August 23, 2015

Of Stars and Dragons and Frozen Wolf Zombies

Okay, so things got a tad more hectic than expected, but at least it's not been as long in between updates this time around.

My old PC, an eMachines tower I got fairly inexpensively for a pretty low price several years ago started developing all sorts of worrisome habits, foremost of these being random crashes and trouble starting up.  Which meant a new PC, which I now have.

Having had a really good track record with Dell PCs, I went with an Inspiron, and the difference in performance between the two is night and day.  It was on the costly side, but my financial situation is a lot better than it was several years ago, thanks to a steady job with a very nice pay rate and having managers that weren't trying to screw me out of pay increases.  Sure, I could have custom built one for cheaper and with bigger/badder performance, but I'm not super tech-savvy and my Dell covers what I need it to do and then some.

But since I started this blog to mostly talk about gaming, I figure I should start doing that.

A few weeks ago, I kicked off a brand new Force and Destiny campaign.  I'm sure most of you that read this blog have already seen reviews praising the quality of the book (the art is astounding from start to finish), and how FFG seems to have circumvented the problem that Force users presented in prior Star Wars RPGs of simply overshadowing the rest of the party.  I know that was a major concern in Saga Edition, and it cropped up in WEG's d6 system if a Jedi was played for more than a dozen or so sessions.

I've got a pretty interesting mix of characters, ranging from Nolt, a Zabrak Seeker/Hunter to Stell, a Human Smuggler/Thief/Gunslinger that attacks with throwing knives instead of blasters (and mechanically seem to be working quite well) to Ordo and Zara, a pair of Human fraternal twins that were once Jedi initiates (Guardian/Soresu Defender and Mystic/Seer respectively).  They're an interesting group, thanks in no small part to the quality of the players I've got.

Thus far, I've run them through Mountaintop Rescue from the Beginner Box and a part of the Lure of the Lost expansion module, though I've dropped the multiple holocrons plot and instead focused on the icewolf caves as the main source of the dark side corruption that drew Malefax in the first place.  Overall, the group's having fun, though I do feel bad for Ordo's player and share his frustration that his attacks with an Ancient Sword (rolling 3 proficiency at this point) frequently tend to end in failure with lots of Advantage.  Maybe that will change when Ordo is ready to stop hiding from his Jedi past and once again take up a lightsaber (something the player has advised he wants to wait for until the "timing is just right" for his character).  After the last adventure, the group did pick up a mascot in the form of an icewolf pup.  I think that after a tough fight with the revenant icewolf den mother (module isn't clear if she's still alive or not, so I went with undead), asking them all to make Daunting Cool checks made them all sweat... although the check was simply to see if they could avoid going "awwwww" at the cute little icewolf pup.  I'm really looking forward to their next few adventures, especially as they won't be quite so heavily focused on the Force.

Although we're not currently playing Linda's Age of Rebellion game (where none of the PCs actually used AoR careers), I've been taking a fresh look at the modified Shii-Cho Knight that I created back during the FaD Beta as an alternative to the purely melee-focused official version.  I was hoping that maybe the final product would at least give nod to Shii-Cho having some inherent defense against ranged attacks, but alas that was not to be.

With the new PC set up and running, I decided it was time to scratch a particular gaming itch, and go about replaying Dragon Age: Origins.  I bought the game when it came out (though only my laptop of the time could actually run it), even buying a decent portion of the DLC.  Well, sadly it seems that it'd been so long that I'd used my old EA account that it had been deleted.  However, a far less costly alternative presented itself in the form of the DA:O Ultimate Edition, which has all the DLC included plus Awakenings, as well as it being pretty easy to snag all the pre-order bonuses for free on top of that.  Best ten bucks I've spent in a while.

So yeah, been playing through the various origin stories, which was the one thing that really hooked me into the game, that each PC had a pretty in-depth introduction as opposed to the general trend of "here's your main hero, and off into the grand adventure you go!"  With the origin stories, you actually have a chance to get to know the history of your character a bit more, with the Human Noble and Dalish Elf probably being my two favorites of the lot.

Of course, playing the computer game has also gotten me to thinking about the RPG that Green Ronin created, as well as their Fantasy AGE system that is an evolution of the DA:RPG.  My Friday night gaming group seemed to grove on DA:RPG the couple times I got to run the system for them.  Maybe something to keep on hand as a back-up just in case one of our regularly scheduled games gets put on hold for some reason.

I've also been reading through my copy of Feng Shui 2, another game I'd like to try running at some point.  Being an incessant tinker monkey as Cyril put it, I've been toying around with tweaks to the various archetypes.  Nothing super-drastic, mostly little things like altering the weapons load-out the Maverick Cop (probably my favorite of all the archetypes, if only because it was so fun to play at GamerNationCon) is packing, or what Fu Powers the Martial Arist has (namely swapping out the Dim Mak stuff for Wing Chun to make true Bruce Le clone), or simply tweaking what skills and skill bonuses the Spy has (little less Connery/Moore!Bond, little more Craig!Bond).

Lastly, also been playing in Eric's re-launched Emerald City Knights campaign for Mutants & Masterminds 3e, and still playing my take on Spider-Man.  After playing in Kyle's cosmic-themed game, it was nice to pick up Spidey once again.  He's a fun build, with a lot of variety and options to handle most situations, both in and out of combat.  Still has no clue when it comes to women though, as there are early signs of him getting embroiled in a love triangle involving two other super-powered ladies, and he might be super-aware to most forms of danger, I get the feeling this one is going to wind up blindsiding him.  The most recent session was a bit rough, as there was some miscommunication between me and the GM on a couple points, but it all worked out and we're on our way to a big throwdown with what I suspect is the current arc's BBEG.

That's about all for this week in terms of gaming-related stuff.  I do have a new job (same company, different department) that's had its own challenges but so far I seem to be doing pretty good and managing to stay on top of things.

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