Category Archives: Games

I write about games! I write a LOT about games! Everything I do about games is here, in this tab, in some way.

MTG: October’s Custom Cards — Alternate Horror

Ah, Dread Month, a month of horrors and vileness, a month where there’s terrible things afoot and grim subject matter. Well, time to make some spooky cards, right? Nice and easy.

This is a rare time where I had a bit of a problem with making this month’s cards. I started out with one theme — a set of Innistrad-themed cards that used the regional watermarks of the locations around Innistrad. I then tried an idea of a full set of daily zombies, but I immediately got bored with that.

What I did instead was this month, I revisited a bunch of mechanics based on things that might fit in a horror setting. The idea drifted a little, but I still have a bunch of cards I like and am happy with.

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Game Pile: Creature Of Havoc

Hey, I don’t just generate videos about postmodernism or solastalgia, I also sometimes make videos where I just partake in a game that you probably don’t know or remember, and spent some time complaining about it. This time, it’s a book, and oh boy, isn’t this going to be a WEIRD book to start with!

This whole setup is the real prize of this video: A dice roller and book reader system means I can do other game books, but also things like roll-and-write physical games or the like. The pngtuber is also neat here, and this can be seen as like, a beta test for them.

2021 Camp Osum Diary

Oh hey it’s October again, time to bust out this old project. Last year I did some work on the things I’d need for Camp Osum, and this year, I’d like to push it along a little more. But! Something I’m doing this year that I didn’t do last year is I’m going to tweet about it a bit. This means this post might feel a bit like a supercut of twitter posts.

Oh and uh, content warning? Gore and guts and knives and like, horror stuff?

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4E: The Hadalan

… And there, in the deepest and darkest of spaces, far from the prying eyes of those who would judge their work, or steal their designs, a god whose name is lost, did render the form of what it had seen, and sought to make its own.

It made what it thought it saw, when it saw humans.

And when it saw what it had done, it was revolted, and fled.

The Hadalan are a rare culture from the deep oceans of Cobrin’Seil. There are people of the seas – not like the cultures of merfolk and triton, that live up near the continents, building cities at the edges of the shelf where the land falls away into dark ocean. The Hadalan are from deep in the ocean; from places where vents in the earth belch bubbles and plumes of smoke into an uncaring darkness, where great bugs sift the sands, and where the dead bones of ship and whale alike lay in the muck, too cold and dark and barren to rot.

There are stories of the Hadalan. It’s said they are people who do not have souls. When seen from a distance, their shapes are hazy and indistinct, sailors say; they change shape and morph into strange and inhuman forms. Some say they eat souls, feasting on life to life to extend their own.

And there are the stories they tell of themselves.

The Hadalan, when asked, tell stories about how they were created without souls. About how they were abandoned by a god, who was horrifed at having made them. About the way they refused to die, and made their home in the deep oceans, with the deeper secrets. About glowing libraries and columns of fire that burn in the darkness of nowhere. About how they built a civilisation; how they learned to create their own souls; how they learned the ways to call upon gods.

How they called for their god, grown, whole, and a culture to be proud of.

How their god came to them.

And they tore them apart.

Glossary Note: Conventionally, the term used in D&D for this mechanical package is race. This is the typical term, and in most conversations about this game system, the term you’re going to wind up using is race. For backwards compatibility and searchability, I am including this passage here. The term I use for this player option is heritage.

Hadalan is a player heritage for 4th edition D&D. They’re designed to fit a similar space to the Drow, as a pocket heritage of a small number of cities that can be seen as extremely defensive and insluar, with their own interconnected set of rules and structures. I don’t like drow as they exist, but I wanted something like them for some ideas in my setting, and rather than pump out yet another elf subrace that plays into some really hinky shit, I instead decided to steal from Games Workshop.

I mean it wasn’t like they were doing anything cool with it.

The Hadalan were inspired by a one-minute summary of an Age of Sigmar faction, the Idoneth Deep-Kin.

Okay, so things I like: I, a staunch anti-theist, really like the idea of a culture that, in a deific setting, is created by a god, and doesn’t start with a default positive attitude towards that god. I like sea monsters, I like ocean biology, and I like hunky monster options. Easy choices for me there.

