athelind: (Default)

Multiple Choice Dragon Game

(Found by [ profile] normanrafferty)

This was too much fun -- as in, "I'll check this out, but I really can't spend much time on it this morning. Well, maybe a few more pages. Oh, hell, I'm done!"

But all told, it only took about 20-30 minutes, and some of that was getting up for coffee. Some mornings, torching a few knights and conquering a kingdom or two are just what you need to wake up and face the day.

It's a Multiple-Choice Text Game, in the tradition of those venerable Choose Your Own Adventure books. Clever addition: your actions and choices directly influence your attributes, and those, apparently, have further impact on your successes in your later endeavours.

The core Attributes are arranged in opposed pairs: as one of a pair goes up, the other goes down. They're delightfully Draconic:

Brutality vs. Finesse
Cunning vs. Honor
Disdain vs. Vigilance

As the game progresses, you also accumulate Infamy, Wealth, and Wounds -- well, some of you might accumulate the last; Your Obedient Serpent went unscathed until the grand finale, and still took only a single Wound as he dispatched his adversary.

This was a pleasant diversion, perfectly suited to the grauphy mood I found myself in upon awakening -- and quite probably the only time you'll ever see a computer game review in this blog.

athelind: (Default)
I'm not in the mood to watch TV, not in the mood to mess around on the computer, and it's too danged early to go to bed.

The box of "Feed Your Head" books hold no appeal, nor do the Lankhmar books that I put in the same box. Of course, the rest of my fiction is all tucked away in [ profile] quelonzia's garage, awaiting the purchase of satisfactory bookshelves.

I finished the last of China Miéville's "Bas Lag" trilogy last week, and dropped it off at the Santa Clara library. I think I need to cruise back by there and pick up a Stack of Random, just to have something to occupy my brain in these late hours.

athelind: (Default)
[ profile] paka posted some thoughts on LotR Elves vs. D&D Elves, in which he noted that Unca Gary wasn't that much of a Tolkien fan, since the Professor's work "wasn't pulpy enough for his tastes".

I responded:
I have long felt that the reason Dungeon Fantasy mutated into its own peculiar, inbred subgenre that, frankly, doesn't really WORK that well was because players tried to graft the tropes of Heroic Quest Fantasy onto a system whose initial assumptions were rooted in the very different tropes of picaresque Sword & Sorcery.

I may be the only person who thinks so anymore, but to me, D&D's haphazard combination of High Fantasy and Sword & Sorcery isn't so much a matter of "you got peanut butter in my chocolate" as "you're wearing plaid and paisley together."

athelind: (Default)
Based on empirical evidence, it seems that 355 ml of Guinness Extra Stout is a better cough suppressant than the combination of 10 mg Dextromethophan Hydrobromide and 200 mg Benzonatate (generic for "Tessalon").

Further research is required.

On a related note, has anyone else ever noticed that many pharmaceutical names sound like characters from fantasy or science fiction? Didn't the 6th Doctor fight the "Lovaza" on the planet "Tessalon"? Wasn't "Fioranol" the cousin of Legolas?
athelind: (Default)
Amongst various other loot which I will quite enjoy, I received the entire seven-book Dark Horse release of Fritz Leiber's Lankhmar series -- a seminal sword-and-sorcery saga that contributed much more to the heart and soul of Dungeons & Dragons than Tolkien's more superficial influence.

Combine this with my recent ruminations re: Gamma World, and Your Obedient Serpent may be hankerin' to run a good, old-skool, High Adventure campaign in the near future....

athelind: (Default)
This made me happy.

(...I also really want to play in that game setting.)

athelind: (Default)
You hear a lot of discussion these days about the sudden surge of fantasy and SF epics. Some people can't fathom it. Some try to explain it by socioeconomic circumstances, claiming that hard times give a boost to "escapist" media -- and ignoring fact that the steady increase in such fantastic fare was unaffected by the boom times of the '90s. Some are actively offended by it: anything with an element of the extraordinary has been thrust into a literary ghetto for the last century and a half, and, by golly, that's where it belongs.

At least one writer has looked at the clamor to adapt SF and fantasy works a half-century old or older, and used that as evidence that the Speculative Fiction genre is so tapped out that Hollywood can't find anything new to adapt.

To me, it's straightforward. Why are all these movies coming out now? Why has it taken more than half a century for some of thse works to reach the screen?

Simple. It wasn't possible before now.

The convergence of animation and special effects has finally reached a point where entirely new realities -- or surrealities -- can be portrayed convincingly on the big screen, without recourse to full cel animation. Works that were simply unfilmable before now offer new opportunities to exercise this technology, to entice an audience eager for larger-than-life spectacle.

The question isn't why Hollywood is dredging up old works to adapt. The question is, why aren't they adapting more of them, the really good stuff?

In other words... the stuff I like?

Well, Your Obedient Serpent had a list of "Books That Oughta Be Movies" simmering on the back burner for a long while, and I'm in the mood to start posting about'em.

Farmer Giles of Ham )

The Stars My Destination )

Elric of Melniboné )
Argue about my casting choices or directorial dictates in the comments.

Hey, kids! You know you have a list of your own, so why not treat it as a meme? )
athelind: (Default)
Over in his journal, [ profile] scarfman observed:

Just because a character can do anything, just because he has no physical limits, doesn't mean he's an uninteresting character. It just means you have to do stories about what he won't let himself do ... or, about the circumstances when he will let himself do that.

You just have to
be a good writer.

That got me thinking.

In the Inter-Crisis Universe, especially toward the end there, Batman had taken over from Superman as the "character who could do anything". He was better at everything than anyone else, in any human field of endeavor, and in many or most superhuman fields, as well: you couldn't beat him, because He Was The ********* Batman, and he'd Find A Way. He was never wrong, and he never had to turn to outside expertise -- other than the data-mining he farmed out to Oracle, because sitting in front of a computer had become so commonplace that it was no longer Cool Enough For The Bat.

On another note entirely, this is an excuse to plug one of my favorite webcomics. )
athelind: (Default)
Back in my days at Texas A&M, I spent a lot of time hanging with the SCA group there.

And with Cepheid Variable, the science fiction fan organization.

And with the now-defunct gaming group.

(...this may have a little something to do with my failure to graduate from that hallowed institution...)

Anyway, this afternoon, I happened to recall a song that was in the repertoire of an SCA friend of mine back in those days -- "Dragon Road". I did a Google search, looking for the lyrics, assuming it was an SCA standard.

Much to my surprise, I happened to find his own site -- and that was the only reference Google could find to that particular song. He doesn't know where it came from, either.

But he's got the MP3: Scroll down for "Dragon Road".

It's magnificently geeky: more D&D than SCA, to be honest, as the chorus reveals:

And there were dragons, dragons, flying o'er the road,
Wyverns all around us, and behind us, yellow mold,
And there were orcses, orcses, filling all the wood,
And they all jumped upon us because we were Lawful Good...

Update: I found the lyrics, with a credit line! "by Sir Cipriano d'Alvarez mka Guy Bradley "

March 2010

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