reason related to the lore.

Me: Uhh. Because <flips through manuals> kobolds...that's a kobold in that drawing, right? Because kobolds... <flips through manual some more> killed their family.

GM: When?

Me: Zhe doesn't remember.

GM: What? Explain.

Me: Uhh. Amnesia? I guess a kobold hit them with the flat of its sword. On the head. Zhe doesn't remember, though.

GM: Stop making things up.

Me: Sorry, this is too traumatic. I didn't even WANT kobolds to kill their family. That's awful. My character is just a person who likes to joke, and watch the action. They'll do whatever is required. They're like a...umm...ship's boy. But they don't work as hard, maybe.

GM: Uggh. What on earth would an adventuring party want with someone like that?

Me: They're fun to be around and will do all the dirty work? They'll dig the hole to poop in. Somebody has to.

GM: Not good enough. Adventurers are nasty, money-oriented bastards.

Me: My character is rich and the adventurers want to rob them, then.

GM: You can't be rich. It says so in rule 37B.

Me: My character weaves spells that make people think zhe's rich?

GM: No. Not in the lore. Try again.

Me: My character wants to be in the city guard. Zhe applied for the job 300 times. They said no. Zhe is now seeking entertainment in the form of adventuring, in hopes zhe can prove zhe belongs in the city guard someday.

GM: That is literally the worst backstory I've ever heard.

Me: Are you sure? We've played together before.

GM: I was trying to forget the other times.

Me: Okay, here's the deal. This is a £20 note. You go make me an appropriate character that FIGHTs with SWORDS, and I'll give it to you.

GM: Sounds good.
   <goes off and creates some kind of overpowered death-laser machine, hands me the sheet, and collects their money>
   <everyone is happy>

The End


The GM reminded me that everyone else would create characters that FIGHT with SWORDs, so perhaps I should create a WIZARD that WIZZes.

I replied:

Then I shall create Shellshock, the dwarven thunder wizard, who carries various small animal pets on their person and gets them out and talks to them rather than reacting properly, whenever zhe's scared…

The GM replied that he could not tell if I was trolling him, although it seemed like a good character concept. He also told me that unfortunately, there were no DWARVES and no THUNDER in the game.

I increased my offer to £30.

He took it.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

The Adventures of Wimpy Wayfarer and Nasty Knight

A story from the game Divinity Original Sin

This game is hilarious. There will probably be more of this.

I shall abbreviate Nasty Knight (myself) as 'NN', and Wimpy Wayfarer (my gaming partner) as 'WW'. As you might guess, I am playing a Knight, which seems kind of like a D&D warlord. My partner is playing a Wayfarer. This is a more flimsy class that heals and casts a wide variety of spells.


NN: Where should we go next?
WW: Remember that discussion we just had less than a minute ago? You told me stronger guys should go first so that wimpy wayfarers don't get made into pincushions?
NN: Sigh. Okay, where to?
WW: I don't know, you lead! What do you want to do?
NN: Well, since you asked. I want to steal treasure from unsuspecting traders. Maybe innocent civilians too.
WW: That's not what knights do.
NN: Have you ever met a knight? It's all they do.
WW: Well, we're not thieves, so we're not going to steal.
NN: That sounds like a challenge.

Nasty Knight leads the party to a town.

NN: This looks good for thievery.
WW: Oh brother.

Wimpy Wayfarer wanders off to explore the town, and Nasty Knight shuffles surreptitiously through a barrel of goods just inside the gate. She quickly produces a cup made of solid gold from inside the barrel.

She shuffles through the crates and other barrels, but doesn't find anything particularly interesting. Meanwhile she hears shouting. It is escalating.

“STOP! THIEF!” cries a man. He's shouting at someone in the plaza.

Nasty Knight grins at her solid gold cup and tucks it gently into her travel sack. She swipes a ripe red apple from a crate, and casually bites into it as she approaches the plaza to gawk.

The merchant is shouting at Wimpy Wayfarer.

“THIEF! You're a thief! This man is a thief! Put that back! Right now!” The merchant is red in the face and gesturing at his table.

In her fascination, Nasty Knight wanders too close. Wimpy Wayfarer spots her.

“I just tried to take some nails,” Wimpy Wayfarer cries at Nasty Knight. “They were on the table. I thought it was safe.”

“This thief is trying to plead insanity!” cries the merchant. “Put those nails back! PUT THEM BACK!”

“What on earth are you doing? You said yourself you weren't a thief,” says Nasty Knight to Wimpy Wayfarer.

