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Tycho / on Fri, Apr 12 2019 at 12:01 am

I had to repair this computer to even write this post - that’s how fucked up shit is over in Spokane.

That’s just what’s up here: you start out harrowed, then feeling is lost, and then you discover bats living in your ribcage.  And you let them because you’re afraid something else will try to live in there instead and having the bats in there is like a hairy, black No Vacancy sign.  You have to make sure you’re tooled up to flex on a motherfucking mutant.

I had to invent a word based martial art - Pugilectics - to protect myself under the very real possibility that my limbs either go missing or are actively turned against me.  It’s the sort of shit you only need to see once before it becomes something you plan around.

Hey!  If you enjoy the kind of imagery that Spokane naturally inspires, it’s possible you might enjoy the game of Call of Cthulhu we played earlier this week.  It was a sponsored stream on the channel, but that sponsorship didn’t involve being included in the post - I genuinely think you might enjoy it if you aren’t already familiar with the mechanics, and as an investment in live roleplaying it’s only a couple hours, which is pretty rare.

I was able to convince Gabe to play in this one, and we also have Dora (whose PAX Explorers League garb you might be wearing right now)  and Lidija, who manages all our merchandise endeavors both home and away at the shows.  It’s a cool system run by a good DM for people who are picking up what he’s putting down; more or less optimal Friday viewing.

(CW)TB out.   

Tycho / on Wed, Apr 10 2019 at 8:48 am

Gabe’s been playing the original Darksiders on Switch and Darksiders 3 on PC, the PC of all things.  I’m always going to be a partisan where gaming PCs are concerned, but even for me 3D action platformer type shit isn’t something I prefer on there.  The case he’s made to me, and I think it is a good one, is that you have HDR and 4k on a console, which is being spread over a massive screen - all thin, sort of stretched, if you know what I mean: like butter that has been scraped over too much bread.  Then you have the same thing on a monitor right in front of you, a density of content coupled with the fact that everything else being equal the PC simply endures more effects, more ground cover, so that I can be impressed with what’s happening on a television but I can be transported by a smaller screen.

I am The Person Who Saves Money When Buying A PC Via The Purchase Of A Shitty Monitor, but after I saw what HDR looks like on a good PC I’d replaced the monitor two days later.  Once you’ve seen a strong implementation I think HDR ceases to be optional.  It’s hard to know what the metaphor is here exactly, because it’s something that your eyes and brain just… know.  It’s processed before mind can marshal its forces.  Put simply, there is more information per frame - information that tells the rest of a story the mind labors otherwise to fill in.  You aren’t even aware its performing this labor until it doesn’t have to do it, and if it possible to feel the brain exhale, I believe I have done so.  Right now I’m playing a game that is mostly about reminding citizens that the government has a monopoly on violence, but I gazed into the ineffable contours of a smoke cloud illuminated by a bank of standing lights and I got real quiet for a spell.

The rest of the conversation we had was about the difficulty of Darksiders 3 - I remember when we installed it, right after it came out, and he fought the boss and died for a reason we didn’t completely understand timing wise in what must be considered the most rudimentary room in gaming circa 2019.  The question then was whether or not to continue whipping ghosts in this featureless self storage unit or get teriyaki and we got teriyaki.  Coming back to the game now, they’ve added a “Classic” combat mode since then that’s made the game feel the way he wants it to.  That, coupled with his novel regimen, gave him access to Darksiders 3, a game he had consigned to oblivion.  Which, on brand though it may be, was probably not its creator’s first choice.

(CW)TB out.   

Tycho / on Mon, Apr 8 2019 at 11:32 am

There are certainly complexities around the Yoshian mythos, but the aesthetics are impeccable.  It’s as though you’ve been given access to a range of light that exclusively communicates joy, and now you can see it.

I grabbed it to play over the weekend with my shrieking larvae, and the boy was mortified by what he perceived as various concessions and deviations from the Old Ways, like the Egg Reticle not moving back and forth.  Yoshi’s Island is his favorite game, so some of this makes sense, and some of it is edgelord horseshit; he was moving the reticle back and forth very fast to simulate the timing challenge.  But they don’t wiggle the cursor around not because of insufficient reverence, it’s because you can fire eggs into the foreground and background as well.  That is to say, they did it this way because it wouldn’t work otherwise.  Gabriel says it gets much meaner difficulty-wise as it progresses, despite the fact that it appears to be made from boxes and tape.

No, for Elliot, it’s all Undertale all the time for him now, that’s what we talk about when we’re walking a dog or whatever.  Its amalgamation of grisly bullet hell mechanics and naked, unflinching honesty is something maybe I understand better now.  In any case, that’s what I told the creator in a mail.

Hey!  If you’ve been curious about the PS4 game with the bird, Falcon Age - which is a reasonable thing to be - you’re in luck.

