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I like the classics. You can't beat a classic 1x2, 3x4 story, but the part that always seems a little sad is that 5 is either alone or in a random 5xS, 5x6, or even 5xR. And you know what? I rather like 5. That means that the alternate 1x5, 2x5, or even 1x2x5 makes me happy.

Then I run across something truly different, in the form of a 3x5. Can't get more alternate than breaking up the 3x4, especially for the always alone 5. But you know what? It works. Now I'm not going to imply that it is totally IC, but it is fairly close, and the characterization is good enough that I enjoy it.

The even cooler thing? There is more than just one story! There aren't a lot, but at least the ones that are there are one's people have thought about. It isn't the easy story, they aren't the easy characters. Anyone can write a 1x2, and 3x4 is even easier, though perhaps not as exciting. But writing 5 isn't easy, and when the other half is the ever silent/stoic 3, then you really have your work cut out for you.

Keeps things interesting!
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Keeping the story of a game moving forward can be really hard. Especially when the story is based on confusion and mystery. At what point is the dm no longer solely responsible for the tone of a game, and where does the pc's responsibility come in? If one isn't giving it their all, is it the others responsibility? And in the end, if the game isn't moving, is anyone at fault, or is it the story itself, and it is outside the responsibility of any of the players? 

So many questions, and so many more. Even just running a prewritten is hard. Hopefully more practice and an improved mindset will make things run a bit more smoothly.
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My hat goes off to Oone and their campaign The Road to Revolution.  A fabulous pre-written for pathfinder, the game takes place in their campaign setting The Great City, and is unlike any other game I've played in or DM'ed.  One of the main differences for me is that the whole game is in a city, and while there are adventures into tunnels or sewers underground, for the most part the adventure is in dealing with people and situations that occur in civilized locals.  The party doesn't have to worry about getting lost for days traveling through the forest, but they do have to worry about public opinion and innocent bystanders.  What's even more fun about it is that there are a lot of different paths that the party can take - there is enough information about everything going on that it's not too hard to DM when the party goes off script, and the scripts themselves involve a lot of "if your party does this then A, and if they do that, then B" so that there are a variety of options for the characters.  This way no one feels like they are being railroaded, and instead there is plenty of room for adventure and exploration.

The story is also fun in itself.  Having only run the first two of six segments, I don't know what is going to happen next, and that is also fun and exciting.  There are so many different interested parties that who the ultimate mastermind is, and what their goals are, is still something of a mystery.  Also, the introduction of new and different creatures for the party to encounter has been a lot of fun too.  My current favorite: cerebral rats.  They do 1d3-4 damage, so they really aren't at risk of killing the party, but they drain spell levels from casters, which is absolutely fantastically cruel!  So wonderful they have given my casters paranoia about anything that scurries.

Nothing like a shift away from online world and back into real games to get my mind off of the work I should be doing ^_^

Mech pbp

Feb. 23rd, 2014 10:46 pm
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So I saw a post on the boards for a mecha play by post.  Apparently there exist a few different rule sets for having mecha role playing games.  I really wanted to apply for the game, but didn't really want to deal with learning a new system right now.

But the ideas are certainly interesting!

The real question would be which mecha to be?  If it's not obvious, I'd be going for one of the Gundam wing characters, and thus there are five to choose from, with no real winner.  I guess a lot would depend on what exactly is allowed.  If I could go through and make a stealth suit, then going the route of Deathscythe would be pretty awesome, and I do so love the idea of playing Shinagami.  Then again, Shenlong's dragon arm fire things are pretty cool, and I really like the description of Wufei's suit in Lethanon's 'Reprieve'.  

Of course, there's always the SSI (shameless self insertion) that I have running in my mind, which would also make sense to build, but since I don't tend to give myself a Gundam, just be the gleaner/spy master (Ghati's Tale / Daughter of the Empire) companion.  I feel like if I went that route I'd end up making a mech like Quatre's - not super epic, nothing amazing - but something reliable and functioning.  I'm sure there's a trade off between how awesome the mech is vs how awesome the powers are, so since i'd be using all the stats on the character, the mech would suffer.

