Saturday, December 31, 2011

Looking back on 2011

   Running to stay in place for the most part. Despite telling myself I need to stop procrastinating I have managed to ironically put it off. As for general life related things I guess I could technically say I finally got one. I actually have a group to play roleplaying games with and I have increased my online presence to the point of being something more then just a periodic forum poster.
   This year has also been amazing in the games bought category as I have purchased 3 games! Now to some of you this may be small but when I tell you that for the last five or so years the number of game I have bought totaled 3 it kinda puts it in perspective. Even better is that none of those games are bad games. Minecraft is of course an amazing experiences. Terraria which is sorta like Minecraft but not actually was quite fun though its long term appeal is not quite that of Minecraft. Finally I acquired Pokemon White with some of my Christmas/Birthday money and while I don't want to say much until I have finished it (I take a long time my first play through as I do everything I can to avoid plot) I will say that the thing I like the most and hate the most about it is that it feels just like how Pokemon felt when I first played it way back in when your choices where red or blue.
   Of course my favorite game I played this year and every year in the past since I found it is Dwarf Fortress. The top ten positions are so:
  1. Dwarf Fortress (Duh)
  2. Civilization 4 (specifically BtS with either Bug or something based off of Bug)
  3. Minecraft (this will probably stay in this area for a long time to come)
  4. Pokemon White (and technically most other of the regular Pokemon games)
  5. Prospector (awesome roguelike)
  6. Terraria (good game but its already losing my attention)
  7. X-Com (would rate higher if I had played it more)
  8. Dungeon Crawl (should play it more though the tournament month makes up for it)
  9. OpenTTD (this should probably be higher but I have not played it enough to get it quite yet)
  10. Knights of the Old Republic (nice game and deserves its rep but I have so many other good games it almost did not make it)
   Of course the above is just computer games as I rate games you play in person differently from ones played by some electronic gadget. As I note besides the listed items some of them may rate better or worse in the end once I have played them a bit more but otherwise it seems decent enough.
   Other things that have happened are mostly mundane overall. I managed to greatly increase the number of Magic the Gathering books I have, specifically the first few series including the ones from before when they made stories fitting each block. I have gotten quite a bit farther on completing a set of the Kamigawa sets and because of Christmas money have gotten the pages to start putting together the other 2 sets in the block. A good Chinese restaurant opened up nearby that has a good lunch deal so thats nice. Borders Book stone closed which is sad though they had drastically cut their science fiction and fantasy section so I don't mind it so much and as luck would have it another book store opened up in its place and they have twice the shelf space for those sections as Borders did in the end (the new store is called Bam!). I was able to go on a vacation and visit my family that is in Pennsylvania so thats was good.
   Overall I guess I can count this year as putting me ahead overall. It had its ups and downs but the ups where mostly higher then the downs where low so I guess its alright. No big changes happened really either so I guess life goes on.

Anyway Happy New Years, may it be a good one for you all!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Holidays: The Aftermath

   I think the universe is conspiring against me having a dependable update schedule for the LL cover to cover posts. I should have had all the time I needed on Monday as its between Christmas and my birthday so should have been a day of resting from the one and preparing for the other. Of course what really happened is that some family visited my Grandmas place on that day so I ended up with a second Christmas. Now don't get me wrong this is quite awesome and visiting family is always fun but it is draining. Basically I got home, checked some things, then fell asleep. Now the holiday bash is through so once again I say I will be back to my regular schedule.
   In other news I may have someone who will be able to turn my single player lets play of OpenTTD into a multiplayer which as far as I can tell automatically makes it more interesting if all the other lets plays I have watched are anything to go by.
   So yeah, now 21 and my choice not to drink means something and if I wanted to (which I don't) Michigan says I can gamble at casinos. Maybe if I sleep through tomorrow, wait no I think my dad has something planned then as well, ok maybe if I sleep through Friday I can finally be fully recovered from the holidays.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Lets Play OpenTTD part 2) The gift of Fail

I failed at a lot of things in this video. A quick rundown of the failures is that I lost all my money with no way out, failed to make the video look better, and of course failed at the map in general. This will all add up into me starting on a new map in part 3 so if you want to tell me something to do or what have you now is a good time to do so. I will be giving this a dayish to see if I get any comments.