You’re in luck for a couple reasons, actually.  One, it comes out tomorrow, on 4/9.  Second, I’m friends with the guy who founded that company so he could make weird shit like this - Chandana Ekanayake, who was at Uber when they made Monday Night Combat, one of the most underrated, most prescient games of all time.  Eka (as he is more commonly known) is gonna be in the studio with the team TODAY at 2-4pm PDT, come by the Twitch channel, commune with the devs, and maybe - just maybe - win an early code for this shit?!?

(CW)TB out.   

Gabe / on Mon, Apr 8 2019 at 11:03 am

Family D&D

While at PAX this weekend I was asked by a number of people about running D&D with kids. I’ve recently switched up my home D&D game and I thought I’d share some of my key learnings.

The first game I ran for my family was taken straight from Dragonlance. I used the first book Dragons of Autumn as a guide and it went pretty well. Kara and Gabe (who is 14) both loved it but Noah (who is 8) had a hard time getting into it. He tried his best and we managed to get through the first book but after it was over he said he didn’t want to play anymore. I thought about the adventure and as I looked back on it I had a couple thoughts as to why it did not click with Noah.

-Noah is eight and playing an adult Fighter. Trying to put himself in the headspace of a grown man and role play as such was incredibly hard for him.

-The story and the world did not interest him.

Kara and Gabe both really wanted to play more and I was not ready to give up on a family D&D game just yet. One of our favorite things to do together is play Sea of Thieves and so I started thinking about a SoT themed D&D adventure. I figured Noah was super familiar with the setting and already loved it. The next thing I did was ask him if he’d be interested in playing a kid instead of an adult. His face lit up and he asked if he could be a nine year old boy in the game. I told him of course and I went to work on the adventure.

In the first game Noah’s character was a young boy living with his father. He never knew his Mom and his Dad didn’t speak about her. The game begins when pirates attack their village and Noah is forced to flee with only a hat that his father places on his head before telling him to run. Noah met up with Kara and Gabe who had their own reasons for wanting to leave the island that night. The party discoverers a map hidden in the stitching of Noah’s hat and decide to follow it. The first destination reveals a treasure chest and Noah learns that the mother he never knew is actually Eva Norton the famous Pirate Queen! That’s where we ended the first game and Noah was 100% hooked.

We’ve played twice since that first game and the story continues to hold his attention. I really feel like setting it in a world that he was already familiar with and could easily imagine helped a lot. He knows what the boats looks like and the skeletons. He can close his eyes and picture a kraken attacking their ship. Letting him play as a kid was the other big part of this I think. He can put himself in his characters shoes much easier and I’ve noticed him role playing a lot more at the table. Drawing the characters and monsters that he meets during the game is another way I’ve found to keep him engaged at the table.

I can’t recommend role playing with your family enough. I know Tycho has a couple games he plays with his kids as well. We are telling stories here that our family will have for years to come. In the most recent game the party was asked by a pirate captain to come aboard his ship and help weed out a possible mutiny. Their plan was to make their way around the ship subtly asking about morale. Noah walks up to the ship’s cook and just says “So…how would you feel if the captain died?” and we all just lost it.

I’ll still remember that when he’s getting married.

-Gabe out

Tycho / on Fri, Apr 5 2019 at 4:47 pm

Acquisitions Incorporated Official Book & Goods Preorders

I am always surprised when I learn that somebody missed something of ours, but it’s not actually a surprise to any conscious being - I don’t promote the stuff we do as much as I could.  Generally it’s because I don’t want to annoy you.  But too many people worked too hard on it for too long for me to allow my usual horseshit.

At root: in concert with Wizards of the Coast, the home of Dungeons and Dragons, we have created an honest-to-God, official supplement designed to invite players and Dungeon Masters into the world of Acquisitions Incorporated.  This sort of arrangement is unprecedented to my knowledge, and I’m still freaking out.  The book, whose handsome cover was created by Mike Krahulik, looks like this:

Preorders from our store include a special, free gift, though it’s possible you may want to purchase a second one, which you can do from the Purchase Options dropdown.  I present to you: The Green Flame Pin, which we’ve had in our back pocket for just such an occasion.  It’s pretty fucking cool and uses a new process, the specifics of which I think you’ll be able to determine very quickly.

If you would like to crown this extravaganza with a conceptual cherry, consider the Dungeon Master’s Screen made by the incomparable Kris Straub and myself.  It is essentially a parody of the official 5E screen and has very little information in it that could possibly be of any use, although it’s possible that something useful snuck in there during an ill-starred edit.  There are more shots on the store page if you have had a bad day and desperately need evidence of a world where whimsy still exists.

This raft of crisp preorder goods ships from the warehouse on June 18th, so you may want to sequester these fascinating artifacts into their own order.  There, I did it: promoted my own merchandise.  Now it’s not just my mom doing it in the Wendy’s Drive-Thru.

(CW)TB