Archive for the Tabletop RP Category

And in Other News

Posted in Champions Online, City of Heroes, LotRO, Offline gaming, Online Gaming, Tabletop RP on September 12, 2016 by koljarn

Still chipping away at LotRO rep. Just need to finish the Ringlo Vale faction, and then I’m done with the repeatable quests. It’s a long, slow grind, really nothing worth reporting there.

I’ve been dabbling in Empyrion: Galactic Survival and Champions Online. I’ll address each of these separately.

Empyrion is very similar to Space Engineers, if you’ve ever tried that. It is, however, not nearly as complex, and your ability to create complex machines is fairly nonexistent. Despite that, I find it to be a better casual game, especially when it comes to playing on a planet. My verdict is that it is a keeper; I won’t play it all the time, but it is nice to have a sci-fi sandbox game that you can fire up and play for a day or two, set it aside, and pick up again whenever you like.

Champions Online was Cryptic’ s successor to City of Heroes. Basically, they sold City of Heroes to NCSoft (who eventually closed the game down, which is another topic entirely), then created a sub-par replacement game (Champions Online), which they sold to Perfect World, the same company that runs Star Trek Online. I was in the Champions Online open beta, and subscribed to the game when it was first released – I hated it. Mechanics were bad, the interface was clunky, and it was just not enjoyable – I quit after a month. However, my friend and I noticed this game on Steam about a month ago, and decided to give it a try. It turns out that many, but not all, of the issues from launch have been addressed, and the game is not bad. That is, so long as you are a subscriber. A free-to-play user will find themselves extremely limited, and buying content a la carte is prohibitively expensive. I’d say that this game is worth playing for a few months, but don’t go nuts.

Now, about subscribing – the ArcGames site interface is absolutely atrocious.  I thought it might be me, but both of my other friends playing this game encountered the same difficulties.  It temporarily locked out my PayPal account, it refused to take my primary credit card, and it denied my second credit card – sort of.  It said it denied the card, but it certainly charged it and began my subscription.  The web site needs some TLC from a dedicated programmer.

In tabletop gaming, I’ve been going through the books for “The One Ring” game. The mechanics seem derived from West End Game’s d6 System, and it looks pretty sound. I particularly like the rules for travel and Shadow (how the corruption of Middle Earth weighs on the character’s mind). If you enjoy RPGs set in Middle Earth, this is worth a look. I understand that they are working on some d20 rules, but I’ve never been satisfied adapting a genre to d20 – stick with the original ruleset, I think you’ll enjoy it more.

Interlude Amongst the Debris

Posted in LotRO, Offline gaming, Online Gaming, Tabletop RP on August 30, 2016 by koljarn

Still playing LotRO regularly. Unfortunately, there’s nothing much on which to report. I log in, do some reputation daily quests to work on my various Gondor factions, then I log out. If I were more ambitious, I might try some of the instances, but that’s more of a chore than a distraction.

So, I spend my spare gaming time on other pursuits – mainly sandbox games, such as Minecraft, Empyrion, and Space Engineers. I’ve also started to delve into The One Ring, which is a tabletop RPG that shows promise. I’ll compile entries on each of these in the future, but I’m really looking forward to the next chapter of LotRO.

The Long Dark, Legends, and Finding the Path

Posted in Background Noise, LotRO, Offline gaming, Tabletop RP with tags , , on August 12, 2009 by koljarn

Where to begin?

Not only do I have a longer commute, I’ve been on night shift for a while, now. I am writing this blog entry from work, from where it will be sent home via email, then quickly formatted and posted. I just don’t seem to have time for gaming on weeknights any longer, let alone blogging. Such is life.

Note that I did not say that I simply do not have time for gaming – perish the thought. My gaming has been restricted to the weekends, though, which beckon gloriously to you on Wednesdays, teasing ever closer on Thursday, come into reach on Friday, and you grab hold with both hands for Saturday and Sunday – only to slip into the pit of despair when you find yourself slogging off to work on Monday.

I’m still playing LotRO. Burhhelm has arrived in Moria. Still guildless, he spends his time exploring, which is really one of the things I love to do. So, it’s really not much of a sacrifice to be without a guild. Besides, with my schedule what good would a guild be to me, or vice-versa?

