December 3rd, 2003

Dark Tower

RPG Rules

Damned and Deceived got reviewed on this week, by the ever present Ralph Dula, and my work in particular came off second-best (third-best in fact). Oh well. It's an interesting review actually, in that whilst I think the mechanics of the book have some problems (I did the character creation chapter), I don't count Ralph's particular complaints among them.

I'm not saying I'm ignoring his points, but I've thought about my decisions and figure I'd do most of them again.

I've said I have some trouble with game mechanics in general. GMing on the weekend reminded me that during a game, I just don't care very much about them in the heat of storytelling. (Not helped by d20s somewhat detailed system, especially since 3.5 has confused it all again.) I want interesting and dramatic things to happen, in a consistent and fair framework so the players feel they have some control (and I try to accomodate my players as much as possible, regardless).

But when I'm writing stuff, I take these things seriously -- it's what I'm being paid for. Rituals is a good example. I created about 6 different formulas for calculating XP costs and casting time, and compared and contrasted them (I think I even sent the table to the developer). Likewise, I created a simple database to help make sure the rituals were spread fairly over the different lore paths. When it came to thrall characters, I did a breakdown of freebie points and the cost of various options. That doesn't mean everything works (these are complex issues), and involve assumptions about the game world that not everyone holds. But I think they worked out pretty well.

So, what don't I like about Damned and Deceived mechanics? That would be telling... (and I'm sure someone out there likes those things just fine the way they are).
Dark Tower

Aussie Horror Collection

Here's an oddity. This week someone is releasing an Aussie Horror Collection as a DVD into the US market. I can't help but wonder why, and who their intended audience is. I'm not complaining, just wondering if that is the best way to market such movies (though God knows it's probably easier than relying on audience familiarity). The movies are Patrick (excellent flick), Thirst (also good), and Strange Behaviour (which we haven't seen -- in part because it's actually from New Zealand!) Despite this oddity (and already owning Patrick), I'd consider buying it, especially if there are commentaries as has been suggested on one site.

Meanwhile, we've been somewhat surprised at the reappearance of Richard Franklin, of Patrick, Road Games (even better flick) and Psycho II -- not to mention Fantasm, which caused all that confusion with the Phantasm series. He's got a new movie out now, called Visitors. Reviews haven't been very positive, but we must try to get out an see it.

(Not that there's anything wrong with NZ horror movies, what with The Quiet Earth and some guy called Peter Jackson)