TSM Episode 295: Vagrants and Vampires

Brad Pitt as Louis was terrible, although Christian Slater as David and Tom Cruise as Lestat were both surprisingly good. Antonio Banderas as Armand, however, was the worst casting decision in the history of film.

From the Cinematic Production of Interview with the Vampire

Download: Produced 2014.10.26

Confronted by a ledger sheet full of maths and sums, Lusipurr readies his slide rule and delivers some Consumer Advice, and SiliconNooB takes a holiday from inebriation to present more of the inane burblings that are symptomatic of Ubisoft’s Verbal Ebola.

16 comments on “TSM Episode 295: Vagrants and Vampires”

  1. Info Blast Raises Money for Sick Kids

    This week’s panel
    Silicon Noob
    Lusipurr
    Also featuring:
    Bup

    Consumer Advice
    Smash Wii U
    “Is it really that easy?”
    Heck no! The Virtual Console ‘supports’ 5 players on some of the Turbographics games and trying to get five controllers recognized was such a tremendous PITA and half of the time didn’t work at all. I can’t imagine that getting 8 going for this will be at all easy.

    I’m actually glad that the 3DS version doesn’t support 8 players. That would be obscenely crowded.

    The editing on this segment is great. Do you record it live and then edit it, or record it prior and play it over the call? I noticed that SN was able to respond to the feature, so he must have heard it.

    Fall Playthrough
    Now In Progress!
    I’ll be getting the PSN version.

    NEWS
    New Dungeon found in FFXIII

    Pokemon Puzzle Challenge and Pokemon TCG come to 3DS VC
    Who plays a Demo for pokemon anyways?

    John Richetello CEO Unity
    “Incredible fortune, which is what he’s being paid to do this”. -Lusi
    I chuckled aloud at that one.

    “Oculus supported by Unity”. I still don’t get the point of Oculus. It’s not even a consumer product yet. How do companies like this stay afloat?

    Dragon Age Inquisition ESRB
    Sounds like the Witcher, but poorly translated, with great respect.

    Team RPGamer always sets unrealistic Extra-Life goals. This is one of the reasons I left their team for my current one.
    “Not Enough to provide Smash” Correction Lusi: Extra Life provides the money to the hospitals to use as they see fit, which may include games, but this isn’t Child’s Play which explicitly provides games. It’s one of the major reasons that I love Extra-Life. It’s all well and good to keep kids distracted at the hospital, but who cares if they’re entertained if they can’t afford medical care in the first place?

    Ubisoft Linearity
    This is why people don’t like movies anymore, they’re so linear.

    Nintendo Job Listing
    “Low power chip means low energy consumption” -Lusi
    Thank you for clearing that up.

    Master Chief Collection Day 1 Download 20 gigs

    Bup Reads Wikipedia for 60s
    Looks like he couldn’t transition to the wiki this week.
    Super Bash Dudes

    Imitanis Literature Corner
    Interview With A Vampire by Anne Rice
    WHAT WAS THE CHANGE!? I MUST KNOW!
    This is very interesting so far. I’m intrigued. I’ll be awaiting future readings eagerly.

    Reading Raffle: I had 3 unwinning raffle tickets from last time. If I donate again would the tickets be cumulative for Interview?

    Imitanis Gaming Moment
    Extra-Life 2014! I raised $400 this year for Children’s Hospitals. I recieved a handfull of anonymous donations so if that was anyone from here then thanks! If you’d still like to donate you still can! CLICK HERE
    Over the last 4 years I’ve raised $1370 for sick kids and plan to continue in the future. It’s an excellent cause.

    As part of the 24 hours of gaming I played lots of board games and a small handful of video games, but best of all, I returned to D&D!

