Tag Archives: RPG

Happy Holidays 2021

Well, this has been a dumpster fire of a year, unless you were holding a lot of stocks and crypto, or maybe if you were an Olympic athlete. We were trying to sail forward on the blue seas, but then we had the delta and now the omicron, and it’s a bit much.

I got my booster shot this last week, and had a bad reaction. It sucked. I resubbed to WoW TBC: Classic recently, but my finger pain is keeping me from playing. Feral druid is maybe the worst thing you can do to sore fingers.

I want to play Druid in WoW. I want to play Warden on Treebeard in LotRO. These are both LOL finger tendon killers.

It turns out it’s hard to find a good single-player shooter in 2021, much less one with a playable female protagonist. I don’t vibe with Borderlands cartoon style. Saint’s Row 2 graphics are horrible. I want to shoot things, so I installed and played Fallout 4, but it’s a bit slow. (These were my candidates looking for games last night.) Maybe I need to try Control again.

The Saint’s Row reboot and Vampire Bloodlines 2 keep getting delayed, and I’m not ready for a second playthrough of Cyberpunk 2077, which I finished with a Corpo backstory and ending choice. Great game! I wish there was more.

I’m still working diligently on oil paintings, and I’m also very depressed. So at least my inner elf-ness is a solid mess. I just received the book Middle English Romances, a Norton Critical Edition. I’m hoping to do some literature reading/research over the holidays.

The medieval knight and damsel/princess is the beloved genre of Connor, a main companion in my RPG project. I thought I’d read the genre more so I can write him better.

Tonight I’ve uploaded a new update for Elven Academy. This includes completed, translated, and playtested versions of module B1: Down The Rabbit Hole, and D2: The Geomancer’s Deathtrap.

These two modules took me most of 2021 to create. They contain my best writing yet in Down The Rabbit Hole, and my best coding in Geomancer, which features two levels of a 3D wireframe maze.

In Rabbit Hole, the first module of Book 2, you return for more deliveries as a rabbit in the Peacock Queen’s domain.

This time you actually get to play through several deliveries, meeting various guests of the Queen. My favorite might be the pair of elves who call themselves “sages of the fifth grade” from Avalon, who actually test your wits using standard questions at the level of “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader.”

You can also sleep with a succubus or two, or an incubus if you are female, although I’ve decided to just not do any explicit sex or nudity. It’s honestly more fun to find random things to obscure nipples with.

I’m also making better use of save flags now, so any wanton, lusty choices in B1 may come back to haunt you a bit in chapter B2: The Queen’s Gambit, which I am currently working on. This is a more lighthearted holiday/Yule-themed module.

I’m starting to make better use of my character templates in B2 to provide a good array of choices for the character. I’m also trying harder to present more ethical/moral decisions. I hope to go back to earlier modules to add more ethical/moral decisions. This really isn’t as easy as it looks. It looks easy from an armchair, I guess.

As a reminder, my roleplay templates are Charming Good Mage/Bard, Neutral Ranger/Druid, and Cunning/Jaded Sorc/Necromancer. Each of these templates has a set of favored attributes that are used for saving rolls for respective choices as well.

Here are the full patch notes for this game update. I playtested the update just a bit on the live server and filled in some missing graphics files. There seems to be some server caching issues now on the JS files that I had to tweak, but hoping they will be cleared up tomorrow.

Patch Notes General:

Uploaded finished/updated versions of B1: Down The Rabbit Hole, and D2: The Geomancer’s Deathtrap. They still probably need more playtesting, especially in Spanish. But they should be playable to the end. D2 is a more difficult dungeon involving a number of combats, and might be quite a challenge for a weak new witch or wizard.

It appears the Spanish text still has a lot of typos and incorrect grammar throughout the game modules due to the fact that I test in English for speed and expediency. I spent some time reading through the Spanish translations and making corrections.

Restored health cost to casting spells, and enabled checks to disallow a spellcast that will zero your health pool.

Added a skip button to the intermezzo/aside/scene timeskip splash page. Skipping past skips … who has time to sit through time passage in 2021.

A1: Spanish playthrough, fixed so many embarrassing grammar errors and typos. Improved attribute telegraphing, improved dark side dialogue.