I’ve begun tinkering with legendary items in LotRO. It does seem to me that there’s no really good reason to get wrapped up with them at level 54, like Burhhelm. Tinker around with them at 50, then go back to using your trusty crafted weapons – they are far superior to lower level “legendary” items. I find it interesting that you can craft your own legendary items from fragments of other ones (if you find a legendary item for which you have no use, you can take it to a relic-master in order to have it smashed to bits). Then again, I do get a vicarious thrill out of crafting in this game, and I still have no explanation for that.

So, right now my goal is to get Burhhelm up to level 60, forge a nice legendary sword, and cause a great deal of mayhem while grinding out old deeds. By the time I’m bored with that, I can either try my hand at raiding in LotRO, or see how Champions Online turns out to be. I think it’s a win-win proposition.

I’m going to close by talking about golld old paper-based RPGs. Specifically, Pathfinder. The core rulebook has been released, and I’m still digenting the contents. I do have to ask: why nerf the cleric? Taking away heavy armor proficiency and messing with their turn undead ability (which is really their class-defining ability in D&D) is a bit much. I understand that a cleric character can basically be built back up by using feats (which come fast and furious in this game). However, they really shouldn’t have to. Anyway, I’ll post more musings as I come up with them.

A Sympathy Card for My Old Sound Card

Posted in Background Noise, LotRO, Offline gaming, Tabletop RP with tags , on June 15, 2009 by koljarn

It is now resting in peace.

It took a good chunk out of my weekend to diagnose a problem that I had when grouping in LotRO. When hanging out with Captains or any other class that relies on shouts, it was inevitable that my computer would crash. I don’t mean LotRO would dump me to the desktop, I mean the whole damn computer would BSOD. Some messing around, and I found that the vid card and the sound card were sharing an IRQ.

The simplest solution was to move the sound card to a different PCI slot. That did indeed change the IRQ. Unfortunately, the card would not work in that slot – Windows would see the card, but it would not allow the drivers to be loaded, saying that it was incompatible hardware, now. I tried moving the card back to the original slot (my motherboard only has two PCI slots), and I encountered the same issue.

So much for my old and cheap sound card. I tried the on-board sound (which I normally disabled in the BIOS), but it has no microphone amplification. That’s a necessity for me, because I use Ventrilo all the time (note: that doesn’t make me a social person; we password-protect our Vent server and even our channel). I ended up paying for a new card from the local electronics store because I was too impatient to wait for a web-based store to mail one to me. It probably cost me about $25 extra, but it worked the moment that I plugged it in and loaded the drivers. And it stayed on a different IRQ than my vid card, which made me happy.

Anyway, gaming related content follows:

  • LotRO: Mucked around with my Champion and got to level 36, but I have a glut of group-required quests to do. I’m still well ahead of my friend in level, so I may have to PUG a few of these.
  • LotRO: Wow, is it ever easy to make cash. I beat the stuffing out of the spirits around Fornost, and bought an entire set of new armor (purples, of course) in the course of a single day. I imagine that this is because everyone crafts to some degree, and there is just more supply than there is demand. I’m not complaining, though.
  • Pathfinder: Fun session, themed like an old-fashioned haunted house. We had a brief talk about changes to game mechanics, but I can’t say too much about it one way or another until I get a hard copy of the rules in my hands.

So, that’s all at the moment. Burhhelm may pop over to Lake Evendim for a bit, or I may get my Guardian a level or two this week. It will depend on the amount of free time that I have.

Long Time, No Post

Posted in LotRO, Offline gaming, Tabletop RP with tags , on June 10, 2009 by koljarn

My new job position (which may be temporary, it depends on what the higher-ups want me to do) requires a far longer commute, and I have no web access from the office, so finding time to post is problematic.  Sorry about that.  I’m sure that all of my readers (both of them) are disappointed.

Anyway, I have continued to plug away at LotRO, and I still feel overwhelmingly positive about the game.  My Champion is level 32, wielding a pair of dwarf-iron swords that he forged for himself.  I still get a kick out of being able to craft my own weapons very easily.  However, he tends to find a lot of precious metals, also.  So, what to do with all of that unused ore?

Enter Authang, my pointy-eared jeweler and Guardian.  While I’m not a fan of playing a tank class, the Guardian is more than capable of dealing with mobs while using a shield as a second weapon.  I think I’ve found my primary alt.  In addition, his jewel crafting skills compliment the weapon crafting of my Champion.  It’s a win-win.  With all of the additional precious ore and gems that my Champion digs up, Authang is already up to his expert-level quest.

