Archive for August, 2010

An Announcement

I’m going on break from Wednesday through Monday, as I will be at Dragon*Con! *cheers*

Linked as Paul Dini will be at D*C, and I love this show.


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Gimmicks Redux

I know I’ve written about gimmicks before. I love gimmicks! Gimmicks are great for drawing people in and exploring things in new ways. However, reading Only Revolutions has lead me back onto this particular train of thought.

It pains me to say this, because I absolutely loved House of Leaves, but Only Revolutions was a dull read. Which it shouldn’t have been! That’s what’s so infuriating about the whole thing! It’s a masterpiece of book and typographic design. I certainly can’t fault that aspect of Only Revolutions. But as a crafted narrative… I couldn’t bring myself to care about any of it . And I kept thinking of ways to make the book ‘work’ for me. I thought of a couple of possibilities, but they all involve removing the ‘gimmicky’ aspect of it. And the book aspect, as well, come to think of it.

This train of thought has been why I’ve been shying away from gimmicks for my most recent sessions. I wonder, could it be that I’m afraid of hiding behind a flashy shtick with a weak story? Using my gimmick as… as… a decoy, if you will?

Maybe my problem is I don’t have enough strippers bursting into song.

Do other, normal people think about things like this? Or is it just me obsessing about stories again? Maybe I should just let it go.

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She's a gnome! And adorable! ^_^

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There must be some kinda way out of here”
Said the joker to the thief
There’s too much confusion
I can’t get no relief

–All Along the Watchtower, Bob Dylan

All Along the Watchtower has become one of my favorite songs to listen to while planning my D&D sessions. The craft and care that went into that song is awe-inspiring. The lyrics work in a circle, one can simply keep repeating the song over and over, but even more interesting for me and my love of non-linear time is that it can be read in reverse. No, really, look!

Two riders were approaching,
the wind began to howl.
Outside in the distance
a wildcat did growl
While all the women came and went,
barefoot servants, too.
All along the watchtower,
princes kept the view
So let us not talk falsely now,
the hour is getting late.
But you and I, we’ve been through that, and this is not our fate
There are many here among us who feel that life is but a joke
No reason to get excited, the thief he kindly spoke
None of them along the line
know what any of it is worth.
Businessmen, they drink my wine,
plowmen dig my earth
There’s too much confusion, I can’t get no relief
There must be some way out of here said the joker to the thief

Holy crap, Bob Dylan is a freakin’ genius.

But even beyond that, there’s a certain feeling this song that I want to capture in my campaign. A certain sense of frantic despair is the closest description I can come up with. Results up to this point: failure, but I keep pursuing it with dogged determination.

Of course, that’s not the only song that I listen to while planning. Songs rotate in and out as appropriate, but right now my playlist includes Moody Blues “I Know You’re Out There Somewhere;” From Autumn to Ashes “Short Stories with Tragic Endings;” Heather Alexander “March of Cambreadth.”  Here are some links. It’s cool, I’ll wait while you listen.

You done? Awesome. Anyway, perhaps this is why I sometimes feel the general mood of the story  is somewhat disjointed at times. From 80s love ballads to angry angsty songs of lost to a song with lots of killing… well, I always said I had a varied taste in music. Also, once I start throwing in what I perceive as character theme songs, well, it’s a very interesting play list, at least.

Here’s a freebie, since this our resident bard deemed this Cedrick’s theme song. Well, he goes with the original version, but this is what I have on my iGadget.

I don’t really go for lyrics as a direct source of inspiration (well… sometimes *cough*). But I find it helpful for getting myself into a proper mindset.

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Do adventurers ever get homesick? I ask this because I started replaying Earthbound recently, and the ‘homesick’ status ailment is one that always stuck out in my mind. Homesick is a status effect that makes Ness miss a round of combat because he’s thinking of his favorite food or how much he misses home.

So do you think intrepid adventurers, forging their own path, exploring exotic dungeons, might ever get homesick? How would that mechanic play out? It makes sense to me that it would manifest as a concentration penalty for the duration of the homesickness.  Of course, I think that may only apply to 3rd edition, but you get the idea.

As I ponder this, I’m browsing the 3.5 rules compendium, seeing if there is anything like I’m thinking about. I have to say, the conditions section of that book is… impressive. For example, it reminds me that I need to make sure the PCs actually sleep, lest they become fatigued (-2 STR & DEX/ Cannot run or charge); it also reminds me what the difference between dazed and stunned is. Eheheheheh.

I would never actually implement this mechanic, but it could be fun from a character development perspective. The thought of Thud the Barbarian longing for the frozen wastes of his childhood, or a bowl of his mother’s nourishing gruel amuses me on some level. This may make me a horrible person.

(On a side note, why does homesickness so often manifest itself in the form of food? I know when I’m feeling homesick, I long for those familiar comfort foods/ fast food chains. I’ve been looking forward to Dragon*Con, not just because it’s awesome, but because I’ll probably get Chick-fil-A at least once while I’m there.)

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I’ve been thinking a lot about the individual characters in the campaign, and just trying to figure out what makes them ‘tick.’ I think I have some characters figured out quite well, but others… well… not so much. To try to get a feel for where all the characters stand, plot-wise, I made a spreadsheet. Of course.

Ooh, ooh, time to play 'guess which characters I know stuff about!' I messed around with these columns a bit, so some items are in different character's columns.

So, okay, having used science to figure out what areas I’m lacking in, I came to the realization that the characters that I know how I’m going to use in the future are the players that I’ve talked to on IM (both in and out of game) about their characters.

So what does that mean? I need to bother more players about their characters outside the game. I like non-verbal communication. Some people have clearer character concepts than others. This is not news. At least it’s not to me.

We’re changing things up soon, which is always exciting (and slightly frightening). Things are going to be hectic, I imagine. Maybe now is not the time to be focusing on this sort of issue. I don’t know.

I have a lot of thinking to do, if things go forward as planned.

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Real life once again interferes with my posting, but here’s a video about the importance of keeping things fresh. Things like entrails.

Tim Burton Secret Formula

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