There’s some stuff that doesn’t do anything for me, of course; the idea of an entire heritage being evil soul eating vampires, that’s boring. I want characters who can reflect their society and its values, and also differ from it. It’s okay to have a culture of insular dicks, even if they don’t reflect the norm – but it’s boring to have that be a whole culture-wide thing.

Instead, I wanted an isolated group who behave in a particular way because of reasonable pressures. They’re insular because resources are scarce; they have strange practices that others find unsettling because they are unsettling. But they farm and fish and hunt and have a drive to build a civilisation that started out of a culture-wide inferiority complex.

Fox and I have two very different D&D settings that we talk about. One big difference is that her setting doesn’t have Gods – gods are mythic structures, people worship and talk about that kind of stuff but there’s no proof that those things exist at all. Demons and angels exist and may claim to be part of a particular faith, but they don’t have proof that any given object of faith actually exists. My setting on the other hand, Cobrin’Seil, does have gods – and I wrote about the utility of gods in settings, and it seems to me a more interesting story if this idea of deicide was actually true.

Like, they did something that scares a lot of gods – they summoned their god, and after some confrontation of nonspecified details, killed and ate their god. If you knew a culture was capable of that, and you were a god, you’d have a pretty reasonable attitude towards maybe wanting to make sure that even well-intentioned followers you were responsible for weren’t going there, because like, that’s dangerous. And if people who ask you for help wound up endangered by these people, you don’t know if you can help. There’s a totally natural response to a cultural group.

This isn’t to say the Hadalans actually go about killing gods.

But if you’re a god, are you gunna wanna risk it?

I want the Hadalans to have a history of at first, piracy, playing with the idea of them being mythic creatures who damage the mind and make themselves hard to remember. Then there are the first encampments of them establishing contact, and then maybe small communities of them that are near enough to other social groups to share some people. The Hadalan, on average, are going to be mostly insulated, but rather than an Underdark Drow where every one you meet is an escapee from a totalitarian state that maintain an ideology despite regularly meeting with people outside it, the Hadalans are mostly isolated by environmental factors. They alone can handle living where they do, so they alone do; and Hadalans that roam further for adventure or exploration or advancement or something else do so as individuals.

Oh and I want them to look like hot monster people, who are rare enough that people should be surprised by seeing them.

Now I’m working through my lore and setting information to give full details on these critters; I know that one thing I really like is that they’d have a written language that is by default touch-readable, because a large portion of the Hadalan population just don’t have eyes. There’s also challenges like the language used to refer to these game mechanical pieces, where when you give a thing a name, you set a tone. This is a presentation of what we’ll call beta model design.

If you want to use Hadalan in your games, here’s the mechanics!

The Hadalan

Deep sea horror humanoids who exist beyond the boundaries of the gods.

Average Height: 1.5m-2.5m (5′-8″); size varying by Soul.
Average Weight: 60kg-220kg (130-485 lbs.); weight varying by Soul

Ability Scores: +2 Constitution, and either +2 Wisdom or Strength

Size: Medium
Speed: 6 squares
Vision: Darkvision
Languages: Common, Deep Speech. Hadalan writing and reading is an extraordinarily dense, tonal logosyllabary, where complex characters represent entire ideas, expressed in a single syllable.

Aberration: The Hadalan, no matter the intention of their creator, are somehow wrong, and their existence seems at odds with natural processes. Your origin is Aberration.

Chill of the Deep: You have resist 5 cold. At 11th level, the resistance improves to 10 cold. At 21st level, the resistance improves to 15 cold.

Forgotten Horror: It’s easy for people to forget you, as if something about you is unsettling and wrong. You get a +2 to Stealth.

Waterborne: You have a swim speed equal to your land speed. You can breathe underwater.

Own Soul: You crafted your own Soul, which changes your gross physical qualities, defense bonuses and skill bonuses. Choose one Soul:

  • Feaster: You gain +1 Fortitude defense, and a +2 to Dungeoneering.
  • Roiling: You gain +1 Reflex defense, and a +2 to Arcana.
  • Deepest: You gain +1 Will defense, and a +2 to Insight.

