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DMing 101 – Lies 2: Duplicity

 

DMing101

Deception is rarely fun for everyone concerned. Ok, so the longer you can keep the grand reveal from your group the more incredible it may be, but in between there’s a long stretch of frustration because people prefer to know things than be kept in the dark.

Ah, but when someone is in on it, then things get more interesting. Bringing someone into the fold makes for an interesting dynamic, pitches the group against one another in the best possible way, and can make for a few rather interesting story moments that will leave your group exchanging dirty looks at one another for years to come. (more…)


Top 10 Cows

GeekOut Top 10s

Mooo-ve over goats, it’s time to pay our respects to the bovine beasties of the world with our next list. Trot on over to your seats ladies and gentlemen, as it’s Saturday and that can only mean it’s time for another strange collection to graze through. Selected by you, we’ll prove we’ve got no beef with this weeks choice. We’re not playing around when it comes to milking these puns today, it’s time for our Top 10 Cows!


Top 10

10. The Tauren – Warcraft

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“Moo, are you happy now?”

Ah yes, the Tauren of Warcraft are an incredibly nomadic people. These huge humanoids resemble cows and bulls, akin to that of a Minotaur. The difference with these folk are their shamanistic and druidic ways, as opposed to a typical Minotaur view of solitude and isolation, making the Tauren a lot more of a herd mentality that we’re used to from cows in general. The Tauren are a noble people, who sided with the Orcs and their Horde.

One interesting point about the Tauren is their strange relationship to the Night Elves. On the one hand, war separates the two, yet they’re both keen on the protection of the Earth. If only these two races kept to themselves; perhaps fel energies wouldn’t be so present there on Azeroth. Coming in only at number 10, the Tauren are one of the more neglected, but certainly lovable aspects of Warcraft.

9. The Brazen Bull

Brazen Bull

Torture is a terribly creative affair, it’s incredible the ways we find to bring each other pain. The bronze bull or Sicilian bull was devised a means of executing prisoners by imprisoning them in a metal sculpture that is slowly heated until the victim is cooked to death, oh but that’s not the creepiest part. Smoke was allowed to curl out of the beast’s nostrils, and a series of pipes and tubes made the horrified screams emerge as the enraged howling of the bull.

If you want to see exactly how horrific that can be, watch Immortals by Tarsem Singh, it’s a rather superb take on a classic Greek tale, but it’s also rather gruesome. Magic: the Gathering also brought out a Brazen Bull card entitled Deserter’s Quarters. And as if Amnesia wasn’t creepy enough, there’s even a haunted Bull in the torture chambers that still screams when a fire is lit beneath it.

8. Cow – Cow and Chicken

Cowandchicken Cow

The cartoon series that featured the grotesque and childish mishaps and happenings of the brother sister team, hard-done-by 11 year old Chicken and his overly emotional 7 year old sister Cow. While Chicken largely tries to ignore or berate his sister he cannot escape the fact that he is literally overshadowed by the big, fat and ugly cow he is charged with protecting.

Cow is massive, loving, easily brought to fits of hysteria or bouts of tears, either accompanied by an emotional moo. Considering their neglectful and unhinged parents it’s little wonder that the unlikely siblings have issues of their own, although it probably doesn’t help that they share a creator with Ren and Stimpy.

7. #241 Miltank – Pokemon

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When Miltank was released upon the Pokemon franchise, at first I thought it was going to be a bit of a joke Pokemon, not really understanding the meta-game importance it would achieve. Even to this day, a well trained Miltank can seriously soften a blow for a team that needs the time to set up. This beefy, tanky cow is able to withstand some really devastating attacks from many different types.

Miltank isn’t anything special really; but the fact it was such a sturdy tank for so long and can still soak up the damage is testament to how well this bovine Pokemon has fit in with the franchise. Whether it’s surviving by the skin of its teeth and drinking… Er… It’s own milk to recover health, or if it’s the surprisingly useful move set that jumps out at you, don’t worry: Miltank will never be forgotten as one of the greatest assets from Generation 2.