Lets Play OpenTTD part 1

I have now uploaded the first part of my OpenTTD lets play and here it is. Sorry about the quality, I figured out the problem so it should be fixed by the next part.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Planning play OpenTTD but my head is aching

   I am planning on doing a Lets Play of OpenTTD (Open Transport Tycoon Deluxe) but I have a headache and it would only get worse if I tried right now. I wish that the game worked with Fraps as I have never had any problem recording with it but that is not to be. I am going to have to use CamStudio which seems like it is almost perfect for what I need if not for not working.
   Luckily I think I have it figured out. First of all if you ever use it you need to change the video settings unless your just doing some short thing as it defaults to something like 200 frames a second and the .avi's have a 2GB size limit which you will blow past quite quickly at that rate. Luckily it is fairly easy to change once you realize this. Of course if that was all that was wrong I would have the first video uploaded to YouTube already.
   The next problem is the sound. It was not syncing right and because of either Windows 7 or the sound card I can't just record from the speakers. This means that I will be recording fully from my mic which sucks. I will have to have the music louder then I would normally have it so it can be heard. The nice side benefit comes from this though, my mic is really quiet so my normal talking voice is a little to soft and normally would be overshadowed by the music but because of the loud music I will be talking louder cause I like to hear myself talk or something. This will mean listeners may not have to crank their volumes to hear me. As for the syncing problem I have that figured out as well. It had nothing to do with the audio but instead was the video codec I was using so once I just dumped it back into default the problem cleared up for the tests I did though there may still be problems.
   This basically means I will probably be recording later tonight if my headache goes away or tomorrow if not. Because I actually mean for these videos to be watched by the general public unlike the other four I have done I will be posting updates here and will probably start a thread in the lets play area of the Bay12 forums. If I manage to get my first video recorded and uploaded tonight I will probably just edit this post to include links and what not but tomorrow night or after I will probably just do an actual post for it. The only thing I am certain of is that I will probably not upload more then a video a day at the most as I am looking for viewer feedback. Also later on after the lets play is done or abandoned I will probably make this post a collections of all the links.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Labyrinth Lord Cover to Cover: Part 19, pages 106 to 120

For this series of posts I will be using the free PDF of the 
Labyrinth Lord rules that can be found Here at Goblinoid Games
This is the nineteenth part of a series, here are the links to the 1st, 2nd, 3rd,  4th,
5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th, and 18th parts


   This time I get to go over almost every bit of treasure you can get from a strictly vanilla game. I am of course leaving magic weapons for next week as I want to go into more depth when I talk about the intelligent swords because I think they are cool. Anyway the first few pages of the treasure section is filled with the tables on how to generate it.
   The different levels of loot prosperity is called the Hoard Class going from I to XXII (1 - 22) and is split into two different sections. From I to VII is small hoards which is supposed to represent things like individuals and from VIII to XXII is Larger Hoards which is for lairs. One important thing to note between the two sides is that only the larger hoards have any decent chance to have magic items. In fact if not for VI and VII you would not even see magical things till the larger. Even with this VI only has a 3% chance and VII a 7% chance so while it is there it is quite unlikely. To put this into perspective I did a quick search and you best shot at a VI class monster is the Giant Carnivorous Fly which is 2HD and appears in groups of 1d6 so you might get lucky and only have to fight one of them. The next best chance is probably A panther which while it is a 4HD monster they only show up alone or in a pair. This mind you is for a 3% chance that they might have a magic item on them. Of course I think this sounds about right actually. Its a little disconcerting in my 3.5 campaign where we kill some random goblins and find 3 or so scrolls and a potion or two on them. Now if you want magic to be really common then I guess that is fine but while magic may be common in a world or not I myself still prefer that magical items are not so common.
   Now on to an interesting little quirk of the earlier days of D&D. Basically the first thing the book says about magic items is that they are not labeled and only 15th level or above Magic Users can identify them and that even then it takes weeks. Of course you can identify the items through triel and error but you won't just receive a potion of cure light wounds, you'll get a mysterious magic elixir. Now it might just be my background in Roguelikes but this appeals to me. Of course it does not say anything about finding another of the same thing later in the book but I would atleast run the low level potions and scrolls like Roguelikes do where once you know what one is you know that all the rest of the same ones are though I may do something like having all cure light wound potions made by clerics from the same church looking the same instead of all of them. This could be quite interesting as it would provide a bit more depth to the world as the potions from the fire god temple smell slightly of aloe while the ones made by the nature gods clerics have an earthy flavor and all it would take is just already knowing what gods there are and how many different magical paths/magic colleges there are and you can add the flavor quickly.
   Now for the magical toys a party can find while adventuring. As like with the monster entry I can't really go through and talk about each piece I will once again be cherry picking some of the iconic ones along with some that I just adore and talking about them some.

