…Lars Anderson has a bow.
That is all.
Edit: Jeez, I misspelled his name and it was right there in the video title.
Don’t let this post fool you, I’m still on hiatus.
What I want to discuss briefly, is a quest from Dragon’s Dogma called “Arousing Suspicion.” Specifically, my reaction to the quest and its twists and turns.
Uh, spoilers or whatever.
Once you’ve garnered enough attention as a mighty adventurer, the duke grants you an audience. As you meander around the castle grounds, you’ll meet the duchess’s handmaiden. Or lady-in-waiting. Whatever you call them.
She tells you the duchess wants to meet you. In private. At night.
She makes it sound all scandalous and says it’s totally unprecedented, but me? I was like, “lol, video games. What a tease. It’s just going to be some quest.”
One of the remarkable things about Dragon’s Dogma is in how it plays tropes straight. I mean like, basically all of them — all the fantasy tropes.
Seriously, the duchess wants to meet with you in private at night because she wants to get in your pants. I really didn’t know what to make of it.
I mean, part of me knew that was a possibility — the game’s rated M after all — but when does that ever meaning anything? The game’s really gory and I guess there’s the occasional swear. But games are kind of boring.
Even the infamous-at-least-from-its-marketing Catherine.
Whether games admit the existence of adults, they aren’t written to actually appeal to adults — and that may have caught me by surprise. Like, totally.
There’s actually a dark and violent “twist” to the scene that isn’t really as important as the duchess’s sudden betrayal — or quick thinking. I mean, it’s ambiguous enough that you can decide yourself. Her dialogue immediately following the scene (and likely before, as well) indicates she’s unhappy.
A significant portion of the fanbase seems to dislike her enough to complain about receiving her as a love interest in the story’s conclusion. Maybe they actually felt betrayed or, I don’t know. Something else. Other reasons.
My own resolution of that particular quest involved accidentally wandering into the (unguarded) treasury during the escape from the dungeon, getting thrown right back in, only to successfully escape on my second attempt.
Kinda anticlimactic. Also cost me like, 50,000 gold pieces or something. I didn’t notice the money enough to care. What interested me was how and why I was taken in so easily by the quest. Was it really so titillating?
I seem to remember dropping almost everything to follow up on the quest.
I remember completing something else — maybe shopping or something first. I had to stop by the inn to advance the time to “evening,” and sneaking into the castle was the first time some of the loading screen text made sense to me.
By the way, the text on the loading screens? Don’t take it too seriously. Ever. When it’s helpful — which is rare enough — it only raises more questions.
Rumors of War (comic and blog) will be going on a two-week hiatus while I transition through one of those big life-things.
The comic will return for its ninth (and final) chapter Monday, February 2nd.
2014 was an interesting year. I know it was a “bad year” for a lot of people. I’m “strongly ambivalent” about 2014. There were highlights, but 2015 promises to have some very interesting turns — some sooner than others.
I’m being cryptic. I’ll stop. I’m too busy to be cryptic.
So, I like those old-style d8+d12 random encounter tables.
I wonder, were they d8+d12 because d10s were unreliable/unavailable, or was there some other reason?
Sometimes it’s hard to teach a new-school gamer old-school tricks.
I prefer to use 2d10 because you get the same basic results, a number between two and twenty, or a range of nineteen possible encounters.
Nineteen is a lot.
I didn’t play in the old days so I don’t really know how to fill one of these encounter tables. I wanted to figure the probability of each result.
I laughed when I noticed the pattern.
A roll of 11 has a 10% probability, and every number above or below it has a 1% difference. It was one of those “facepalm” kinds of laughs.
Anyway, what I realized after a fashion was that this style of encounter table would actually be really great to fill with some new-school types monsters. You know those Word Salad Monsters like, “Daggerspell Flind Gnoll?”
I know I lost some of you with that.
Well, adding a dash of the new school and a pinch of the old school — figure that your encounters feature anywhere from one creature to an number equaling the party, to overwhelming numbers of foes.
You can wind up filling your 2d10 table with entries for half a dozen kinds of weirdo gnolls. Now, I’m sure the old school did that with gnoll warriors versus gnoll warlocks versus gnoll thieves or something — but new school thought opened us up to a lot more permutations of monsters. Like a lot, a lot.
Also, a method for creating interesting, unique monster powers.
I figure if I can marry the two — unique monster shenanigans and random encounter tables — I might have a recipe for super-easy dungeon design.
How do you make narrative structure gameable?
The Call To Adventure is a thing, we know what it is.
The Threshold Guardian is a thing, if you know the “Hero’s Journey.”
So how do you turn basic narrative structure into a game?
That’s basically what I’ve been trying to answer with my Rumor/Plot mechanics. I’ve been trying to figure out how to turn parts of the structure into moves and mechanics anyone can use — whether they even know narrative structure.
It’s been slow-going, and kind of weird — since before I can game-ify narrative structure I have to make sure I understand it myself. And that has involved analyzing and outlining a lot of stories (I’m at over 20 now).
You know like, practice runs. Trying to really get beginning, middle, and end — catastrophe, climax, and denouement. To make it instinctual (well, moreso).
And it’s involved some — “reaching out” — to genres beyond my basic interests, and in some cases, understanding. To kind of “get” genre.
I’m nowhere near “done.” I doubt I’ll ever be.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t know enough to hack something together. And that’s kind of where I am in the process now.
I think the next step is in trying to make some of this stuff — which is pretty incredibly abstract — more accessible. That might mean some silliness.
Like maybe naming some mechanics after what they… are.
“All right gang, time for the call to adventure.”
Until some terms emerge from actual play.
“Who’s going to answer?”
It’s pretty weird still. But whatever, right?
We’ll get there.