Which just makes me think - is that why Sandrock is so underwhelming?  Too many points spent on Quatre's space heart, so fewer left to make his Gundam better?  Though perhaps there's something awesome about the super hot shotle - I guess it can melt through things, but it has always seemed like a less impressive weapon set.  Or perhaps that's just compared to the others.  


eltanin_draco: (Default)
 Novella Background 
Story )


Feb. 23rd, 2014 10:33 pm
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Pirates of the Sword Coast -

Looks like it should be a fun game - lots of people are interested.  I'm a little worried, because most are playing chaotic greedy, but one person is neutral evil... not sure how that's going to work out, I don't think anyone else really wants to go the evil route - I know I don't.

It is staring well, so hopefully this game will actually take off.

Ten Minute Background
TMB ) 

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So after applying for a number of play by posts, and even getting chosen for a few, I have discovered that the chance that any game actually continues past it's conception is minuscule. Because of that, I haven't been putting so much effort into the backstories any more. That said, I still write them, and really like the ten minute background format, but I don't stress out about them as I did in the past.

I can also see why the stories don't take off - creating the character, coming up with their background, reasons why they have the abilities they do, figuring out how they fit in the world - these are almost more fun than actually playing. Also, it's really hard to see what kind of a player someone is going to be by their background. Someone who doesn't have any creative background to speak of can be an awesomely detailed poster with fun and witty dialog, whereas someone else who has put a ton of effort into their character creation may not post more than a sentence or two together.

The games I have been the most interested in because of their story have been the ones that have fallen apart, for whatever reason. Now I think I've learned that to make a good game, you need to have players that are genuinely excited to *play* the world, who want to explore and see how the mechanics of the game will work out. Hopefully this means that I've found a game that will actually continue, but we'll see.

I no longer get my hopes up...

at least.. not too high...

Tiso TMB

Jan. 19th, 2014 10:45 pm
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10 minute background:
- Tiso is quite old compared to the other races (~300), but is just a normal "adult" or "young adult" for a kokiri.
- has acted as guide for older kokiri exploring some of the dark areas of the forest, or kokiri wanting to travel or trade in the rest of the world
- has acted as guide for other races traveling through forests - both to keep them safe and to keep them away from any kokiri villages.
- cheerful as the rest of his race, but used to toning it down around other races - kokiri are underestimated enough as it is.
- Sia - fairy companion - she has a fascination for soft things, and has been known to play with hair, fur, or soft cloth with no regard for if it belongs to friend or foe.
2 goals
- Find out what is wrong with the western deku tree (see secrets), and fix it.
- Find a way to keep the Grey wolves away from his village permanently (without just slaughtering them, of course...)
2 secrets
- (knows) The deku tree in the west is not doing well, and Tiso is one of the few who has been trusted with this information, so he is seeking any information on what happened, and what can be done about it.
- (doesn't know) Someone is contriving to keep the grey wolves near the village...
3 people
- Jadar - Tiso's mentor, a great name in the western forest, and very skilled in all things forest related.  His mentor was of the Great Deku Tree, and thus he has many tales of the original forests.
- Mimi - A sister of sorts, she is of an age of Tiso, and they have been great friends their whole lives.  She is not an explorer though, and stays around the village.  She was the one who rescued Tiso from the grey wolves.
- Hagar Greensboro - A Hylian woodworker who likes to harvest his own trees from deep within the forest for his craft - He and Tiso have had a few run-ins, and their conflicts haven't come to blood yet, but then again, he hasn't been caught in the act yet...
3 memories
- Being restrained by his friends when he first saw a logging field.  He had wept as he struggled against them, wanting to rain down arrows on the people who had done such a horrible thing.  He had grown to understand the need, but he was still uncomfortable around the fields and did his best to avoid them. 
- Running through the trees from the great grey wolves that encroached on the village every few years. He still had a light scar on his left arm where one of the wolves had gotten hold of him before his friends had been able to scare them off.
- Telling stories with a group of Hylian rangers around a camp fire, laughing and joking. Not as care free as with others of his race, but close - there are some outside the Kokiri who can embrace life, they just have to be found.


