prince_corwin: (Default)
So, I play RPGs, obviously. I also buy and/or read a lot more of them than I necessarily intend to play. Despite having no immediate plans to play them, I've got Everyway on my shelf, and Unknown Armies, and Continuum and supplements, and Kult, and Amber (which I do play, kinda) and supplements (which I know I'll never use) and Ars Magica, and probably more that I'm sure I'm forgetting. I've also ditched, over the years, a lot more than that-- all my 1e and 2e D&D, as well as supplements that I bought just for the concepts, and a boatload of GURPs stuff....

So buying 4e was sort of a given, even if I don't ever use it. Besides, it was nearly half off.

At the very least, I can review what's in it, so other gamer geeks will know if they should think about getting it, or not. I haven't finished it (because I lack the capacity to just sit down and read three hard cover books of game mechanics back to back) but I've read enough to get a sense of thing. I haven't made a final judgement on whether I really like it or not, either. There's some good, some enh, and some very bad. Writing this will probably help me settle my thoughts about things, too.

Review philosophy )

PHB: Characters, Preliminaries and Basics )

So at this point, I grade things as follows:

Character Stats: B- (Needs a hack to allow dramatic flaws, but it's an easy hack)
Character Races: C (Too much genre dependence over almost half the choices, some of which can't be fixed except by banning.)

Update: If you're new here, do me a favor and tell me if you think I should know you from somewhere.
prince_corwin: (Fist of Fire!)
In those days, my body was in the service of Baron Hans von Lubeck,
in his bid to become King of Steinhall, though my heart remained in service to
Master Khasleem, still gravely stricken...

In Which Unclean Bones Are Broken )

Link to previous advenures
prince_corwin: (Default)
Subtitles: A review I am not really qualified to write.

Preamble: The Solitudes is not a stand-alone book. It's the first part of a four volume novel that was originally published about twenty years ago (originally under the title of AEgypt, which is formally the title of the whole sequence) and is now being reprinted becuase all four books are complete. Yes, it took Crowley that long to write. It's also probably going to be found in the SF/Fantasy aisle, although the first volume, at least is no more fantasy than some other very mainstream, even classic works... and a good deal more "literary" than just about anything in the SF world except works by people like Gene Wolf.

Warning: There are some mild spoilers in here, but they're not really plot spoilers as much as they are thematic spoilers. And unlike the other reviews I've seen so far, this one reviews only the first book, because I haven't read the second one yet. Anyway, this isn't a book to read for plot, anyway.

The review itself )
prince_corwin: (Default)
...Because, for various reasons, I am stalemated at work, and can't anything get anything done until one of two things beyond my control happen. I suspect neither will happen today.

So. I will talk about games, and ask for opinions.

In Desdenova's Heroes review, I made the comment about dissatisfaction with last night's episode leaving me with the desire to write my own damn story, which in practical terms for me means, run an RPG. However, all super-oriented systems I've seen just suck. Desdenova mentioned that while we have different tastes in games, the old White Wolf games might be adaptable. I can't comment, since I've leafed through them, but never played or really read them.

So, to be clear, when I GM, here is what I'm looking for in a game system:

Read more... )

So, I'm probably not going to run a supers game any time soon. Among other things, if I run it while Heroes is still on the air, I will invariably end up running a clone of that show just by exposure, which is not what I want. But if anyone has any suggestions either on a good pre-existing system, or an existing system that could plausibly be cannibalized, I would be keen to hear about it.

And since I am not looking for a particular supers style, tell me what kind of mood/atmosphere/setting you think it would support.

Update: I should add a requirement/clarification. I am not looking for a setting to use. If a game comes with a setting, fine. If a game can only be used with a particular setting, not fine. I always do my own backgrounds.
prince_corwin: (Fist of Fire!)
In those days, I was in the service of Baron Hans von Lubeck, as I waited impatiently for Master Khasleem, or any word of him....