The merchant turns to Nasty Knight. “O holy traveller, make him return my nails!”

“But, but, I already have them. Can't I just keep them? They could be useful,” implores Wimpy Wayfarer. Nasty Knight bites loudly into her apple and stares at him.

“Good sir, I implore thee, make him hand back the nails,” says the merchant.

Nasty Knight takes her time, savoring the apple. Nothing tastes better than fresh fruit recently pilfered from a merchant's crate. “Why did you want the nails?” she finally asks.

“I don't know,” says Wimpy Wayfarer. “It's an adventure. I'll probably need them.”

Nasty Knight takes another bite of her apple as the crowd increases. She takes her time again. “Put them back,” she says simply.

Wimpy Wayfarer pulls a handful of nails out of his pocket and puts them back on the table, shamefaced.

“I demand vengeance!” shouts the merchant.

“Quiet. You have your nails,” says Nasty Knight, and grabs Wimpy Wayfarer roughly, and walks off with him.

When they round a corner she lets go.

WW: I thought we were here to steal.
NN: We were.

She grins and shows him the golden cup worth no less than 320 gold pieces.

WW: Where did you get that?!
NN: I stole it.
WW: Already?! How did you have time to do that?

She gently tucks it back into her sack, which rattles with hundreds of coins.

WW: Uggh. You stole all the gold we've found so far.
NN: It's not stealing if it costs action points to pick it up. And besides, if you want to steal more gold, you'll need to wear more armor.
WW: That's not how it works!
NN: You have some strange ideas about the world.

WW: Where are we going now?
NN: I'm looking for more things to steal.
WW: The cup worth no less than 320 gold pieces wasn't enough?

Nasty Knight silently enjoys the rest of her apple.

They come to a locked shop. “NO SQUATTERS” says the sign.

WW: Ripe for stealing! Break down the door with your mighty sword, Nasty Knight! You're well-practiced at it!
NN: This is exactly where not to steal, Wimpy Wayfarer.
WW: Break the door! Break the door! Please!

Nasty Knight walks along the street near the building, scouting it nonchalantly.

WW: Look! It has more doors! They're made to be broken.
NN: Do you want to fight the town guards?
WW: They won't come! It's abandoned.
NN: Meh. I'm leading. Let's find the wizard's tower first.

They go their separate ways for a while, searching for the wizard's tower.

Well, Nasty Knight is searching for plunder. And everything in the wizard's tower is sure to be nailed down, so...

Nasty Knight comes upon a cemetery. “Excellent,” she says to herself.

There is a stray dog in the cemetery, barking at her with purpose.

NN: You should come to the cemetery. It's ripe for mayhem, and there's a dog for you to chat with.
WW: Wow! On my way!

Nasty Knight assesses the cemetery, ignoring the dog. She knows Wimpy Wayfarer will enjoy interacting with the dog.

She eyes a shovel lying on the ground, and a very large pile of loose earth nearby.

Wimpy Wayfarer arrives, smelling foul and carrying a sack of bloody bones*. He chats with the dog. The dog speaks nonsense, for all Nasty Knight can tell.

NN: This cemetery is ripe for stealing.
WW: Let's stop stealing. We're noble adventurers.

Nasty Knight looks down at her mail armor and wonders if Wimpy Wayfarer will ever understand.

While Wimpy Wayfarer turns his back to chat with the dog, Nasty Knight strides purposefully across the cemetery, picks up the shovel, takes it to the mound, and starts digging methodically.

Meanwhile, Wimpy Wayfarer lectures about how they shouldn't be thieves. Thieving breaks immersion and such.

Nasty Knight makes agreeable noises and thinks about Robert Guiscard** while she digs into the earth behind Wimpy Wayfarer, unnoticed.

WW: So there's no point stealing or breaking things. We should read more quest text!

“Yeah, I agree, totally,” says Nasty Knight, noncommitally.

She has made a hole large enough to fit through. She can see the ground below. She jumps down into the barrow.

WW: What? We're zoning!
NN: While you were talking about how I am a thief who clicks too fast through the quest text, I dug a hole into a sacred barrow full of treasure.
WW: Oh my gods this is amazing!
NN: Yup. Now put your morals aside. These are ancient burial grounds.

*Wimpy Wayfarer informs me he robbed recently dead bodies of their bones in the mortuary while we were separated.