    When last we left our intrepid thieves adventurers, they had broken into a locked house, taken the only valuable thing that wasn’t bolted down and slain the occupants. They took some time to search the bodies to find out why these guys were still living in an apparently abandoned town which is sieged by the undead nightly. Instead they found a piece of parchment rolled up and sealed. They decided to break the seal even after learning that there was a spell on the paper. They weren’t fried by this action, but found a fairly innocuous love letter. The cleric (who is still wearing the stolen ruby amulet) has a strong background in languages and writing and saw that there was a code hidden in the message and decoded it, but didn’t understand the message. I hadn’t expected them to decode it so I had to make something up quickly and it ended up being a status report to and from people they haven’t met regarding some opperation that they don’t know about. They decided to leave town and were approached on the way out by some of the townsfolk who had hidden in the surrounding woods after their exodus from the town.
    As a side note, I still have not named this town, so if anyone has suggestions I’ll totally incorporate one if you give me something good. It is a pretty small town which acts mostly as a trading hub for surrounding farmers and other folks. It stands in the middle of a large clearing and is lead by an Elven Druid named Fellara who now lives in the woods with the remaining townsfolk, though she was injured in the escape.

    The players decided to follow the townsfolk back to their camp to help with their injured leader and maybe get some idea of what’s going on. On their way back, they decided to cut through the clearing so that they could make it there before nightfall. This proved to be pretty foolish as some large antlered birds called perytons Link Link flew by and scooped up the two npcs. They chased after and confronted two of the perytons and a large bear. During the few hours of game time the weather had progressively turned from an oddly chilly summer morning to a frighteningly cold afternoon and now it was beginning to snow. The bear, driven to atypical behavior by the weather attacks the players in an attempt to claim the bodies of the townspeople for hibernation sustenance. As the players are getting massacred by the creature, their wolf friend from earlier returned to help them fight it off. Here’s a picture of the game in action. As you can see, the wolf is a miniature and the rest of the players and monsters are cardboard tokens.

    I got a great reaction to pulling this piece out. One player said: “It’s not flat… It’s… It’s like an actual little wolf…wow!”. I guess he’d never considered using minis for D&D. The reason that only the wolf is a mini is that I’ve bought minis for all of the PCs and their companion wolf but I didn’t want to just dump them on the characters and decided to make their upgrade a plot point. The injured druid, it turns out, had met with their fleeing wolf and used her nature powers to upgrade the wolf. She showed up at the end of the fight, healed the bear, and stopped the fight.

    At this point I passed a note to the cleric telling her that she doesn’t feel cold in spite of the weather and that she thinks her companions might be jealous so not to share this information with them. The other players were pretty curious what it said and I’m interested to see if they begin to trust her less. I hope it gets interesting, because the plan is that the amulet that she stole is cursed and playing games with her mind. They eventually followed the druid back towards her camp. The players ended the night there, but had they continued she would have performed the upgrade for the players as well. This will wait until next time at which point the players will be beset by monsters who are also represented by minis. It won’t be this coming weekend, but we may return to D&D on the following weekend.

    *I’d like to refer to characters by name in the future so I’m going to post a run down of the characters in a separate comment below. This will help keep the Info Blast more readable this week and will allow for easier linking/reference to that content in later blasts when I wish to remind readers about who’s who.

    Imitanis? Travel Moment
    I travelled an hour to go to a fund-raising dinner. On drives my fiancé and I take turns driving or reading aloud. On the way down she started reading The Children of Men, which is pretty interesting. I’ve seen the movie and the book is different right out of the gate, which is interesting. Maybe this is more of a DiceAdmiral Literature corner. If that’s the case them I’m still slowly reading Making Money by Terry Pratchett, which is still great.

    Final Notes
    *I really appreciate the regularity of the content on this site. The podcast is here every Monday morning. It is incredibly frustrating to have to check back over and over waiting for something to be posted on other sites.
    *In regards to getting the word out, I know you refuse to generate ads, but do you have an opinion on having Lusipurr.com links in forum signatures or similar contexts if I were to want to set something like that up on my accounts?

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

    Donators eligible for end of year 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.

    There was no mention of specific donators this week, which I assume means that there were no new ones.

  2. DiceAdmiral’s D&D campaign Player Character Run-Down

    Arabella – Half-Elf Cleric of Pelor (Sun god) She’s good with language, terrified of statues, and wears a ruby amulet that she isn’t aware is cursed. She’s the most likely to choose a marginally ineffective action in combat because she’s run out of healing magic trying to keep the other characters from dying.