Jan. 19th, 2014 10:44 pm
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The Legend of Zelda - Darkest Days

An awesome idea, only 3 players chosen, and totally stalled out, with one player only posting once, another posting one sentence posts, and me trying to be interesting... and the DM posting next to nothing...

*sigh* it could have been so awesome!  oh well... 

A Short Summary:
Summary )
In his time Tiso has had many run-ins with the grey wolves who plague his village every few years, has guided kokiri and other races through his forests, and has even traveled a bit out in the world, though never more than a couple days ride from his forest.  Recently he has been told that his Deku Tree is not entirely well, and that there may be a darkness in the forest or the world, and has been asked to be alert and see what he can learn.  Thankfully he, like his friends, is naturally optimistic, and though not a fool, he is sure that he or someone else will find a cure before it becomes a problem.
Tiso is always accompanied by his fairy companion.  She is fairly shy of other races and rarely talks to them, but has a weakness for soft things.  This has led her to pester sleeping foxes or well dressed Hylians, wanting to touch their furs.  Combining this with the kokiri childish sense of humor and Tiso is rarely bored.  Thankfully she is also fairly knowledgeable, and as curious about new things as her companion.  In a fight she tends to hide behind Tiso, knowing her light draws attention in a dim forest.  The rest of the time she is either riding on his shoulder (where he has sewn some particularly soft leather) or investigating things near by.
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So my goal of writing a post at least once a month has failed miserably.

In an effort to at least make some effort at being a productive poster, I'll write something now! The question is, on what topic?


So I've been working through my favorite arc of Terry Pratchett's Disk World novels again: The watch novels. I love the disk world books in general for their comedic approach to fantasy writing. Anyone can write fantasy, but Terry Pratchett does an amazing job of making fun of the fantasy cliche's while keeping the stories interesting and predictably unpredictable. My favorite characters in these books are easily Sam Vimes and the Patrician, Havelock Vetinari. While both are great characters on their own, it's their interactions that have me literally laughing out loud. Between Vetinari's all knowing and ruthlessly practical approach to governance, and Vimes' dedication to do what is right in a ruthlessly practical way, they make an amazing pair. I'm in "Feet of Clay" at the moment, and Vetinari is taking credit for 'creating' Vimes - and I can almost see that as the case. But then again, the two just have the right outlook on the world to mesh and clash in just the right ways, so it could be the mysterious gods who get the credit for both their characterizations... or perhaps just the author.

It is writing like Pratchett's that has me giggling in public, and I wouldn't have it any other way.
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After starting this post, I realized that in my extensive collection of posts, I've already addressed this for one fandom, but now another - Avatar!

As mentioned, I've been part of a pbp d&d game based on Avatar the Last Airbender. To that end, I started reading the fanfic Embers. The fic is a well researched masterpiece, as it references plenty of cultures and histories of our own world, and uses them to explain what is going on in the fic. The amount of world building is quite fantastic, and though it diverges from cannon, there is a good reason for pretty much all the deviations. The logic is so awesome, in fact, that it's almost hard to watch the show any more because there are so many things that no longer make sense.

Once again, I'm running into the cannon vs fan problem. I love the original show. I think that it was amazing in a lot of ways, and because I love the show I enjoy the fanfiction. But the fanfiction is leading me away from the cannon world and into a whole new realm. This isn't a bad thing, but it isn't necessarily a good thing either. It is changing how I perceive a story I love, and is taking away from that original memory... But in return I'm getting a whole new perspective, and an altered world to replace the memory one with.

I'm still not sure if this is a good thing, but I do know one thing: I couldn't stop reading if I tried.


Oct. 16th, 2013 06:03 pm
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A miracle! Two posts in one day! And with good reason!

So somehow I never knew there was such a magical place on the web as FLAG.

It is a website (https://www.flagfic.com/) that can convert a fanfic into an epub! Amazing! To be fair, it only works for a number of sites, but that's fine by me! Fanfic at my fingertips without me having to convert it myself?! Hell Yes! Now I'm going to have to check to see if the stories I love are also hosted on some of the main archive sites, since I usually go to personal sites to read.

