28 Feb 2014

Mass Effect Journal - 04

First thing first. The teams pre-deployment training had to be completed, so Shepard gathered his crew and put them through their paces. Topping all the scenarios at Pinnacle Station gave Shepard the confidence to move onto more missions. It also meant that he felt that he could take them through the Systems Alliance training ground and shut down the rogue Virtual Intelligence. He and the rest of his team shut down the VI and with that he completed his Shock Trooper training.

Nothing else was holding him back minus a favour to Admiral Kohoku to find some of his lost troops. It was more then that, seems the Admiral was in something deep. Shepard also sorted out some other issues while stopping through the Citadel.

Shepard was given the chance to complete a final lethal program at Pinnacle Station but now ready and aware of the larger picture of issues in the galaxy Shepard picked one of the two leads.


A Human colony had gone silent and it was being established in a vacant Prothean city.

Game on.

24 Feb 2014

Magic - Dream Eater

This post has been far too long in construction and has fallen aside more than once since I started the December posts. 

One of the things I've recently jumped back into is the game, Magic The Gathering (aka Magic or MtG). Now for the past couple of years I've been playing the Xbox Live MtG game Dual of the Planeswalkers. You see the gameplay of Magic is simple and it's easy to play. The online game I've been playing was a quick fix for the gameplay. The other thing you do in MtG is build your deck to your needs and desires. This is lacking the online game until recently and it's only a shadow of the real experience.

For those who don't play the game I suggest taking a look at the game. Pick up a two player starter and try it out. The game is a simple and has efficient mechanics that has lots of add on rules provided by the cards you pick and play. Now I am not going to get into the game mechanics in full in the this post but here is the short run down.

You are a planeswalker, someone who can cross the various dimensional realms and who draws energy (aka Mana) from the lands around them. They use this energy to cast spells. Some spells are great artifacts, some are enchantments, and some are creatures that you call to fight for you. There are a few more types but that's the simple gist so far. You have 20 life points and you summon your creatures and cast your other spells to take on your opponent and beat them up. Your deck of cards is your library from which you draw your spells and access to the lands and their Mana.

Geek and Sundry has a neat show that has folks play magic and they show off some of the basics while they play.

Still wana read this post? Then come on in and here about this little deck I built.

21 Feb 2014

Mass Effect Journal - 03

Shepard did some more time at Pinnacle Station before deciding to investigate the X57 Asteroid near Terra Nova. Upon finding out that the asteroid had only 4 hours before impact on the colonies below it was up to Shepard and team to land on the rock and solve the issue. This is the other DLC for the first game of the series and Shephard would be remiss to ignore the pleas of the colony that was in immediate danger.

I took Garus and Liara. Liara has the Biotic abilities round out the party while Garus is too likeminded to leave on the Normandy.

Upon landing Shepard found a few bodies of a survey team. Once he linked into the communication network he found two other survey sites and searched them for survivors. None were found at any of the survey sites. It then came down to searching and shutting down the torches and put the breaks on the rock.

17 Feb 2014

Media - The Netflix

So Netflix. I like Netflix.

I don't mind paying $8 a month for TV. I don't feel like paying more than $20 for cable because there is nothing on cable I want to see. Most of the shows I want to see are limited in number and not playing on basic cable.

In the past I only had the internet and as long as I bought less than 12 DVD box sets a month I'd be still saving money and getting more from my shows then I would through the far more expensive cable TV. Also I was able to watch the whole series or season on my time and not be chained to the date, time and release schedule of the cable channels. Once it was out on DVD it was mine.

I didn't download my TV from torrent sites. It was too much effort for me and I was too lazy to figure out a streamlined process to get my TV.

When Netflix came out I was in heaven. I stopped buying TV on DVD's. Most of the time I watched it once then never went back to the show. So I started to save me even more money.

14 Feb 2014

Mass Effect Journal - 02

Commander Virgil Shepard - SSV Normandy CO

After Action Report

Shepard was now out and about in the verse. I had three leads and things are going south across the galaxy. He needed intel on Saren ASAP and the fastest way he decided was personal data on the Matriarch who's aiding the rogue Spectre. Matriarch Benezia has a daughter Liara T'Soni. It also helpes that she is an expert in the Protheans the folks who came before the current races and who were supposedly wiped out by the mysterious Reapers - who are Saren's end game.

Liara is a wealth of info. Shepard knows Liara will lead him closer to the Matriarch and through her the rogue Spectre Saren.

12 Feb 2014

Table Top - The Social Game

In many RPG's combat is used as an easy set up for conflict. In many cases many new groups combat is the primary conflict resolution in the campaign. Some of my best and favourite adventures included little to no combat.