In Which Serket And Friends Have Their Asses Handed To Them )

Link to previous adventures



(I normally put these off, but I knew I will forget things even with my notes if I put this one off, and I also know next week is going to be nuts enough that I won't even have time to think about it....)
prince_corwin: (Fist of Fire!)
In those days, I was in the service of Baron Hans von Lubeck, as I waited impatiently for Master Khasleem, or any word of him....

In Which Serket Seeks Answers and Finds Only Mysteries )

Links to other adventures

Aw, Hell

Sep. 16th, 2007 09:23 pm
prince_corwin: (Default)
Rest In Peace, James )
prince_corwin: (Default)
Okay, this isn't the full out Campbellian thing. I had really wanted to get the first six done before reading this one, but that just didn't happen. I have a draft of the sixth one already written, but it's a stubborn little bastard and refused to satisfy me, and rather than post crap, I decided to put it off until later.

But, there are still spoilery scattered thoughts )

And with that, I'm kinda Potter'd out. In fact, I'm kid-lit'd out and even fiction'd out for the moment. I'll work up two or three more Campbellian posts over the next week or so (the last one being one for the whole series, if it seems to work out) but I'm going to go read some non-fiction for a while. I have a history of Charlemagne waiting in the wings, and an issue of the IEEE CIM with some interesting articles on the evolution of language structures. From there, I will continue scrubbing my brain, probably, with Reaper's Gale.
prince_corwin: (Default)
So even if I get this done tonight, I have to get two done tomorrow, in order to be done by my self-imposed deadline? Feh.

Some preview thoughts: Well, this is where it all gets serious, isn't it? This worked a lot better as a book than it did as a movie, I think, for reasons I'll go into below in the more scattered comments. And while I know some people (Stormy McFeatherson) are all bitter about the changes from book to movie, I actually think some of those changes worked pretty well. I think ther's just too much book to ake into a movie, without going to Lord of the Rings amounts of footage.

As usual, I'll put the Campbell stuff under the first cut, and other more general stuff under the second in case the Campbell bores you to tears.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Overflowing Symbolism )

More normal and scattered commentary )
prince_corwin: (Default)
Well, even though I've now read all six, I despair of getting all these written by the time the last one comes out. Maybe I'll at least get to five. We'll see.

Some preview thoughts: I liked this one a lot more than the previous one, or even the first one. The first two felt like gadget plots, very formulaic and shallow. This one, by contrast, was a lot more character focussed and character driven, and what's more, it was driven by a character other than the Heroic Trio or Voldemort, which is refreshing, and keeps the whole series from turning into one big horrible formula. It kept me reading the rest of the series, anyway.

Like last time, I'll put the Campbell stuff under the first cut, and other more general stuff under the second in case the Campbell bores you to tears.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of a Thousand  )

More normal and scattered commentary )
prince_corwin: (Default)
In those days, I was in the service of Baron Hans von Lubeck, as I waited impatiently for Master Khasleem, or any word of him....

In which Serket defends an ancestral home. )

Link to previous adventures
prince_corwin: (Default)
This one was qualitatively weaker than the other ones so far. (And see below, since I've finished the fourth one, already.) Weak enough that, if I hadn't had assurances that the rest got a lot stronger I might not have bothered to continue with them.

Since everyone seemed liked the whole Campbellian thing from last time (and also to annoy Montoya) I'll see if I can do the same thing here, but I'll say flat out that they didn't leap off the pages for me like they did for the first volume. I wasn't sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing while I was reading.

Within certain limits, I'm (obviously) a bit of a fan of interpretting what I read and while he got some things wrong, Campbell got a lot of things right, too. It's a useful and interesting way of looking at stories for me. Not noticing while I'm reading could just mean that the author is subtle and I was too drawn in to concentrate on these things. Having to grasp at it afterwards could mean that Campbell was full of crap, or that Rowling is so subtle I still didn't see the craft, or that she just didn't do a great job. Since I am arrogant, and I like Campbell, and this is at heart a kid's book, I'll let you do the math and figure out what my opinion on that score is.

