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Tycho / 11 hours ago

I push The Three-Body Problem on every-fuckin’-body.  People usually say it dips in the middle and finishes strong, but I can’t really agree with that - I think the story in general becomes something we’re not supposed to fully understand.  To explain why would be telling.  But the first volume is legitimately substantial and I went after it like a porterhouse.

I pushed it on Gabriel for a specific reason: there is a concept in there that may be one most profound I’ve ever encountered in or out of fiction and I wanted to make sure he knew about it while also not wanting to tell him myself.  I wanted the idea to arrive in its own time and context and then, just… pulp him.  He finally got into it via an Audiobook, and I can’t wait to see what he thinks of “that part,” but when he was talking about the audio version he let it slip that he was privy to some secret, possibly sacred conduit that sprayed an unlimited amount of soothing, audible books.  What follows is essentially our conversation.

If you want to be a little ahead of the common person, if you want to camp on the very cusp of the possible, I think you should invest some portion of yourself into Dicey Dungeons.

Designer Terry Cavanagh put a version on, like Crazy Games or something, ladeled over a chiptune version of Haddaway’s “What is Love,” which is a strangely appropriate soundtrack to a roguelike.  I don’t mean that one.  I mean the one on itch.io, with the rad music by chipzel and the rad art by Marlowe Dobbe.  It’s similar to Rogue, but every class has a fundamentally different way of approaching the dice you roll to the extent that each class feels like its own game.  It’s neat and cute and sounds good and the boss I fought at the end of my run was a malevolent Girl Scout.  It’s young yet - like I say, you’d be ahead of the curve a bit.  But I can’t wait to see where it goes.

Oh, and for PAX South: you might recall that at the Unplugged game, Acquisitions Incorporated found its way to Ravnica somehow and now we have a suite of incredibly novel problems.  Here’s the info for the official South game:

That is correct: we will be matching with with inimitable WWE Superstar Xavier Woods, in the guise of weirdo, steampunk goliath Bobby Zimeruski. Hopefully he can help us spring Jim out of his current predicament, which could be described as “a dark nest of evil, ravenous saws.”

(CW)TB out.

My new D&D Campaign

It’s been about eight years since I ran a home campaign but I’ve decided to start another one. My players are going to be my wife Kara along with my friends Amy the Falcone and Levin Sadsad. I asked them if they wanted to play straight up D&D or if I could futz with it a little bit. They all agreed that they were up for some futzing and so I went to work building out a little custom campaign setting. So we will be playing D&D 5e but it will be set in the world of Brightgrave. Here’s what the players know so far.

BRIGHTGRAVE

Not much is known about the events that took place more than 500 years ago. Much of the story is told through myth and song these days. They all relate a similar tale though. The Fall, when it came was sudden, and all the world was covered in darkness. Terrifying creatures beyond description appeared and the air itself turned thick and acrid. Priests of the day called it the Abyss and said it was a nightmare realm made of chaotic evil. The songs tell us it was the holy scholars of the temples who identified the Abyss, but it was the Magi who saved us from it.

In an effort to save what remained of their world, seven powerful Magi constructed seven spires across the world. They entombed themselves within these towers and through magical arts long lost, created the Lighthouses. These seven massive towers covered all the lands around them in a protective shield that held back the Abyss. As generations passed and the world was consumed by evil these seven Lighthouses became the last refuge for the survivors. Great capital cities grew up around the towers and life went on beneath the protection of their sprawling domes.

In the early days of the Lighthouses many of the capitals built elaborate monuments to mark the edges of their walls, sometimes even stationing guards there should the spell fail at some point. As the generations passed two things became clear. Nothing of the Abyss could penetrate the barrier a Lighthouse created and the spells themselves were slowly diminishing. Today these forts and statutes have been abandoned to the encroaching Abyss.

This knight’s sword tip once marked the edge of the barrier that protects the capital of Turalum.

In recent years the weakening of the shield walls has become more apparent.  Not only are the shields themselves slowly shrinking, but many of the people who used to live out near the edges of the capitals, have begun to move Lightward towards the spires. They report the strange behavior of animals near the barrier and even new beasts they cannot explain lurking in thier woods. Some even tell stories of Abyssal cults trying to communicate with creatures on the other side of the shield. Furthermore, the sudden appearance of Tieflings in the world has caused quite a stir. They are still few and far between but they appear to be able to navigate the Abyssal territory between cities without harm.

In ancient times people often made pilgrimages out to see the barrier. Today the lands around the walls are dark and haunted places. That is where the party finds themselves now. In the small town of Wardview on the very edge of Turalum and the Abyss.

So there is my setup. They have all created characters and Amy has already done some rad art.


Our first game will probably happen over queso and margaritas during PAX South. Not sure how often we will play just yet, but I will update you all as the campaign progresses with new art and stories of their adventure.

-Gabe out

 

Tycho / 2 days ago

Bungie has escaped entanglements twice now that I would have thought would have made especially tidy mausoleums.

