Fists of the Ruby Phoenix #7: The Glowing Embers

Pathfinders' Guild of Berkeley

In a missing chapter of our tale, the party defeated a second team on the 1st day of the battle royale, and were soon challenged by a team of tournament staff! The party won that challenge as well and earned some valuable gold. The team’s magical rat continues their tale. –GM

9th of Erastus, 4721 AR

One of The Glowing Embers

Greetings and Salutations! It is I, the rat with the hat, chuck cheddar, spell squeaker, Charles Cheese!

If you all recall, you’ll remember that we’d been toiling away to gather 10 feathers to qualify for the main event, and to be completely honest we were still doing just that. We had been exploring the island for a day or so now and had run into quite a few teams.

I came up with a remarkably dastardly plan earlier. (I think some of Njezet’s influence may be rubbing off on…

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Downgrading to premium

Micki's Delirium

Note: This blog is divided in pages, click on 2 or 3 at the bottom to read more.

First, let me start with a bit of backstory. I registered with the game 7/28/2011 according to my myaccount page (this was just before U11), and I went VIP 9/23/2011. Expansions did not yet exist in the game at the time. I decided to go VIP, because the person I was playing with at the time was VIP and I wanted to make sure I could run all the same content he did.

Last year, SSG decided to give us players a few nice treats mid pandemic. First, they opened up all the content, including expansions for everyone for a limited time (see https://ddo.com/en/news/free-questing-coupon-and-vip-update-%E2%80%93-thank-you-standing-stone-games), and then they gave us a code that would permanently give you access to all non expansion content released prior to the release of the code. They…

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Boss Rush Banter: What’s Your Way Too Early 2022 Game of the Year?

With the recent announcement that Horizon: Forbidden West has been pushed to 2022, next year suddenly looks to be a mammoth year for video games, perhaps rivaling 2017. While it’s obviously WAY too early to think about the possible 2022 Game of the Year, the Horizon news provides a fun opportunity to speculate.

Nintendo certainly has some big contenders for the coveted award. While unconfirmed by Nintendo, the sequel to Breath of the Wild will likely be released in 2022, five years after the 2017 Game of the Year. Certainly the pandemic affected the game’s release, but there’s something fitting about the next Zelda game releasing in the same year as the new Horizon game, just as it did before.

Another big game from Nintendo that could contend for the award is Pokémon Legends: Arceus. Fans have long dreamed of a truly open world Pokémon game; the latest trailer…

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Alignment, Cosmology, People and Monsters

Grumpy Wizard

I stopped using the old Lawful-Chaotic-Good-Evil alignment system a long time ago. There are many reasons why one might want to use it but I don’t.

When I started running Swords and Wizardry as my main game, I adopted the Law-Neutral-Chaos alignment system.

It is a declaration of what side you are on in the eternal fight between Law and Chaos. It isn’t a declaration of Good or Evil. It is not a declaration of “This character will always behave according to this specific set of rules and if they don’t the referee can punish them.” It allows me to have a lot more nuance in my campaign. I prefer that.

Law attempts to create and maintain order. Chaos tries to destroy that order and leave only formlessness and the ephemeral.

Where there is balance, life flourishes. The forest must have the Chaos of fire for the old growth to…

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What’s with all the video game mechanics in anime?

A Richard Wood Text Adventure

There’s a lot to be said about the sheer amount of isekai being adapted into anime these past few years. Stories about normal neets/office workers getting bumped into by Truck-Kun and then waking up in a fantasy world. Sometimes with a ridiculous superpower, sometimes without. But almost always being overpowered through some kind of advantage, be it natural or not.


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The Dungeons of Zath Gor

Dyson's Dodecahedron

The Dungeons of Zath Gor
The Dungeons of Zath Gor (300 dpi promo)

The stairs in the northwest tower of Zath Gor Bastion lead up into the tower, but also down beneath to the dungeons of Zath Gor. With the loss of the other properties & territory of the Counts of Gor, these dungeons have become the primary means to lock up malcontents, rivals, and important prisoners. Attached to the dungeons but primarily under the main keep building are further understructures used as (somewhat damp) overflow living areas for the resident sorcerer. This area is accessed via the dungeons or through a secret trap door in the floor of the keep. The sublevel below this and the dungeons includes old scrolls and paperwork from the height of the county, as well as a secret treasure room.