A2: Spanish playthrough, more cuts to bloated paragraphs, improved dark side dialogue.
The Divination spells are now based on Fortune attribute for Divination school, not Enchantment.
Added some poetry for Connor.
Added some roleplay coded options.
Added sound to Baralto’s Garden
Fix bug enabling becoming Connor’s girlfriend/boyfriend.

A3: Glumskayah is back to being a she-devil instead of prior change to a succubus. She will take a lower profile in Book 2 and be replaced by a succubus. Needs to attend trial for her executions of army incubi, which is seen as possibly overreaching her power by the patriarchal Hell’s Court. Her mission on the island was to set everything up, deal with all legal issues, and eliminate any opposition. With that mission accomplished, she will allow someone else to be the face of Hell’s Court.
Added some poetry for Connor.
Added references to a buried treasure on the island.

A5: Fixed various Glumskayah graphics to show an antique backpiece that silhouettes her head.

A7: Added ambient sounds to Glumskayah’s dungeon, added some module save flags. The fact that I can’t find much in this module to save as a flag for later reveals some weakness.
Added some options to flirt, to be kind, and to be rebellious.
Added some choices and fixed bugs to companion affection gains (and losses.)
Generally more work to make the module more fun and less passive.
Explained why Glumskayah trips when chasing you out of her dungeon.
Bug fixes.

B1: Additional options, Spanish edits, new music, new quest.
Fixed filepath bug preventing module completion and exit.
Fixed a few dialog inconsistencies.

D1: fixed several issues with death checking while taking damage, updated death screen.
D2: Completed the module. This is the largest and best module yet. Translated (2.5 days of work in itself.) Added new scenarios, completed the story satisfactorily. Playtested.


The New World MMO: Un-Masked

new-world

The past couple of days have delivered quite some drama from the New World development team. New World released cash shop plans, which included pay-to-win boosts. These boosts included leveling and crafting XP boosts.

The devs followed up yesterday with a clarification that the XP boosts were intended to be a trial only, and will not be in the game at launch. They would focus instead (initially) on quality of life items, cosmetics, and dyes.

(Most people won’t even notice the dyes, but what do they really mean? They mean crafting gameplay is cut or watered down so crafted items can be sold instead in the cash shop at launch.)

Kripparian on Twitter gives a concise summary of how much of a joke this is:

So they are creating a game on purpose with low quality of life, and they will then sell you extras in the store to alleviate the pain! This is nothing new, but it’s so barefaced and early that people are rightfully up in arms even after the clarification.

If you’re actually interested in delving into this drama, I would recommend watching Asmongold’s video on Youtube, at least minutes 2:30 to 6:30.

As an aside, Asmongold is a surprising voice for classic values in MMO’s. It’s odd to me, as a liberal, to be on the same side as people with ‘conservative values’ in this instance. Of course, we’ve been going down this degenerate cash shop road for several years now, so it’s interesting to see some major voices getting traction after all this time.

I played several hours of the New World beta and leveled to 20-something. It showed a lot of potential. It looked nice. So far I believe they’ve released info on one real dungeon, one new region, and some new weapons. Nonetheless, based on my knowledge, it’s almost impossible for this game to be as good or as large as either Rift or LotRO at launch.

Realistically, it can’t even be close, right?

The game is overrated due to everyone’s desperate hopes for a new great western-style MMO. Is it still worth playing if you don’t care about the cash shop in lieu of a subscription model? Sure. It might be worth the box price for a lot of people, but my memory of the beta is still pretty vivid.

In other news, Blizzard greatly slashed the absurdly greedy price of their Classic character copy service due to similar player outcry. I plan to play Burning Crusade pre-patch in the next week or so. I quit Hearthstone for good last fall when they introduced the Hearthstone Battle Pass.

New World is actually launching with a Battle Pass. Yeah. And then comes the slippery slope.  They will slowly add pay to win back in.  Then come the sales. Leveling is too tough? Buy a boost. Boost is too expensive? It’s 10% off today only. Still too expensive? It’s 20% off this week, 40% off if you buy a bundle. Etc. etc.  Such fun gameplay.

Good goddess, think of the children.  I’ve been saying that since LotRO went F2P years ago.

And Blizzard just had to go full greed in Classic with the deluxe collector’s edition and the expensive level boost. Blizzard claims the boost is to help people catch up to their friends, it’s good for the game, etc. etc. which we all know is B.S.. We have suspected or known about Burning Crusade for several months, plenty of time to level.