    Nardara – Dragonborn Paladin of Bahamut (Dragon god of Justice and Protection): She’s got high charisma and strength scores, but tends to ignore the former in preference of the later and likes to solve problems with her longsword and dragonbreath instead of her words, though both are equal in power. She likes to charge into battle instead of sticking near weaker allies and is often surprised when she’s unable to defend them from 8 squares away. She the most likely to be bleeding out during any given fight.

    Rekenin (Rek) – Wilden Invoker of Malora (Godess of Nature): Wilden are tree people (sort of) so Rek doesn’t need to eat and can plant himself in earth as opposed to sleeping most nights. He tends to be the most reserved and strategically minded of the characters, but is often too soft-spoken for his opinion to carry any weight. He’s the most likely to remain uninjured in a fight and the most likely to suggest talking a problem out over the use of force.

    Nokk (Wolfy) – Longtooth Shifter (Wolf) Ranger: I say wolf, because this is the PCs companion character. 3 PCs is usually not enough to handle encounters without radically changing the monster layout, so they needed help. The problem is that most of the companions from the Dungeon Master resources do not make great silent allies. I needed a character that would not end up being a DM proxy whom the players would ask for help. The best way to accomplish that was to make him incapable of speech. Our group is unlikely to gain a 4th PC anytime soon, so I also needed a way to make the companion scale with the PCS. I used the character building tools to make a ranger and the one of the players runs the wolf’s actions now based on a second character sheet. The on-paper result is kind of goofy (the wolf has two broadswords mechanically), but if you ignore the mechanics of it then he works as a wolf companion pretty well (Rangers have hunting related powers and hit hard and fast). The interesting thing about this wolf, from a story perspective is that we originally did have 4 PCs but one of our players left and I had to cover his absences. The PCs don’t know what happened to their companion (a monk named Nokk) but it turns out that their friend was transformed into this wolf, whom they found very near where their friend magically vanished (At this point the PCS have not yet put 2 and 2 together). The wolf also being named Nokk was their choice as a joke about replacing the player who left, but I also find it highly amusing given the true nature of their companion. Life imitates art I guess.

  3. The editing on this segment is great. Do you record it live and then edit it, or record it prior and play it over the call? I noticed that SN was able to respond to the feature, so he must have heard it.

    Good question! The segment is recorded live, but without music/effects. Those are added in post-production. So, the panelists hear me speaking the content, but they don’t hear anything else.

    I’ll be getting the PSN version.
    Glad to hear you’ll be joining us; I’m starting a file in just a few minutes.

    I still don’t get the point of Oculus. It’s not even a consumer product yet. How do companies like this stay afloat?
    Venture capitalists, speculators, hype, and pyramidical investment. The 21st century is the era of the foundationless enterprise. People invest a tonne of money into something based purely on its popularity (which, often, they are themselves generating), and hope to cash out when it’s selling high–but before the entire thing implodes.

    This is why people don’t like movies anymore, they’re so linear.
    Isn’t it far easier to follow when everything happens out-of-order or at once or not at all? Isn’t that awesome? It is awesome!

    Extra Life provides the money to the hospitals to use as they see fit, which may include games, but this isn’t Child’s Play which explicitly provides games.
    Quite right: thank you for clarifying.

    I’m intrigued. I’ll be awaiting future readings eagerly.
    I’m actually very interested in listener reception to this text. Our previous three readings were all comedic satires. Now, we’re doing a psychological drama. If it works (or doesn’t), I want to know!

    Reading Raffle: I had 3 unwinning raffle tickets from last time. If I donate again would the tickets be cumulative for Interview?
    Your unwinning raffle tickets from Phantom will not carry over to Interview, but they will carry over to Candide and Confederacy if you don’t win the game of the year drawing. If you win the game of the year drawing, then all of your unwinning tickets go poof!

    If you do a Reading Raffle entry for Interview, and don’t win that either, those tickets will join the other unwinning raffle tickets from Phantom, with the same rules as above.

    (Basically our goal is structuring it in this complicated and baffling way was to ensure we had as many winners as possible, so that everyone would have a high chance of getting something.)