Disjointed Learning: You can select one of your 1st-level at-will attack powers from a class different from yours. 

Once regarded as a myth, the Hadalan are a culture of deep-sea humanoids, from ancient cities that lay deep in the ocean. There are stories of them as the creation of a misbegotten god, or cursed merfolk, or even the living nightmares of an ancient, dead, dreaming thing beneath the waves that whispers secrets to the Aboleth. As rare as they are, most people will never hear about them, let alone the truth of who they are.

The Hadalans are mysterious and fearsome; there is a mysticism about them, a caution about engaging with them from almost all priests and clerics. They do sometimes travel about on land, but often they are so far from anyone familiar with them that they are simply regarded as some new kind of monster, some dreadful individual mutant freak rather than a person of an ancient culture.

Play a Hadalan if you want…

  • to be generally spooky.
  • to be feared by the gods.
  • to know dreadful things that do not frighten you.

Physical Qualities

The base Hadalan looks somewhat like a human, though of varied possible height. Hadalan can be shorter than most humans, or taller than most human-considered limits. They are bipedal humanoids, with typical proportions of a human, but scaled up. Their appearances can also vary heavily based on their Soul choice.

A Hadalan who has not yet crafted a soul is known as a slug; they are typically grey-ish white in skin texture, and have a largely humanoid appearance, though they lack eyes. They often have small finned tails and some sweeping fins about the shoulders. The slugs are considered adolescent, and not expected to work or adventure. Further differentation of Hadalans appears when they choose a soul.

Feaster Hadalans tend towards being grey and dark blue, with golden or black eyes. They often have fearsome, sharp teeth and claws, and are most often compared to types of shark or carnivorous fish. It’s not uncommon for Feasters to develop a black-and-white patch pattern as they grow larger over life. Feasters are often larger and more bulky.

Roiling Hadalans tend to cyans, golds, purples and reds, vivid colours that stand out sharply in the dark. They commonly have tentacles either as part of their limbs or as additional limbs. A common style is for a Hadalan to have a tentacle whose resting state is coiled around one arm, creating a larger, lopsided affect.

Deepest Hadalans look much like more threatening slugs; they have paler skin, often completely white, obvious and pronounced musculature with some of the structures of bone visible at the surface of the skin. Deepest Hadalan do not have eyes – their faces have sensitive spaces, and they are subject to most of the limitations of being blinded by magic and alchemical devices, but they perceive the world through some other undefined sense. Some Deepest also develop armoured or chitinous plates on their skin, resembling deep sea life like lobsters or crabs.

Playing a Hadalan

Hadalans know that they are a mystery to most; they may even be mysteries to people who have met them. Any Hadalan adventurer can expect to be the first time anyone has seen them, and may assume they will be identified as something else; perhaps a Merfolk if their fishlike traits are obvious, or some other form of fey monster person if not.

The Hadalan reputation is fearsome; this doesn’t mean that they have to be aggressive or combative, and because that reputation is tied to the vision of Feeder and Deepest Hadalans, it can sometimes mean that a Hadalan who does not pointedly emphasise the ways they are strange can blend in readily enough, maybe with some strange eyes or a propensity to wear hoods or layers of fabric.

Hadalans are perceived as… dangerous, threatening, monstrous, oceangoing, secretive, mystical.

Names: Aebt, Chae, Gorgh, Inte, Jieth, Karsh

CoX — Raptorex

Time to time, I write up an explication of characters I’ve played in RPGs or made for my own purpose.  This is an exercise in character building and creative writing.


Not many people go out near the edges of Crey’s Folly, no more. They know it’s a dangerous place, with the Crey staff trying to recover lost research, the Nemesis forces trying to establish a bunkhead, Devouring Earth and Rikti and worse!

And there, lurking, is the dinosaur king, the beast woman of mysterious origin known as RAPTOREX!

