Wednesday, September 12, 2012

C'mon Do It! Kill Me! Kill Me Now!

In the monthly Pathfinder game I'm playing in, my Elf Ranger was killed in the August game by a critcal hit by a Duergar warrior.  Or, would have been killed, but for the fact that our DM uses Hero Points.  I had two Hero Points which was enough to put my character at unconsciousness and stabilized.

I don't get too attached to characters these days.  I always see it as an opportunity to make a new character.  Playing on-line MMO's such as City of Heroes, I have a penchant for making many characters to play, the term is called "alt-itis", so it's not really a big deal for me.  However, my Ranger character "cheated" Death on this occasion.

Flash forward to this past week-end's game.  Our party was tasked by a spirit of a long-dead dwarf warrior with finding the physical remains of a long-dead cleric of  Torag, and perform a ritual to lay it permanently to rest.  The enraged spirit of the cleric had taken the form of a Wraith that haunted the halls.  Unless we could find the remains and perform the ritual, the Wraith would quickly reform.  Fortunately, we have a dwarf cleric of Torag in our party, so he easily knew the ceremony.

Well, we encountered the Wraith before finding the remains and the ensuing battle had the thing kicking our ass with CON drain and negative levels.  The only thing my Ranger could do against it was draw my Wand of Cure Light Wounds and attack it in melee (since it is a Touch spell).  Due to an oversight on behalf of the DM, he ruled that each time I attempted to attack, the Wraith got an Attack-of-Opportunity.  Within 2 rounds I was down to a CON of 1 and had 2 negative levels.  And I continued to press the attack regardless.  And it was at this point I intuited that the DM had fudged the die roll on the Wraith's attack.  Everyone at the table was like "Dude, get out of there!".  I just looked up and said "I'm doing the heroic thing and trying to take this thing out."  There was no way I should have survived unless the DM rolled really poorly, it's possible he rolled less than a 5 on the attack roll, but I think he fudged it.  I had no Hero Points left, having used them up last game to prevent being killed.  I had 1 CON point left, so one more hit would have perma-killed me, possibly to rise as a wraith as well.

It was later after the game that I found that using a wand in melee uses "spell trigger" activation which DOES NOT provoke attacks of opportunity.  I pointed this out to the DM, and he apologized for the error, saying that he was going by a rule in 3.5E that using a touch attack in melee provoked AoO's.

Ah, this is why I like the simplicity of the earlier systems of D&D.  Deadly, but still simple.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Loving "The Secret World"

I picked up a new computer game, a MMO named The Secret World.  You make a character that is gifted with mystic powers and becomes a member of one of three factions (The Templars, Illuminati or The Dragon) and you go and fight monsters and do investigations of strange events.

After you finish the tutorial, your first mission site is Solomon Island and the small town of Kingsmouth.  There is a zombie apocalypse happening but you eventually discover there is more to this than meets the eye.  Lots of H.P. Lovecraft influences throughout which are not subtle (street names such as Arkham Ave. and Lovecraft Street etc.)  I even suppose the name of the town is a cross between Kingsport and Innsmouth.  I must have played for 8 hours yesterday and there is still plenty of missions and side missions to do.  I'm also trying to find all the lore icons to get a sense of the in-game back-story.

It's a very adult game (rated M for Mature) with themes not appropriate for younger players.  Some of the Cut-scene dialog have swear words and sexual innuendo.  Some of the missions have puzzles you need to figure out and there was one last night that I could just not figure out and I had to stoop to look for an answer online.  The game comes with a built-in web browser to help in investigation missions.

Looking forward to playing some more of this game.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Krater: Post-Apocalyptic Inspiration from A Computer Game

Table-top role-playing is a shrinking hobby year-after-year. The competition from online computer games, such as World of Warcraft and others is what today's generation of gamers think of as "role-playing" and is vying for their time and money. And you can't really blame them. It's much easier to sit in the comfort of your own home and log-in to a shared world through your home computer which is colorfully laid out before your eyes and connect with other players. No dice, no battle-mats, no waiting for the always-late players. And today's games are rich in their graphical detail and can tell a compelling or interesting story. Such games can serve as an inspiration for your table-top games.

One recent find I stumbled upon a couple of days ago through Steam is a game called Krater. It is set in a post-apocalyptic Sweden where the setting is a large crater-like geologic depression where factions vie for control of subterranean tunnels and complexes with technological treasures and things best left undisturbed. Sound a little bit like Gamma World?

The trailers for the game are interesting and show what this world is like. It looks like there is definitely something in the air that is still harmful, as many of the people wear gas-masks and other similar protective gear. Is it harmful bacteria or poisonous gases? Unknown. It would be interesting to get a hold of the in-game world lore for an explanation.

Another interesting story regards the soundtrack for the game. I've listened to a couple of pieces online and it is very good. There is also some cool concept art. Check it out.