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greengrunt2
10 June 2012 @ 11:02 am
Having tremendous respect for Ridley Scott as a visionary director and being an Alien/Aliens fanboy, I had high hopes for the movie Prometheus which was hailed as a prequel to Alien. Guy Pierce, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba, Noomi Rapace and Michael Fassbender, an impressive list of actors, again, getting me really excited... However, I should've known to lower my expectations when a writer of Lost was involved.
The movie was not up to par. Ridley Scott's talents were up to snuff, the vistas in the film, the camera shots, absolutely fantastic. For what they were given, all of the actors did an excellent job. The storytelling was in short, absolute shit. Here is where I think they got everything wrong.

I had to edit the rest of this entry.  No more long winded explanations of where the film went south as it were.

I wrote a brief review without spoilers on Amazon.com about the Prometheus DVD and most of the comments I received were negative. Apparently, it was strong enough to evoke some reactions to the fanboys of the film, most of them were hostile. To each his own.

I've deleted most of the detailed misgivings I had about the film in this post. They were good for anybody to read if they were suffering from insomnia but that was about it. Nuff said.
 
 
Current Mood: disappointeddisappointed
 
 
greengrunt2
04 June 2012 @ 10:25 pm
Just received Greg Vaughan's player killing masterpiece, Slumbering Tsar last week. To be completely cliche', tis epic in every sense of the word. Epic setting, epic plot, epically (word?) horrible ways for players to meet their untimely demise. The only thing I wish Necro games provided was a PDF download of just the maps and the handouts.

On the video game front, after being disappointed by BioWare's Mass Effect 3... Could EA's corporate trappings have had anything to do with it? Alas, I will never know... I have been simply looking at Skyrim, then I got up the gumption to give the game a whirl. I played it on one character until lvl 10, got overwhelmed by the vastness of the game... It's huge.... I restarted playing it again on a new character. I'm currently on lvl 25 with a sneak mage class.  I've already lost 3 companions and I'm only playing on Adept difficulty settings and I get my bum stomped on most of the time.
My all time beef is with the town of Markham, where I am currently waging a one man war against its soldiery after I escaped from the mines there.  I really, really loathe that place... The politics of the place is very off putting.  Not to mention  I lost my companion in a civil war that I never really wanted to be part of... Damn those Markhamites!

I'm currently awaiting the Rone Barton/Lou Agresta conglomeration known as The Citadel of Pain from Gaming Paper.  Looking forward to perusing the module. I really liked the dungeon geomorph layout of Megadungeon 1, less time spent drawing out dungeon rooms for the ole gaming table.

Haven't been on in many moons, and I dread going on Facebook and typing this stuff. This is a more comfortable venue.
As an aside... PROMETHEUS!! Next weekend!! WOO-HOO!

Personally, I give this posting a blandness rating of 7.9 out of 10.
 
 
Current Mood: melancholymelancholy
Current Music: Chemlab
 
 
greengrunt2
13 May 2010 @ 06:11 pm
 Currently, my life is... Shit.

But enough of that, nobody likes what I have to say about that anyway.

Onto the brilliance, after working 120 hours a week, the Paizo staff is caught up with all of their publications, so their stress level has been reduced considerably.  But then, there's Gen Con.  Regardless, to Paizo I say unto thee:  CONGRATULATIONS!!

You guys are awesome.  Once again- CONGRATULATIONS!!

(120 hours may be a slight exaggeration, but I know it was up there)
 
 
greengrunt2
27 April 2010 @ 11:28 pm

Keiran MacLaurin looked to his sword sheathed at his side.  He raised his head and watched his own breath mist up as he exhaled in the winter air.  Twenty yards below the gnome mage Bogi was in earnest discussion with the goblins; his oversized bear cloak in stark contrast to the goblin’s white garments, woven of snow hare skins.  Keiran knew they didn’t have much time until the next storm would hit this slope.  He dearly hoped that Bogi could persuade these skittish, fur covered creatures to guide the party across this pass and into the shelter of the valley beyond.  If not it will be a long night indeed, Keiran checked his gloves and shivered: Come on Bogi, charm these little buggers so we can get out of these frigid, hoary mountains.