This is a sellout of a game people are playing because it isn’t sold out. But Blizzard couldn’t resist those modern-day opportunities to allow dollars.  If someone couldn’t make it to 60 the old fashioned way, they don’t deserve to continue. That’s my opinion.

Elder Scrolls – Oblivion looks enticing this year. Their companion system is releasing only two companions up front,  however, which seems very odd. It indicates better companions will be in the cash shop soon, like Neverwinter Nights.

l almost re-installed ESO today for the high elf experience, but then I thought about that good old skill bar with only 7 skills on it (or whatever). I’d be doing the same rotation over and over thousands more times. ESO is such a great-looking game, but they sort of ruined Elder Scrolls back in the Oblivion days by dumbing down everything for consoles.

Remember when instant ports all over the Tamriel map didn’t exist? Those were literally the best days. Naturally, the original Morrowind was far, far better than the carefully monetized, watered down expansion pack of the ESO rendition, although there were a few nice quest lines and dungeon areas in ESO: Morrowind to be sure.

So! I guess I’ll see you other old school types in Burning Crusade Classic in the next weeks.


Review of the Book of Erotic Fantasy: Eroticism in Fantasy RPG’s

It’s been six months since I blogged at KittyKittyBoomBoom. I do miss writing on this blog, but I really don’t have much to say about recent games. We haven’t had any big releases that I’ve been interested in.  Some will be coming soon. Here is a game writing post that I’m cross-posting from my new main blog.

I used to be fascinated by romance in fantasy RPG’s. I played through Baldur’s Gate 2 multiple times to experience the different romance arcs with Aerie, Jaheira, and Viconia. I’m happy that the upcoming Baldur’s Gate 3 is continuing in that tradition.

I was very disappointed when SWTOR pulled some romance out of their game at launch. I was disappointed more recently that Planescape: Tides offered no romance arcs, especially since the lead writer was an erotica writer.

Recently I’ve considered taking my game project in a more R-rated direction, so I researched the Book of Erotic Fantasy. It is a very old D&D supplement under the OGL v1.0a. Here are my notes and reactions from the reading. Another, more exhaustive treatment is found here.

Basically, much of this text doesn’t merit a deep analysis, so let’s look mostly at the gems.

Review of the Book of Erotic Fantasy

The BoEF is broken into seven chapters: Love, Sex, and Roleplaying, Rules, Skills, and Feats, Base and Prestige Classes, Magic, Items, and Adventures and Organizations.

Most of the book consists of lists of spells, classes, creatures, and magical items for your adventure campaign. There is a list of 100 “Adventure Ideas”, but a lot of these ideas boil down to just “something happened”. The something is often: “it happened, good to know”, or “someone is raping and must be stopped.”

A few ideas were cute and doable, however, like the band of halflings that challenge the adventurers to a game of sexual endurance.

Humor was one of the main takeaways from this elder tome. Sex has always gone hand in hand with humor, and therein lies its most valuable asset, since we do play these games to have fun. So why isn’t sex more prominent in RPG’s? Here is my take on the problems.

  • Sex and romance offer poor gameplay. (Roll dice to see whether you have an orgasm, etc. is just lame.)
  • It doesn’t advance the main story.
  • It often doesn’t develop character unless done very well.
  • If used as a final reward to a story arc, it loses its ability to advance a story arc.

If we don’t boil sex down to just a reward, like banging the prince after you save him, then there are good reasons to have it: develop a character (NPC or PC), and advance a plot. Romantic titillation and roleplay in themselves are also valid, but not as powerful.

The BoEF touches on these issues in a few actually insightful paragraphs sprinkled into the text. Plot, character, and humor. I was disappointed in the “adventure ideas”, so I wrote some of my own, broken down into the categories where sex can actually be best used. Here are my starter lists that I brainstormed in an hour.

