Saturday, November 22, 2008

Grey wait blue... wait just shut up

I've just realized that typing titles like that is really annoying, I hate captializing the first word. I think that is why my titles were always one to two words long. So Sasha being out of town+taking a break from kingdom of loathing=unschedualed blog updates. I also have stuff to write about. First off I am happy to report that I now feel better! YAY! That whole going to bed at 1:30 thing was bullshit. DID NOT LIKE, the all caps were added for emphasis in case you didn't know. Otherwise I've just sort of been doing my own things which is awesome. I'm so boring! No really the highlight of this evening will prolly be getting off of here and reading a book. I haven't had the urge to do that in a while, I'm so excitied! YEAH!

Well that was a pleasent introduction, off to what I wanted to say. Wait no. I want to do the western thing, kinda for real so I am currently obtaining a copy of unforgiven. So I'll watch that and explain the post modern implications of that movie in greater detail. It really is a cool way to look at things, but I promise nothing! HAR! Then I'll do 3:10 to Yuma and full explain my concerns with that movie, then I will go back and reattack the crappy article, and then I'll prolly muse on the future of Postmodernism. Depending on when Sasha gets back this might be done as early as Wensday or late as next Wensday its all crazy time. So there is that.

Now I was going to talk to you about charecter creation. Its a funny thing creating a charecter in roleplaying games. Everyone goes about it diffrently, and they all take it to varying degrees of seriousness. Some players will just sit back and say, "whatever I just want to play the game" others will agonize over the mechanics doing thier absolute best to ensure that they can murder anything that gets in thier way. Its rare that I get someone who comes up with a back ground and it is rarer still that I get a group who doesn't moan at the thought of charecter generation. This is because it is a huge chore. I have taken extrodinary measures over the years to make it all as easy as possible on my players and yet the easyer I try to make it, the worse it seems to get. I never really understood all the crying and moaning that came along with chargen but that's the human race for you always complaining about something.

The funny thing about rpgs is that you have a chance to be anyone. These are people that can distintigrate enemies with thier minds, alter reality, carve up mountains, and make thier horses do scary awesome things. Man check out some of thouse mounted charms in Exalted, ouch. Yet despite all of this most players end up playing someone who is pretty close to thier own personality. That is something I always found odd, and yet I do the same damn thing. You would think that in an escapist form of entertainment I'd want to be someone else. But I never do, or did. I always just wanted to be me, who also happens to be good at swinging a sword or casting a spell, but fundamentally me. Its strange my fictional charecters aren't really me, especially most of the recent ones I've been cooking up. Yet when I make an rpg charecter I always seem to fall back on my good old self. Maybe it is because the number of hours I 've spent playing when compared to the number of hours I've spent runnig games is vastly disproportionate. Maybe I am just a bad roleplayer. Who knows.

So I've been putting together charecters using the 4th edition rules, and I have to say that of all the games I have played, 4th edition D&D sports some of the simplest most streamlined chargen I have ever seen. I can whip together a decent hero in under a half hour which considering how system heavy D&D is that is an increadbly brief period of time. I attribute this mostly to the fact that charecters more or less snap together . Each class has two builds that are seperated by the player's stats. Now if you rolled really well this divide mean absolutely nothing to you and you can be effective at everything. If you used the games terribly restrictive point based system then your charecter sort of builds itself.

This is a good and a bad thing. Its good because it lets players jump right in and get started. It also pretty much gaurentees that players will end up with a decently playable charecter out of the box. Group cohesion is of prime importance in 4th edition more so than in any of the others, so it is important that everything work kinda right, and yet...yet... everyone I have made just seems ever so slightly bland. I get a couple of exciting possiblities that spring to my mind when I look over my compleated sheet but for the most part everything seems sighned sealed and delivered. In most games you start wit a concept and you build your charecter around it. In 4th you start with your numbers and your work backwards. Its strange for me, but I don't really have an interesting story for anyone I've made up so far. Instead I think about how I can best use thier powers to kill things and take thier stuff. All in all so far I am interacting with the game like a semi complex minatues game rather than a role playing game.

More so than most of the other editions the GM will play a critical imporance in guiding the game. See roleplaying games fall into three broad categories as defined by Ron Edwards, Narrativist, Simulation, and Gamist. Narrativist is all about telling a story, damn the rules and all the restrictions that come with them, there are stories to be told damnit! Then there are the simulationist games that are all about mimicing life, they are games that make you keep track of things like food, wieght, carrying cappacity, and in one rediculouse example how far you can pee (not joking). Traditonally AD&D tried to be all three at the same time and failed utterly. 3rd edition focuses more on the game and narrative aspect and left the simulation stuff behind, good riddence as far as I am concerned. Now 4th... all the stuff about developing a charecter is still there in 4th, but it seems so under emphasized. This is fine of course this has always been the case with D&D. But not it really seems gone. You can tell by seeing the absense of the bard class.

Bards were always the underdogs in the d20 game system. They sucked at combat, but man oh man if you ever wanted to see a gm streach his bullshit abilities to the max, you whipped out BARDIC KNOWLAGE. Bardic knowlage meant you knew something stupid about EVERYTHING around you. Out of combat bards could do some crazy ass shit. They had a stupid number of skills and spells which were mainly used to buff stats. Like I said, not good at very much combat wise but they really added flavor to the world no matter if a gm wanted it or not. NOw they are gone. The sad thing is that they would both fit in well in the current class set up...and yet not. Bards weren't meant for combat, they were made for everything else and for the most part that just sat around and did nothing unless the gm was ready for them. I know they will show up eventually in some sort of official supliment and I already know how they are going to work and I will prolly play one. They won't be the bards of old though and that's to bad,

Of all the charecter classes I am most like a bard, and now it feels like I don't really have a place any more. Who am I today, myself still, but now I'll be armed with a sword of some sort and kicking ass, instead of just sort of singing a song and giving pointless historical lectures. Damn. Oh well.

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