 

 

After exploding a quarter of my spleen on my previous rant, I realized that perhaps I should go into a little detail about making critters in a fantasy RPG a little more interesting than being just cannon fodder for the PCs (or sword bait whichever you prefer).

 

Monsters should have just as much personality as the PCs; at least some of them anyway.  The snow goblin tribe briefly mentioned above is an example.  Rather than being a direct confrontation with blade and spell, the little guys can endeavor to open a dialog with the players.  In this case, the players are opening a dialog with the goblins to negotiate a guide to get them out of the mountain range which they’re endeavoring to pass through.

 

Give monsters motivations, principles (sometimes albeit twisted ones), and some intelligence so that these critters are living, breathing beings that can be spoken to and perhaps even befriend the PCs.  For example, the snow goblins above are involved in a range war with some ice trolls.  The goblins had some of their food stores pillaged by the trolls. In exchange for guiding the PCs across the mountains, the goblins require that the PCs go into the ice trolls lair and liberate the stolen food stores.

 

Just spice up your critters, make them something memorable… better yet make them something that the PCs will enjoy dealing with on a sociable level.  And if you can make some of your monsters creatures that your PCs actually care about, you’ve done a phenomenal job.  I wish I could do that!  : P

 

Cheers folks! 

 
 
greengrunt2

I’ve turned into an elitist gamer douchebag, and I can’t stop it.  I can’t help it.  I blame myself.  Old age, grumpy cynicism, and absolute lack of faith in humanity, these are all of my flaws that contribute to my current gaming malaise if you will, when it comes to fantasy RPGs.

 

            When it really comes down to it, I find that most adventuring groups are self-centered, greedy egomaniacs that are responsible for murder, mayhem and a healthy dose of destruction in the game.  I know, I know, it’s just a game.  It’s just a game.  But I can’t deal with it on a regular basis.  What I see these adventuring groups doing is displacing monsters from their homes whether they be old ruins or a dungeon created by a maniacal archmage.   Something similar was echoed in the ol’ Dragon cartoon Wormy at some point I believe.  Why do adventuring parties do this?  The spilling of blood and the gaining of gold?  I’ve seen this many a time; I’ve DMed a few adventures with this same premise.  Sometimes it has the “there’s the evil bandit lord and his gang hiding in the catacombs” window dressing.  And the poor little goblins and kobolds that are in the way betwixt the players and the bandits are slaughtered and their loot is taken.  Why?  Because they’re goddamn little shits and they need a blade or some magic missiles up their  collective arse.

 

            Adventuring parties pillage and destroy, because that’s what they do.  And every player wants to kick some ass.  Now I’ve no qualms about kicking a little ass, but to do it blatantly to rob a tomb for some quick cash or a magic weapon, I’m not feeling the urge anymore.  Nor do I feel the urge, even though I love worldbuilding and DMing, to DM a module or adventure with that theme anymore. 

 

            There is too much crap going on in real life as humanity continues to fuck itself over in myriads of ways for me to be able to tolerate similar behavior in the fantasy RPGs.  I can’t do it anymore. 

 

            Sure hobgoblins and goblins are evil, so why not take free license and slaughter them until the hills run red with their blood?  The fact of the matter is, most fantasy RPGs are humanocentric, with mankind as the dominant, controlling force in the gaming universe.  I’ve seen and read enough of mankind at its worst, so I no longer root for humanity.  And this is my flaw.

 

            I prefer to root for the critters.  I’m on the side of the monsters in my worldbuilding now.  I try to create monsters every bit as messy and complicated as the monsters we see in ourselves every day, whether it be in the news or otherwise.  In fact, I make many of my critters have a better moral standing than the human realms of a homebrew campaign setting. 

 

            But the problem is, many players still have the “us vs. them” mentality when it comes to critters.  Rather than negotiate or make some kind of compromise with a critter, players will choose to kill them outright simply because they’re a monstrous race.   And I grew weary of GMing such PCs. 

