TSM Episode 287: Neither Rhyme nor Reason

--NOT a vitamin. it is a MINERAL. The product is NOT properly labelled. I will not stand for it!

Zinc

Download: Produced 2014.08.31

Lusipurr, Ethos, and Mel confront a week of Nintendo-centric nonsense; Bup makes an appearance to discuss David Cage and Peter Molyneux; and the disappearance of Rhyme and Reason are explained. ALSO AS I SAID, Wikipedia says Zinc is a mineral, NOT a vitam

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Reading Raffle
1. During the reading raffle, make a donation to Lusipurr.com in the amount of $5 US or a multiple thereof, noting ‘RAFFLE’ in the donation.
2. For every $5 so donated in a single donation, donators will receive one entry into the raffle.
3. Multiple entries and donations are permitted.
4. The reading raffle is open to everyone aged 18 and up, staff members inclusive.
5. The reading raffle closes at midnight, US Eastern Time, on the Monday prior to the final reading.
6. After the final reading, Lusipurr will draw at random a winner from all of the raffle entries.
7. Winners will be contacted by e-mail.
8. A valid mailing address is required from the winner. If the winner does not respond within thirty days, another drawing will take place to select a new winner (and so on).
9. Entrants who donate more than $5 will ALSO be entered into the drawing at year’s-end for a free, new game on Amazon or Steam valued at up to $60 US.
10. Non-staff raffle entrants who do not win any other 2014 raffles or drawings will be entered into two runner-up drawings for Lusipurr’s copies of A Confederacy of Dunces and Candide.

Good luck!

27 comments on “TSM Episode 287: Neither Rhyme nor Reason”

  1. The first raffle tickets have gone to Dancing Matt! So, I will be sending out some books!

    Here’s a bit of background into the idea of the Reading Raffle (I can fly anywherrrreeee….)

    Our original plan was to use the raffle tickets as a reward for referring readers. Then we realised that this would be open to massive fraud. We thought about using them for comments, but because we allow multiple posts and repeat posts, and because posting is available for 90 days on an article, that wasn’t workable either.

    So, we ended up deciding that with so many people donating, it seemed a shame that only one should get something. So here’s a way to get another crack at something else with a donation, rather than just the single chance at year’s end for the big prize.

    Ultimately, we’d like to give away as many things as possible. We have a bunch of unused Steam codes, too, so we may also be handing those out (if they still work).

  2. Another update:

    After next week’s Lusi vs. Bup No. 3, I’ll begin the first of my three Poetical Reviews. They will be presented on the podcast (with a text version accompanying the podcast post), one per week, and the plan so far is:

    1. The Legend of Zelda (NES)
    2. Paper Mario: Sticker Star (3DS)
    3. TBA Kirby Title

    We will then begin our feature playthrough of Vagrant Story and our reading of Interview. Once these are completed (and once I have completed the onerous/discouraging/terrifying/pleasesendhelp Comprehensives), I will review Eternal Sonata, and then Xenogears, in a standard long-form feature review for the site.

  3. Info Blast Devises a Plot to Destroy the Super Friends

    This week’s panel
    New Ethos
    Old Mel
    Current Lusipurr
    Also featuring:
    Alternate Timeline Bup

    Donators
    Cumulative total record holder: Imitanis
    Single Donation record holder: Imitanis

    Donators eligible for drawing:
    Greg H.
    John V.
    Matthew D.
    John M.
    Brett W.
    Aram Z.
    Peter V.
    Billy B.
    Les E.
    Martin B.
    Jeremy V.
    Simon H.

    Reading Raffle:
    See Rules in Podcast post at top.

    Hiring Drive
    If there’s a post on the site for this I couldn’t find it. It should be a feature.

    Lusi V. Bup
    Peter Molyneux
    Ah, the king of the over promise. I don’t think I’ve played a single one of his games. He was at PAX last year as the keynote and instead of using his hour to talk about the games industry and give insight he used it to hock Godus, which looked generic and boring.

    Bitcoin”
    I think it’ll be a while before crypto-currencies catch on. Only a small handful of places take them as payment currently and there will need to be a much higher adoption rate before people start investing in Doge Coin, or bitcoin or whatever.

    David Cage
    I haven’t played any of this guy’s games either, but from what I’ve heard they all sound more like slightly playable movies than they are video games, which doesn’t appeal to me.

    Phillips CD-i
    I’m not sure what the disagreement is here. Doesn’t pretty much everyone agree that the CD-i games were garbage?