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How To Be: Kuchiki Rukia (in 4e D&D)

In How To Be we’re going to look at a variety of characters from Not D&D and conceptualise how you might go about making a version of that character in the form of D&D that matters on this blog, D&D 4th Edition. Our guidelines are as follows:

  • This is going to be a brief rundown of ways to make a character that ‘feels’ like the source character
  • This isn’t meant to be comprehensive or authoritative but as a creative exercise
  • While not every character can work immediately out of the box, the aim is to make sure they have a character ‘feel’ as soon as possible
  • The character has to have the ‘feeling’ of the character by at least midway through Heroic

When building characters in 4th Edition it’s worth remembering that there are a lot of different ways to do the same basic thing. This isn’t going to be comprehensive, or even particularly fleshed out, and instead give you some places to start when you want to make something.

Another thing to remember is that 4e characters tend to be more about collected interactions of groups of things – it’s not that you get a build with specific rules about what you have to take, and when, and why, like you’re lockpicking your way through a design in the hopes of getting an overlap eventually. Character building is about packages, not programs, and we’ll talk about some packages and reference them going forwards.

In Bleach, one of the most central characters to the early narrative is one Rukia Kuchiki. Introduced in the first episode, she is the bridge of our previous point-of-view character into the spirit world as an outsider. She is a character from another world, deprived of powers in our world, who has to guide Ichigo, a seemingly ordinary dude who can see ghosts, into seeing the immensely complicated reality that spiderwebs about him about societies full of special rules and seemingly arbitary boundaries. Rukia is this sort of mix of gremlin energy, doing things like building a micro room in Ichigo’s closet, ostentatious self-importance due to her noble heritage, and very legitimate expertise in spiritual matters. It’s the sudden loss of Rukia that marks the transition between the first two major arcs of Bleach, where all the fun we’ve had up until now is suddenly framed as something you have to pay for. The society, the life, the world that is waiting outside of the fun of highschool appears and demands that all that fun is over and now there is a duty.

I assume at some point after that she gets super powers and reunites with Ichigo and they have cool adventures and the story doesn’t run in place for nine years.

Anyway!

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Game Pile: Tamashii

I got this game in the Racial Justice bundle on itch, and I thought I’d give it a shot for Dread Month. Turns out that the plot is obtuse enough that I thought the most interesting thing was the way that the game spends a lot of programming effort and visual aesthetic looking like an old junky game from a long time ago, even on modern hardware.

Neat game, definitely one to try if you like the way it looks. Not the kind of thing where I put much stock in ‘the plot’ as much as that plot is an assemblage of stuff the creator thinks about.

Doors, Stairs, Fog

Putting August, with its theme of tricks, and October, with its theme of dread, so close to one another is an interesting kind of mirroring because they undeniably share some space. There’s a trick to horror, and there’s a trick to designing good horror. Much of horror in my experience can be about learning something, and that means that good horror often relies about controlling your attention.

It’s something videogames have going on that many games that I design don’t. Videogames give you a camera, of sorts, that you control, of sorts, and that means that you’re often left with the illusion that you have control over what you see, how and when.

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Gandhi Was Bad

Hey, do you know about this whacky famous videogame bug?

Back in Civilisation, a video game on the PC, yes, that thing, and also on platforms like the SNES. In this game, you pilot a nation, with your character — and all the other characters you play against — being famous representatives of important historical leaders. So if you play the Americans, you get Abe Lincoln, if you play the Romans, you get ‘Caesar’ (who is probably Julius), and so on. These come with some degree of personality, like Shaka of the Zulus and Genghis of the Mongols aren’t the same kind of leaders as Elizabeth of England and Stalin of Russia. It’s not exactly a well-framed kind of thing, where for example, Genghis’ leadership doesn’t result in a heavily military weirdly communist mix, and Elizabeth is seen as favouring ‘democracy’ for some reason.

Anyway, the idea is that there’s this bug in the game, where at some point, Gandhi, the leader of the Indian civilisation flips his wig and starts threatening to nuke the shit out of you in every conversation.

This is because, the lore goes, that every leader has an aggressiveness rating from 1 to 10. If you become a Democracy (which the Indians favour), your aggression score goes down by 2. Suddenly, Gandhi’s 1 becomes a 0 then becomes a negative 1 which in this does a classic computer fliparound and became a 255 and suddenly Ghandi is twenty five times more aggressive than the most murdery murderer who ever murders.