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Building a world from scratch is just hard. I don't know how authors do it. How can they make something so new and original from scratch? I feel like any "original" world building I could come up with is just a copy of something else. I suppose a lot of authors are actually borrowing from other sources a bit, but still, the originality is something I have a lot of respect for, because it isn't something I think I could do well.

That said, borrowing a base from someone else and expanding upon it is quite a lot of fun! Working right now on a PBP (read that as play-by-post) game based on Avatar the Last Airbender, but set many centuries before the show. Working with the frame given by the show, and some details given by the DM, we are fleshing out the societies and their interactions with one another, and it is a lot of fun! Creativity is always awesome, and with such a fun building block to start with it only gets better.

Yay writing! The fun of picking out the right words is now being replaced by the framework building before the story really takes off. For some reason I though this would be tedious, but it's actually a blast, who knew?

Also... Dang I need to change my airbender! Now that we've been working on the history of the world, and fleshed out some of the cultures, my bard needs a bit of a personality revamp..
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Another character, another background. This one has both the ten minute background, as well as a cinematic one. The cinematic one came first, then I added the ten minute one for all the extra stuff... should have been the other way around!

Ten Minute Background
Ten Minute Background )

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So I've been wasting spending a lot of time lately making characters for PbP forums. I find that I actually like building the characters and histories more than actually playing, sometimes at least. On one of the games, the DM asked for a Ten Minute Background for each character, and it has got to be the best idea I've ever seen for making characters. I always write backgrounds for my characters, but until I saw this formula, I never realized there was so much I was leaving out! To be fair, even my Ten Minute Backgrounds' always take much longer than ten minutes, but

So here's the Ten Minute Background:
(courtesy of The Stray on the Wizards boards)
Ten Minute Background )

And here's the first character I used this with:

eltanin_draco: (Default)
So I finally decided I needed a creative outlet, and since I can't reliably think of things to write here, I figured I'd give D&D play by post a try.

Little did I know what I was getting into!

The biggest hurdle that I've found so far is that there are a lot more players than there are DM's, so it's actually hard to get into a game. The second hurdle is that I get way too wrapped up in creating my character for my own good. A "simple" character and background shouldn't take me a whole week. It shouldn't be distracting me from getting real work done. I shouldn't be obsessing over it the way that I am.... However, knowing this doesn't change things.

Hopefully someday I'll get into a game, and this effort won't be wasted.

For now, I give you Asa:
Read more... )


Jul. 8th, 2013 03:39 pm
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So I don't generally mix my fandoms.

This isn't really an issue, because I only have a couple: Gundam Wing and Fullmetal Alchemist, and they aren't ones I can imagine mixing. I took this to mean that I didn't like mixing different sources. Gundam Wing fiction, however, has lead me on some strange paths, and I have found myself reading a few AU's that I didn't intend to find so good only to realize that I loved the stories that the authors put the G-boys in.

Little did I know that those were gateway stories.

After some crazy AU stuff, it was not a stretch to read some fanfic's crossed over with novels I hadn't read. These were alright because I hadn't read the story, and because the main characters of the book really didn't have anything to do with the fanfiction. And even when I went back and read the novel, the fanfic was still ok because the characters were in vastly different places.

So why not try mixing something I'm familiar with to one of my fandoms?

In my quest for more FMA fanfiction, I stumbled across a FMA - Harry Potter crossover. It was unfortunately pretty bad, but only because it was not a great writer. The big problem with it was that it got me thinking... and I really liked the idea! Alchemist thrown into a world of magic? Awesome! So I went looking for more.

I found a pretty good story, but it's hard to have anything Harry Potter without interacting with Harry, Ron, Hermione and the rest. I still haven't decided how I feel about that, mostly because I don't like the Harry Potter books so much that I want to read about those characters instead of Ed, especially because the stories I found are mostly following the script from the books themselves. Perhaps I just need to read more stories and find some that do a better job with the HP crew... Or perhaps I need to go back to the traditional FMA stuff...

