Temporal Distortion Detected

Okay, it’s been almost two weeks since my last entry. This is very atypical of me, as I tend to blog almost every day during Summer. Half of May has now gone by and I still have only one blog entry to my name. This of course fails on so many levels. In any case, some updates that you probably might want to hear.

In this post: Teaching at LSC, Command & Conquer 3: Kane’s Wrath, A Creative Slump, and Yana’s Birthday.

So I’ve begun teaching review classes for the Loyola Student Center in order to augment my income, and augment my income it has. I know it’s typically not like me to focus much on the monetary and financial aspects of my vocation, but the need for me to save more has really been bothering me lately, and I figured that actually working during the summer break would definitely pay off. And it does.

I met many PSHS students during the review sessions (there were entire sections made up entirely of them), so the transition wasn’t all that difficult.

————–

KANE’S WRATH

Kane\'s Wrath box design

I purchased a copy of Command & Conquer 3: Kane’s Wrath, and in my assessment it added a significant level of enjoyment to a game that I already enjoy. I know some people complain that C&C3 tends to be too much like Starcraft (which I disagree with; similar unit concepts does not necessarily mean similar gameplay; the economy mechanics alone are enough to put C&C3 solidly into the well-established tradition of Command & Conquer), but I enjoyed C&C3 as much as I did Starcraft.

In any case, Kane’s Wrath adds a whole new campaign (seems Nod only from the looks of it; I haven’t played that far), as well as two sub-factions for each side: Steel Talons (mechanized unit specialists) and ZOCOM (hostile-environment and sonic weaponry specialists) for GDI, the Black Hand (religious zealots specializing in infantry and anti-infantry combat) and Marked of Kane (cybernetic specialists) for Nod, and Reaper-17 (heavy ground specialists, trading capital ships for more powerful ground units) and Traveler-59 (speed and finesse combat) for the Scrin.

My favorite side so far is the ZOCOM, but the Marked of Kane and the Steel Talons also kick major butt. I avoid playing the Scrin in general, but I prefer Reaper-17 over Traveler-59.

There is also a new game mode called Global Conquest, which is sort of like a C&C3 interpretation of Risk.  The player’s aim is to control the entire planet (or meet an alternative win condition based on his or her faction) by building strategic bases and influencing cities. As such, there is a far more strategic  than the actual RTS. (RTS games are generally more tactical than strategic, actually, especially if they focus on micromanagement.)

In general, I’ve enjoyed playing the game and I recommend it especially for fans of the C&C franchise.

————

A CREATIVE SLUMP

Creativity is very important for Dungeon Masters. Creativity is the lifeblood of fiction in general and role-playing in particular. It gets increasingly difficult to capture the players’ attention, much less keep it, if a DM simply cycles through  a series of unfortunate cliches.

The problem is, I’ve been in a creative slump lately. It seems I’ve been unable to focus much of my remaining brain power (the little of it that remains from summer’s doldrums), into creating an interesting plot for the supposed finale of the first act of our campaign, The Black and the Purple.

This chapter promised more political intrigue and subterfuge, and less “You’re in the PCs’ way, therefore you die.” It also promised the unveiling of the BBEG, the cambion Ogre-Mage Grimgashr. Thankfully I’ve gotten through planning most of the adventure, but it certainly is difficult to think creatively consistently. Many times the original draft of the adventure gets changed (this is definitely a good thing), but it’s very difficult to actually produce something new if one’s mind isn’t saturated with material. As such I’m thankful that my mom bought me the entire Legacy of the Drow series by R.A. Salvatore, which is part of The Legend of Drizzt. Of course, most of Salvatore’s adventures concerning the Companions of Mithral Hall is swashbuckling action, but having any fuel at all in my mind is very helpful to planning adventures.

If anyone reading this is a DM experiencing a creative slump, my advice is: read.

————

YANA’S 15th BIRTHDAY

Somewhat like her party two years ago, Yana’s party consisted of some time spent at Celebrity. This time, however, we really didn’t get to play that much. We had a round of bowling in which Jan demonstrated how paper does not necessarily translate to practice. He did eventually get in a few solid frames, and his team won overall. (There were four of them, however. Not to mention that they HACKED Yana’s score. :() Well, excuses aside, I was pretty bad today.

After having lunch, we went to Trinoma to idle. Red Box was full and so were the two Timezones. The two Starbucks outlets were full as well, so we resorted to hanging out at Powerbooks. Don’t get me wrong, Powerbooks is awesome, but sitting there telling stories is really not what the place is for.

Eventually we managed to get a seat at Seattle’s Best, where we proceeded to tell really insanely stupid stories. This reached a new zenith when we finally had dinner at Yamato Beef Steak. (Which is really awesome, if a bit pricey.) I cannot even begin to describe the inanity of the whole discussion that went on then. It reminded me of when I was in high school, making fun of a certain classmate. In hindsight it was quite mean of me, though.

Photos here. Contacts only, as usual.

~ by J. R. R. Flores on May 17, 2008.

One Response to “Temporal Distortion Detected”

  1. Heheh! I remember “that time in high school” all too well.

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