Potion of Treasure Finding: An interesting potions that for 5d4 rounds lets a person detect in which direction treasure is where treasure is defined as valuables with a value equal to or greater then 50 gold or 100 gems. Of course like most such sensing magics it is blocked by lead so you can still protect any really important hoard of treasure while also giving you an excellent way to trap a party in their own greed. You don't even really need to actively make traps to do so as generally where there is a lot of treasure there is also a lot of monsters such as a lair.

Ring of Invisibility: Once each turn the ring lets the user become invisible as the spell. A nice affect and honestly you just have to have a specific inscription appear on it when placed in a fire and you will have the party looking over their shoulders every time its used.

Wand of Magic Missiles: I prefer this version of the wand more then later editions where they connect the power to the level of the person who made it. In this version the wand can fire 1 or 2 missiles a round at the users choice and each missile uses a charge. Quite useful at any level as in LL Magic Missile does 1d6+1 a missile and never misses so it can be used for some reliable damage while not being overpowered.

Bag of Holding: This is the one magic item that if I could have any magic item from D&D (barring anything providing a wish as that is cheating) I would choose without a second thought. I love it. Now in LL there is only one size of the bag so I would have to go with 3.5 for mine but then again 10'x5'x3' is nothing to sneeze at nor is being able to hold up to 1000lb while only ever weighing at max 60lbs.

Decanter of Endless Water: Basicly what it says on the tin. A flask with a never ending supply of water in it. It has 3 different settings with the highest one being at the level that you get knocked down when holding it if not braced and the stream kills small creatures. Basically if your ever on a rowboat forget the paddles, you have a jet boat on your hands.

Gauntlets of Orge Power: These are not the newer version that only gives a boost to strength, what these do is make your strength 18. That means that if your strength is at 18 or above these things do not make you stronger and in fact can make you weaker. Of course there are some side benefits, the first is you can lift 100lbs more and the second is that you can punch for 1d4 damage but for an already strong character this means less to them. What this all added together means is that these are gloves for the weak. That 8 Strength wizard you have that needs someone to carry his books? Well now he can not only carry his books he can carry your books as well. An interesting item that in later editions is ruined by turning the neat ability into a straight +2 to strength and making them no different from any other stat boosting item.

This is the nineteenth part of a series, here are the links to the 1st, 2nd, 3rd,  4th,
5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th, and 18th parts
Labyrinth Lord rules that can be found Here at Goblinoid Games

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Fall 2011 semester = over

   So yeah the semester is finally over, just submitted my last final a few moments ago. I am feeling much relief at this moment. Of course now I will actually have time to make posts and keep a schedule for this blog. Thats right, I will now have no excuse if I miss a Monday post so expect to see them on a regular basis. Of course after I finish with the LL CtC I will probably make whatever I do next be a Friday post as I can never find any college classes on a Friday.

   Other things of note. After the current area of the D&D campaign I am in is over I will no longer be in a D&D campaign. Of course this sounds bad until I mention that I will no longer be in one because I will be DM it instead. Thats right! I know get to be a DM every other week and the party wants to be evil this time. I will probably be using some of the maps and that world I had previously posted though not the megadungeon. Also because they are evil I get to use my kobolds like I want and still throw the party at them. I will probably be overpowered by the PCs as I am letting them be whatever they want with the restriction of Artificer as the current one was basically a black box that you put treasure in and got over three times the amount out. I can probably handle a party just being overpowered but when they take every GP I give them and make it into 3 I do not think I could handle it satisfactorily.