One couple, two perspectives, tons of geekery

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Guest Post on Stuffer Shack

The Princess had the great honor of guest writing an article for Stuffer Shack.
If you don't already subscribe to Stuffer Shack - you should! It's a wonderful blog full of a variety of articles covering many subjects in gaming. It's a great resource and a fun read.
Pop on over and check out The Princess's article "How to Handle Touchy Subject in Your Game".

New Poll

For our previous poll "What generalized class type do you prefer?", 52% of you sneaky folks went with rogues. Guess we need to watch our pockets around you guys, hm?

A new poll is now up. With all the comic book movies just around the corner, we want to know which one you are the most excited about seeing. Let us know!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Warlock's Tower: Betraying the Party

The poor stegosaurus learns the hard way - Guess he didn't watch The Land Before Time like we did

Sadly my reputation is such that I can no longer afford to use this tactic….but no matter - I have other ways of getting what I want.  However, that doesn’t mean it still can’t be of use to you.  In fact I recommend it as a great way of cutting your teeth on the road to becoming a master warlock!
Maybe it was your character concept, maybe the GM asked you to do it, maybe you were just following my footsteps….but however it happened you’re playing a traitor.  While this type of gaming can be a lot of fun, you also need to walk the fine line of not ruining the game for everyone else.  Always double check with the Game Master before making up a traitor character, and try to get a feel of what type of game you are playing, to make sure that a traitor is appropriate.  Once that is set, here are some quick and easy rules to get you to the top of your game, and help you get away with that perfect crime.
Rule 1:  Don’t tell anybody.  This may seem obvious, but it’s the main way things like this slip out.  When I say don’t tell anyone that means in game or out of game.  Remember loose lips sink ships.  Don’t brag about it to your friend, don’t tell that guy that isn’t even in the plot.  If they are in the game, or have a chance to be in the game or talk to other people in the game, don’t tell them.  All it takes is an innocent slip of the tongue and your secret is out, and you get jumped and that’s probably it.  It’s easy to get excited and want to brag about how good you are doing, but even I once told a group of people at a dinner I was a secretly a Black Spiral Dancer, cause we were telling war stories, and were all clearly out of character and next game….Bam, I get jumped by a Werewolf pack….who all heard “In character” from the people I was talking to that I was a BSD.  Sadly I was more than a little prepared, and the werewolves simply hastened the fall of their caern, BUT I was kicking myself the whole time and felt like such an idiot for making such an amateur mistake, and if the players had been thinking instead of just using brute force my plans could have easily all been ruined. 
Rule 2:  Play your character.  That is make sure you are playing all your quirks, and you know have your motivations down.  This is so important for the traitor.  Now we have talked before about being consistency as the key to being a great Villain (If you don’t remember see the previous Warlock Tower article) It’s just as true if not more so for the traitor.  First, it’s fair to the other players.  It’s always nice when they can pick up on something and feel good about themselves for.  Back to the Black Spiral Dancer example his first two infiltration attempts didn’t go so well.  The first one…well that wasn’t my fault… but the second one a player picked up on a phrase I had been using from the last disguise.  It was a great scene, and even though it blew my cover it was a lot of fun to see other people figure it out.  The next reason it’s important is because it can be scary.  When a player hears their friend singing the song the murderer always sings, or when they see that tattoo on you that the rest of the cultists have, it makes for a great and stunning reveal.  And the last reason is the Kaiser Soze reveal.  If you do manage to pull off everything and get away with it, and bring down the party/game/whatever, then you want the players so busy thinking back and being like “Oh Yeah….but wait….OHHH….what about when…it all makes sense now.”  Not only is it the crowning achievement for most master minds, but if done right the other players won’t be too mad t you!   
Rule 3: Leave yourself an out.  Both in and out of character.  Sometimes it doesn’t work out, and the Game Master changes his mind, sometimes things start to go south, and it’s apparent the other players would not like the plot.  And sometimes they figure things out way too fast.  For in character reasons to go back to the light side think of some things that would make sense and either allow you to keep playing the character or allow you not to betray them.  You could be planning on betraying them but then fell in love with one of the other PCs, you could be moved by their kindness during the adventures, or my personal favorite you could be a deep cover triple agent, and then tell the players some needed facts about the enemy to get into their good graces again.  Just make sure you have something plausible in case you or the Game Master changes their mind.  Also always have an escape plan in character because you never know what will tip another player off.  Smoke bombs/invisibility/teleport/the car keys/ a hostage anything you can use to make a good get away.  If you don’t have one (or the players can negate what you do have) it’s OK.  Just bluff that you have one.  You should know at least a little about the other characters by now so pretend you have a hostage, or that the folder you threw into the fire has all the answers, then use the distraction to get away.   Just have a good story already thought up if you think plan A won’t work.    

Monday, May 9, 2011

Princess's Garden: Etsy for the Gamer Girl

One of my favorite places to shop is Etsy.
It is my guilty pleasure for indulging in homemade, crafty goodness.
I can easily spend hours scouring through all the different shops.
I've had alot of luck at finding some very wonderful artisans who create fine products at very reasonable prices, especially for gamer type products. So I thought I would make a fun little treasury with a "gamer princess" theme, for all my fellow princesses out there. Enjoy!