So if this entry sounds forced in that regard, well, that's because it is forced in that regard.

And if the Campbell stuff bores you to tears, just head down to the second cut. Although, the first part probably doubles as a demented synopsis, too.

Harry Potter and the Hero with a Thousand Faces )

More normal comments )

Also, thanks to Desdenova, who loaned me her copy of HPCoS on fairly short notice. I finished it four or five days ago, then put it... somewhere... and managed to lose it completely. So in the mean time, I've finished PoA and just about finished GoF, but haven't written this one up because I didn't have the second volume to flip through.

I finished it while eating out-- I can only think I left it wherever I was eating in some idiotic fit of absent-mindedness.
prince_corwin: (Default)
(Note: I am not a moron, nor will I be condescended to by idiot publishers. I was reading about the Philosopher's Stone before my age hit double digits in The Flash comic books. I will not be referring to "The sorcerer's stone," here.)

The quick review is, I liked it, enough to try to read the rest before the last one comes out.

I'm tempted to say something snarky, like, "I liked this better when it was called Star Wars," but honestly, the dialogue is so much more smooth and polished here that that would just be unfair. Still, the Star Wars comparison is really quite apt, because they both follow Joe Campbell's monomyth schtick to an almost paint-by-numbers degree. I can't and won't claim that Rowling was conscious of this when she wrote the book or not. Doesn't really matter to me, anyway, because either way she does a great job with it.

Don't believe me? I'm sitting here with my copy of Campbell and my copy of Philosopher's Stone. Let's take a look.

Harry Potter and the Canticle of the Monomyth )

Bah. That took way longer than I expected, but once I was halfway through, it seemed a shame to waste it. I think I have more to say, including stuff people might actually find, y'know, interesting, but that will have to wait until tomorrow because it is midnight.

I also don't know if I'm going to do that for the rest of them-- it'll depend on how much the Campbell stuff jumps off the page at me for the next ones.
prince_corwin: (Default)
1) One (or more) of those shiny 80-core prototype chips that Intel keeps teasing me with,
2) The entire RAM output of Taiwan for the first half of 2007,
3) A version of HFSS that is compiled to take advantage of all those cores

This would make the simulations I'm trying to run much, much easier. I have finally found some evidence that an undeniably real physical effect that has been pissing me off!!! for years is, in fact, simulateable in existing given enough brute force.

It is probably not yet optimizeable, at least not on a desktop machine, unless I am missing some deep subtlety about this simulator.

It might just be amenable to rational design, now that I can see the fields inside the substrate playing between the fencepost vias. But man, this is going to be slow.

On the other hand, the import from AutoCAD feature, which is normally an insanely complex procedure, is now downright shiny!

Also, while I'm at it:

4) A pony
prince_corwin: (Default)
Best Silly Amber game: Nine Princes in High School, which was much more fun than I expected... and I had pretty high expectations. I am perfectly content with my image of Brand as the publisher of the subversive unofficial underground web-based school newspaper, Amber Yellow Journalism. Provoking civil war in the hallways, for fun and profit! Poor Corwin.

Best (Relatively) Straight Amber game: Arref's The Clandestine Chronicles of the Cobalt Charter, in which a bunch of (relatively) low power characters work for Julia (of all people) as we pre-emptively take care of "problems" in Shadow that seem to be strangely related to her personal problems. SOunds weird, but works surprisingly well, as a continuing game.

Best Non-Amber Game: FollyBard's emergency session of SuperHuman High School (I did seem to spend an inordinate amount of time this weekend playing high school aged characters...) which is in some ways too bizarre to be easily explained. At least right now.

Players/GMs most comprehensively missed: Immlass and Mcroft.
prince_corwin: (Fist of the Law)
In those days, I was in the service of both the Baron Hans von Lubeck, and Master Khasleem. Or so I thought....

In which Serket returns home, to a new world )

RANT

Feb. 23rd, 2007 05:01 pm
prince_corwin: (Kill!)
Things that have annoyed me, today:

Make with the clicky. )
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