6. The Secret Cow Level – Diablo 2

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If you’ve never heard of the Secret Cow level, then you’ve either never played Diablo 2 or you’ve never used Google before. The Secret Cow level is an Easter Egg of mythical proportions, a secret passed down from player to player and even from Diablo to Diablo (only it sometimes changes forms to other things, such as rainbow unicorns and ponies in the process).

The Secret Cow Level requires you to get the Horadric Cube and to place inside of it Wirt’s Leg, a seemingly useless item from Tristram and with it, put a Tome of Town Portal in there with it. Transmute the items together and a red gate will appear, as if conjured up by hell itself. This only happens when you’ve beaten Diablo and are taken back to the Rogue Encampment for the first time. Do not select a higher level of difficulty, for you’ll have to beat that ones Diablo. Be prepared, as these cows are tough, wielding halberds and polearms of all sorts… But the treasures beyond the portal are immeasurable.

5. Ballistic Cow/Fetchez la Vache – Monty Python and the Holy Grail

We have a Holy Grail, it’s very nice, but you cannot come in to see it. Now go away or we shall taunt you a second time! Or hurl livestock at you via trebuchet, or possibly mangonel.

In the same way that this flung cattle is the opening salvo in a barrage of assorted debris, clutter and livestock, this is one of the many, many, many many, manymany MANY jokes from Holy Grail that would seemingly live forever in the form of a wide variety of weaponised cows, many of whom appear on this list! It may not be the most famous part of the scene, but it’s perhaps the most parodied.

And this one is for your mother.

4. Cow Launched – Earthworm Jim

Considered one of the weirdest plot devices in all of video game history, Earthworm Jim is about an earthworm, named Jim, who becomes super powerful whenever he puts on his intergalactic suit. With the universe in danger from Queen Slug-For-A-Butt, Jim sets out to go and save Princess Whats-Her-Name and to hopefully steal a smooch from her. Little did he know, his dreams of smooching the damsel would be completely smooshed.

In a weird twist, the princess is flattened by a cow that falls from outer space. Jim, beside himself, leaves the scene… Only to return to steal her crown after the land has cracked away at the cow and the princess. But why would a cow fall from space like that? Back in the first level, a trap is set up to force you to progress the game. The trap forces you to launch the same cow into orbit, where you see the cow travelling by at insane speeds throughout the game. Crazy, silly ending, for a crazy, silly game.

3. Cows & Cows & Cows and Moo – Cyriak

Cows & Cows & Cows is a video featuring a large bunch of cows in a field, perhaps even a whole herd of cows. They start to moo in a rather catchy rhythm, mooing cheerily, but somewhat eerily too. They then start to bounce around in silly manners – Oh the joy in those moos. But then, suddenly, the joyful bouncing turns into weird shapes, such as spider cows… And even puddle cows. Very odd. Moo is just as odd, featuring aliens and cows fighting it out for… Something.

It’s really hard to explain what makes these videos (and thus Cyriak) such a highly talented piece of animation. But hey, Cyriak’s YouTube ventures, including both Cows & Cows & Cows and Moo saw his animation expertise be snapped up by both the BBC AND Adult Swim. Who would have ever thought that making some cow-monstrosities would create such an impressive career?

2. Angel/Demon Cow – Black and White

Cow BAW

Black & White was a highly anticipated game by Lionhead Studios, who recently shut down for good. It’s a shame, as Lionhead produced some amazing games, such as Black & White and of course, the legendary Fable series. WIth this said, the cow in Black & White was hilarious in many respects. This was a cow that could be bigger than a mountain; or “only” as tall as a building. This was a cow that could be good and heal the sick, or be rotten by healing the sick… then eating them. It could inflict pain like no other, or it could help those who truly were in need. This cow was not only a godsend: It was a literal avatar of a god put on Earth.