Top of my list was a Legend of Five Rings session in ran back in 2002. It was a Winter Court (when the various nobles hide in their homes and play extended games of clue and back room deals) where there was only one fight but the PC's had to work out a murder that one PC pinned on the NPC that another had decided to romantically pursue. Not a single combat but the whole plot was resolved and everyone had a great time. The session and the repercussions (that were kept secret until 2007) are still talked about today. 

Another was a game of Vampire the Masquerade (2nd Edition) where desire and player goals were the focus. Not a single gun was shot and not a single blood was beaten/cut out of a unwilling victim. 
The Combat Conflict Resolution Phase
Last on the list was another L5R game where after one round of combat the players were finally able to piece together the mystery and had to come up with a solution to a complex problem of honour and political reality. 

Yet there are those that follow the following rules of discussion... 

Beating up the other guy as a way to win the conversation. 

Combat driven games can be fun as well but it can be a dangerous trap to fall into. One that can also be hard to escape. When all you have are players who build PC's for combat without any non-combat challenges then a downward spiral of combat as the only conflict takes over and the PC's never get out.

I've got a few fears with this.

10 Feb 2014

Where is the Warmachine

So it's been a while since I hit the table. It's bit frustrating but I live.

I've been keeping up with Warmachine and Hordes over the last year even though I don't get to play much. I've been painting my minis mind you and all of my Skorne are painted and dipped. My small Circle force is not that far behind.

I have been able to visit the Iron Kingdoms over the past couple of months through the release of their RPG and the follow up book Kings, Nations, and Gods. So I've not been completely amiss to the workings over in PP land.

I do admit that I've been in other worlds since I started my current job. The lack of time has forced me to find alternatives that would allow me to play on the table for short periods and in a shorter window of opportunity.

So Templecon is out and the folks at Privateer Press posted some new stuff. Take a look at the vid and I'll see you after the break.

Watch live video from PrivateerPress on TwitchTV

7 Feb 2014

Mass Effect Journal - 01

Commander Virgil Shepard - SSV Normandy SR1 - XO

After Action Report
System Alliance Space Vehicle
Stealth Reconnaissance One

Starting the game you find yourself as the XO of the SSV Normandy. Hosting a Turian Special Ops who's here to help with the mission and evaluate Shepard for Specter status.

Right off the bat Shepard would respect this guy since he get's it. Through the conversations I never gave him guff.

Meanwhile the rest of the crew being respected minus Cpl Jenkins, the eager go getter of the first away mission.

5 Feb 2014

Mass Effect Journal - Prologue

It's Saturday the first of February. I've got some time to work on some posts and I've decided to start my big project. You see a few months back when I first left my stable job, I was in the midst of another run in Mass Effect. Once I lost my job I stop playing and that run came to a halt.


I wasn't working. A person who works earns the time and ability to not work. As I was not earning my coin, I had not yet earned my time with Commander Shepard. Mass Effect, as in the whole trilogy not just one game, is the best RPG I've ever played. It beats out Fallout 3, Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy 6 (I played it as 3 when it came out on my SNES), Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines. Those are my Top 5 RPG's and Bioware's masterpiece beats out its siblings (Jade Empire, Knights of the Old Republic, Baldur's Gate) that come in along side Final Fantasy 8 and SaGa Frontier taking those spots between number 6 and number 10 on my expanded list. You also need to ignore my call in making Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3 a single entry.

It is my favorite RPG of all time. Come to terms with it.

I have finished the whole thing, all three games, only once and that was before the whole mess of the ending. By the by, I didn't mind the ending, some more depth would be have been nicer... I'll go into that after the break.

So what's my dumb plan. Well semi-quoting Spider Jerusalem but instead of TV I'm going about Mass Effect "Today I am going to journal a full run of Mass Effect in order to bring back shinning insights into our lives."

All three games, with all the DLC. I have somewhere a Shepard in me that needs to show himself to the world and I will share his exploits to you. To get an idea of the end, hitch a ride of the video below and I'll go over my plan after some comments.

3 Feb 2014

Media - Splinter Cell: The Blacklist

Splinter Cell: Double Agent was the fourth game of the franchise and the first game I ever had played on my brand new 360. Double Agent and the previous three games of the series were staples for my PC. I had played them ad nauseum. Double Agent was never finished on the PC because of the issues it had with bugs and hardware compatibility.

When I finally played it through on my 360 I was wow'ed. The game had multiple endings, a great central Hub from which you performed and explored more missions, a brilliant two-way trust system. Missions were interesting and varied and the dual objectives from different parties made the game about choices.

2006 was a good year.