 

            Now I know not every player is like this, I just wish I could find players that take a different approach to monsters at least some of the time.  Rather than kill that enclave of goblins, how about reaching some kind of treaty or compromise with them?  If the PCs want to kill something I can easily make up some greedy, asshole human merchant or corrupt military commander that is just begging to have a blade up his throat.

 

            One thing that I really appreciate about Paizo is the fact that in many of their Adventure Paths there is the option to take the path less traveled; instead of killing and looting a critter there is an option to parley and reach a truce, and the PCs gain just as much experience as if they had killed the creature in the first place.  Of course, the PCs don’t gain the loot, but hell, at least the option to parley is there.  Here’s a novel idea, and one that is covered in Paizo’s most recent adventure, Rivers Run Red, how about befriending a critter instead of murdering it?

 

            I enjoy creating campaigns where the bad guys are mostly human, because that’s what I’m comfortable with now.  I see this happening as I type this rant. 

 

            Yes, its just a game.  But hell, it comes to the point now where I need some of the shit I see in real life thrown into the game, and if it means humans being jerks and not the monsters a lot of the time, then so be it.  And that’s the way I see it.  Unfortunately, not many players are ready to jump on the bandwagon with me.  And that’s cool, many of the guys I’ve gamed with in the past don’t need a dose of reality in their game.  Hell, players game to escape from reality and all of the shit they have to put up with in when the go to work and what not.

 

            But I can’t do it anymore.  That dragon you encounter, he may be defending the forest from the rampant, voracious tree-cutting from a lumber cartel of humans that are hell bent on getting wood for their ever expanding borders.   That rakshasa you see has just lost his daughter to some conniving human slavers who kidnapped its daughter and sold her off to some traveling circus.  The human noble that is hiring you on some expedition to get some valuable artifact from some ancient ruins is a power hungry madman that rapes his servant girls on a weekly basis.  Those little children that you rescued from the owlbear’s lair found one of its newborns and tortured it to death.  I expose the ugliness of men in a campaign. 

 

It’s up to the PCs to show the world humanity’s justice, mercy, kindness, goodness, virtue and honor.  Unfortunately, not many PCs are up to that challenge nowadays.  PCs motives for playing a game are twofold, power and booty (and I would argue that there are other motives, such as defiance of authority and destruction of property, now such things are warranted, especially if said authority is controlled by self-serving lobbyist groups, but I digress).  Granted, I gain a measure of satisfaction of watching my character gain new abilities and feats but the whole money and booty gig doesn’t float my boat as it once did.  This is just me.  Nor do I wish to GM players that are solely in the game for the power creep.

 

I like designing dungeons that are now occupied by another adventuring group and their human/demi-human lackeys.  You want to stamp out evil, self-serving jerks?  You’ll find them in this tomb.  Well, at least in some of them. 

 

            This is my elitist affliction.  I like making campaigns that pose a moral challenge to the PCs, and the PCs rise up to meet it.   Oh, if only I could find some PCs that are up for the task.

 

            My problem is that the same things that appealed to me when playing the game in my youth are gone.  Its replaced by the cynicism and jaded perspective of my old age.

 

            Thus I leave you as one of those estranged, disenfranchised gamers who are in a  tiny, tiny, tiny niche of the gaming community.
 

Sigh… Aye, it’s only a game, but it isn’t necessarily a game I always want to be playing.    I can’t just game for the sake of gaming anymore.  And I suppose there’s a bit of sadness to that, but as Kurt Vonnegut once said, “And so it goes.”

 

 
 
Current Mood: frustratedfrustrated
 
 
greengrunt2
On the Internet...

Used to be a time when you could x off the advertisements in LiveJournal when you were logging in.  Now this is no longer an option on the site.  The advertisement is played out in all its bloody, mind numbing glory. 

This is total balls.

But LiveJournal needs to pay the GD bills.

Argh!

ARGH!

ACK- ARGH!

And I still can't get over the fact that there is now 4 or 5 commercials in the movie theater.
 