This was a close call, having almost made this our number one pick… However, it just loses out because this simply isn’t as well known as our number one choice. That was the only determining factor between the avatar of a god and our next choice…

1. Minotaur – Mythology

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Asterion, the bull of Minos, was the misbegotten child of Pasiphae and the Cretan Bull, sent as a curse upon King Minos for failing to sacrifice the bull. In his dispair Minos commanded Asterion imprisoned in a labyrinth, to be slain years later by Theseus, a son of Poseidon. The minotaur is also one of the first things most people think of when they hear the words Greek Myth.

Minotaurs have entered gaming circles as an entire species of evil carnivores bent on destruction. It may be a misappropriation of the source material but it’s one that’s spread throughout the fantasy genre and has built something of a mythology around themselves. A playable race in D&D, a pivotal race in Magic’s plane Theros, and in the mythology based RPG Titan Quest you can fight your way through a horde of the beasts to kill the original beneath the palace of Knossos.

Was there really another choice for geekiest cow? Well yes, it got pretty close with the Avatar in Black and White. In the end it was the far reach and cultural impact of the bullheaded maneater that won out the number one slot.


Honourable Mentions

That wasn’t so bad now, was it? Now that these Moo-vers and shakers have been shuffled along, it’s time for two more to be mentioned. There’s always a couple of layabouts in a large herd. So whether it’s all about being punny, or it’s all about hoofing over another ‘potential’ for our list, here are two more that just deserved to be mentioned.

Bison – Street Fighter

YES m bison

BECAUSE HE’S A BISON?

I am so sorry. Bad pun it may be, but it is nerdy, and it’s kind of an interesting piece of trivia. The powerful crime lord in the red military garb is actually named Vega in the original Japanese, the masked fighter with the claws is named Balrog, making the original M. Bison the pugilist we know better as Balrog. The name swap was brought about by the unapologetic similarity to Mike Tyson.

But no matter which Bison you know, both are almost comically exaggerated combatants, and regular antagonists of the series. The boxer is a dirty fighter, and cheats to land bigger paychecks, but the head of the operation has a real god complex that has driven him to pursuing the dark Psycho Power beyond his physical limits.

Not exactly cows, but we couldn’t resist.

Mad Cow – Worms

 

 

Amongst the wide variety of brilliantly ridiculous weaponry at the disposal of the heavily armed invertebrates are a collection of barnyard animals, including the sheep, super sheep, concrete donkey, and of course the Mad Cow.

Not the most devastating, not the easiest to control, but a rather interesting balance of the two. Point and shoot to unleash a stampede of wildly trampling cows that detonate on impact, y’know, like cows do. The problem is what they might make contact with, one badly angled launch can be result in a devastating backlash or a heartbreaking waste, but I have seen some rather effective uses by dropping cows from a grappling hook.


 

I’ve gone mad from all of this cow-talk. So give yourselves a pat, you’ve seriously made us need to farm through the banks of our memories for this one. But don’t think you’ve defeated us, because once again we rose to the occasion and we’ve come up with a list that is definitively GeekOut and is as barn-y as we are. Oh, I really should stop with milking these puns. Take a moment to help us pick our next Top 10:

Don’t have a cow man, that’s the end of our list for this week. Whether or not you had fun trotting through this list, or if you now have some personal beef with us for forgetting your favourite cow, let us know in the comments below. Do you agree with our ordering of these shapely creatures, or do you think we’ve forgotten one all together? Alternatively, share your bovine frustrations with us over on Facebook, Twitter or Reddit.


DMing 101 – Choosing Your Rules

DMing101

I use the term DM or Dungeon Master to describe those running role-plays because my preferred set of rules is Dungeons & Dragons, but I’ve dabbled in many a game system, discussed others at length, and even made some efforts into making my own. With the explosion of diversity in rules spanning genres, creating worlds or plunging players into worlds they’ve always wanted to explore, but so often you’ll find there’s something missing, or that your chosen campaign doesn’t match up with the rules at hand.

