Archive for February, 2008

Garfield – yes, seriously

Garfield is the worst comic strip out right now.

It’s weird. The jokes haven’t changed in 20 years. Garfield can’t make me laugh any more.

But if I go back and read books of those old comics, I can still get a chuckle sometimes. It’s like Jim Davis just stopped trying.

But that’s not the point of this post.

A while back, I found a group of people who had figured out how to make Garfield good again. It was simple, too.

Never let Garfield say anything.

Remove all his lines. Once this is done, Garfield becomes a vaguely surreal comic about a lonely man who talks to his asshole cat. And Garfield, somehow, comes across as even more of an ass without text to redeem him. It’s great.

For example (click for embiggening):

Garfield - silent

Garfield - mute

You can click here to find more of this type, but that still isn’t the point of this post.

Today, I was introduced to the greatest thing to ever happen to this comic.

I’ll let the author describe it.

Who would have guessed that when you remove Garfield from the Garfield comic strips, the result is an even better comic about schizophrenia, bipolor disorder, and the empty desperation of modern life?

Friends, meet Jon Arbuckle. Let’s laugh and learn with him on a journey deep into the tortured mind of an isolated young everyman as he fights a losing battle against lonliness and methamphetamine addiction in a quiet American suburb.

Welcome, dear readers, to “garfield minus garfield”.

Garfield - wrong with pants

Garfield - tunnel

So.

Freaking.

Surreal.

It’s great. It made my list of comics to watch immediately.

Pathfinder 4 – Marathon session, marathon leveling

PowerlevelingOh, yeah. DM log. I should do that. :D

So back on Sunday, we played our fourth session in the current Pathfinder game.

Characters present:

  • Nox, the sex-changing, race-changing Changeling Swordsage
  • Reza, the Dwarven Cleric, still getting used to this Cleric gig
  • and Nonnie, the fast-talking, act-before-thinking Halfling Sorcerer

Still on the first adventure, we ended off last time after slaying the Quasit, and looting her tiny kingdom.

This time, however, we had a unique situation. Nobody had to work or go to school on Monday, due to it being Reading Week (Canada’s university spring break) as well as Louis Riel Day (Manitoba’s new February holiday).

So we did what any gaming group would do in that situation.

We gamed for as long as we could stand it!


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Awesoming up players and house rules in the CAB game and in the future

SnakesAh, the Rule of Cool.

It’s been written about a number of times in the world of DMing blogs, and is one of my principles as a DM. It guides my play style, and (as you will see below) it guides my house rules.

The guidelines behind perpetrating this rule, however, are not laid out above, though people come out with new ways to do so every day.

Rather, the method for creating an atmosphere of cool was defined years ago, completely outside of the gaming arena. Three simple rules were laid out by Malcolm Gladwell in the New Yorker magazine. Since then, they have been applied heavily in the marketing world, to explain why products succeed and fail. But they are useful in gaming as well.

The three rules are as follows, and are effective guidelines to use while attempting to “awesome up” your games.

  • 1) The act of discovering cool causes cool to move on.


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Ramble and Request

Blogging For DummiesWhat week-long hiatus? What are you talking about?

Well, obviously I’ve been busy with school this past week, so I haven’t had the time to write anything here. That said, I have the next week off for Reading Week (Canada’s university spring break), so I’ll try to get some posts done/started. I’ll also try to get the “Aboot” page up. Maybe I’ll hack myself a new theme. I did pretty good with ChattyDM’s.

At the moment, however, I have a bit of insomnia, so I’m doing a bit of an update here.

On the only topic I seem to post with regularity, we didn’t have a game last weekend, due to a recent loss of two players and the car of another getting vandalized. We are gaming tomorrow/today, however, so expect a writeup this week.

On the Pathfinder adventure, I’m still being pleasantly surprised by how little I’ve had to change. With the exception of the Quasit battle last time, pretty much everything has been playable as-is.

More on that after the next session.

Now, as for the request in the title, I’d love to do more posts like I did at the beginning of this blog. Variant rules are one of my favourite topics. (Statting creatures is always fun too.) But I need your help on this.

See, as it stands, I’m pretty satisfied with the state of the 3.5e rules, but I still love making variants and fixes for things. I could just make up random things, but that’s hardly motivating or fun. But it doesn’t have to get used in my own game to get me thinking about it.

