rpgs

Prelude to Millennium: Chapter 1.4 (Vivian Murphy to Thomas Raith)

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Prelude to Millennium: Chapter 1.4 (Vivian Murphy to Thomas Raith)

I decided to include this response from Vivian (Thomas’ contact) before we get to Mycroft and the rest.  This letter pings as Thomas is talking to Mycroft; I’m going to play with time a little bit and see if it pays off narratively.  The next part will take place before this letter arrives and, hopefully it will make sense.  Anyway, enjoy.

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Prelude to Millennium: Chapter 1.3 (Thomas Raith to Vivian Murphy)

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Prelude to Millennium: Chapter 1.3 (Thomas Raith to Vivian Murphy)

Posting a new section of the RPG on game day itself is always exciting.  Nothing gets me more in the mood to table-top than novelizing a version of what’s already happened.  These guys (and gal) have helped tremendously in this process by being active storytellers themselves when they RP.  You’d think they’re all vets with the creative twists and turns (none of them outlandishly unbelievable either) that they conjure for their PCs.  Great, very rewarding, stuff.  Anyway, here’s 1.3:

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Prelude to Millennium, Part I, Chapter 1.2 (Thomas Raith to Vivian Murphy)

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Prelude to Millennium, Part I, Chapter 1.2 (Thomas Raith to Vivian Murphy)

Below is the second installment of Chapter 1.  Thomas is an increasingly enjoyable character to write; noir predicates itself on writing an analogy a second, especially in the mind of the detective.  Luckily, Taylor has played the part well during game and given me plenty to work with.  I can’t wait to introduce Mycroft next.  Just imagine Tony Stark and Bruce Wayne without the superhero counterparts.  There’s no world needing rescue (yet), and Mycroft is anything but bored.

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E3 2012: South Park Creators Announce First RPG Game, Stick of Truth

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E3 2012: South Park Creators Announce First RPG Game, Stick of Truth

In the midst of a fairly quiet (and Usher-esque) conference by Microsoft at E3 2012, fans were pleasantly surprised by the appearance of Matt Stone and Trey Parker, creators of the popular comedy series South Park.  The two were happy to announce — after some teasing in December of last year — that their first RPG, featuring the characters of South Park, is in development.

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Sincerity in Short Supply

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Sincerity in Short Supply

You’ve probably heard about George Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces, even if only because of Star Wars. Campbell argued that the myths that have survived for thousands of years share a common, evocative pattern: a “monomyth” that speaks to deep human needs.

As a cultural theory, the monomyth’s attracted its share of criticisms, but whether or not it’s correct it’s had an enormous influence on modern pop culture. And in a month that’s seen the (re-)release of classic-style JRPGs like Tales of Graces F and Xenoblade Chronicles, it got me thinking about our pop culture’s central tropes and myths.

Making fun of JRPG convention is one of the safest ways for one section of gamers to feel superior to the other. So if everyone supposedly hates the stuff, why are they still made – and why do so many of us continue to buy them? Is it because of their indifference to others’ mockery?

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Comic Issues #56 – Game On

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Comic Issues #56 – Game On

Just two short months after the official announcement from Wizards of the Coast about a new D&D edition, gamers are eager for any information about the new incarnation of the game that’s made the industry what it is today.  As expected,  the guys at Comic Issues are no exception. With Andrew still absent, Darran, Daryck, and Anthony spend the podcast talking about the news released, the rumors that fall out of mills, and what they’d personally like to see from the brand that they’ve loved.

The guys also discuss critical topics, such as as why The Touch is an amazing song, or if people who dress up as satyrs could be considered Furries.  Darran also has a big announcement this week that he saves for the end.

Game On!

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Top 5 Reasons to Not Overlook Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

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Top 5 Reasons to Not Overlook Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

With The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim still spinning in most RPG enthusiasts’ systems it would be easy to overlook Big Huge Game and 38 Studio’s soon to be released Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning.  However, the more I see of Kingdoms of Amalur the more convinced I am that dismissing this game would be a huge mistake.  With each new preview I’ve seen, not to mention the demo, I find myself getting more and more excited about what this game has to offer.

So here are my Top 5 reasons to not overlook Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning.  

5) Length

When he says Hammer Time everybody stops

With many of the top tier games of today coming in at totals of eight to ten hours, the length of a game has become a selling point by itself.  Kingdoms of Amalur’s developers have recently stated that some of the “speed runs” of the game, wherein the tester completed every quest, took around two hundred hours.  That’s a very encouraging number to gamers looking to throw down sixty big ones on a game.

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Excuse Plots have No Excuses

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Excuse Plots have No Excuses

Observant readers – assuming I’ve got readers; please, don’t divest me of the illusion – may have noticed that even though a lot of my reviews focus on games as storytelling, few of them cover role-playing games, the archetypal game-as-story.

Of course, part of it is there aren’t as many big-name console RPGs on the market as there once were. These days, shooters are the unquestioned kings of the dedicated gaming market, and the levy they demand from the groaning masses is dedicated online multiplayer. Even outside of the shooter market, multiplayer’s so requisite that formerly single-player exclusives like Assassin’s Creed and Mass Effect 3 have had significant resources poured into adding multiplayer modes.

But there are still role-playing games being released, even if they remain a smaller niche than the stereotypical fratboy crowd playing the latest Call of Duty, Battlefield. So why have I concentrated on action-adventure and story titles as examples of games as narrative? Why am I trying to plumb the depths of what is an acknowledged Excuse Plot?

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Agency and Constraint – How Much is Too Much?

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Agency and Constraint – How Much is Too Much?

While at PAX Prime, I was lucky enough to attend a Dragon Age panel held by a group of Bioware’s creative team for discussion of the series’ future. The room was packed. Fans cheered at most of the announcements, particularly those that suggested a departure from Dragon Age 2 towards their beloved Origins.

When it came time for Q&A, one of them got up and asked a rather peculiar question: “Will we ever see a meeting between Hawke and the Warden?” When the developers hinted it might be possible for the protagonist of DA2 to meet Origins’ heroic cipher, the fans gave a huge cheer.

The question baffled me. It wasn’t the implied desire to see Hawke again; unusually for a western RPG, DA2’s protagonist was arguably one of the most appealing characters. It was the part where people evidently clamored to see a non-character – no voice, no mannerisms, no defined history. Despite all the investment any particular player might place in their Warden, it’s not matched by a similar commitment from Origins’ story.

The desire stems from players not recognizing that bringing back their Warden in any future installment is both impossible and undesirable. The Warden, and the long parade of CRPG protagonists sharing their mold, can hardly be called characters at all, no matter how much “role-playing” the player may do. Their influence may matter, but their characterization does not.

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