Ideas to develop a non-player character. The NPC:

  • Reveals something about the racial sexual customs in an interracial experience, possibly amusing.
  • Reveals poor character, i.e. implies it’s free, but now wants money, has a boss to threaten the PC with.
  • Reveals they are surprisingly the opposite personality in bed.
  • Reveals they are deeply vulnerable in some way, emotionally needy for some reason.
  • Reveals they have secrets on the pillow, i.e. this was the point of seducing the PC.
  • Reveals tattoos that tell a story about past deeds, exploits, beliefs, mottos.
  • Reveals tattoos or marks that indicate of a gang, a cult, physical abuse, sex work.
  • Reveals a prosthetic limb, an implant, a welded cuff or a collar suggesting wounds or an owner.
  • Reveals deformities, fur, or other evidence of non-human crossbreeding in family.
  • Reveals they are a shapeshifter or have an enchanted form, i.e. a dragon or someone really hideous.
  • Reveals they have a husband/wife/someone else really jealous.
  • Reveals they have a fetish, must have something specific to become aroused.
  • Reveals they have an STD. Sexual transmitted diseases are just not fun, unless you’re using them just to whimsically punish a player for fun. It could be used as a consequence of a failed saving roll, however.
  • Reveals they are conflicted about sex, they were trying to be chaste, etc.
  • Reveals they were a virgin, and now you’re in big trouble with someone or something.

Ideas to develop the player character. The PC:

  • Is allowed an actual love romance that leads to a long term relationship.
  • Is then allowed to recruit a henchman or henchwoman that provides perks in a relationship, or even bring them along on adventures.
  • Is allowed to feel powerful.
  • Is allowed to feel powerful by submitting.
  • Is allowed to be a prostitute for money, themselves.
  • Is allowed to use character skills in new and creative ways, if the sex scene is gameplayed.
  • In forming a relationship, creates conflict in terms of faithfulness, promises, and infidelity.
  • Offers a roleplay path to retiring a character to the married life in a castle, and possibly children which can form a new adventuring party.

Ideas to advance a plot through the NPC. The NPC:

  • Sleeps with the PC, but then falls more for another member of the party.
  • Is trying to use sex because they want something from the PC.
  • Is using the PC as an alibi for something.
  • Actually dies in the PC’s arms, leading to accusations of murder, or demonic possession.
  • Incapacitates the PC to steal a map, a book, treasure, horse, sword, etc.
  • Reveals a quest on the pillow. PC can offer help, or can try to get to the treasure first.
  • Insists that according to their cultural laws, they are now married to the PC (Firefly, etc.)
  • Reveals a life-threatening situation they are in, and their desperation for help.
  • Is trying to persuade the PC to join a cult, sex club, etc.. This leads to quests.

In many of these cases, the primary question becomes: what does the NPC want? If you establish powerful wants on the part of the NPC who the PC is having sex with, good writing naturally flows from it. This is hard though, and I’ve failed at this to some extent.

It may also help to ask, if the NPC is a possible romantic interest, then who or what are the attracted to, and why? This can also reveal a lot of character.

A big sticking point to incorporating all of these ideas is the gender-locked nature of the gameplay. To incorporate romantic encounters at important points in your plot, you would almost need to have a gender locked protagonist.

Or you would have to “cheat” and change the gender of the NPC to the opposite of your PC, and then assume the PC is straight. What a mess. Maybe that in itself is a big reason why romance isn’t used much in a meaningful way in RPG’s, and why the Witcher franchise seems to stand so tall in this capacity. (I haven’t played the Witcher games personally due to not liking to play male protagonists.)

The BoEF also touched on the idea of “ratings”. I’ve been grappling with that lately myself. Here are the proposed ratings, which are the American scale of course:

PG-13 – Deals with mature subjects including sex, but without explicit scenes or descriptions. Love, flirting, and seduction are all acceptable, but the actual sex occurs offstage.

R – Nudity and sexual situations are common, although level of detail stops at gratuitous details that could be described as pornographic.

Other useful points from the Book of Erotic Fantasy:

BDSM is now mainstream, not a fetish or taboo. Clubs have BDSM nights, it’s a fixture in the fashion industry. Love between Human and non-human (Vampires and Werewolves) is also mainstream.

Assigning an alignment to a type of lover is interesting to help a player to play their character.

Assigning an alignment to an entire society is also useful. The alignment becomes a sort of shorthand for thinking about sex norms in different societies and regions of the game setting.

Not so useful points:

Some things in the book are just silly. A “masterwork” condom, for example.

I also wasn’t a huge fan of the photos, but they’re OK. Consistent, quality artwork throughout would have been very expensive and time-consuming most likely.

