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RPGs

DMing 101 – Choosing Your Rules

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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

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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

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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

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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…

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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…)


GeekOut Plays Stonekeep – Episodes 22 and 23

Hello one and all, in this article I talk about the latest two episodes of GeekOut Plays Stonekeep, Episodes 22 and 23, where we’re making amazing progress. No GeekOut Plays Beyond Good & Evil this week, as I’ve been feeling poorly. Sorry about that! So, onwards with this weeks Stonekeep episodes!

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Playing an RPG character beyond your limits

Hello people. I wanted to write this piece for a few reasons and yes one of which was just to prove that I was not just a one trick review pony. Through the course of last year Joel wrote a few pieces on Dungeons and Dragons (D&D), and I thought I would tell you about my experience with Role Playing Games (RPG’s).


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