 
Current Mood: aggravatedaggravated
 
 
greengrunt2
11 April 2010 @ 06:58 pm
I heard some awesome news.  Warner Bros Interactive has convinced John Carpenter to help them with FEAR3!
I'm looking forward to seeing what the maestro can do with the third installment of the video game.  Apparently, Mr. Carpenter is going to be consulted and will provide input into scaring the crap out of us as we try to shoot clone soldiers and ... blow things up.  I'm hoping the third game will have some crazy, holy crap moments of I should've went to the bathroom before I started playing this game.

The first FEAR was the best so far in the franchise... FEAR2 had its moments but it wasn't as creepy as the first one.

I hope Mr. Carpenter improves the newest attempt considerably in the creep department; nothing like exploring some more Alma haunted ruins.
 
 
greengrunt2
15 March 2010 @ 06:56 pm
I had originally purchased Songs of the Dying Earth: Stories in Honour of Jack Vance, a compilation of short stories based on Vance's Dying Earth setting.  I'm halfway through the book and the stories are a great read, even the ones that I find rather mediocre.  The interest was garnered after reading a little plug on George R.R. Martin's website for the book.  George is one of the editors of Songs.

So I decided to purchase Tales of the Dying Earth by Jack Vance, and again, I find the stories a great read.  Vance's descriptions of the Earth thousands of years in the future, beneath the rays of the dying sun, are vivid, crisp.  The language of the dialog  displays a keen wit and intellect.  I wish I could master the use of such language when I GM my War Pigs homebrew game for the Pathfinder RPG.

I find Jack Vance to be an entertaining author; stories of dueling mages and conniving hucksters.  I'm happy I picked him up.  In fact, I have to say that his works and the stories that honor his works are one of the major inspirations for ideas for War Pigs.  When I find myself out of events that can move the PCs to action, I get re-energized when I read his stories.  What I really appreciate is how much spunk and intelligence there is with the wizards of his stories.  I've already had the PCs encounter a wizard I've based off of the personalities of Turjan and Pandelume, though he is a tad more benevolent in character.

RPing aside, I really enjoy reading Mr. Vance.

I  wish I could post an excerpt here from Tales but I don't know if that would infringe on any copyright laws.  So I'd rather not take that chance.

To Mr. Vance, cheers and thank you.
 
 
greengrunt2
13 March 2010 @ 12:01 pm
I've been uber excited about this adventure path ever since James Jacobs was tormenting us with hints of its conception in Paizochat.  I just downloaded the PDF of the Player's Guide and I have to say: "WOW! Is this freaking awesome!" 

Three things that really appealed to me that are displayed in the Player's Guide are as follows:

1) Blank Hex Maps:  The GM gives the PCs 4 of these maps, 1 map represents a region of the Stolen Lands (there are 4 regions).  The PCs fill in the blank hexes as they explore the region.  In each hex is a small box that the PCs can designate a specific category to it as they explore the hex and allocate it for specific resources in their efforts to settle the region.  TOTALLY refreshing and fantastic concept!

2) Kingdom Sheet:  This is a quick listing of the PCs effort to build a nation in the stolen lands.  It gives edicts of their kingdom and how they're faring with these (examples of Edicts are Unrest and Consumption).  There are three primary traits that affect things in the realm:
Economy
Loyalty
Stability

I'm eager to see the information in Pathfinder 32 that assists the GMs in sorting this all out for the players.

3) The City Grid:  This allows the PCs to pick specific buildings for their city and then build them and place them on a city map (all of this is within the Player's Guide).

Wild frontiers, exploration and nation building!  I'm very stoked about this project and I'm extremely happy that Paizo is taking this AP to a new level of gaming in the Pathfinder RPG.

To James, Wes, Mark and all the other Paizo staff, thanks!  Thank you!

Kingmaker is a truly marvelous looking AP.  I hope the AP continues to build momentum in awesomeness as each magazine is published.
 
 
greengrunt2
09 February 2010 @ 10:39 pm
They've finally released a teaser trailer for the next Fallout!  I'm pretty psyched about it!

Very intriguing.