The Dungeons of Zath Gor
The Dungeons of Zath Gor (1200 dpi)

Finally there is an escape tunnel down here that connects to a…

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D&D Languages

Dungeon Master Assistance

Language

Updated for 5th edition

LanguageTypical SpeakersScript
AbyssalDemons, chaotic evil outsidersInfernal
AquanWater-based creaturesElven
AuranAir-based creaturesDraconic
CelestialCelestials (angels, devas)Celestial
CommonHumans, halflings, half-elves, half-orcsCommon
Deep SpeechMind flayers, beholders
DraconicKobolds, troglodytes, lizardfolk, dragons, dragonbornDraconic
DruidicDruids (only)Druidic
DwarvishDwarvesDwarvish
ElvishElvesElvish
GiantOgres, giantsDwarvish
GnomishGnomesDwarvish
GoblinGoblinoids, hobgoblins, bugbearsDwarvish
GnollGnollsCommon
HalflingHalflingsCommon
IgnanFire-based creaturesDraconic
InfernalDevils, TieflingsInfernal
OrcOrcsDwarvish
PrimordialElementalsDwarvish
SylvanFey creatures (dryads, brownies, leprechauns)Elvish
TerranXorns and other earth-based creaturesDwarven
UndercommonDrow, Underdark tradersElvish

Animals, Plants, Vermin, and Oozes typically do not have languages.

Constructs, Deathless, Undead, and Elementals are usually created and understand the language of their creator.

Aberrations are just freaky, and may or may not speak any known language.

This list isn’t intended to…

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Why WildStar failed

Bio Break

This month, former WildStar lead Stephan Frost posted an epically long Twitter thread about what he saw as a sad and frustrating “flat circle” of MMO development. It certainly was an interesting behind-the-scenes read about the struggle and race to get a functioning MMO out the door while building up (and keeping) a critical mass of players. He doesn’t seem very optimistic it can be done.

It doesn’t take much reading between the lines here that he’s primarily speaking of WildStar as the inspiration for this post. I think what rankles me — and others who read this — is that while many of his points are true, Frost was leaving out a whole lot of personal and studio blame for why MMOs (again, primarily WildStar) fail. He makes it sound like it was out of his hands, just a tragedy of a lack of funds and time.

But that’s…

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Boss Rush Banter: Should You Buy Digital or Physical Games?

I sometimes think I’d be better at Splatoon 2 if I had bought the digital version of the game instead of the physical. I’m not sure, of course, but it seems like the short matches would have been great for a break here or there. Instead, the friction of having to swap out cartridges made me opt for other games whenever I want a quick fix of some online multiplayer. That said, I really wish I’d bought the physical version of Mario Tennis Aces instead of digital. I could have loaned it indefinitely to a friend who was more interested in it than me. The Nintendo Switch has changed how I play games, transforming me into a mostly handheld player, jumping around between different titles. I hadn’t owned a portable console since I was a child during the Game Boy era. These days I’m wrestling with a question we…

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My blogging motivation

GamingSF

This is a post for the Blaugust 2021 blogging event, see the linked post for more info!

I’m seeing through my blog-feed that one topic over the last few days has been motivation for blogging. For me, blogging is something I want to do, even if I don’t have the time to do it as regularly as I once did. Blogging itself is time-consuming, though not that time-consuming, for me at least. I may spend 30 minutes on a post, but then my posts aren’t that long generally. I have done much longer ones in the past, or more involved ones where I’d researched actual data or my post history. These days I post when I can and at the length I can, but the itch to write is still there.

In terms of what specifically motivations me though: what keeps me going after ten years, I’d narrow it down…

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