**If you haven't read the Alexiad, it's great stuff for adventurers!

Thursday, 6 February 2014

I made a machinima

Well, I've been incredibly busy since I posted Nutscaves. I managed to escape the clutches of real life responsibilities briefly last week, and took the time to fulfill a dream--I produced my first machinima with Sims 3.

I had for inspiration:
  1. The portrayal of Lucy Westenra (by the actress Katie McGrath) in the 2013 Dracula series
  2. Real life
My video has lesbian themes. So if that's not your sort of thing, please don't watch it, thanks very much! Of course, if that is your sort of thing, or you're just curious or interested/whatever, thanks for your support and I hope you enjoy it! : What Would Happen [Sims 3 Machinima] [1080p HD]

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

The End

Nutscaves went on to do a few assorted other projects. The population grew some more, and the fortress began Project Beloved Creatures (as well as Project Beloved Objects in Beloved Materials).

Nutscaves was used to test weaponization of 12,600-degree iron arrows, and some other facts about weaponizing heat and magma. (It was established that 12,600-degree iron arrows were not any more useful than any other temperature of iron arrows against goblins.)

Because of the wide array of knowledge I gained while overseeing Nutscaves, I was proudly able to help other players for a long time to come.

The most interesting thing about the fortress, to me, was the way that every time there was a terrible wave of death, the survivors were mostly of two types: the murderers who went on a rampage, but didn't go all the way off the deep end—and the dwarves who didn't care.  Dwarves who cracked died. Dwarves who ran screaming from a tantrummer with a battle axe almost always died. The kindest dwarves who helped the others and tried to rescue them, usually died to whatever hurt their buddy. And the next wave of migrants never knew what they were getting into until/unless word got out.

Don't get me wrong. I was horrified. Traumatized. At a loss for words. I needed to know what would happen next, though. So I kept going.

No single survivor at Nutscaves survived for more than about ten years there. The toughest murderers nearly all died eventually to plague, and in one or two cases they got murdered themselves during future tantrum spirals.

Nutscaves went on for several more dwarven years, but its quarantine procedures, defenses, and my own skills as a player had become so strong that nothing interesting ever seemed like it would happen there again. We also seemed to have captured all the wildlife outside the fortress, and the goblins soon feared to invade us. I am sure it was only a matter of time before some more !!fun!!, but soon I grew bored waiting for it. Months after I stopped playing Nutscaves, I realized I should pop open the door to hell at the bottom of the fortress, but by then DF2012 was out, and I decided to move on. My next fortress, in DF2012, was Earthsplatter, where the world was destroyed by vampires.

Project Beloved Creatures

So I was thinking about the happy thoughts dwarves get from seeing beloved creatures in a cage, and it occurred to me I could use this to increase the overall happiness at Nutscaves by having some reasonable fun with animals. (Nutscaves is starting to get a little dull, because we're now rich and happy enough, and well-designed enough, and our traps are powerful enough, to solve every problem that's been thrown at us so far.)

Currently pairs of bedrooms for normal dwarves (ones who aren't the mayor and aren't severely unhappy) are built like this:


- =Open Floor

and repeat. The bolded area (which includes the open floor, may not be visible on the hyphens) is the area that makes up one bedroom. It's symmetric on the other side and the open floor space is shared (this allows them to put their crap in a cabinet while also keeping the room value low, to prevent the mayor or nobles from getting mad--though I don't have a noble anymore).

Without modifying the current layout, I could build cages on the walkable floor, ideally made of materials the dwarves like, and put creatures they love inside. Cages are perfectly passable and it wouldn't disrupt the flow of dwarves heading to and from bed.

I could also rearrange rooms a bit so that dwarves who loved the same animal could all share floor space with one animal between them.

Animals that are detestable (such as rats) would not be eligible for this Tantrum Insulation Plan. Dwarves who love detestable animals will receive a new room layout, with the detestable animal hidden from passersby.

It's a little bit micromanagey since I have to look in individual profiles to find the beloved animals, and then consult the Room directory to find the dwarf's room, and build the cage and put the right animal inside. The other option would be to shove the everything-cage into the main stairwell in an all-purpose manner, but that's somehow just not as cute and cuddly.

I should also be working on bringing up some more magma for Project Goblin Equipment Sorter, but I'm a little stalled on that at the moment because I've either got to find a convenient way to move the goblins that I trap below the drawbridge, down below the aquifer, or I've got to bring the magma up above the aquifer. Both are fairly arduous tasks because of the small dimensions of the freeway I've punched through the aquifer, and both will require a new layout for the top level of the fort. A smarter builder than me could probably have done this already, but all I've got is me so...I sort of sit and think about how to do it the least painful way, while letting time pass in Nutscaves.

