Phaedrus' Street Crew
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Everything posted by pkirkner

  1. Project Eternity, Obsidian's Isometric Fantasy RPG

    I'm only a few hours in, but I'm blown away by the job they did here. They built a really interesting set of RPG mechanics from scratch, made a better version of the Infinity Engine in Unity, and at least so far it's in service of an interesting narrative with unique characters. I was not expecting anything near this from the little bit I've followed the project since its crowdfunding campaign.
  2. 5th edition seems to me a lot less mechanically fiddly than 3rd (and 3.5) or 4th edition, so it's a good time to start. You can get a decent idea of what you'll end up with at the end of character creation by looking at the completed character sheets included in the 5th edition starter set. Basically, each character has six primary attributes: strength, dexterity, constitution, intelligence, wisdom, and charisma. These influence their ability to accomplish a task by either adding a bonus or a penalty to the dice rolls you'll make when your character attempts said task. Let's say you have a really strong character with 16 strength (like the first character in the pdf I linked above). You decide you want your character to try and break down a door with brute strength. To determine your success or failure, the DM will set a difficulty class (DC), based in this case on the sturdiness of the door, and ask you to make a "strength check". (The DM typically doesn't disclose the DC to the players.) You'll then roll a 20-sided die (d20) to try and beat the DC value. Since each two points of an attribute above 10 give you a +1 to your roll, you'll then add 3 (which will be easy to look up because you'll have a big +3 written under your strength after character creation) to the result of your roll, tell the DM what that works out to, and he or she will describe the result of your attempt to break down the door. Almost all of the mechanics work through a variation of this process, with the particular bonuses or penalites to your roll and the number you're trying to beat shifting based on the circumstances. I think the best thing you can do to prep is familiarize yourself with the "race" and "class" options in the basic rules or the players handbook and think about the backstory you want for your character.
  3. "Ethics and Journalistic Integrity"

    It's off-topic, but he was an American citizen at the time of his birth, which is all the constitution requires. It's no different than John McCain being born in Panama and still being eligible to run for president.
  4. Just so the links to the free 5e resources are handy for everybody: Basic Rulebook .pdf's Elemental Evil Player Supplement .pdf Character Sheet .pdf's There's also a web version of the basic ruleset. edit: They're more of DM resources, but there are also free supplements for: The Rise of Tiamat Hoard of the Dragon Queen
  5. Sports

    They're just back to normal. This ownership group has been incompetent since buying the team in '81, and now that the players they got during their lucky drafting streak are past their primes, they're right back to screwing everything up.
  6. The threat of Big Dog

    Saying that I find something inevitable and unsettling is a long way from arguing that it should be prohibited. Beyond that, I hardly see how MAD applies to the introduction of drone warfare. Nearly every conflict that the states at the cutting edge of weaponized drone development have engaged in since WWII has been asymmetric.
  7. The threat of Big Dog

    All of which is enabled by the massive change in the political calculus that occurs when weapons systems that don't put troops into harms way are introduced.
  8. The threat of Big Dog

    I think there's a huge difference between something like an Abrams or an F-18 that's a weapons platform built around a human driver or pilot and something like a Reaper or Atlas that is designed to be operated remotely and semi-autonomously (and in time, almost certainly autonomously). Heck, during my time on active duty I was nervous whenever I had to roll our CIWS mounts into their automated mode, and that's a very limited defensive weapon. It's an odd feeling replacing a trigger or a firing button with a "hey robot, you figure it out in the code" button. That transition is well underway in surveillance and strike warfare, and stuff like Atlas and Petman make it clear that we're not that far away from it being introduced to infantry warfare. I'm not sure that "terrifying" is quite the precise term I'd use to describe the uncertainty that such a profound change in warfighting invokes, but for me at least it's not too far off.
  9. The threat of Big Dog

    I mean, the R&D is being funded by the Defense Department. I don't think it's a huge leap to project how Boston Dynamics stuff applies to the battlefield.
  10. Star Citizen

    The average is $90 based on today's numbers, for what it's worth.
  11. "Ethics and Journalistic Integrity"

    I pretty much stopped paying attention to Blizzard once WoW was released, but wasn't Kern on the business side of the house? I don't remember much of him from my Warcraft / Starcraft fanboy days in the mid-to-late 90's and early aughts, but that's my vague recollection.
  12. Star Citizen

    Cloud Imperium is running a promotion alongside SXSW Interactive that lets folks try Arena Commander until the 20th for free. You just have to enter the code SXSWFREEFLY2K15 at this URL, create an account, and download the client. Also, this week folks who have backed the game are able to try out all of the currently-completed ships.
  13. I could pitch in a couple of weeks if it's during the summer, but I only have rudimentary programming skills to offer.
  14. "Ethics and Journalistic Integrity"

    In addition to their paid security guards there was also a significant Boston PD presence at PAX East in past years. I didn't attend this year, but it sounds like that's still the case.
  15. How long are you expecting sessions to run? 8pm Pacific is manageable for me on the East Coast, but 10:30 is probably as late as I can go (since that's 1:30 here).
  16. Star Citizen

    It should be the "F" key. That operates as the use key inside the hangar. Why they didn't just use "E" like basically every other game is beyond me. If you want to take it for a flight, you can just hit "ESC" at any time after the hangar has loaded up and select "Arena Commander".
  17. Star Citizen

    Polygon posted an interview with Roberts today. Some takeaways: The FPS portion of the game will be playable on the show floor at PAX East and should be released later this month. Some sort of social element beyond the hangars will be released next month. The first episode of the single player campaign is due this Fall. The MMO stuff should be launched by the end of the year with about five or six star systems. They've added a fourth internal studio, this one in Frankfurt and mostly made up of ex-Crytek folks. There's a total of about 320 people working on the game. They're about to pass $75 million in funding. I also found Robert's thoughts on publishers' attitudes towards the space combat genre interesting:
  18. "Ethics and Journalistic Integrity"

    I'm pretty amused that this most recent tantrum stemmed from Bain not understanding a joke about people not understanding Bioshock.
  19. Project Godus: Don't believe his lies

    Did anyone actually pay for Curiosity?
  20. "Ethics and Journalistic Integrity"

    Opening with a loaded question like that should ruin that guy's reputation as an interviewer. It served no journalistic purpose whatsoever. The only thing his readers could possibly learn about from an answer to that question is the interview subject's skill at rhetoric and tolerance for hostility.
  21. Game Design Round Table covers both video and table top games and is worth a listen.
  22. Yeah, I hope it's just due to the transition to Source 2.0.
  23. Valve hasn't completely gotten rid of free item drops in Dota 2, but they've made them so rare that they might as well have. When they introduced the change back in October (getting rid of the leveling system rewards and reducing the random drop rate) they pitched it to the community as a positive because they'd be rewarding entire item sets instead of individual items, but the net result has been that you'll go dozens if not hundreds of matches without seeing any of the 10 players receive an item drop. The only exception seems to be compendium points for folks who have spent $9.99 for one of those on the store.