What the hell is happening at Activision?  It’s so novel to have reminders like this from time to time that every King is simply a pile of temporarily erect bones.

My experience with partners in creative endeavor has been… complex.  Generally speaking, unless a partner is absolutely required for the project at a fundamental, existential level, you shouldn’t have one.  I’ve only been engaged in public manifestations of this kind for twenty years or so; it’s possible I’m missing an angle on this.  But the best case scenario is that you adulterate your vision.  I don’t even want to talk about what the worst case scenario is here.  I have some experience with it.

They call it that for a reason.

I don’t know what happens from here.  Is Warframe instructive?  Possibly; I’d say that’s something like the optimal outcome: a game that becomes an unapologetic version of itself with continuous additions of labor and communion with its audience.  The most likely outcome to my mind is one that sees discrete, individual releases as vestigial accidents of history - and the final, canonical Destiny as a living document.  The era of the numerical caboose is over.

Selfishly, the timing couldn’t be better.  My headcanon essentially demands that the events of the first two games didn’t… happen, in the classic sense.  They occurred, but didn’t happen?  I know that’s ridiculous, but it’s the only theory that fits all the facts.

(CW)TB out.

PAX South Pin Quest 2019

PARTNER PINS

Angus & Bea Pins [Finji]
Available for purchase at the Finji booth #10609.

Valeria & Sunder Pins [Kitfox Games]
Available for purchase at the Finji booth #10609.

Oculus PAX South 2019 Pin [Oculus]
Obtain a Oculus Pin by completing a demo at the Oculus Rift room on Level 2 North and Oculus stations in VR Freeplay area on Level 3 or take a picture in front of the Stormland android, by the VR Freeplay area, post it on social media with the hashtags #oculus and #reclaimyourword.

Just Shapes & Beats Pin [Berzerk Studio]
Available for purchase at the Berzerk Studio booth #10255.

Gato Roboto Pin [Devolver Digital]
The Gato Roboto Pin will be available to purchase in the merch area of the Devolver Digital booth #11060.

Gibb Pin [LoadingReadyRun]
Available for purchase at the LoadingReadyRun table in Bandland.

Days Gone Pin [Sony Playstation]
Available for purchase at the Sony booth #10458.

Shiva Pin [Skybound]
Play a demo of the game, The Walking Dead Something to Fear at the Skybound booth #11235 and receive a Shiva pin. 200 pins will be available each day with a limit of 1 per person per day.

Local 58 Pin [Kris Straub]
Available for purchase at the Kris Straub table in Bandland.

Split the Room Cat Pin [Jackbox Games]
Available at the Jackbox Stage. You get a free pin if you win a game, or get one the easy way—by purchasing them for $15 each.

Satan Pin [tinyBuild]
Available for purchase at the tinyBuild booth #10669.

Headup 10 Year Pin [Headup]
Headup’s awesome super-duper 10 year anniversary pins will be for sale for $15 at the Headup Games booth #10259.

YIIK Vella Pin [Ysbryd Games]
Come to our booth #10452 and complete the demo of YIIK in order to receive one complimentary Vella pin!

Descenders Helmet Pin [No More Robots and RageSquid]
Available for purchase at the No More Robots booth #10611.

Play Games Feel Better Pin [Child’s Play Charity]
Available for purchase at the the Child’s Play Charity Booth #12688.

SHOW PINS

PAX South 2019 Pin Set
Available at the Official PAX Merch booths located in the Expo Hall and the Lobby.

Limited Edition PAX South 2019 Pin Set
ONLY available at the Lobby PAX Merch booth.

PENNY ARCADE PINS

PA Emote 2019 Pin Set
Available for purchase at the PAX Merch booths.

Shadow Council Pin
Available for purchase at the PAX Merch booths.

Fleshreaper Kemper Pin
Available at the Official PAX Merch booths located in the Expo Hall and the Lobby with any purchase of $65 or more.

PIN QUEST

Get your Pin Quest here.

-Gabe out

Tycho / 5 days ago

Okay, so, I wasn’t able to do it.  Today’s strip is also about this World of Loam evil vegetable horseshit.  But now I’m done.

One of the nonsense things, there are many, but one of the nonsense things about making the kinds of things we do is that when we lean into weirdness sometimes it connects with people…?  As we have suggested repeatedly our audience consists largely of each other.  It’s something we guard with great jealousy.  But I would say that for some reason this one has lit people up, which I’d never suggest was an index of quality and may simply be an assessment of a world gone increasingly dark, where even a bub this dim can seem bright.

It also seems to have encouraged others to make things as well, adjacencies to the Loam, uh, IP or whatever, and that’s when I like Penny Arcade best: when it starts here, but doesn’t end here.

So, Smash Bros was ridiculously fun last Friday, and I can’t see any reason why we wouldn’t try to set that up again.  Join us on the stream at 2pm PST to see play ranging from “F- Exceedingly Poor” to Quasi-Dangerous from our well-stocked and world-renowned War Couch.

(CW)TB out.