Tantrist, Kundalini. I strongly disagree with using real-world Earth terms like this in a D&D setting. These come from Hindu and Tibetan religions. Maybe the authors were trying to be non-specific in terms of campaign setting, but this is just worse.

I skimmed the ‘bestiary’ in the BoEF, which did not really interest me, as my campaign setting is well-developed, for better or worse. Some interesting entries, however, were the half-devil, half-giant, and pleasure golem.

That’s about all for my reactions and notes on this thick, lengthy tome of erotic treasures. It’s well-worth a perusal, and I find myself curious about trying to design some erotic gameplay. The sections of the book dedicated to gameplay, like the mini-scenario at the end, seemed very short of practical examples.

The book lists play-testers in the credits page. I’d like to hear their feedback. Because honestly a lot of this could boil down to the vanilla D&D rules, but spiced up with adventures in brothels. And how do you ‘succeed’ at a sexual encounter? How would this work?

1. Simply getting the NPC naked and/or into a compromising situation is enough to complete many character developments or plot advancements.

2. Physical success (Agility, Toughness, Romance (techniques), Engineering (toys, ropes, who knows)): pleased your lover X times, resulting in advancement or quest success.

3. Emotional success: (Empathy, Psychic) need to achieve some kind of intimacy to solve the puzzle and advance. Physical skills don’t matter.

4. The opposite of #1, the NPC getting the PC naked and into a compromising situation is enough to slip the PC a pill or wake up tied to the bed, etc. and move the plot forward.

If your plot hinges on this encounter, the design concept of “Failure with Consequences” might be useful. You moved the plot and achieved your goals, but failure on your rolls means the success is only partial, or you received no extra reward or treasure, or something bad happened, but you still moved forward on a technicality.

That’s all for my reactions to this book. Good luck, and happy gaming.


Liquidating Position In FFXIV

ffxiv characterYolari the Miqo’te reached level 50 this week in Final Fantasy XIV. She had a great time adventuring through Eorzea as a Summoner, but now she’s XP-blocked.

Square Enix is making me buy all xpacs through Steam now (as discussed in a prior post), and I’m not paying $40 since the xpac is on sale everywhere except Steam (i.e. $25 at Best Buy). I’ve checked into Steam 3x per week for the last month or so.

No luck. Cancelled sub. I’m ready for a break anyway.

Syp at Biobreak is also taking a break and wrote a fine critique today that I agree with, so this kitty can react and riff off his ideas. (It’s only fair.)

The strength of FFXIV is the story, but I agree it takes too long for the characters to feel human, and therefore to become likable, and therefore for drama to get going because you care, and therefore for tension to raise its seductive head.

Tension happens from conflict (or frustrated romance) between characters, when characters deeply want to kill each other, have sex, or both. Is every single one of these NPCs single? Are Biggs and Wedge even gay?

Maybe it’s a Japanese cultural difference. Maybe Japanese high schools aren’t filled with pranks, squabbles, jealousy, name-calling, face-slapping, and unbridled lust. Syp said he has a deep sense of these characters’ motivations, but for me they fell short up to the point of the level 47-48 story.

On the other hand, I agree on the cutscenes. In the last week, I’ve groaned with impatience during scenes, clicking the popup boxes quickly, wishing the plot would move forward to something interesting. This really isn’t me.

And of course, when I finally broke down and skipped part of a long scene, I skipped two important plot twists, and I didn’t know what my ‘companions’ where talking about in the next scene.

In the same scene, a lot of story tension was lost (Minfilia was rescued in an excellent and fun quest sequence), and I was called upon to embark on a grand campaign to save the world.

If no one I care about is in imminent danger of being pillaged, raped, kidnapped again, or burned at the stake, then talk to the paw, OK? Apparently Thancred is possessed by evil, but he’s expendable, I say! Let’s suit up in bikinis and enjoy the beach.

Yolari the Miqo’te is a special character with an amazing look and style, and cute emotes. I’ll miss her, and I’ll want to return soon when I’m in the mood for more JRPG, and when I have more time and energy to save the world, and when I can pay the going price for Heavensward plus sub.

I ended up completing all dungeons up to level 50, 175 story quests, and my cross classes for Summoner, in a little under two months. Dungeons were the best way to have fun and make progress. I skipped optional side quests, intending to save them for another class later.