    Fall Playthrough
    Vagrant Story
    I think I might get this on PSN to play for this event. It looked amusing when I read about it before.

    Hype and Go Seek
    “One of the most unique and promising RPG this year.” “Packed with stunning anime sequences and 12 hours of interactive voice dialogue.” “Explore a fully realized world full of adventure”
    Answer

    Musical Interlude
    Piano Concerto in A Minor by Edvard Grieg
    I got it this week.

    Cricket
    England Loses to India something something ODI

    Cricket Formats
    Test: Play until both teams complete innings or for 5 days
    ODI: 50 overs per side.
    T20: Same as ODI but 20 overs

    Chrono Trigger Sequel
    That would have been neat. Chrono Trigger is a great game.

    Nintendo Layoffs
    Expected.

    Scaramanga 3DS
    Interesting. If they can convince me that the new nub adds to games or if they make some games that look awesome and require it then I might snag my 3rd 3DS. I had 3 DSs so this wouldn’t be that different.

    3DS Filter
    This is a silly way of going about this, but I see why they’re doing it.

    Nintendo: Casual Gamers Pathetic
    I found a link that is not Kotaku. You’re welcome.

    Imitanis Literature Corner
    The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
    I love the clever use of language in this book.
    “It goes without saying” is gold.

    Imitanis Gaming Moment
    The Promised PAX D&D session recap:
    This week I played D&D 4E at PAX Prime. The setting that we play in for PAX (which I have named EverDusk) is a world that was taken over by an Evil Overlord 1000 years ago. Evil is legal but heavily regulated (The general population is Lawful Evil) and, since The Overlord has spent the better part of the millennium constructing a bureaucracy to manage the planet, the mountain of paperwork for nearly any such activity is monstrous. The main city of the setting (referred to only as “The Capital”) is a kind of grungy semi-magical post-Victorian metropolis. There are many manners of rapid conveyance about the city such as floating cabs and some sort of vaguely-described railway system. Most of the population lives in massive high rises and spends most of their days serving out their mandatory toil hours. Some, however, are nobility and have large mansions and estates throughout The Capital. These people are descendants of some who assisted The Overlord in his ascension and retain some knowledge of his secrets. They are therefore tolerated by The Overlord, lest they share information that could lead to unrest. The planet is already a huge pain to manage and he doesn’t need pesky would-be heroes attempting (though hopelessly) to overthrow him. As part of his ascension The Overlord prevented planetary destruction from an increasingly hot sun by blotting it out almost entirely. Night and day no longer exist, only perpetual dusk, thus the name of the setting.

    This setting was designed by me to allow my players a bit more freedom without having to watch them murder every random villager that they come across just for kicks. I’ve run two previous campaigns with this group (one Good, one Evil) and they can be kind of awful people. Coming up with consequences for them behaving like dickheads in good campaigns can be a bit tedious, and having everything destroyed because they are evil is distracting, so I created a world where they can be Evil without totally derailing the setting. (Note: D&D 4E does not officially support Lawful Evil, so I had to use my own prerogative to create this alignment for this setting.) In order to prevent having some annoying Paladin or Cleric attempting to secretly do good I also removed all traditional deities from the setting. All Divine powers come from The Overlord, who may have killed or imprisoned the old gods as part of the ascension. The players have day jobs and only do adventuring in their off hours.

    Last year:
    The players were recruited by one of the lesser nobility to help him compete in a tournament to celebrate the 1000th anniversary of The Ascension. Most of the other nobles simply paid for hirelings to fight, but this lord had fallen on hard times and did not have the money to spare to pay mercenaries to throw their lives away in the tournament. They managed to win the tournament and their final match was against a team called The Revengers, a D&D parody of The Avengers featuring a big green troll, a floating robotic centurion and a couple others. The players’ prize was the reward of performing a mission for The Overlord, earning some small respect if completed. Their task was to go to The Bottomless Pit Of Infinite Torture to find out why people were returning from it. The torture isn’t infinite, nor the pit bottomless if those thrown in are able to leave. Due to his agreement with the demons managing the pit, The Overlord was not allowed to approach the pit in person, thus the need for servants of reasonable strength to deal with the demons. After dealing with pesky middle management demons they managed to meet with the head and got the problem resolved. They were rewarded for success with the contents of any one chest in The Overlord’s treasury. One player (a pixie warlock dock worker) obtained several magical pets (who played some part in The Ascension) and the other (a dragonborn paladin accountant) chose a chest full of astral diamonds. For the unfamiliar, 1 astral diamond is worth about 10,000 Gold pieces. He took a bag of holding filled to the brim with them, essentially becoming economy-breaking-ly wealthy.