You can alter, add to or even create rules if you’re feeling really brave, but there’s a market out there worth researching, and it’s a fun experience. (more…)


Top 10 – Goats

GeekOut Top 10s

I can’t believe by the hair of my chinny chin, chin that you’d actually bleating vote for this one. I don’t know if you, our readers, are just a little bit gruff, or if you think we might have bitten off more than we can chew, but I can assure you now that you’ve only motivated us to tackle this problem head on. A Top 10 wouldn’t be complete without absurd choices, so this week, you’ve given us a bit of a conundrum.

We understand the (ram)ifications, of if we don’t get this right. For one, a ram cannot count as that’s actually a sheep. We can’t include things such as Fauns for instance, for they’re not goats, even if people sometimes confuse them. So if you’re feeling a little bit woolly as to what this week’s vote is, it’s our Top 10 Goats. So it’s time to milk these puns for all they’re worth, because they’re so cheesy. Ah enough of this, let’s charge on!


Top 10

10) Escape Goat

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Escape Goat is a really sweet little puzzler where you get to go around as a goat, saving other goats from danger. It’s a simple little tale of a goat going on his goatly missions to go and save others from a massive tower. It’s nothing that’ll blow your mind in terms of story, neither is the gameplay all that impressive, but it is a nice little game.

It makes it into our Top 10 list just by the hairs of it’s chinny chin, chin (how many more times can we use that pun?). Escape Goat is one of those adorable things that happens from time to time: You see something that you can’t help but like, but when you finally get it, it’s nothing special. That’s not to say it’s not a decent game (which it thoroughly is), but don’t expect this game to be the one that gets your goat! Fun little puzzle game, worth checking it out.

9) Missy – How I Met Your Mother

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Here’s a daft little joke that was a full year in the making.

Grown up Ted tells the story of his 30th birthday, during which Lily introduces her kindergarten class to a goat, and resolves to rescue it when the farmer tells the children in no uncertain detail what will happen to said goat, hiding it in Ted’s place until she can find somewhere more appropriate. Ted’s battle of wills with the goat is epic, but pales in comparison to the fight… oh but wait, that doesn’t actually happen ‘til next year!

It’s a reminder that we’re listening to an anecdote that’s being told wrong, reveals a few details about the season that would follow, and raises some very interesting questions in the process. How does everyone know that they’re goat droppings? And what did Missy see in that washcloth? The story of Missy the goat is testament to the planning behind the show, and how clever it could get about being stupid.

And seriously, How I Met Your Mother is an oddly nerdy gem.

8) Satan – The Binding of Isaac

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Technically Satan isn’t really a goat, but he’s basically a goat as that’s the typical representation of Satan! Goat-like and with large wings in appearance, but also partially that of a man, Satan is a dangerous opponent in The Binding of Isaac. Able to take on the form of a massive demonic goat, Satan is there to try to squash you and claw at you. If you take the path to fight Satan, you generally get the “bad” endings, though in theory there’s no good ending in this game.

Satan’s power doesn’t just stop at being a big goat man who wants to squash you. He’s able to summon minions to do his bidding, as well as being a constant threat throughout the game. There are secret rooms dedicated to his likeness and there’s even an end-game secret fight with him where he’s called Mega Satan – and that’s not an easy fight for most people to handle!

Hey, unlike his Pokemon equivalent later in this Top 10, at least this goat can Mega Evolve!

7) Khazra – Diablo

Khazra

The Khazra are one of the most dangerous recurring enemies in the Diablo franchise. These huge demonic men are half man half goat, but not quite a Satyr. Instead, with their impressive size advantage over most of their enemies, the Khazra are a bunch of demons who are hellbent on swinging huge polearms and axes to take out the opponents of the Lord of Terror himself. Usually travelling in herds, you can be sure for a tough fight.