It’s not true, mind you.

This just literally isn’t true. In Civilisation, there’s no such rule that works this way.

First, the types of numbers stored in Civilisation don’t do this kind of fliparound thing. It’s something to do with whether the number knows how to sign their names, but the basics is: Civilisation Doesn’t Have This Kind Of Bug.

Second, in Civilisation, leaders don’t have a rating of 1 to 10. They have a simple three settings; Peaceful, Neutral, or Aggressive. That is: Civilisation Doesn’t Have That Kind of Rating.

And then there’s also that in Civilisation, changing your government doesn’t change the way the AI works. That is: Civilisation Doesn’t Even Work The Way This Bug Describes.

Now this is probably a bummer for you. After all, the Nuclear Gandhi meme is a fun one! It teaches people a little bit about how computers work, about the ways that they can behave in odd ways, and it explains a behaviour you may kind of remember in this game or another game like it, where someone you associate with peaceful civil disobedience being an aggressively belligerent asshole just jars. It’s a great little narrative, and the bug gets to explain the narrative, and all of that is unfortunately hindered by literally none of it being true, and relying on people not actually understanding anything they’re talking about, but also, in that very 4chan way, it is a rumour that you could start if you only seemed to understand the game a tiny bit more than someone else.

Incidentally, Gandhi wouldn’t nuke people aggressively. If the Indians in the game developed nuclear weapons, he would assert before any peace offering that his words were backed by nuclear weapons as the music kicked into high gear, but he’d still always offer a peace treaty, because his setting was peaceful.

But I may have destroyed Nuclear Gandhi in your mind.

But don’t worry, I can give you a replacement, if you don’t mind reading beyond the fold.

And now we get to the so-often this year, fold with Content Warning: Nazis!

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Game Pile: Bloodborne The Card Game

Hey, do you remember Bloodborne? That critically acclaimed internationally successful videogame made by longstandingly successful company From Soft that I looked at and gave you the useful insight that it wasn’t actually that good and it serves as a symbol of how we are sycophantic towards games for idiotic fears of hurting those games’ feelings? That game that was a solid 7/10 but only the reviews of the people who have sunk all the sunk costs count, meaning it’s elevated to special uncriticisable place in the pantheon of videogames as somehow being ‘near perfect’ despite being incredibly janky and failure-prone? The game that has an aesthetic I love, but which disappointed me immensely?

Yeah, that, it’s back, and in card game form!

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How To Be: May (in 4e D&D)

In How To Be we’re going to look at a variety of characters from Not D&D and conceptualise how you might go about making a version of that character in the form of D&D that matters on this blog, D&D 4th Edition. Our guidelines are as follows:

  • This is going to be a brief rundown of ways to make a character that ‘feels’ like the source character
  • This isn’t meant to be comprehensive or authoritative but as a creative exercise
  • While not every character can work immediately out of the box, the aim is to make sure they have a character ‘feel’ as soon as possible
  • The character has to have the ‘feeling’ of the character by at least midway through Heroic

When building characters in 4th Edition it’s worth remembering that there are a lot of different ways to do the same basic thing. This isn’t going to be comprehensive, or even particularly fleshed out, and instead give you some places to start when you want to make something.

Another thing to remember is that 4e characters tend to be more about collected interactions of groups of things – it’s not that you get a build with specific rules about what you have to take, and when, and why, like you’re lockpicking your way through a design in the hopes of getting an overlap eventually. Character building is about packages, not programs, and we’ll talk about some packages and reference them going forwards.

You may remember that we’ve looked, earlier in the year, at the character Rock Howard, from Garou: Mark Of The Wolves. Fight games are rich fodder for this kind of exercise because they so often about what a character is and less about what the character does. Simply put, fight games don’t make much sense.

There’s a scale at work, of course. Some games make more sense, with a deliberate intention to ground the storytelling in something serious. Some games, on other hand, are pretty silly, and don’t really care about how silly they get.

Anyway, Guilty Gear.

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CoX: Woodfall

Time to time, I write up an explication of characters I’ve played in RPGs or made for my own purpose.  This is an exercise in character building and creative writing.