    In the intervening time:
    I asked the players what their characters had been up to in the year since the tournament. They decided that they had stayed mostly out of the spotlight and started up an underground (figuratively and literally) beast fighting ring under a Sushi shop named Clarn’s Clams, financed by the wealth of the accountant.

    This year:
    The lord who hired them in the previous year came into their establishment to bring them news that some of the tournament paperwork from the previous year had been misfiled and that they would have to fight against the challengers who were improperly excluded. The list of challengers included a team known as The Tyranny League (Obviously a parallel for the Justice League in a nod to the previous year’s tournament), who are known throughout the world for being exceptionally good fighters. I presented the players with 3 options:
    1) Fight in the tournament with terrible odds
    2) Attempt to steal or destroy The Tyranny League’s entry paperwork before they can file it.
    3) Assault the Central Paperwork Vault and attempt to steal or destroy the tournament paperwork.

    They decided to take a 4th option which, as I’ve addressed in prior blasts, I really enjoy as a DM because it keeps me on my toes. They wanted to set a trap for as many members of the League as possible to remove them from competition before the tournament. I decided that I would give them 30 minutes to devise and write down their plan in secret, which I would react to as they read it back to me. This is a trick I’ve been holding in my toolbox for quite a while and they loved it. It’s a semi-reversal of the DM-Player relationship and if you trust your players enough then it is a very interesting way to change up the game dynamic for a bit. Most DMs employ this kind of idea in heist situations where they provide the players a set amount of information about a location and then leave them to plan their job, but I decided that this would be as good a time as any to give it a shot. I was keen to see what lawful evil characters with nearly infinite funds and limited time would plan.

    They decided to use a forged “Incitement of Tyranny” form to lure the League to an apartment building which they had purchased and rigged with traps (an acid pit, poisoned crossbows, and explosives to bring the building down). I allowed them to take out the parallel versions of The Flash and Green Lantern using these traps while the parallel Superman lived with substantial injury. It is important to note that these parallel heroes are significantly less powerful than their comic or even animated counterparts in order for them to fit into the D&D numbers. Since they had done a good job, but I wouldn’t feel like a competent DM without making them fight at least a little, I attacked them with parallel versions of Green Arrow, Black Canary and Batman outside of the building as they made their escape. I chose these three as some of the more recognizable yet more street-level JLA members which they might actually be able to fight. Since they decided not to enlist the help of the lord who presented them the news (who was the only member with healing powers), it was a difficult fight and they barely eked out a victory.

    One of them managed to steal a small booklet from one of the Tyranny League members and found that it depicted sigils representing several of the old gods. I left this as a hook for future adventures since the fighting parallel heroes thing is getting a bit tired after using it twice and it could be interesting to explore the potential return of the old gods.

    I won’t have more D&D next week, but may the week after that. Expect more board game coverage in the mean time.
    Happy Rolling Info Blasters!

    Twitch

    Event Calendar

  4. @DiceCommander:

    It should be a feature.
    You’re quite right. Not only should it be; it will be! (Next weekend.)

    instead of using his hour to talk about the games industry and give insight he used it to hock Godus, which looked generic and boring
    The man is now, quite literally, just a huckster. Godus is free on iOS. I have ‘played’ it: it is both generic and boring, so your assessment is spot-on.

    it’ll be a while before crypto-currencies catch on
    If at all. Like all internet-fad-driven things, interest wanes and use falls off.

    Doesn’t pretty much everyone agree that the CD-i games were garbage
    Come now, m’boy, have you played the third game in the CD-i Trilogy? It might be wonderful!
    (It’s not.)

    It looked amusing when I read about it before.
    In the French sense of J’amuse me? It’s not a ‘funny’ game–quite the opposite. It is deadly serious and in earnest: written by Final Fantasy Tactics veterans, and occupying a universe very much like that: political scheming, dark dealings, and the hints of a terrible supernatural horror behind everything. But even darker, as the entire thing takes place in a dark, claustrophobic dungeon, where the player is endlessly oppressed by the sense of his own remoteness from aid or succour.

    I got it this week.
    Well done!

