Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Rich Baker and Steve Winter

Really WotC?

Title 1

Test of new blog software

Think Like a Mind Flayer

What goes on in the mind of a Mind Flayer? How can we ever really understand these strange, alien intelligences in our games?

Well, if they are anything like octopuses, they may have more than one brain. Each of their tentacles might have its own lower level brain. What might this mean from an in-game point of view?

From a mechanical standpoint you may want to use the multiple brains as a kind of buffer against mind effecting attacks. Perhaps the multiple brains offer a bonus to saving throws in those instances. If you want to get a bit more complicated, you could allow separate saving throws for the tentacles and the main brain; it is probably best to use one save for all the tentacles together though to keep the amount of rolls down.

Maybe the extra brains allow it to split its attention in battle without a penalty. If it is knocked unconscious there could be a chance that one of the tentacles could administer a healing potion. It is possible that the mind flayer can farm out some processes to the smaller brains, this could make its thinking very non-linear, creating strange conversations. The mind flayer might also be able to use all the brains I parallel to solve a problem quickly.

What happens if an old mind flayer gets senile? Might its tentacles operate in ways the main brain is not expecting?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, December 1, 2011


I am about a week into Skyrim now, and I am enjoying the game quite a bit. I am a big fan of open world games in general, and Bethesda's work specifically. I spent a ridiculous amount of time playing Morrowind and it's various mods and expansion packs. But while I enjoyed Oblivion, I just played through the main story quickly; the enemy leveling system in that game was a real deal breaker for me.

This has been a great console generation for open world games. Oblivion, Fable II, Crackdown, GTA IV, Fallout, New Vegas, and my personal favorite, Red Dead Redemption have all been excellent. I have been really glad to see this kind of gaming come in to it's own on the consoles, mostly because trying to game on a PC has become so irritating and expensive over the last few years. I have pretty much switched to console gaming, and I am glad that my favorite genre has come over with me.

While Bethesda has had many good games before, this one is looking like it will be the most popular. Skyrim is doing more than just selling well, it is much more polished than Bethesda games tend to be at launch. It is also better looking and has better, although still not great, writing. It has not really sacrificed on the freedom, while making it much easier to build your character and follow the main quest if you want to. This could be the big game for Bethesda, the game that is the real breakthrough for them and their style. I think this game has the ability to bring man new players into this style of gaming, the same way that Final Fantasy VII brought so many new players into the JRPG genre on the '90s.

Skyrim is easy to play in short chunks or in long extended sittings. You can advance the main quest and not feel like you are blocking yourself off from coming back to the side missions later. I have always loved the dungeons in Elder Scrolls games, the have a nice mix between finished areas, mines, and natural caves. While the dungeons do get a bit repetitive, the all are a mixture of cave-like and finished areas, and they all have an improbable one way secret door that lets you get back to the start, they are well designed and beautiful.

My first time through, I am playing a stealth archer. I almost never play stealth characters in RPGs; I almost always play a sword and board fighter. I am already planning out my next play through as a dark elf mage.

I will be getting my money's worth out of this one.

D&D Encounters Session 1

This week I played in the first session of the new D&D Encounters season at my new FLGS, Big Larry's in Leonardtown, MD. We were supposed to start last week, but it was the night before Thanksgiving; kind of poor planning on WotC's part. We had a full group of 6 players, and the store is a great setting to game in. It is a game and comic book store, and a burger/ice cream place. I think that is a great idea.

This was not my first time playing 4e, but it is my first time in a long time. I ran Keep on the Shadowfell when it first came out, and I also ran a campaign through most of heroic tier in the first year of 4e. The only time I have played it since was at the 2010 GenCon Open, the Podgecast guys and I got destroyed in the first encounter. I enjoyed 4e, but had no real desire to run it long term. I looked forward to being a player for one encounter a week though.

There are plenty of recaps out there of session one, so if you want the plot just look around a bit; it is basically Romeo and Juliet. Or maybe it is West Side Story, perhaps there will be dance-fighting and a lot of snapping later on.

The encounter itself is the usual RPG introductory encounter against "goblins". In this case the goblins wee some kind of blue fae. I had a good time, mostly because the group is full of nice guys, but the main weakness of the system was apparent even in the first session. It took two hours to kill a handful of first level monsters. The time between your turns is way too long. If you are with a group of funny guys, this isn't really a problem, but there is really no reason for it to be like this.

10,000 Words

Alexis has challenged himself to write a 10,000 word post in one day. He lays out some pretty tough criteria for his self-challenge as well. I look forward to reading it.

I am pretty sure I could never pull that off so more power to him. I do have a three day weekend though...