    As a side note, I still have not named this town, so if anyone has suggestions I’ll totally incorporate one if you give me something good
    Abandonburg. It should be faintly German, and it should have a large and prominent gate: the Abandonburg Gate.

    I didn’t want to just dump them on the characters and decided to make their upgrade a plot point
    Make them get a Rat Tail. This is a necessary part of all upgrade plots in every RPG ever by LAW. I will enforce it, if necessary.

    I’m still slowly reading Making Money by Terry Pratchett, which is still great
    Pratchett is a man of brilliant wit, and gets far less credit than he deserves in reading circles.

    In regards to getting the word out, I know you refuse to generate ads, but do you have an opinion on having Lusipurr.com links in forum signatures or similar contexts if I were to want to set something like that up on my accounts?
    We do have an opinion: we positively encourage this. Word of mouth contact of this sort is PRECISELY what we love most.

    My objection to advertising has to do with the pervasiveness and the corporatisation of it–where money, not quality or value, determines how and whether something is advertised. When ordinary people spread the word and say, “Hey, I like this thing, maybe you’ll like it, too,” they are doing so because 1) they have experienced a thing and like it, and 2) they think someone else might like it, too. So the motivation there is simply to spread enjoyment, not to profit monetarily. And, it’s not pervasive/oppressive/manipulative, so that’s avoided, as well!

    What curious names your RPG characters have. No one named Edward or Robert or James? Everyone has a fantastical name!

    HUGE info blast this week. It might be a record…

  4. “The segment is recorded live, but without music/effects. Those are added in post-production.”
    That makes sense. It’s probably a lot easier to not have to record several different things and splice them together.

    “Glad to hear you’ll be joining us”
    I’m looking forward to it, but I may not be able to start for several days. Since we’re not doing checkpoints how are we handling spoilers for those of us new to the story?

    “(Basically our goal is structuring it in this complicated and baffling way was to ensure we had as many winners as possible, so that everyone would have a high chance of getting something.)”
    I guess that makes sense. I’ll just have to donate again if I want a shot at this one.

    “Abandonburg. It should be faintly German, and it should have a large and prominent gate: the Abandonburg Gate.”
    That’s a bit too on-the-nose for the tone of the game, but I do like the idea of giving the architecture a bit more personality. I suspect that the PCs may come to think of this as a hometown of sorts and it would be nice to have the town not be terribly dull.

    “Make them get a Rat Tail.”
    I think I’m going to do something like this: As the middle of night approaches the camp is beset by undead that were not heard approaching because of the snow. Several of the undead are represented by miniatures which the PCs either A: Cannot harm or B: Do little damage. They will have to make it across the camp and back to get some supply or something for Fellara’s spell, at which point they will be upgraded and fully capable of dealing with the monsters. I also like the idea of having to defend her while she prepares the spell. Either sounds neat. Maybe a rat tail will be a component of the spell/potion.

    ” Pratchett is a man of brilliant wit, and gets far less credit than he deserves in reading circles.”
    I agree. I propose Going Postal for the literature corner. I’d love to hear your voice for Ms. Dearheart.

    “We do have an opinion: we positively encourage this.”
    Cool. I’m not graphic designer, but I might be able to cobble something together. Can I just use a re-scaled copy of the site banner?
    *BTW: I’ve just noticed that the tagline for the site has changed. When did that happen?

    “What curious names your RPG characters have. No one named Edward or Robert or James? Everyone has a fantastical name!”
    I actively discourage boring, normal, or stolen names. I’m pretty happy with their choices in that category, though I’m having to push for a bit more RP. The cleric reading the decoded letter (which I just wrote on a piece of paper for her) did so slowly and stutteringly (not a word?), which I thought was great, but one of the other players said “Why are you reading so slow?”, not realizing that she was role playing :p They need some practice. Maybe they’ll get it if we stop taking months long breaks between sessions.

    “HUGE info blast this week. It might be a record…”
    D&D recaps are always super long. If you count the character rundown then this might be close, but I think that the PAX D&D recap might have been longer, or maybe the week I covered 4 board games.

    *Random note:
    Is there any way that you can change the site style so that links are more obvious? They are nearly invisible when compared to regular text.

