Deviant Paradigm: Of The Wolf Within
Random garbage. Remarks about the comic Deviant Paradigm, notes about my life, comments about politics. This is my place to rant and rave. Fear this, World! FEAR IT!


Nickname: Avvy
Age: 24
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Technomancer and troubleshooter by trade. Programmer by choice. Creator of Deviant Paradigm, somewhat by accident.

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Sunday, March 12, 2006

Somewhere Between a Couch and a Haunted House
Okay, here's what's been up since I last posted. Lots of work and schoolwork. Since I got a laptop to do my work on, I get to do work all the time. How wonderful. And since everyone suddenly started using the software, it suddenly appeared to have 1.21 gojillion bugs in it...And my efforts to hurriedly fix them, since I don't have adequate time or information for testing, just create different bugs. Yay.

Senior thesis has me nearly doomed. I think that's all that's needed to say concerning that.

I should finally get my bloody couch next week, that is, the 22nd. Assuming of course that the delivery people can actually find the residence hall. I'll post images as soon as it's in the room.

Imperian deserves its own post. I won't get around to it tonight, which means you might not get one at all, but enough things have been happening to deserve a separate post.

And we finally began the Haunted House mod in Spycraft last night, after much ado. And some yelling on my part. Forgive the venting, but honestly, my players need to figure it out: I've been running this game for over a year now. If you want to come late without a very good reason, I can and will write you completely out of the campaign. I don't have a shortage of people who'd be willing to play if I had open slots. It's one thing if something comes up and you can't make it. I prefer you to call and tell me, but even if you don't, as long as it's something you couldn't get out of that holds higher presidence (work, school, or family stuff mostly), that's fine. I've got no problem with you coming late or not at all if its unavoidable, especially if you let me know ahead of time. But this crap where you're downstairs playing another game? You know for a fact that I've been trying to get the Spycraft game started as close to 8PM as possible for the past year. I won't believe objections to the contrary because I know you're not retarded. I think I finally made it clear that they have to choose. I will not have people blow me off for a startup game of D&D that they've played for less than a month. If you want to do that, fine -- but you won't be blowing me off anymore because you won't be playing with me anymore. I'm not very sympathetic here. In fact, I'm being a downright bastard. I try to put a lot into this game. The least my players can do is actually dedicate their time. It's not as if I didn't work bloody hard to get a time everybody could play. I don't know if they've forgotten what it's like to GM a decent game or what, but they should know that I don't consider this behavior acceptable -- and neither do the other players. We started without some of them this time, because the other half of the players were sick to death of waiting. So I hope they get it into their heads. Not only are they wasting my incredibly valuable time (you want to waste it, fine, I'm paid $9.50 an hour, get your pocketbooks out), but they are wasting the time of the other half of the players. And none of us want to stand for it. From the sound of things, they've figured that out and gotten it worked through, after I shouted at them last week.

But anyway, they've geared up for it. I'm looking forward to this mod, since it's almost all random events. I have no real idea how things are going to turn out either. I know the basic story, and I'm working up the house itself, but the exact events are a mystery to even me. Sure, it's going to be hard. But it should also end up being a gas.


  • At 11:44 PM, March 12, 2006, Blogger Sapph said…

    Wiggy, Mal and myself have appologized for being late however, you of all people should know that the length of a combat in a role playing game is very unpredictable. We started that fight well before 7:30 and were STILL fighting the bastard when Jason and Jaime came down at like 9:30. We were all doing our best to move comabat along quickly, but it wasn't happening.

    We've asked them to play their other campaign on Firdays to avoid conflicts between the two games, but in all honesty I think you were out of line for getting so pissed at us for being late to a briefing and a gear up. A mission is one thing, but a session where we get talked at and then oggle shiny guns? C'mon. And don't even try to tell me that we would have started the mission if we'd been on time because you and I know that we would have gone straight to the bar after we were done.

    Honestly, if forced to make a choice, I'd rather play Planescape then Spycraft. Why? Because we do this thing called leveling. You remember leveling, right? I understand that because of gear up and things of this nature spycraft missions just take longer then in D&D, but honestly, it's been over a year, I haven't missed a single session and I'm level 5. We've been playing planescape for a couple months and I'm level 13. Spycraft is fun and I enjoy planning future levels with my character, but we're going at a snails pace for leveling. I've given up even looking 5 levels ahead anymore because that's a couple years away in my mind. I get that the point of the game isn't to gain levels, but that should be a part of it more then once every other month. I'm getting bored with it. Nothing against you, the campaign or anything, I know you're trying to keep us from becoming ubber agents too quickly, but at the same time, a 5 levels per 2 year ratio might be going a little over board. It's generally a bad sign when your players are surprised that they leveled isn't it?

    Case in point: The Haunted House. While cool, this means a whole freaking month before we get any experience which probably won't be any higher then any of our other missions given that it's only a code red. I understand that your busy and that you spent a lot of planning this whole thing out but honestly, a four parter? And before any of us are even high enough to take a presige class? Seriously man, at least let us get to some of our cooler abilities before you basically declare no experience for a month. I've forgotten all of the things that fixers get because it's been that long since I've had to look at that section of the book. When did we hit level 5? Ocober? Maaaybe November? 4 months, let alone 5 is far too long to be stuck at a single level.


    1. To cut down on the time it takes to gear up I suggest Emailing everyone the briefing by wednesday at the earliest. Since the only people that don't live in Omaha have books most of the gearing up can be done before the Friday session. Either via email or at the Friday session any questions pertaining to the briefing can be adressed and final gear prep can be done. This would also allow you to give us info from our respective orginizations seperately.

