RPG Maker 5-Minute Review

RPG Maker VX Ace

I got RPG maker on the Steam sale back in December, and I’ve toyed around with it quite a bit. There’s an odd bit of nostalgia in knowing that I have an easy template and tools at my disposal to create the style of game and story that so captivated me as a pre-teen and young teenager.

The toolset doesn’t seem to have extreme depth, but what it does, it seems to do well.

My favorite feature is the character sprite creator, which allows you to build a character from parts with both a close-up face and matching walking character sprite.

Is it worth $70? Probably not unless you have something in mind to create. For $30, I think it’s a neat toy. Try to catch it on sale.

JATCON: Gamma World Characters

This post is for my players at the upcoming private home convention. I’m going to be running a Gamma World one-off at level 6. Rather than create characters there, I’d like to hit the ground running with some pre-gens.

Select from the list and let me know what you’ve chosen. Include a backup or two in case someone else beats you to your first favorite. First come, first serve!

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Cyrill: Creature of Shadow

Character history for my character in a Planescape game being run by the Wombat Warlord.

Terry Rankin was a simple man from rural parts of Massachusetts. He never had much book learning, but he worked hard and kept out of trouble. When the Depression came, he found himself lucky to find work at the University cleaning up the libraries and halls. He did such a good job, that they put him in charge of cleaning the lower levels of Widener Library. Biggest on campus. He even had a key to the lower stacks where those rich students weren’t even allowed. That made him proud.

He did like to read, and he liked the fantastic. H.G. WellesJules Verne, and H.P. Lovecraft. Sometimes he wished his duties let him spend more time looking through the books. One night he decided to take a break in the lower stacks. In a pile of unsorted old books, he saw a book that looked like it was right out of one of his fantasy stories.

The book had a strange leather cover and looked old enough to be locked up next to the Gutenberg Bible. He opened it up carefully, half expecting it to fall apart in his hands, but it was solid, smelling slightly of decay. He’d never learned a language outside of English, so the words inside were unfamiliar. Somehow, though, he understood what they said.

He returned to the book every night, each night studying it more and more until his boss began to notice his work slacking. He was more careful after that, but hungered for more. Terry tried his first incantation at midnight on Halloween.

The spells were simple at first, but soon he was able to master several techniques. Over the next year, he was even able to summon servants. Copies of himself. They did the work at night, while he poured himself fully into study of this ancient tome. During the day, as he slept, they faded into nothingness. His first and strongest duplicate, named Cyrill after a baby brother that died of the Spanish Flu, searched the rest of the library for more secrets to unlock. He did his job well, and studied alongside his creator.

This could not last. The more Terry obsessed over his newfound access to the beyond, the more it consumed his sanity. He could not keep this part of his life separate from the rest, and he was close to getting fired and losing access to the his treasured tome and the rest of the library. Terry confided in Cyrill that he would destroy the whole campus, and perhaps the whole East Coast, if he could no longer be near the book.

Cyrill could not let that happen. One night while Terry was once again hunched over the books, Cyrill dismissed the other duplicates. Terry did not look up as he approached, and Cyrill was used that inattention and familarity to cut his creator’s throat. Cyrill, just like every morning, faded into nothingness as the sun came up.

When he awoke, he was in the city of Sigil. He was a new life, created by a mortal, and no gods or men could claim him as a servant.

Untested Design: Candy Land Wars

I intended to fully test the new rule set for Candy Land I like to call “Candy Land Wars,” but have not had the time, so I went ahead and published the rules as written last week.

This is all theory, and I can’t vouch for how fun it is. I will post again when I’ve had a chance to playtest.

UPDATE: Forgot the URL!

http://grandpotato.com/no-added-pieces/candy-land-wars/

Preview: Candy Land Wars

The Chocolate Mountains and Lollipop Forests have been quiet for the entire history of Candy Land. Now King Kandy, blind and legless, lies dying in the Candy Castle. Prince Swirl is lost somewhere in the depths of the Ice Cream Slopes and presumed dead. With no successor, chaos roils in the court.

Four factions now vie for control of Candy Land. These factions are vicious, bloodthirsty, and willing to do anything to get the upper hand.

The Greens are led by Marquis de Mint, the King’s most trusted adviser. It is whispered that he poisoned the King, envious of his power. Others claim that he merely replaced the King’s medicine with a placebo. There is no evidence for either story.

Baron Banana leads the Yellows. Some say that he killed the Prince during their recent ski trip to the Ice Cream Slopes, and that he did so because he feared his diminished position under the reign of a King Swirl. The Baron and his supporters dismiss the idea. Either way, the Prince never returned from that trip, and the Baron did.

Chief Cherry of the Reds leads the internal security forces of Candy Land. Angered at the uneven distribution of candy in the Kingdom, he will use his military access to affect political change, and take this opportunity to overthrow the monarchy once and for all.

The Blue faction is led by Dame Berry. The chaos of recent years, as well as the high-profile illness of King Kandy, has led to a blossoming of “alternate lifestyles” such as gardening and low-carb diets. The Dame, saddened by the loss of traditional culture, wishes to take control and enact policies that will reverse the trend and reinforce traditional Candy Land values.

Who will get their forces to the Candy Castle first? Who will be able to unite Candy Land and bring peace once again?

A Big Boy Website

I had an idea for a blog post the other day, and since I’m pretty much positive no one is reading this, I wanted to get my Facebook Connect setup. And for someone who is not a coder nor a network administrator of any particular skill, I think it’s amazing what some open source software and tools there are out there.

I now have my own Facebook app (grandpotato.com app) that links to this website. You can now post comments and such. I feel like I have a big boy website now.

An Open Letter to my Brother

We may not agree on politics or religion. We may have had countless childhood disagreements. Twenty years of living in different states or countries have kept us from being very close. One thing is for certain, however. I couldn’t be more proud to say that you, Paul Kelly, are my brother.

I regret that I could not join you to honor your twenty years of service and retirement from the Air Force. I’m glad that you were surrounded by friends and family and that the military honored you with such a nice ceremony, from what Mom has told me and the pictures I’ve seen.

You’ve endured a lot over those twenty years in service to the country. You’ve had to spend much of the time away from your parents and extended family in Indiana, California, Michigan, and elsewhere. You’ve had to move your family all over with you. For that I thank you.

I also thank you for your service in Iraq. Like I’ve said before: you and I don’t agree on most politics, and I was mad that you went over there. I was mad that the war was happening at all, that there was a distinct possibility that I could lose my brother, and that the family would lose you. In a democracy, we can disagree about the country’s direction without dishonoring those who serve. I couldn’t have been more proud of you for your choice to serve.

You signed up for a job that meant you were willing to risk everything up to and including your life in service to the country, no matter what happened. That takes courage, a sense of moral duty, and respect for what this country stands for. You have all of that and more.

Thank you, Paul. I was thinking of you and wanted to offer up my thoughts on this Veterans Day.

(Oh, and congratulations on the civilian job offer!)

Inaugural post

This URL has been a few things for me. It has been an art portfolio when I was looking for art jobs. It has been a personal family site that has since been detached and put on its own URL (http://www.norazany.com). It was, for a brief period, a site devoted to the loss and acquisition of game design jobs after I and most of my coworkers were laid off.

It is now just my place to post things. Don’t expect awesomeness or regular updates. My next post will probably be a list of things that I want to sell.