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  The Answer To Your Burning Question Is…  
 
 
Posted 2008-04-01 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
I Am A: True Neutral Elf Sorcerer (5th Level)

Ability Scores:
Strength-12
Dexterity-13
Constitution-12
Intelligence-14
Wisdom-13
Charisma-13

Alignment:
True Neutral A true neutral character does what seems to be a good idea. He doesn't feel strongly one way or the other when it comes to good vs. evil or law vs. chaos. Most true neutral characters exhibit a lack of conviction or bias rather than a commitment to neutrality. Such a character thinks of good as better than evil after all, he would rather have good neighbors and rulers than evil ones. Still, he's not personally committed to upholding good in any abstract or universal way. Some true neutral characters, on the other hand, commit themselves philosophically to neutrality. They see good, evil, law, and chaos as prejudices and dangerous extremes. They advocate the middle way of neutrality as the best, most balanced road in the long run. True neutral is the best alignment you can be because it means you act naturally, without prejudice or compulsion. However, true neutral can be a dangerous alignment because it represents apathy, indifference, and a lack of conviction.

Race:
Elves are known for their poetry, song, and magical arts, but when danger threatens they show great skill with weapons and strategy. Elves can live to be over 700 years old and, by human standards, are slow to make friends and enemies, and even slower to forget them. Elves are slim and stand 4.5 to 5.5 feet tall. They have no facial or body hair, prefer comfortable clothes, and possess unearthly grace. Many others races find them hauntingly beautiful.

Class:
Sorcerers are arcane spellcasters who manipulate magic energy with imagination and talent rather than studious discipline. They have no books, no mentors, no theories just raw power that they direct at will. Sorcerers know fewer spells than wizards do and acquire them more slowly, but they can cast individual spells more often and have no need to prepare their incantations ahead of time. Also unlike wizards, sorcerers cannot specialize in a school of magic. Since sorcerers gain their powers without undergoing the years of rigorous study that wizards go through, they have more time to learn fighting skills and are proficient with simple weapons. Charisma is very important for sorcerers; the higher their value in this ability, the higher the spell level they can cast.

[Generated by the quiz "What Kind of Dungeons and Dragons Character Would You Be?" Incidentally, I created a character nearly identical to this for the last Neverwinter Nights campaign I played. Coincidence, or shockingly-accurate self-portrayal?]
 
     
 
   
 
  2 comments  
  Gary Gygax, R.I.P.  
 
 
Posted 2008-03-04 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Gary Gygax, father of the seminal Dungeons & Dragons tabletop game, has reportedly died. Gygax's D&D is the reason I became a gamer 27 years ago, and why I work in the interactive and gaming industries today.

I started "Dungeon Mastering" a D&D campaign with some friends early this year, and it's a real pleasure to get back to the tabletop again after a quarter-century. Online gaming has its charms, but sometimes you just can't beat role-playing the way it was originally intended: Snacks, polyhedral dice, lead figurines; rulebooks and maps; Led Zeppelin on the tape-deck.

Mr. Gygax, thanks for the positive influence on my life. Your legacy lives on.
 
     
 
   
 
  2 comments  
  The Retro Roots of ‘Champions Online’  
 
 
Posted 2008-02-22 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
I can't wait to try Champions Online, the MMO adaptation of Champions, my favorite superhero role-playing game (the kind you play sitting around a table). It looks like Cryptic, the developers behind the excellent superhero MMO City of Heroes, is using everything learned from developing good heroic character-creation and game play and fusing this with a time-tested, highly-flexible rules system--City of Heroes Evolved, if you will.

Continue reading: The Retro Roots of ‘Champions Online’
 
     
 
   
 
  0 comments  
  Case Study:  Bringing ‘Warcraft’ To The Tabletop  
 
 
Posted 2008-01-08 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Gamasutra features a fascinating rundown of what was involved in bringing World of Warcraft to the tabletop as a role-playing game. Written by Luke Johnson of White Wolf, the article identifies "content" as being the biggest challenge in extending Warcraft's world--apparently, Blizzard wasn't comfortable giving White Wolf freedom to invent their own Warcraft lore. Johnson explains the process:
  1. We would write the books [...] making stuff up when necessary.
  2. The good folks at Blizzard would check the manuscript to make sure that a) everything in it was consistent with both their vision of the Warcraft setting and the information that had already been presented in some other format (the video games, the novels, and the like); and b) that we didn't add anything that they didn't like.
  3. The writers would then alter the manuscript as per Blizzard's requests, and we'd return to step 2.
Sounds painful, doesn't it? It's a shame a reputable game maker like White Wolf wasn't given more freedom to expand the Warcraft universe. Blizzard might own Azeroth, but that doesn't mean it has a grasp of what works for tabletop role-playing.
 