Why to use fire-safe materials when sealing caverns

Well, we had some more accidents at Nutscaves. (...) One of the dwarves whose spouse was killed by the recent bout of plague tantrummed a bunch of times. His name is Ezum Fedtome. He was assigned a royal dining room and bedroom, and had been comforted by the lovely waterfall, but it wasn't enough.

Ezum Fedtome knew exactly what he wanted to do during his final tantrum, too. He stomped out of his royal bedroom, marched past the roast stockpiles in a rage, headed up the main stairway, past the forges and the dining hall and the hospital, and proceeded all the way through the fort, past the farms, past the trade depot...and then he was outside under a starry winter sky. He stood in the center of the vomit-covered drawbridge which makes the sole entrance to Nutscaves, and he did the unthinkable.

He destroyed it.

He fell crashing down, along with the bridge, onto the upright spears underneath, where he was merely injured. I had deliberately left the spears upright instead of retracting them when I saw what he was up to, because dwarves who destroy the entrance drawbridge are not welcome in Nutscaves.

Ezum pulled himself off the spears, calmed down, and went about his business. I may execute him for his terrible crime later. I'm still considering it. His four children are all ecstatic despite the dead mother. He's the only one who insists on continuing to have a problem.

(I am sorry Armok's heart probably seems to have grown so hard.)

We had to spend the rest of the winter frantically rebuilding the drawbridge and reconnecting it to its lever. The bridge is long and because of its size, it takes a very long time for the architects to design and build. This is extremely time consuming work and Armok was very, very displeased. Without the drawbridge we are completely disconnected from the outside world, and if a siege came we would be trapped underground forever.

As the masons finished reconstructing the bridge and the mechanics got to work linking the lever, the fortress was attacked by a very terrible forgotten beast. Of course the beast waited to attack until a dwarf had trapped himself in the spear corridor in the deepest cavern. Mechanisms were still not connected from the last beast attack--the dwarves had been too busy with the drawbridge over the winter. The trapped dwarf was unable to get himself out before the beast destroyed the floodgate separating them.

The beast is the most terrifying (to me) one I've seen yet. "Nokgol Sodkun", a gigantic hairy lacewing, with an enormous shell and a bloated body. Its russet hair is long and wavy. Beware its fire!

Its fire.

Its fire.


Why didn't I use fire-safe materials to construct the entrances to the caverns??? What was I thinking???

When the mighty lacewing tore down the "warning" floodgate, it blew a wave of fire at the helpless dwarf. The wave of fire lit up all the wooden spears in the traps and some clothing a stupid, sloppy dwarven child, in need of a stern talking-to, had left behind. Then the marble floodgate connecting the spear corridor to the designated combat area caught fire.

Yes, the marble floodgate. Flux materials are "considered fire-safe", but apparently only when they're used in the production of steel. @#*$!!  Put them in front of an angry fire-breathing lacewing and nothing good will happen!

The !!*Marble Floodgate*!! was holding up for the time being, despite running with flames on both sides. The fire spread rapidly to engulf all the plant life and soil in the fighting room. I hadn't had time to floor it properly yet. I had considered that task low priority, since I had been keeping it clear of trees, and trees were the only previous reason I knew why I ought to floor it. (That and plague contaminants, but we hadn't had any yet in this cavern.) Some soldiers had been waiting in that room to fight the beast when it came in, but that was before I realized how I ought to


The nearest soldiers' clothes caught fire and smoke filled the room. I realized the trapped dwarf was good and dead, and the beast was standing on the spikes now as it worked on destroying the flaming marble floodgate between it and the soldiers. So I commanded the dwarves in the dining hall to man the spikes. And I commanded the soldiers to run out of the area through the bathtub.

Who knew--dwarven bathtubs are great for more than one reason! The bathtub doused their !!clothes!!, and is preventing the fire from spreading into the fortress.

I am a little bit annoyed at this beast. And at Ezum Fedtome. If our hairy lacewing manages to kill anybody else, I'm going to stick Ezum in a cage. I'm not sure for how long.

Back to conquering it...

Food fight

So one of the doctors at Nutscaves is finally fed up with the flies and being nauseated by the sun. She is throwing a tantrum in a food stockpile, hurling roasts at anyone who comes near. She started by fracturing the mayor's head with a sheep tripe roast, and she's still on a rampage.

I'm trying to build a mist generator.