The real problem with reading this stuff though, is that I can see the possibilities. I see what the few authors I read did, and can almost see where they went "wrong" and how it could be fixed. And that just makes me want to write some fiction, and that's not something I have time for....

But it's there on the edge of my mind now... and I don't know how to make it go away!
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When I read a book, I have a horrible habit of not actually "reading" a character's name. I recognize the letters, almost as a picture, and recognize when their name shows up again. This leads to problems. For example, the first time I read Lord of the Rings, I didn't realize that Sauron and Sarumon were two different people until half way through The Two Towers. This is also a problem because it's hard to talk to people about a book if you don't know the names of the characters. When I started reading Dragonlance, I read Caramon as "Carmon" and because I'd never "said" the word in my mind, it wasn't a problem. It wasn't until I was talking to someone else that I realized A: Carmon is a girl's name, and B: Carmon isn't his name.

So I don't read a book "out loud" in my mind. Similarly, I don't pay a whole lot of attention to physical descriptions. I can go through a whole book and not know the color of a character's hair, unless it is related to the story. This is usually not a problem, and actually makes some things easier. I don't watch a movie version of a book and get upset about casting choices, for example. I care much more about the story.

That being said, there are some things that I picture very vividly.

*** Potential Spoiler Alert for Game Of Thrones (Book/Season 3) ***

Game of Thrones is a wonderful series, and HBO is doing a great job at adapting it to the screen. The books are great, and in general it doesn't matter too much what someone's name is as long as you know if they are a Lannister, Stark, or Tyrell, and even then RR Martin often helps you out with references to Casterly Rock, Highgarden or the North. The epic parts of the book, however, are so epic that I feel like I've seen them. I don't usually play these things out in my mind, but for some moments, I can picture it perfectly. And this is the problem that I've had with the show, and even then, only recently.

From reading the books, I saw them find the wolves, I saw the events at the fist of the first men, I saw the red wedding.

The last is the one that prompted this post, and perhaps I should apologize that it took this long to get here. I've seen the red wedding. I think I can picture that moment the best out of all the books, and even now, years after I read that scene, I still feel like I was there. The weird part is that I don't remember the exact details. I couldn't tell you who did what specifically, I don't even remember who's chapter it was. But I remember the scene, and the feeling, and mostly the music. That's the part that really bothers me. The music. They were playing the Rains of Castamere so loudly from the towers that they drowned out the screaming. I picture the music being so much a part of that scene that when I saw HBO's version I just couldn't believe they had left such a big piece out of that moment. I did appreciate that they played the music a little before everything happened... but the episode before the wedding they explained what the song was about, so it seemed the perfect setup... then nothing. And that music would have made the scene so much more powerful! I cannot understand how they would have left something so dramatic out! I don't picture a lot of things in my books, but that, and the slaughter of the men out in the field, just didn't live up to the craziness that I remember in the books, and it makes me sad.
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There are a finite number of good authors. That being said, the main problem with reading a lot is not that there aren't enough good authors, it's that they are often hard to find. There are the popular authors and books that everyone knows, but then there are also a lot of diamonds in the rough, that just require searching. But searching means wading through a lot of crap before finding the good stuff. The approach I tend to take is through recommendations from my friends, but this leads to problems too.

Recommending a book to a friend is one of the best things that one can do. Everyone needs more books to read (even when you have a list of books to read, it's always good to have one more!). I even have a great friend with very similar reading preferences as myself and he is almost as obsessed with the books he reads as I am. This is great, as we can recommend books to one another and then talk about them endlessly (well, almost) after we have both read it.

There's a problem though.

If we both read a book that fits into our genre of books we like, but don't both agree on whether or not its good, then our discussion gets heated. You'd think this isn't a big deal, and often it isn't. But there are occasions when we cannot agree, and it get's close to violent. It definitely gets to "if that's what you think, you can get the fuck out of my car!" serious. Thankfully after it gets to that point, or at least, after it gets to a day or two after that point, we are able to look back and laugh about it.

Because really, you have to be good friends to get that upset over discussing a book.


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