    That would have been neat.
    Indeed. Disappointing indeed. I suppose we’ll have to satisfy ourselves with Radical Dreamers and Chrono Cross. ;.;

    if they make some games that look awesome and require it then I might snag my 3rd 3DS
    They’ve announced that Xenoblade Chronicles will require the New! 3DS, so I expect we might see some other Wii ports as well.

    I found a link that is not Kotaku.
    SEE HOW HARD THAT WAS, MEL? SEE HOW HARD!?

    I love the clever use of language in this book.
    You could win it!

    The setting that we play in for PAX (which I have named EverDusk)
    I approve of this setting. It sounds brilliant.

    (Note: D&D 4E does not officially support Lawful Evil, so I had to use my own prerogative to create this alignment for this setting.)
    It doesn’t? Wow, it’s even shittier than my read-through of it gave me to believe, and I thought it was very shitty indeed. Why aren’t you guys using Pathfinder instead?

    Obviously a parallel for the Justice League
    The what now?

    They decided to take a 4th option which, as I’ve addressed in prior blasts, I really enjoy as a DM
    You are too kind. PUNISH for going off the rails. PUNISH PUNISH PUNISH. YOU HAVE STEPPED OUTSIDE OF THE RANGE OF THE URN! SUFFER! SUFFER UNTIL DEATH!

    sigils representing several of the old gods
    Like who? Ashura and Baal? Or made-up old gods, like George and Gracie, Fred and Ginger, Morecambe and Wise…

    Expect more board game coverage in the mean time.
    But we prefer D&D!

  5. @Lusi:
    “It doesn’t? Wow, it’s even shittier than my read-through of it gave me to believe, and I thought it was very shitty indeed. Why aren’t you guys using Pathfinder instead?”
    Most of my group started playing D&D when the essentials red box came out in 2011. This was an intro game for 4e and was $15 for everything we needed to get started and test the game out. When we decided to continue to run the game after finishing that adventure they wanted to continue to play 4e because they’d just learned the rules for it and I agreed to run 4e because the books were all still available as that was the current edition. We continue to play 4e for those same reasons really. We don’t need to learn a new rules set (Pathfinder may be 3.5 essentially re-skinned, but I’m the only one in the group that ever played 3.5, and then not very much) and we all own the books for 4e. There are a lot of problems with 4e, but most of the time I can mitigate those problems by making changes as a DM.

    “You are too kind. PUNISH for going off the rails. PUNISH PUNISH PUNISH. YOU HAVE STEPPED OUTSIDE OF THE RANGE OF THE URN! SUFFER! SUFFER UNTIL DEATH!”
    Sometimes that’s the right reaction, like when the players leave an obvious adventure path to do something stupid or unrelated, but in this case they came up with a pretty reasonable solution to their problem that I hadn’t thought of myself. If they’re going off the rails to ignore a task I’ve presented then that’s bad and probably means I’ve failed to provide a good hook, but if they’re doing something different than presented because it’s a plausible alternate solution to the problem then that’s good and should be rewarded. I want players to try and outsmart me if they can. That makes things exciting. I find tabletop RPGs to be the most fun when there is a back and forth between the players and GM. If I’m just writing stories for them to walk through, then I might as well write a book and they might as well play video games because we’re not interacting at all.

    “Like who? Ashura and Baal?”
    I didn’t use those specifically, but I did include Lolth, Pelor, Kord, Tiamat, and Bahamut if you’re familiar with those names.

  6. “But we prefer D&D!”
    I like it too, but board games don’t require as much prep-time or play time, so they are often the better choice for weekend gaming with my group.

  7. I didn’t use those specifically, but I did include Lolth, Pelor, Kord, Tiamat, and Bahamut if you’re familiar with those names.

    I am. Going Eastern, I see.

    You should also include one named Roger. Just because.

  8. I always reserve the right in my D&D games to alter the setting. For example, the campaign that I run currently has almost no arcane magic. I could very well use this discretion to include a god named Roger. It might actually be appropriate in EverDusk because of the kind of less serious nature of that setting.

    I’m not sure what going Eastern means though.

  9. @DiceAdmiral: Looking beyond the standard, classical Western array of mythological sources.

  10. @Mel
    I’m glad that someone is actually looking at those. I had the feeling that no one really did.

  11. Only enough to replace whatever I’ve assigned you with a picture of a cat, even when I give you Huskies.

  12. Is that like a thing Thor says all the time? I wouldn’t know because I feel like Thor has the personality of a stale unsliced loaf of bread.

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