Roleplaying Tips has an excellent series of articles on how to use weather events in an RPG. Weather is one of those things that a lot of GMs conveniently leave out especially if the game system has complex combat modifiers for weather effects. But weather really affects regular people’s day to day lives so it makes perfect sense to incorporate it into a scenario. Roleplaying Tips offers a long and creative list of ideas for weather effects including plenty of supernatural weather events that could easily spark an entire campaign or add some much-needed spice to your next session. The second set provides some more general tips for creating and using weather events such as designing weather, using supernatural weather and worldbuilding with supernatural weather ideas. It’s really good stuff and for the most part you can use a lot of the ideas here almost immediately: Next session taking place outdoors? Try throwing some weather at ‘em!
Archive for June, 2007
EB/Gamestop had a special trade-in deal where if you unloaded three of your used games they fronted you an additional $20 in trade credit. Normally I would vastly prefer to trade games into Goozex where the value for such trade-ins is significantly higher, but in this case I had at least three games that I had basically ignored for months and wasn’t really planning on playing any time soon. Compound that with the fact that they had very low values on Goozex plus long lines of people also trying to unload them and very few interested in buying and the Gamestop deal worked out to be a better way to go (short term, I guess, although I don’t see a sudden jump in demand for Call of Duty 2 happening any time soon).
So I made the trade for Kameo, CoD 2 and PGR3 and got a copy of Animal Crossing DS for my wife (who had played a bit on my copy but wasn’t thrilled that she had to share a house, mortgage and town with me) and Viva Piñata for myself. Of course then when I got home my previously requested trade for Perfect Dark Zero had gone through and it was waiting in the mail so I spent the weekend taking turns between them.
Thoughts on each and details about a new Warhammer 40K campaign I’m joining after the hop.
I sat down with the latest Official XBox Magazine demo disc this weekend as well as playing through some other 360 games a bit. Most of the weekend was monopolized by Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy which I completed all the story modes for and am now working my way back through in Free Play mode (both for the forthcoming review and for completion’s sake), although I did continue my quest to get every Achievement in Dead Rising to… mixed success.
All the details after the hop.
Witness as Todd Holmdahl, VP of Gaming and XBox Products Group—also known as the 360 hardware guy—clumsily dances around even the simplest of questions regarding the 360 hardware, future updates and the oft-reported Red Rings of Death.
This is getting a little ridiculous. Microsoft keeps calling the problem nothing more than the rumblings of a “vocal minority” but aside from the fact that every single forum, site and blog that I read (which is a lot) has at least one RRoD sufferer if not many, of the dozen or so people I personally know who own 360s, one of them has already had the problem.
Here’s why this is something Microsoft needs to address in a more decisive fashion: As much as I like the XBox 360—and I like it very much—I live in constant fear that it will fail on me. I fear the blazing heat in generates to the extent that though I want it to be (and have already begun setting it up as) the hub of my entertainment set-up, I feel compelled to turn it off every couple of hours and let it cool down. I have an extra one-year replacement plan from the store I bought it from (it was free), and I’m convinced that my unit will fail days or short weeks after that is no longer an option for me.
Microsoft has had a reliability problem for a long time now: It’s perhaps not a literal one, but it is one that exists in the buying public’s perception (remember the Blue Screen of Death? Of course you do). When people talk about the Red Rings of Death, whether it is a pervasive issue or not, it’s so easy for people to identify with (“Yeah, that sounds like Microsoft all right”) that it might as well be. The constant denials aren’t helping and interviews like this… I mean, why even grant the interview?
And as for the interviewer, I want to give Dean Takahashi the benefit of the doubt but what does it take for some journalist to start getting “answers” like this to finally snap and just say, “That’s not an answer to the question I just asked. How about you answer the question, jerk?”
Luigi Saggase’s Zombie Nightmare is a free solitaire board game that pits Jeff against a growing horde of zombies as he tries to make his way across an infested graveyard.
The game is available as a downloadable PDF which you cut out and assemble into a nifty little solitaire time-killer. The art by Michele Saggase is simplistic and a little bland but perfectly functional and the board is square-tile based, about 11.5″x7″. Also included are cutouts for 12 zombies, 2 zombie dogs, a gate counter, a revolver counter and of course the Jeff counter. All you need to supply are a pair of six-sided dice.
The game works in three phases: You roll to see where a new zombie will spawn, then you move Jeff and then you move the zombies. The zombies spawn on one of 15 board tiles and move one space toward Jeff. Jeff moves three spaces and then each zombie moves two in the direction of Jeff. At Jeff’s disposal are a number of open graves which he can occasionally lure zombies to fall into, a few assorted obstacles that impede the zombie’s progress and his revolver which has exactly one shot. Other than that it’s up to foresight and a little luck to get Jeff across the 18×13 board to the gate and into safety.
In the July 2007 issue of Official XBox Magazine, there is an opinion piece by Tim Schafer where he waxes thoughtful about his 360:
…The single greatest achievement of the XBox is not its performance or any of the fancy graphics features, but in how I interact with the machine. The relationship you have with your XBox is the most next-gen thing about it.
He goes on to describe what he means by this primarily in terms of how the Live features dictate his gaming or the progression he goes through between powering on the system and actually firing up a game and summarizes the whole thought with this:
I’m turning on the machine before I know what I’m going to play. Instead of thinking, “I’m going to play Gears of War,” I’m thinking, “I’m going to play some XBox.”
I think he’s on to something here but he stops way short of describing what it really means for a console to be next-gen.
I spent some time this weekend catching up on a few Marketplace Demos, plus I finally finished off Prey, picked up an old favorite again and found a new XBLA addiction. Get all the scoop after the jump.
As noted on Evil Avatar, GameFly is upping their subscription fees by $1 to cover the cost of increased postage fees. I’m not happy about this. The following is a copy of the reply email I sent regarding the pricing change. You should note that GameFly is using the opportunity to try and coax some reduced-rate up-front subscriptions out of customers as well.
As an inclusively-oriented gaming site, it behooves us to stop for just a minute and think about the new Shadowrun game for the XBox 360 and Games for Windows. Because Shadowrun is primarily a pen-and-paper role-playing property, the translation from that into modern video game warrants some consideration.
It has already been said—often!—how woeful it is that this game is a First Person Shooter and not some type of role-playing adventure. Whether you share that knee-jerk assessment or not isn’t what needs to be discussed here, because reasonably you have to grant that it is at least possible that Shadowrun could be translated into a phenomenal shooter. What does need to be questioned is the design decision to make Shadowrun an online/multiplayer-only team-based shooter more along the lines of Counter-Strike than Deus Ex.