You will fight wave upon wave of these gits, who seemingly come out of nowhere. There are various clans of them, so you know just how hard the group you’re battling through will be. The clans names range from Blood, Death, Fire, Flesh and even Hell! What could be better than a hellish group of goatmen?!

6) #673: Gogoat – Pokemon

250px-673Gogoat

Go-Go-Gogoat Rangers!

Don’t worry, that’s not really the theme song of Gogoat and no, that isn’t a typo. It’s name really is Gogoat and it really is a goat that just goes. Evolving from the adorable Skiddo, Gogoat is a rather big goat that likes to transport humans on its back. Especially made prominent in Pokemon X and Y where you are able to ride Gogoats around the place in specific parts of the game. It’s rather fun too!

It’s nice having a grass type that I genuinely cared about. It’s not that I don’t like grass types, but often I felt a little bit… Underwhelmed by them. Victreebell is cool… I mean so is Oddish, y’know..? But ultimately, the grass types needed something that makes you squeal out. Sorry Chikorita, you’re nothing but a light snack for Gogoat, the toughest goat Pokemon of all. Heck, it’s not like any other Pokemon have specific companies that require them… What’s that? A building company full of Machops, Machokes and Machamps? Hah, don’t be so absurd!

5) The Scene With The Goat – Jurassic Park

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T-Rex doesn’t want to be fed. He wants to hunt! Can’t just suppress 65 million years of gut instinct.

We don’t see the tyrannosaurus until it’s too late, and neither does the goat. The sight of that dangling chain is something quite haunting in the terrified silence of the tour-jeep along with the legendary rippling water. It wasn’t too long ago that goat was merrily munching some grass, and blissfully unaware that it was being offered up as gruesome sacrifice to a lizard-god resurrected from millennia of death. Our last glimpse of the morsel is when a leftover hits the roof of the jeep, because with tiny little arms, T-Rex doesn’t have much by way of table manners.

I suppose some kudos must go to Jurrasic World for reenacting the scene, and while I haven’t seen it personally I kind of doubt it’ll carry the same weight of tension and the shocking reveal of the first film. And I also doubt any film we beat the toilet scene that followed.

4) The Goat of Lochmarne – Broken Sword

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This one’s as stubborn as a… well you know.

Amongst the list of ridiculous puzzles that have the kind of solution that only leaves you more confused is the infamous goat of Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars. The ferocious beast is warden to an ancient dig-site in Lochmarne, Ireland, and headbutts you if you dare step too close to the trapdoor. The castle had been rumoured to be guarded by a malicious ghost, but the truth is far more terrifying.

Spoilers: the solution was to drag a piece of farm equipment into the goats path, but only immediately after it had rammed you, before it can walk back to its post, moving it before or after would accomplish nothing. Still at least it would come to spawn one of the series major running jokes, including the talking goat of Quaramonte.

3) Tanngrisnir and Tanngnjóstr – Thor’s Chariot

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Everyone knows about the hammer, but did you also know that Thor has a chariot drawn by a pair of divinely imbued goats? At their charge it was said that the ground quaked and burned, and Thor regularly channeled Mjolnir’s power to resurrect them after he’d eaten them, until one incident when he shared them with a peasant family, and one of them split a leg bone to eat the marrow, and the goat was raised to life with the leg crippled.

Fun fact, Thor then accepted the peasant’s children as an apology and left Tanngrisnir and Tanngnjóstr behind. They’re also the origin of the Yule goat, old depictions of Father Christmas show him riding on a goat, and the reindeer-led sleigh can trace its origins back to Thor’s goats. It’s one of the lesser known facets of Thor that has only occasionally popped up in his pop-culture interpretations. Marvel’s Ragnarok is coming soon though… super-goats maybe?