They call it Eden, now.

Crey and the Devouring Earth and Nemesis do battle there, clashing over resources, over powerful ancient leylines, over strands of the great thorn tree the Circle claim as their own. When the labs broke down he was left there. The Green crept in. The ancient trees whispered secrets. They told him things that nature knows.

When he stood up again, he could remember nothing what he was, but enough of what he should be.

In time, the new things would die, they would go, and what was before would return. It needed only to be fostered, to be protected. It would be what it was once more.

They used to call it Woodvale.

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Game Pile: Channel Trailer 2021

What’s this? This isn’t Game Pile at all? Well, sort of. It’s a video about my Youtube channel, what it’s for and why I use it to put up Game pile articles. It’s meant to double as my channel trailer over on Youtube for those people who don’t come and look at the blog. It’s weird to me to consider that there may be people who watch over there but don’t read over here, but hypothetically, that’s what Youtube is about.

Script follows!

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Game Brief: The Many Complications of Fogge’s Barrow

I’m running a D&D game right now. Uh, unless something’s gone very wrong, I’ve been running it for some time by the time this guide goes up. But when I make a game I start out by giving people a document, called a Game Brief, that gives them guidance on building characters, and what’s expected of them.

For this game, I knew I had a small party (only three players), because we’d be playing this when our fourth friend was absent from the game. I also knew I didn’t want a huge stake, and wanted it to be much more about something local without big potential impact, so I put it in the mid levels of Heroic. Enough room that players could play experienced characters, but not that they had a veritable tale to them yet.

I’m going to present the brief, as I started on it… and then talk about the complication that followed.

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Asset Brainstorm #1 — Golems

I need a catchier name than that for this.

Okay, look, something I do, regularly, is go looking for game assets I can use. I am, as a designer, kind of aesthetically flexible. I don’t tend to design games with a vision of how they should look ahead of time. And what’s more, I tend to be resource-inspired. If I see a new mechanic, or an art asset or something, my natural desire is to creatively explore it, to say ‘hey, I’d use this for this.’

I’m also uh, cheap? Like I don’t like the idea of my games as these ongoing costs. I want to buy assets, address my needs for a design, and be done. That means instead of comissioning an artist, I’d really like to buy their existing art as art assets rather than hire an artist to make things. It’s funny, too, because if the artist designs a thing and just makes it look right, great, that’s their choice and decision and I don’t have to try and tell the artist how to make it more, I dunno, ‘fwoowshy’ or appropriate to my needs.

I’m an odd boy, I know.

This is something I’ve been planning on doing for a while! How long have I been waiting on doing this? Well, the first draft of this article, and that name, is from January.

2019.

I gotta shake off that awkwardness, and just do it, so here’s the plan. I’m going to show you an asset pack, and tell you what I think about it, and what kind of games I’d think of doing with it.

Okay, so here’s the asset I found when I went looking that I want to talk about: Golem Battler Pack for RPG games by Anvilsoft. The images here are obtained from there.

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3e D&D: SONIC FIREBALLS

In the pantheon of D&D spells, there’s nothing, it seems, more iconically important to the identity of the game than ‘fireball,’ a spell that apparently nobody ever anywhere would come up with without D&D bringing it to their attention. Hm. Bit sarky there, I should come back at that again. Anyway, Fireball! What a great spell! A classic, a powerhouse, a spell that always comes quickly to the fingertips and that players love to hear when the wizard is about to start some shit with a fireball.

Anyway, you’d never bother casting it in 3rd edition D&D.

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Game Pile: Draftosaurus

There’s a couple of other dinosaur park themed games that hit the market recently, which ranged from the positively bombastic Dinosaur World by Pandasaurus to the more multiplayer-friendly Dinosaur Island: Rawr and Write by Pandasaurus to the sprawling euro of Dinosaur Island by Pandasaurus to — you know, maybe it’s just Pandasaurus games.

Nonetheless, you might be the kind of person to whom the theme of a dinosaur theme park, as inspired by classic 90s piece of pulp media, Dinopark Tycoon, just makes your heart sing, but you don’t want to have to reconstruct an actual academic model of a human heart out of cardboard and math. To you, I wish to show you the dlightful Draftosaurus, a game that sells itself almost immediately when I show you the meeples.

