Fabletop: By Special Re-Quest

The call goes out. The adventurers answer. And so begins an epic tale of…killing 10 slimes and collecting 50GP.

The call goes out. The adventurers answer. And so begins an epic tale of…killing 10 slimes and collecting 50GP.

Whether it’s saving the princess or getting the plot device, one thing is certain: Every character’s on a quest of some kind.

In any story, there needs to be a conflict. For that, there needs to be a problem that needs solving. And naturally, the problem must be special enough that one does not simply use a mundane solution any rational person can easily think of.

But in the midst of the most gripping sagas and interactive games, it can be easy to overlook that the proud tradition of a storied tale has its origins in the mists of time…and can seep into even the most mundane contexts.

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The Silence Of The Self-Inserts

We might wax philosophical and try and paint it as a purely artistic decision, but this is the cold, hard reality of game design, folks: You need CASH MONEY.

And there you have inspirational quotes from some of the most iconic videogame characters! Can YOU guess who said each one?

So yes, today I’ll be talking about SILENT PROTAGONISTS! No, I don’t mean characters who are unusually quiet. I mean it’s you, the player character, but there is just about no dialogue coming from them.

Now, this might seem a tad antiquated. What’s the deal with them? Do people still DO them? Do we only know this because our childhood icons were mute?

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Hogwarts’ Superschool Of Settings

What can we learn from barely competent teaching staff and poor hiring standards?

Class is once again in session! Yes, that idiom was to be expected. Yes,  you are fully allowed to cringe at me. Just as planned!

Today, I’ll be talking about a staple of fantastic settings and what we can learn from it: The SUPERSCHOOL! One highly popular example of a very involved setting.

Whether it’s an academy, the school, a magical order, or an alien police force, these are institutions built around the idea of collecting what we’d consider “special” and training it to perfection. From Xavier’s School For Gifted Youngsters to the Hogwarts School For Witchcraft And Wizardry, these have been a rich source for potential stories.

The main purpose of these, of course, is to teach superpowered individuals how to responsibly control and use their powers. Otherwise you’ll end up with all sorts of tragedy and collateral damage. Though the mission statement and end goals can vary, ultimately they’re about getting all that power in one place and getting it under control or awarded after rigorous training.

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Ah, yes. That old nugget.

But what’s the deal with these schools? When’s something normal or not, and what’s the nuts and bolts behind it? What can we learn from barely competent teaching staff and poor hiring standards?

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Love-to-Hate Relationships

We’re talking Scooby-Doo, villain-of-the-week, “tear down the orphanage and build a toxic pollution factory because I love the tears of children” levels of motivation.

Today I’ll be talking about characters you love to hate! Or is that characters you should hate but love? The answer, my readers, is: Yes.

So, everyone knows their own reasons for liking a characters. Could be personality, abilities, design. Could be a snappy one-liner or an achievement you really loved. There are characters we love wholeheartedly, and ones we despise and want to see dead.

But somewhere out there, some characters occupy a sweet spot, a mix of antagonism and admiration. Whatever it is, they share one thing with the characters that matter to you: You enjoy watching them.

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Captain America: Hail Hydra

Yes, we get it, America covers more than the United States. Nobody cares.

Yes, we get it, America covers more than the United States. Nobody cares.

Figured I’d do this as a companion piece to good ol’ Tony and cover Marvel’s Big 2 to contrast DC’s most famous couple. Or rather, their most marketed as opposite-rival-frenemy-allies in recent times. So who is the guy who hurls his mighty shield? Who was he before becoming Hydra Supreme?

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Yeah, we’re pretty much up to speed.

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20th Century Failiterature

Probably for the best, I don’t want to see Gor’Mok The Savage spend three chapters having a debate with Durgamar The Feldrake about the ethics of using sentient beings as mounts.

Hark! Today, I shall be talking about 20th Century Literature and giving my thoughts on it. Not quite ALL literature written then, nor ONLY literature written then, but a particular genre which fixates on miserably moping about the 20th century.

There were plenty of other things written back then, but somehow, by the time I went on to study 20th Century Lit in university (among other more enjoyable subjects), the texts I studied almost entirely covered the miserable injustices of life. Racism, sexism, elitism, classism, this here appeared to be the primordial, eldritch ooze from which Social Justice Warriors evolved: all noise, no substance.

Obviously, I’m very much AGAINST it and I’ll explain why after I explain what it is. So watch out, netizens! Here there be opinions!

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Fabletop: Mastering Dungeon Mastering

Consider if there’s a way to make that stupid idea of detonating a barrel of alcohol to rocket jump work. Or if the Bard can, in fact, end the boss encounter because he rolled a 20 to seduce with his songs.

This week, I’ll be branching out into another of my interests: Tabletop roleplaying games, and the guys that run them! Also, an attempt at naming a post series!

True, D&D and its ilk have long endured, and have been getting more and more accessible and popular. We’re no strangers to the concept, and certainly, there are sites and video series which are dedicated to tabletop gaming, but consider this a crash course for newbies, told from the perspective of a fellow relative newbie as opposed to someone with a lifetime of D&D editions and Pathfinder homebrews. I always had an interest, but grew up in a time of electronic gaming and a lack of dedicated groups. Add to that my current state as someone who reluctantly adults the adulting of the adulty adult world, and I can, as always, speak as someone who has to deal with everyday life and its responsibilities.

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Some DMs carry on well into their golden years.

Maybe you know nothing about it, or you’ve heard about it but don’t get it. Or you might even be a frequent player and want to try running a game yourself, seeing what it’s like to be in the driver’s seat. You might even be a card carrying DM. Either way, let’s roll initiative and get started! …What do you mean you’re the ONLY one around to take a turn? …What do you mean I can’t make you roll against other readers on the internet? …What do you mean I’m asking useless questions for things nobody actually thinks? Silly, that’s how the internet works!

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