Saturday, July 20, 2013

Roleplaying Tales: Instant Magic User Death

A couple years back I was playing in a homebrew tabletop with a very robust and varied magic system. I'd been playing an old necromancer with an extensive magic knowledge limited by his magically-lowered magic power. In meta terms this meant I did basically whatever I wanted with magic as long as it was within my particular elements and had requirements under my magic power stat.
This was entertaining for me and the other party magic user was likewise enjoy them-self but the GM was coming to the realization that his present magic setup, while great for players, was a lot of work for the game's GM. Always having to calculate the costs of all the things we wanted to do was taking more time out of the sessions than he'd like an he decided he would prefer to not. Alas, in his way to being in the enviable position of "not dealing with this bullshit" were those two wizards.
So he trotted the party off on a quest that presumably was one of the required steps in our overarching epic. This quest ended deep in a catacomb full of one-way teleportation confronted by the spirit of a high-level paladin. In order to get out of the small door-less room we were in we had to answer a number of philosophical questions testing both our righteousness and our honesty.
When it came to my question I was caught in a Catch-22: Tell the truth and be punished for my lawful evil alignment or lie and be punished for my dishonesty. For reference, I chose the former.
As I was slain, both my own soul and that of the party's other wizard which I had conned her out of early on were sent off to a pleasant eternity with the evil necromantic god I was worshiping.
Having taken out half the party, the GM jovially informed us that the magic system was now under going revisions and would be unavailable for new character creation until further notice.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

A Fine Evening

He had been having a perfect evening: The stars were out, the fog was low, and he'd found the perfect female companionship for the night's entertainment. Unfortunately, while he was shadowing her some hoodlum had come out of a side alley and menaced her with a knife. He'd hoped the delinquent would merely rob her of her purse and leave at that but he had forced her off into the adjacent alley. It looked like his night was going to be completely ruined.
The man paced near the alley, unsure how to proceed. Having that delinquent there would totally ruin his picturesque plans for the evening but if he left it alone and that hooligan went too far it would equally ruin the message. He pondered finding another girl but this one had just the right build and glossy black hair the exact length of hers. The thought of cutting it triggered a shiver down his spine.
He rolled open the case containing his tools. He caressed the gleaming silver handle of his scissors before sliding his largest scalpel out of its place and rolling the case back up.
He stepped into the alley with purpose. The crook was facing away threatening  the young lady. He grabbed the younger man's left wrist mid-gesture and twisted his arm up and backward then, before losing his moment of surprise, ran the blade of his scalpel neatly down the length of his forearm.
As blood began to run heavily down his left arm, the delinquent tried to turn and slash at the intruder with the knife in his right hand but his arm was caught and the slice of the scalpel repeated. The knife clattered to the cobblestones.
"If you don't stop that bleeding, you're going to die." The man with the scalpel stated coldly.  He seemed done with his opponent already as he cleaned his scalpel with a handkerchief from his pocket. As expected the hapless hoodlum decided to cut his losses and fled the alley.
After tucking away the bloody kerchief, he stepped closer to the girl who, wisely, had not thanked him for saving her. She cautiously watched him approach, scalpel still at hand. As he trailed his eyes over the exposed neck of his fourth victim, he smiled.
Perhaps it was a fine evening after all.

(Inspired by Three Word Wednesday: Delinquent, Hapless, Trigger)

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Steam Adds Collectible Card Game to Profiles

Building on their existing achievement system, Steam has implemented a new feature: Steam Trading Cards. The cards are added automatically to your inventory after playing participating games for some period of time. By default you can get up to half of a full set of any given game's cards and it'll be up to you to acquire the other half through crafty trades with your friends, through the community, or by purchasing them on the steam market. Turning in a set of cards nets you 100 "Steam Exp" adding to your Steam Level and nets you random profile backgrounds, random emoticons that can be used on the steam community, a badge to display on your profile and a chance at discount coupons. Repeating the collection nets you more exp, another pair of goodies, and levels up your badge. Higher steam levels mean higher chances of a rare "Booster Pack" drop and the ability to add more people to your friends list.

Screw the rules, I have money.

If emoticons and profile backgrounds don't strike your fancy you can always play the market. I wasn't toying with the beta very long so I just dumped all my cards immediately. Although judging from price trends during the beta, it won't net you a lot: I did manage to scrounge up enough that I'll probably pick up a cheap game from the <$5 bin when one piques my interest.
Alternatively, some of the profile goodies sell for more decent prices, so a few good trades and some luck with the randomization engine can put you in the direction of adding a new distraction to your steam stable.

Did you drop this Normal Pyro Card or this Golden Pyro Card?

Practically speaking, the cards don't add anything immediate to the player experience on Steam. There isn't a card game to play with the cards: although they've hinted they may consider the possibility in the future. Unless you've been capping out your friend's list and want to give it a boost. Nevertheless, for those who like such quirks or like to get competitive with your gaming levels, it'll no doubt be worth the time investment. Now that the system is out of Beta, everyone on Steam who plays relevant games should be getting the cards so whether your interested or not, it is at least worth taking a peek at your inventory to see what new goodies await.