So I want to hear from you. What do you want out of a game, that you need a house rule for? Have you tried a rule, and it didn’t quite work out, and you don’t know how to fix it? Have you been considering trying someone else’s house rule, but there’s something grating in the back of your mind about it?

Send these things to me, via email.  (You can get the email on the right side of the page, just under Ralph.)  I’ll post them here, and develop a fix for you. Think of me as Miss Lonelyhearts! Except for RPGs. And male.

Mr. Lonelydice?

Whatever.

This could also work with creature creation. Perhaps you’re not good at statting up the creatures your incredible fluff creates. Well, I’m a crunch-side DM, so if you have monster fluff that needs to be realised, I’d be happy to give it a shot.

And if anyone wants to buy me a beer for doing so, be my guest.

As long as that beer is whiskey. ;)

On a different note, it has come to my attention that I have a large reader to post ratio, especially considering post frequency. 15 people subscribed to my RSS feed (plus more who don’t use RSS). An average of 8 visits per day (and generally at least 6), even when there’s nothing new, which is often. Somewhere around 121 visitors who have seen the site at least twice (which is good enough by me). All with 14 posts (including this one) over three months.

For someone who merely intends to use this blog for a creative/crunch outlet and a log for our group’s games, that’s not too shabby.

So anyways, this week you can expect a few things. First, a DM log, of course. Next, we might be seeing player logs (though I don’t know if that should be plural) start up soon. You will definitely get a second post by myself this week. A book review, in fact.

Beyond that, it depends on what kind of response I get to this Lonelydice thing. If it’s sufficient, I can hopefully make this a regular feature.

Mr. Lonelydice… Yeah, I think I’ll go with that name. It’s weird. I like it.

Pathfinder 3 – In the Quasit’s lair

Erylium - Quasit Queen - smallSorry for the delay in posting. This week hasn’t been nearly as busy as last week, but an old friend of mine got into a disagreement with a bridge, and its good friend “the ice on the river” backed it up. She’s in the hospital, but is stable and doing well, thanks very much to passerby who stopped to help, especially to a firefighter friend of ours who happened to be there (they don’t know each other). Her sense of humour is still there, too. We all feel very lucky. Though I doubt she’ll ever read this blog, Lisa, we’re happy to have you here, and we’re all pulling for a full recovery.

But we did have a game this weekend. We were two players down, and will be for some time, for various reasons, but we played nonetheless.

This means our party is now down to three members:

  • Nox, Changeling Swordsage who still has pink hair.
  • Reza, Dwarven Cleric of Desna who is still getting used to this cleric thing, but is loving the Desna thing.
  • and Nonnie, Halfling Psychopath… I mean Sorcerer. As you will see in the course of this writeup, Nonnie is definitely a method actor.

In any case, we started right where we left off, with the party about to head back down into the Glassworks’ basement and check out the smuggler’s tunnel that Tsuto’s notes had mentioned.


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Wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!!!!!!!!!

Super Mario GalaxyWell, no game last weekend, so no RPG post this week.

Instead, Ive decided to comment on a couple of video games I got at christmas time, and have been playing since.

Now, first up, we’ve got a game that most of you will have heard of, and will have heard way too much about already. Super Mario Galaxy.

Well, let me first confirm the greatness of the game. I was a huge fan of Mario 64 (it being one of the few games I’ve ever finished completely, and I even did it twice), and this was a spectacular followup.

You can beat the game with 60 stars (though I was already at 80 or so by the time it let me try), and there are 120 stars total. I currently have 121, and the game is still going.

“But Graham,” you say, “how can this be? 121 is more than 120, the maximum amount of stars, by your own admission! You’re a filthy liar and a cheat!”

No! Well, maybe. I am a GM after all.

But in this case, once you beat the game, collect 120 stars, and then beat the game again (the last 20-ish stars aren’t available until you beat it once), you get to play the entire game over, as Luigi this time.

Now, I don’t know if I’ll beat the game with Luigi. He’s annoying to control sometimes, and I just barely got the 120 stars the first time (one of the last stars was being really really annoying), but I find myself intrigued by what might lie behind the second 120 stars. so we’ll see.

In any case, I have a different way to play a very fun game waiting for me at home, if I so choose.

Which brings me to the second game.

While buying Mario, I came across a game that (with no prior knowledge of it) I could not pass up. It was $20, and it had the single greatest name in the world. This game was…


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