Of course, one can only dedicate time to so many alts.  Thus, my poor Gondorian Captain is going to be put into mothballs.  He’s tough, he can deal with it.  I found that the pet was just an annoyance to me (thus, I had better avoid the Lore Master class as well).

In the world of analog gaming, I still play Pathfinder on Saturdays.  The first few storylines in a new campaign are like appetizers.  Now, it’s time to get to the main course.  I’m looking forward to it.

Eriador Welcome Wagon

Posted in LotRO, Offline gaming, Tabletop RP with tags , on May 26, 2009 by koljarn

I’m such a lousy friend.  I seem to have roped at least two of my fellow D&D gamers into trying out LotRO.  If MMOs are addictive, then that makes me an enabler.  Someone call Doctor Phil.

I played quite a bit of LotROover the long weekend.  I really enjoy playing my Champion, though playing a Guardian would probably be better – staying power helps a lot when dealing with multiple mobs.  Still, I got to play in the Barrow Downs, which is an area that I findcompelling.  I have fond memories of that region from my MERP days (Middle Earth Role Playing, an old pencil-and-paper game).  I also got my Champion up to level 22, tried out the costume system (which is awesome – now I don’t need to keep dying every damn piece of gear to make it match) and smithed my heart out to become an Expert Weaponsmith.

Normally, I don’t like crafting.  However, I am playing LotRO differently from the way I play other MMO games.  I am not trying to hit any “endgame.”  I’m trying to hit as much of the content as I can, no matter how trivial.  After I finish in the Old Forest, I’m going to go to the elf and dwarf starting areas and do all of those grey-con quests, too (I may pass on the thrice-damned hobbit areas, though).  I’m trying to do every quest and complete every Deed, with the exception of the crafting quests which are outside of my area of skill.  I’m having a blast doing it.

Which leads me to a final note about Warhammer Online.  I cancelled my subscription.  The game just isn’t compelling any longer.  The RvR component was fun, though the client could not actually handle RvR, but I need some PvE and RvR together in that sort of game.  Sometimes, you just want to go hunt and enjoy yourself on your own.  WAR delivered in the RvR, but all that remained for me on the PvE side was a continuous series of raids.  I left WoW for WAR because I didn’t want to raid like that any longer.  Oh, well.  Like all MMOs, WAR is a work in progress.  Maybe there will be some future changes which pique my interest enough to return.

Our Saturday RPG game was fun, but we talked too much and didn’t get much done.  Still, I’m enjoying the Pathfinder campaign setting.  The modules are very well written, and a lot of thought has been put into everything.  I’m playing a Ranger, which is unusual for me – I haven’t liked any of the incarnations of the Ranger class since they became dual-wielding specialists back in 2nd edition D&D.  So far, I like what I’ve seen.  If I find something that I don’t enjoy, you’ll read about it right here.

Non-gaming topic: my new electric bass arrived on Friday, earlier than I expected.  There’s an awful lot of fret buzz on the E string, and I’m going to have to play with the bridge.  If that doesn’t fix it, then I suppose I’ll have to bite the bullet and pay to get the instrument set up by a professional.

Tuesday Thoughts

Posted in Background Noise, Offline gaming, Tabletop RP with tags on May 19, 2009 by koljarn

I’ve had some time to mull over the announcement that Champions Online is being delayed for a month.  In my opinion, this is a good thing.  Since the basic engine for CO seems to be built upon a souped-up CoH engine.  In my experience, CoH had a pretty good game engine that only started to break down (performance-wise) when people started pulling astronomically large numbers of mobs at once.  If CO has performance of this level or better, I’ll be there in a heartbeat.

In non-electronic gaming, also known as pencil-and-paper or, as I prefer to call it, analog gaming, my Saturday gaming group began a series of Pathfinder adventure modules called “Rise of the Runelords.”  Melodramatic title, but the quality of the material seems pretty good.  Also, it’s got nostalgia going for it.  I remember the “Against the Giants, “Scourge of the Slavelords,” and the “Temple of Elemental Evil” series rather fondly.  It takes some effort to create an overarching story line, but a good series of modules is better than simple nostalgia – it’s a load of fun.  Best of all, the little gray cells don’t simply atrophy, as with so many other games.  I’ve already given the Pathfinder rules my stamp of approval, but I’m warming up to the other Pathfinder products as well, right now.  I just hope they can maintain this level of quality for a while.