     
 
   
 
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  Quick Links for 2007-12-31  
 
 
Posted 2007-12-31 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
 
     
 
   
 
  0 comments  
  Not Playing The ‘Warcraft’ Blizzard Designed  
 
 
Posted 2007-12-03 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Not Playing The ‘Warcraft’ Blizzard Designed
A glimpse of a Poker-variant dubbed "Zwergenpoker."
Is World of Warcraft's unending grind causing players to seek alternate forms of in-game entertainment? Seems so. Mini-games created with Warcraft's extensible "add-on" system have been in play since at least 2006, but a game update earlier this year made it even easier for players to create their own fun.

The Guild Bank, introduced with patch 2.3, presents a 14 by 7 grid intended to be used for item-storage. One imaginative player got the idea to use the grid for a variant of Checkers (aka Draughts). Playing pieces can be any item in one's inventory. The "board" layout might not be suitable for Chess, but probably a Go- or Reversi-variant. It might be easier to play these games on the tabletop (as was the original intent), but that would defeat the whole cool-factor of bastardizing Warcraft.

 
     
 
   
 
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  Quick Links for 2007-11-22  
 
 
Posted 2007-11-22 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
 
     
 
   
 
  0 comments  
  Quick Links for 2007-11-08  
 
 
Posted 2007-11-08 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
 
     
 
   
 
  0 comments  
  ‘Monsterpocalypse’: The Miniature Giant Monster Game  
 
 
Posted 2007-10-30 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Back in high-school my friends and I developed a tabletop miniature game involving B-movie style giant monsters. We unimaginatively dubbed it The Monster Game and tinkered feverishly with its mechanics (and creating variants such as Monsterball) for at least a couple years. That's why the 14 year-old in me is giddy as a schoolboy at the news that Monsterpocalypse, a collectible miniatures game involving giant monsters, is planned for release next year by Privateer Press. Obviously there are going to be plenty of crazy-looking, pre-painted miniatures involved (something like 80 in the initial set), but I'm particularly excited at the prospect of miniature destructible buildings. Me smash! Rarrrr!

I'm rather out of the loop in terms of CMGs (collectible miniatures games), but the three things that strike me most about the genre are:
1) Isn't mass-producing these things an incredible waste of precious oil resources?
2) I pity the poor bastards who have to paint those things for my gaming pleasure. Sweatshops, I'm sure.
3) Proprietary, stats-locked systems like HeroClix cramp my style. If I can't tinker with it, I ain't buying it.
 
     
 
   
 
  0 comments  
  ‘EVE Online’ and ‘White Wolf’ Online Communities To Be Merged  
 
 
Posted 2007-10-04 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
On the heels of last year's marriage of computer game developer CCP (maker of sci-fi MMOG EVE Online) and White Wolf (maker of tabletop RPG Vampire: The Masquerade) comes an announcement that communities following both companies will be deliberately cross-pollinated.

A campaign has been launched to introduce White Wolf fans to EVE Online with the hopes that both large communities will be interested in subscribing to the upcoming CCP-developed MMO based on White Wolf's World of Darkness universe. An EVE "corporation" (in-game team) was created specifically to attract White Wolf community members, but is open to all.

More information on the in-game corporation "White Wolf Enterprises" can be found on its official home page, which serves as a bit of a gateway for one fan base to acclimate to the other. I have no doubt that a significant portion of each game community will be interested in the other's back yard, giving CCP's pending World of Darkness game a healthy kick-start.
 
     
 
   
 
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Dinozoiks wrote:
Wow! Thanks for that Tony. Just posted a bunch of other tips here... http://www.dino.co.uk/labs/2008/45-tips-when-designing-online-content-for-kids/ Hope it helps someone... Dino...
in Dino Burbidge's '10 Things To Remember When Designing For Kids Online'


yes, many of the free little games are crappy. but as an artist who has recently published free content on the itunes app store,…
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?


I vote for popup radial menus. Highlight a bit of text, the push and hold, Sims-style radial menu pops up with Copy, Paste, etc....
in More iPhone Gestures, Please


Hey Tony! A client of mine is looking to hire an internal Flash game dev team to build at a really cool Flash CCG…
in Dipping Into Toronto's Flash Pool


Yeah, there's a lot of weird common sense things I've noticed they've just omitted from the design. No idea why though....
in More iPhone Gestures, Please


It also bears noting there's no mechanism right now for a developer to offer a free trial for the iPhone; the App Store isn't…
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?


@GeorgeR: It's on my shopping list :) I've heard good things about it as well. And Cro Mag Rally. @andrhia: meh, I don't know…
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?


...you get what you pay for, you know? I actually bought Trism based on early buzz, and it's truly a novel mechanic. I've been…
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?


The only one I've heard good things about is Super Monkey Ball. Have you given that a whirl yet?...
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?


Advance warning: this frivolent comment is NOT RELATED or even worth your time ... But whenever i hear "Collada", i think of that SCTV…
in Electric Sheep Builds Its Own Flock


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