I’m inspired right now by the hubbub over the transgender character controversy in the new Baldur’s Gate expansion. I might try BG:EE again, and try not to get murdered by bears and brigands over and over. We’ll see. The fun of gaming stops when it’s tooth and nail torture.

I’m not quite ‘out of the woods’ with my real life problems either. As always, I’m making progress with my personal RPG project. I posted a few new art pieces on my DeviantArt page.

Happy gaming, and may the goddess bless your adventures, whatever they may be.


Torment: Tides

torment: tides of numenera

Brian Fargo tweeted a short while ago that early access for Torment: Tides of Numenera beta backers will be available tomorrow. I suddenly wish I was one of those people!

Maybe I should start beta backing, especially when Brian Fargo and Shanna Germain are involved. Shanna is the bona fide award-winning erotica writer on the Torment project.

The image small print says “coming to Steam 1/26/2016“, but I don’t find anything on Steam right now. This kitty is confused as usual. I bought a small solitaire game called “Quill tonight instead, which involves letter-writing in a medieval setting.

It looks like a very interesting study in game design.

Quill requires six-sided dice though, and I possess no solemn equipage of antique, romantic hexahedrons. The digital download didn’t come with a game box of course, so.

I’m off tomorrow night to pay real money at the game shop for a bag of six-sided dice, I suppose. Back in the days, I could find six-sided dice hiding on the floor of grandma’s game closet, or in the Yahtzee box. Not so anymore.

The good news is that I’ve created a Drivethru account, and after I purchase six-sided dice, I can finally use my Tunnels and Trolls rulebook. Drivethru also offers T&T adventures. We’ll see.


Game-Related Stocks


This week is another tide of torment in the stock market. Clearly by the time I decided to pool my resources and invest in the stock market (last year), the markets of the entire world were on the brink of collapsing and dying in a fire.

Yesterday a tweet mentioned that the Vanguard (mutual fund) website was turning away customers due to no available representatives. Last night the evening news mentioned that you, yes you, lost $7000+ so far this year if you own an average 401k.

Tonight they featured the same report, but the pain number was more like 8k.

Today the market entered mom and pop half-panic mode, however, and big money stepped in to create a massive turn up. Time will tell whether it will be enough, but consensus on CNBC is clearly that the bottom can’t be in due to China, oil, and currency, and five other things.

So far I’m still holding my original Blizzard and Alibaba, and I’ve pushed 50% back into Microsoft and Electronic Arts. That’s all. I’m cheering every day for the markets to self-destruct as much as possible, honestly, so I can buy.

Today Alibaba announced a big deal with NVidia to build out its cloud, including a second data center on the U.S. west coast. That’s good news for NVidia.

On another scary down day today, Nvidia and Microsoft ended in the green and were the strongest-performing tech stocks I follow, except for Twitter.


Personal RPG Project


Last week I had my final kidney stone surgery, I hope. I survived. I’m no longer sustaining constant pain and blood loss. I’m starting to feel more energized.

I upgraded my animation code to more object-oriented code. I re-worked file structure to accommodate a longer-term vision of modular expansion. Mostly I’m working on more art and scenes.

I really need to firm up my campaign setting.

Like a novice writer/adventure designer, my cat brain has been scattered all over the place with elves, pirates, vampires, Mayans, Greek monsters, and an embarrassing mish-mash of poorly considered architectural styles.

So I need a strong, consistent, sensible, constrained setting. I need a consistent political structure, social expectations, and a thoughtful style of architecture, constructed with logical local materials, in my case forest, sea sand, and volcanic stone.

Those sorts of things.

Tonight I started reading the Oxford Book of Ballads at Project Gutenberg. Just the first short ballad, Thomas the Rhymer, is completely intense. The fairies seem really right to me, especially since my game is mostly an English-speaking educational game.

I was thinking and pacing all day on how I don’t want to be a stupid human tourist, a user of mythology for entertainment or self-serving spiritual narcissism. I needed to make a serious commitment, a reverence to one magical faction, and I hope that faction is the elves and fairies of Brittania.

Maybe I can have just one vampire, and just one pirate? I wanted my pirate to be a rabbit wearing a waistcoat, though! I think I need to do my due diligence and read more fairy and elf lore, and then maybe things will fall better into place.

As always, blessed be and happy gaming.