  5. I looked at the file size of the Info Blast HTML files and, if you include the character run-down then this is the largest IB by 2kb coming in at 13. I’m sure that at least a little bit of that is language markup so it may be pretty close to the PAX recap (12 kb).

  6. @DiceAdmiral:

    I agree. I propose Going Postal for the literature corner. I’d love to hear your voice for Ms. Dearheart.
    That was the runner-up for this reading. It lost solely because Halloween & a New Anne Rice book made Interview the more timely choice. So, perhaps it will be the next book!

    Cool. I’m not graphic designer, but I might be able to cobble something together. Can I just use a re-scaled copy of the site banner?
    Well, we’d suggest that you do something else, simply because scaling the banner won’t look very good, and might seem to imply that you are a staff member (or the owner) rather than a reader. We used to have a little ‘creative corner’ section of the site, where people could show off their different, creative approaches to word-of-mouth advertising, but it didn’t get enough use to justify keeping it up. If you do come up with something neat, though, let us know and we may bring it up on the podcast or use it as a podcast picture to show people what you’re doing.

    *BTW: I’ve just noticed that the tagline for the site has changed. When did that happen?
    It’s always been this way! ;)

    I actively discourage boring, normal, or stolen names.
    I’m the other way: I want them to be as realistic and believeable as possible, so my characters have traditionally had rather ordinary names. One of my more notorious characters died (slowly, and painfully) of stomach cancer, in fact–which rather shows my approach in a nutshell.

    “Why are you reading so slow?”, not realizing that she was role playing
    PUNISH! PUNISH!!!

    *Random note:
    Is there any way that you can change the site style so that links are more obvious? They are nearly invisible when compared to regular text.

    Yes, there is, but I will need a *long* time to work through our coding to find out where that is, seeing as I didn’t write the code and it is probably called something juvenile and stupid like ‘gangsta fo-mat’. I intend to do this, however, because it is something that I find annoying as well. In the meantime, I suggest doing what I do, which is manually underlining links.

  7. Lusi, you can’t buy a pre-paid card by check at any store I know of. If you must needs use old methods of payment to get your copy of Vagrant Story (if, say, your grandmother is buying it for you) then she’ll probably have to scoot her way to a local retro games shop and buy a PS1 physical copy.

  8. Lusi, you can’t buy a pre-paid card by check at any store I know of.
    Bzzzt. Wrong again, Mel! You can buy pre-paid cards by cheque at Meijer, which is a chain of department stores that exists in Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana. You can probably also do so at Best Buy, which also accepts cheques. When I used to work at GameStop, people could purchase pre-paid cards by cheque–so, unless they’ve stopped accepting cheques (and I’m pretty sure they haven’t), that’s likely still the case as well.

  9. I didn’t know of Meijer.

    UnBzzzt

    Maybe it’s some stupid New Jersey retail law. We have a lot of those here.

  10. You may not Unbzzt. I alone possess the power of Bzzt and Unbzzt. Return to your cell!

  11. “That was the runner-up for this reading.”
    That’s good. Are you planning on maintaining the lit corner as a regular feature?
    “If you do come up with something neat, though, let us know and we may bring it up on the podcast or use it as a podcast picture to show people what you’re doing.”
    Is there a possiblity that you might make some of the site materials available? It would make it a lot easier if I had the seal or something like that to work from.

    “I’m the other way: I want them to be as realistic and believeable as possible, so my characters have traditionally had rather ordinary names.”
    My logic was that if the players chose names that they had a point of reference for then they were less likely to create original characters with their own characteristics and motivations.

    “Yes, there is,… because it is something that I find annoying as well. In the meantime, I suggest doing what I do, which is manually underlining links.”
    I’m glad to hear that. I will add underlines to my link format. I made a similar request at CatFancy back in the day in regards to visited links being the same as the text color and to my best knowledge it’s still the same way years later (I just checked and it is).

  12. Are you planning on maintaining the lit corner as a regular feature?
    Absolutely, until we change our minds!

    Is there a possiblity that you might make some of the site materials available?
    The one we link for the podcast is located here.