2) Kojirou – Nichijou: My Ordinary Life

Eat, Sleep, Suplex A Goat, Repeat

Caption: Eat, Sleep, Suplex A Goat, Repeat

Let’s get something straight here: Goats are destructive little beasts who know nothing but chaos, anger and carnage. They come charging at you whilst making ungodly noises which makes you think “good grief, that’s a goat!” So when I found Nichijou, a slice of life comedy anime, I screamed at the top of my lungs when I saw this goat… It was nothing like I described above. It was actually a rather tame little goat… Oh!

Okay, so I’m being a little bit melodramatic, but how can you hold that against me? This goat is adorable to the nth degree. From the simple and very goat-y design right down to its temperament, this goat is lovely. It takes its owner for a ride and seems to enjoy eating yaoi artwork… Just be aware, Mia doesn’t like it when goats eat her art.

1) The Goat – Goat Simulator

There really should have been no doubt on this one. The most bizarre parody of the oddly specific simulator genre puts players in control of a goat cast into a world of normality and boredom, with two very simple purposes: break everything, and lick things to claim them as your own, and in many ways that makes this the most accurate sim of all.

Your mission to do goat stuff unlocks new goatly powers, devil goat, angel goat, long goat, goat bird, technogoat, and dubstep (no really). Hitch a ride through the sky by lashing your tongue to a passing helicopter, play dead to go hurtling down a water flume, or trip on shrooms to blow your head up to ridiculous sizes and bob around like a mad thing. Play the poorly-built MMO, escape to the server and break the world! It’s the pinnacle of goatlihood!

And it’s kinda dumb.


Honourable Mentions

Ah, you didn’t think we could end our homage to goats there now, did you? Nevertheless, these gruff creatures are now going to make you bleat out in joy, as these are two more mentions of goats that you absolutely must know about.

Gordon the GeekOut Goat

Gordon the GeekOut Goat

If you have seen our Posters here on GeekOut, you would be aware that we seem to have a weird shape that we often use. The shape seems to have two large horns of sorts, as well as some weirdly hairy chin. What on Earth could this shape be and what significance does it have to GeekOut? Well ladies and gentlemen, I’m about to blow your minds a little bit: That’s our mascot – Gordon the GeekOut Goat.

When Joel and Timlah were up chatting one night, they decided they needed a mascot to put on merchandise. Timlah got designing and he was working for hours on end to try and make a little mascot… But it never quite took off. Cartoony, cutesy, it didn’t matter – It never quite worked. Until Timlah looked at that goat shape once more. Thus, Gordon was born. GeekOut has settled on the mighty Goat as its symbol, because they truly are the Greatest Of All Time.

Satyrs

Goat legs, goat horns, kinda goaty face, but they’re not all the way there, not even goatfolk completely, and also known as fauns in Roman myth (although they are more commonly dear-like), and ancient British folklore has Puck and glaistigs.

Add to the list of animal hybrids from mythology alongside centaurs, harpies and the like. Originally companions of the gods Dionysus and Pan, led by the semi-divine Silenus, satyrs are creatures of revelry – literal party animals, delighting in music, alcohol and faun-ication (get it?). Sometimes they were guides to lonely travellers,  They appear a lot in media in various forms, villains, allies, or assorted troublemakers, only very rarely are they anything to be taken seriously.


You can’t stop this kid, we’ve “baa”ed our way through this list. So if you’re feeling like we’ve been sufficiently challenged, then let us know how we did. Of course we leave these votes to you as we can’t always decide between the two of us what Top 10 should take place. You wanted it, you’ve got it: Hit that vote button below for what our list should be next week!

Did you think this week’s list was “Baa”d, or good? What do you think of our Top 10 picks for Goats and let us know if you know of any better goats that deserve at least an honourable mention. How did you like our description of our mascot Gordon the GeekOut Goat? As always, thanks so much for voting – Please remember to comment below, or over on Facebook, Twitter or Reddit.