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How To Be: Disney’s Robin Hood (in 4e D&D)

In How To Be we’re going to look at a variety of characters from Not D&D and conceptualise how you might go about making a version of that character in the form of D&D that matters on this blog, D&D 4th Edition. Our guidelines are as follows:

  • This is going to be a brief rundown of ways to make a character that ‘feels’ like the source character
  • This isn’t meant to be comprehensive or authoritative but as a creative exercise
  • While not every character can work immediately out of the box, the aim is to make sure they have a character ‘feel’ as soon as possible
  • The character has to have the ‘feeling’ of the character by at least midway through Heroic

When building characters in 4th Edition it’s worth remembering that there are a lot of different ways to do the same basic thing. This isn’t going to be comprehensive, or even particularly fleshed out, and instead give you some places to start when you want to make something.

Another thing to remember is that 4e characters tend to be more about collected interactions of groups of things – it’s not that you get a build with specific rules about what you have to take, and when, and why, like you’re lockpicking your way through a design in the hopes of getting an overlap eventually. Character building is about packages, not programs, and we’ll talk about some packages and reference them going forwards.

This month, I felt it was time to approach the challenge from a different angle, of taking something with an obvious, easy, simple solution and then exploring around that. And for that, we’re going to look at a classic character, a character who’s so well known we don’t even remember we’re referencing him when we reference him. A folk hero, a hero who defined a generation and set thousands of people on their path that would determine the kind of person they’d be.

We’re going to look at Robin Hood.

Specifically, the 1973 Disney’s Robin Hood.

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Game Pile: Magic Trick

This is a cute little game about playing a skateboarding kid in a town of animal people. It has pickups and tricks and magical powers that give you fast travel. It’s not a long game and I imagine if you’re better at skateboarding games than me, it’d probably only take a few hours to finish. It’s charming, it’s sweet, there’s a trans flag in the banner art.

If you want to check the game out, you can go get it here, and also, if you bought the Bundle For Racial Justice back in 2020, you already own a copy. But it’s also really cheap, so maybe buy it again?

I’m thinking more and more when it comes to itch games, just showing them off on my platform and talking about what I like about them is more interesting than trying to apply some deeper analysis to them. Not that I won’t for games that inspire it, but especially when it comes to games like this, I want to make sure I’m taking the opportunity to just share games.

Be kind with energy,
Be cruel with purpose.

3.0 D&D: Everyone Shapeshifts

Min-maxed 3.0 D&D was fucking weird.

I use the term 3.0 to talk about ‘third edition’ because there’s this weird way that people treat ‘3rd edition’ D&D as a single game, and not a period of time between the last release of 2nd edition and the first release of 4th edition. 3rd edition content is still being made and the game is still being played, even if I’d moved on from it. Important to this, though, is that ‘3rd edition’ is a term that I feel inappropriately ambiguates the two games made in 3rd edition.

When people are criticising 4th edition — hey maw he’s defending 4th edition gain — sometimes you get a ‘timeline’ argument; the idea that 4th edition, as a game that was only actively published and promoted for six years before the introduction of 5th edition. 5th edition has been going for 7 years since then (two of which were pandemic years), and 3rd edition went from 2000 to 2008, showing that 7 and 8 years are ‘good’ times for a game to exist, and 4th edition’s 6 years indicate that it was a ‘bad’ time. Thing is, 3rd edition D&D, the thing before 3.5, was only around for 3 years, and it was not the same game as 3.5. You couldn’t just pick up classes, creatures, or monsters and port them over. First party feats and classes were generally all weaker than 3.5, and spells were largely stronger.

4th edition never released a supplement that wasn’t compatible with all of 4th edition. By comparison, 3.0 lasted for 3 years, and 3.5 lasted for four – an immense rules patch apology.

And trust me, it was an immense rules patch.

Like, did you know in 3rd edition, in min-maxed groups, you basically never bothered building for physical stats if you were starting after level 3 or so?

Because in a min-maxed party, you very rarely were dealing with un-polymorphed characters.

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