    My logic was that if the players chose names that they had a point of reference for then they were less likely to create original characters with their own characteristics and motivations.
    Every seemingly original concept is derived from already-experienced knowledge. There’s no way to create something ‘original’ in the sense you are implying. Originality as perceived is actually just a (possibly) novel combination of concepts that are taken from other extant things. You might as well deny them the ability to choose from genders, attitudes, clothing styles, weapons, or languages that exist in the real world. Given that’s the case, blocking off names seems a bit misguided–not to mention petty.

    I will add that the best characters I’ve ever RPed with over the course of more than twenty years now–the most inventive, immersive, believeable–have had ordinary names like Chris and John (and the worst have had over-the-top fantasy names, as a rule). There are a LOT of reasons why this is the case. If you think about it, you might be able to figure some of them out for yourself! ;)

  13. I’m pretty sure that I’ve found what you need to change. You’ll want to look in
    https://thedaytonight.com/wp-content/themes/LusipurrComTheme/style.css
    On lines 279-293 you’ll find the style that sets the link colors. You’ll just need to look up some more obvious colors and plug them in there. The first is for unvisited links and the other two are tagged hover and visited, which are obvious. I hope that saves you some time. You css file actually looks pretty clean aside from some references to ‘jet-pack’ which I’m inclined to believe is a library package of some sort.

  14. @DiceAdmiral: There’s actually a bit more to it than playing with the theme CSS–there’s some backend WordPress stuff not stored in our specific theme css that needs to be adjusted to ensure uniformity across the site. I appreciate the help and I will get to it–really–when I have the time to do it properly.

    And Jetpack is a WordPress module which provides a lot of the plugins that make the site work.

  15. “Every seemingly original concept is derived from already-experienced knowledge. There’s no way to create something ‘original’ in the sense you are implying. Originality as perceived is actually just a (possibly) novel combination of concepts that are taken from other extant things. … Given that’s the case, blocking off names seems a bit misguided–not to mention petty.”

    That’s taking it a bit far. Having players name their own characters with something they thought of does two great things before we’ve even started playing. 1: It gives the players a sense of ownership over their characters. 2: Players are less likely to make a carbon copy of something they’re familiar with. I fully understand that players will draw inspiration from sources that they’re familiar with regardless of what I do or don’t “block” or “deny” (Words which I did not use by the way. I almost never outright ban anything because things that push the rules usually make the game more interesting).

    If a player names their character Apollo (as I’ve seen before) then immediately there are expectations based on that and the player is more likely to draw on those than actively think of what their character might do.

    “You might as well deny them the ability to choose from genders, attitudes, clothing styles, weapons, or languages that exist in the real world.”
    This is actually the exact opposite of what this directive is designed to achieve. A player naming their character after something they’ve seen is likely to automatically ascribe these attributes based on that without thinking about who they really want their character to be. I’m trying to get the players to put a little thought into their characters and the name is the entry point for many characters (as far as RP goes anyways as names are often picked after race and class). I want to put a few obstacles in the way of lazy character concepts.

    Two points
    1) No name is banned so long as it makes sense and the player has put some thought into it (the later actually being capable of overriding the former).
    2) I’m DMing for 3 (was 4) first time RPers and these are the players most likely to pull something verbatim from existing material. You want to provide extra structure for this kind of players as they’re as much learning to RP as actually doing it.

    “I will add that the best characters I’ve ever RPed with over the course of more than twenty years now–the most inventive, immersive, believeable–have had ordinary names like Chris and John”
    I’ve never seen that kind of thoughtfulness from a first time RPer (even when I don’t ask players to try to come up with original names), I wish I had.

    I think this is more a difference is RP philosophy than a case of right/wrong, but it looks like you think otherwise.

  16. I think this is more a difference is RP philosophy than a case of right/wrong, but it looks like you think otherwise.

    Yes, because I don’t buy into the notion that there is only one valid (or even *most* valid) style of creativity, or only one type of approach that results in thoughtful and innovative (or even *useful*) development. So the restrictions and discouragements you’re identifying seem to me to be symptomatic of something that I find logically unsound. So: Yes.

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