DMing 101 – Foreshadowing

Themes and plots are easy enough to run in the open, but it’s no small task to run one in secret while subtly eluding to it so that the great reveal is a moment of realisation, not confusion. Your hidden villains, impending perils and heartbreaking plot twists become so much more satisfying to both you and your players when someone compulsively yells “I knew it!” because it mean that you’ve foreshadowed well.

I’ve been delaying this one because I’ve not had a great deal of practice, and the best examples I have are all from games and films, so I encourage anyone who has had experience of foreshadowing in an RP, good or bad, to share in the comments or on Facebook. For what it’s worth, here is what I have come to learn of how to foreshadow well. (more…)


DMing 101 – Random Encounter Tables

DMing101

It’s been a long time…

There’s no point in orchestrating every little event in the world, it’s a lot of work for next to no reward, but if every little event is pure storyline then your world becomes bland and featureless. You can fill the quiet moments with quick little scenes and randomly determined vignettes, it’s a classic method of space-filling and a great opportunity to breathe life into your campaign. (more…)


What Is PBEM Roleplaying

It’s a dark and stormy night. The intrepid dungeoneers are huddled around a table, trying their hardest to shelter themselves from the wind, the rain and a never-ending torrent of monsters, traps and curses that the impossible mission that they have undertaken is throwing at them…

(more…)


Multiclassing & Story

There are frequently benefits to multiclassing your characters, giving your fighter a level of rogue or barbarian can really up his damage output, or perhaps a little paladin or cleric can make him a greater utility to the group. Giving your monk a few sorcerer spells can really change the way she plays in combat without compromising her usefulness, or perhaps some ranger to turn her into a serious close-range menace.

But why? Surely you’re not just chasing numbers and making a more effective combat-unit, or chasing some build that you found on a forum to break the game. Your character shouldn’t just be a collection of stats on a piece of paper because that ceases to be role-playing, but there’s no need to avoid multiclassing because it doesn’t fit, and if it works in your story then you should absolutely add a level of a class that makes no sense. Like bard…

I’m kidding, bards are fine. (more…)


Party Dynamics

I’ve been watching Farscape lately. I love it, I forgot exactly how much I love it actually, after getting reacclimatised to the hastily-made (but still high quality) practical effects, the occasionally hammy acting and rather harshly episodic nature of the first season, it’s a forgotten gem of science fiction that occupies a rather amazing niche filled with action, a rich world and at times some very progressive themes that Star Trek would never have touched. It strongly fits within the “fantasy in space” field of sci-fi, and it got me to thinking about something I’ve observed in other series as well.

In D&D amongst other RPs that you all know, the characters fall into some quite specific roles. In most MMOs they’d be the tank, healer and DPS, D&D gives us the classic four-part set up of Fighter, Cleric, Rogue and Mage, along with the variety of extras that add variation to the themes. Others, like Shadowrun, Call of C’Thulhu take the same roles and apply their own themes. They stem from the sword and sorcery genre of pulp fiction styled by people like Robert E. Howard, and the epic fantasy works of people like Tolkien. (more…)


Remaking A Classic – Fantasy Worlds

Haven’t done one of these in a while.

I’ve griped and grumbled plenty about Lord of the Rings but even as someone who doesn’t enjoy it I recognise all too well that at the time it was highly original. Tolkien set the stereotypes that I have grown bored of and that makes his work special in its own right, his opus has become the very classical depiction of elves, dwarves, dragons, hobbits/halflings and a host of other fantasy staples besides. The problem as I see it now is that I have seen it done and over done and get a little tiresome.

I was raised on the Discworld books by Terry Pratchett, so I saw all of these stereotypes torn apart and analysed to death before I saw them presented in their original field. When I came to Dungeons & Dragons and its contemporaries I found myself once again immersed in the classic stereotypes, but saw places where the limits had been pushed and guidelines broken, and the very concepts of what makes a world broken down into simple rules. (more…)