    This option would, however, mean that you would have to have the mission planned out before thursday night. Though personally I think if your time is stretched that thin then you should probably just put the game on hold. No one would hold it against you.

    2. If option 1 is not a viable solution then, given the amount of time it takes to complete a mission, experience gain should be increased. The amout of experience we've been getting hasn't been going up very much and the amout of a experience needed per level has been. Gaining 1 to 2 levels a month wouldn't break the game. Hell, as far as I knew that's how it was supposed to be.

    3. if options 1 and 2 are not viable solutions, and no other compromise can be reached, then I regretfully request you write me out of the game. I'm sorry, but I'm really just bored with the whole thing as it is now. There are entire sessions where we do virutally nothing. There are other sessions where two or three of us do a lot and the others just sit back and watch. The whole first two thirds of our last mission was Johnny and the Russian doing their computer stuff while the rest of us twiddled our thumbs. Two sessions of doing nothing. Then the mission and then another mission of nothing. At least with Planescape I'd be doing something each week. With spycraft I can pretty much count on having one to two missions of doing nothing but look at books. In short, I'm bored, I have other option that are, currently, more appealing to me so either things change or I leave. Since we've started the haunted house you've got over three weeks to figure out what, if anything, you're going to do.

  • At 11:55 PM, March 12, 2006, Blogger Sapph said…

    Ok, actually I stand corrected, our last level was in January. Not that this really changes anything, just noticed I was wrong.

  • At 12:22 AM, March 13, 2006, Blogger Avvy said…

    Well, let me address your points as they come. First, we ended the adventure then because YOU guys, my players, said you wanted to end it there. Wiggy particularly desired an early end because he had an early morning. So you might well have been inside -- that's impossible for me to say.

    As for experience, I grade experience largely on the time spent, not the class of the mission. And since I've never seen an experience chart, it's hard for me to make up numbers and keep it fair without any idea what the progression looks like.

    Something you should know about the briefings: I generally work out the objectives and a vague concept of the adventure well ahead of time. The briefings often get made up on the spot, based on the objectives I've worked out. How would I work Q&A time if I emailed you all the briefings, unless I worked it out ahead of time. And since I can't count on the people who OWN the books to LEVEL or REMAKE their characters ahead of time just so they can play, I can predict how many people will gear up before you guys start planning the mission. Two of you; who will do it once, mostly out of a sense of duty to the concept. You'll probably scrap most of the gear anyway. I listen to every one of you say "I haven't changed my gear since mission 3" and yet we still spend over an hour each time, working out the gear that "hasn't changed" in months. Do you want me to put a hard cap on the time, like Living does? I could do that. 20 minutes to gear up, starting the moment the briefing ends. Wait...That screws you over if you come in late. But it sure would get the game going sooner.

    I DO MY DAMNEDEST TO KEEP EVERYONE INVOLVED. But part of that is involving yourselves. I CANNOT anticipate your plans -- if I did that, it would be a Living mod. Offer me some suggestions! What would you LIKE to see in a mod? What can you do? What would you like to do? You, specifically, are the quintessential second-story man. You should be able to work yourself into virtually any plan. You're easy. Try being our wheelman. It's nearly impossible to actually get a decent chase in one of these mods. Goodness knows I try. If I'm boring you, go ahead, play something else. Better yet, run something and see if you gain some appreciation as to how hard it is to write a mod to keep seven or eight players entertained through the entire thing, despite the fact they have widely varying areas of interest and ability. With D&D, everybody gets into the "slay the enemies" pretty darn easily. The game is a dungeon crawl, and all the classes are geared to it. I have to work in a lot more variety to a Spycraft game. If you think I'm doing a bad job, or could improve, offer suggestions. And by suggestions, I mean, "What can I do to engage your character?" Or try running the game yourself and see how much work it is.

    Ask your Planescape GM how early on they've planned your current adventure. See if it's more than a couple days. If you want to see copies of the briefings ahead of time, I can go back to Living Spycraft. Then there's no problem with emailing out briefings. And it sure took a hell of a lot less creativity on my part.

    Honestly, I realize that you can't predict how long combat is going to take, but you are on my time at 8. Why even start combat at 7:30? Why did you start playing another game just before mine? This is a roleplaying game and we are telling a story together. I can only control the most basic part of the plot. All the details are up to you guys. If you don't write yourself into the details, I cannot. And if you're unhappy, I can't simply make it better without some help on your side.

  • At 10:36 AM, March 13, 2006, Blogger Avvy said…

    And for the record, so I don't seem like a dolt, you guys have been pulling essentially 500+ experience per session, and more lately. I based the experience rewards on what Mal and Luke told me would work well. They're the ones who've been through the books more than anyone else, and they never once told me I should increase the experience gain, so this is the first I've heard of it being insufficient.

    I have never played a character from level 1 to level 5 before, in any game, and I've played games for a period of a year or more too. Am I to be handing out experience like candy? Spycraft isn't designed for it. You don't GET epic levels like in D&D. At level 20, you retire.

  • At 10:44 AM, March 13, 2006, Blogger Avvy said…

    And another thing: Sapph, I've planned my side of nearly every mission to include the possibility of running infiltration -- specifically your character's bag of tricks. No, you guys pretty much have not ever done that infiltration, but I have almost always left the option open. If you can't get yourself worked into the plans developed by your teammates, what do you expect me to do about it? Is the Directorate supposed to say "And make sure you let the fixer break in this time?" That's what the stupid retrieval missions are all about!


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