I don't know about you, but I have my eyes on those hair sticks!

You can also view the full treasury listing here.
Of course, Etsy is not just for the ladies. There are plenty of awesome stuff for guys too.
It's definately worth checking out for unique gifts.

Etsy works through PayPal and they have great customer service.
If you plan on shopping though, make sure to look over the sellers feedback.
While the majority of the artisans are great and easy to work with, sometimes things happen and you want to make sure you are purchasing from a reputable seller, so always check before committing to buy.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Jones Soda Spellcasting Soda

Mmm, tasty, tasty material components

If you don't already know about Jones Soda's line of D&D of sodapop, then you should definately check it out!

They come in a 6-pack variety pack for $10.99 and a 12-pack variety pack for $18.99.

The Warlock got the 6-pack for his birthday last year. The are pretty much standard sodas with fancy themed labels. They make for good gifts (bribes >.>) for GMs or for breaking out during special climactic games (what better way to celebrate the death of that dracolich than with an ice cold Dwarven Draught in your hand?).

And for you crafty gamers out there, you can always use the empty bottles to decorate... Perhaps as a vase to hold flowers for that special someone who puts up with you talking about all those epic adventures of your 14th level ranger... just sayin'.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Censorship in Gaming: Where do you draw the line?

Where do you draw the line?

With video games being such a prominent form of entertainment these days, games are delving into numerous genres and themes. Some of these more tame than others. Certainly, we are all aware of the multitude of outrage over games like Grand Theft Auto and Rule of Rose. Are there any merits to these complaints and where exactly do we draw the line in fantasy? The Princess and the Warlock discuss…

The Princess:
I completely understand where the concern comes from. Humanity is affected by their environment and vice versa. As a society, we are always changing and what was considered acceptable/unacceptable behavior likewise has changed throughout history. Over three hundred years ago, women had minimal rights. This was a societal norm. Now, women hold the same rights as men. Ideas and attitude changed over time. With exposure to ideas, opinions can change over time. It is therefore understandable that some people may be concerned about exposure to violent and graphic video games helping to contribute to a global desensitization to these destructive aspects. However, I think the important thing that these groups forget is that we have audience ratings for a reason. And these rating systems, I highly support. They provide buyers with instant information about the games content. We can get an idea of how mature and graphic the game will be based on these ratings. The problem is not with the media itself, but with buyers not paying attention to these ratings. In particular, parents. The majority of public outcries come from angry parents, but these parents fail to realize that it is not the media’s job to raise their children. That responsibility lies solely with the parents. Parents need to pay attention to what they are purchasing for their children. They need to be active in their children’s lives and be aware of what type of media their children are absorbing.  When it comes to exposure to extreme violence in fantasy settings such as video games, I disagree with restricting content via censorship. Game makers should have the freedom to tell whatever story they want to tell, just as authors should be allowed to write whatever they desire (though I am starting to think that children’s fiction is in need of a ratings system these days). It is fantasy. It is make believe. If you are upset by the content, then do not buy the game. Granted, many games are in bad taste when it comes to these themes and I may not play them, but I do not feel that they truly do any harm. Violence and violation conducted in a video game does not hurt real people. It only affects a fake, pixelated image. The bottom line is that we, as individuals, chose how we ultimately behave in real life. It is our job to distinguish between fantasy and reality. If we are unable to do so, then there are deeper issues going on that are not the direct result of a video game. 

The Warlock:
I think people need to get over it.  Video games are not just for children anymore.  They may have been for children when they came out, but they have grown up along with all the kids who played them.  (Although there were adult Atari games back then too). At this point video games have longer scripts and scenes than many movies and people are always looking for the next game or type of game.  It was inevitable that “more mature” games would come along, and honestly if they are being played by an adult it’s no different than watching an R rated movie.   If we are going to scrutinize sex and violence in society that is one thing, but focusing on video games while excluding movies, TV, books, and even the newspapers is just picking on the newest entertainment medium.
I’m totally against censorship in video games but fully support the rating system.  Clearly many games are inappropriate for certain age groups, but Gamestop has stopped my students from buying games they were too young for, and I’ve seen them stop other minors.  And honestly it was stuff I wouldn’t have even thought they needed to be carded for, like Halo, which is so common placed and omnipresent in video games I had glossed over the fact that it is violent.  But the point is, the rating system does catch it, and if they don’t then parents/caregivers should be at least checking all the games there kids play anyway.  My parents did, and I was kicking myself forever after showing initiative and inviting my dad to play Street Fighter II in the arcade, and then being told “Boy you really messed up you know? I was thinking of getting it for you for Christmas, but it’s way too violent”.  (I just had to use Blanka and bite his face….I couldn’t have stuck with Guile like I always did, anyway…)  Though I felt worse for my brother losing GTA: Vice City until he was older.  I think we both turned out fine, even given the stuff we were allowed.   
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