Talien's Tower
Subscribe to Talien's Tower on Facebook, Twitter, email or via the Site Feed

Wednesday, June 27

Grains of Sand - Part 4c: The Road to Nowhere

Inside, Kham whispered to Quintus. “I’ve heard of this place.”

“Kham?” Quintus whispered back. “Is that you?”

“You’re new to this whole stealth thing aren’t you?” asked Kham. “Yes it’s me. Doesn’t it sound like me?”

“Well, yes, but…”

“Yeah I can’t see you either. But I can see your footprints. Try to avoid stepping too heavily in the dust.”

“Easy for you to say.” [MORE]

Labels:

posted by Michael Tresca at 11:13 PM | 0 comments links to this post


Want more? Please consider contributing to my Patreon; Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and the web; buy my books: The Evolution of Fantasy Role-Playing Games, The Well of Stars, and Awfully Familiar.

Monday, June 25

How Does Intelligence Relate to IQ?

A comparison of how the Dungeons & Dragons Intelligence score (3 to 18) compares to real life Intelligent Quotient, by Daniel R. Collins:

Occasionally, D&D enthusiasts will discuss or debate how the game ability "Intelligence" score properly relates to the real-world measurement of "Intelligence Quotient" (IQ). This almost always spawns a heated debate, in large part due to the controversy over IQ-scores general (what it seeks to measure, how valid the measurement is, whether testing procedures are fair, how the tests have changed over time, etc.), and aggravated as some find it problematic to measure IQ in fantasy non-humans, animals, and monsters. [MORE]

Labels:

posted by Michael Tresca at 7:33 AM | 0 comments links to this post


Want more? Please consider contributing to my Patreon; Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and the web; buy my books: The Evolution of Fantasy Role-Playing Games, The Well of Stars, and Awfully Familiar.

Friday, June 22

Grains of Sand - Part 4b: The Road to Nowhere

After a moment, a huge shape began to emerge from beneath the sands. Twenty feet wide and a hundred feet long, it jutted up from beneath the sands at an angle, like some ancient serpent rising to wakefulness after centuries of sleep. The horses stared stupidly at it, but did not run.

“That’s our signal,” said Quintus. “I’m going in.” He popped the cork off a vial.

“Where did you get that?” asked Kham. He looked at the others. “Who let Quintus play with potions? Only I’m allowed to do that.” [MORE]

Labels:

posted by Michael Tresca at 7:44 PM | 0 comments links to this post


Want more? Please consider contributing to my Patreon; Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and the web; buy my books: The Evolution of Fantasy Role-Playing Games, The Well of Stars, and Awfully Familiar.

Sunday, June 17

Book of Beings

I stumbled across this site when I entered "psionic defense modes" in Google images instead of Google web. It's D&D, old school -- the artwork is very reminiscent of the original Fiend Folio and universally excellent. [MORE]

Labels:

posted by Michael Tresca at 7:30 PM | 0 comments links to this post


Want more? Please consider contributing to my Patreon; Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and the web; buy my books: The Evolution of Fantasy Role-Playing Games, The Well of Stars, and Awfully Familiar.

Grains of Sand - Part 4a: The Road to Nowhere

“Ilmarė,” said Quintus, “you’ve been quiet. Are you all right?”

Ilmarė’s features were pale and drawn. “It’s not the heat. It’s this place.”

“This place?” asked Vlad.

Kham had a handkerchief over his head, but it did little good. “This is where our gods killed their gods.” He licked his crusted lips. “But don’t be fooled…it’s the heat.”

Then Ilmarė slipped off of her mount to the ground. [MORE]

Labels:

posted by Michael Tresca at 8:56 AM | 0 comments links to this post


Want more? Please consider contributing to my Patreon; Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and the web; buy my books: The Evolution of Fantasy Role-Playing Games, The Well of Stars, and Awfully Familiar.

Saturday, June 16

Game Review: Lost Planet - Extreme Condition

But Lost Planet is addicting. I played it on hard and all of the boss battles were very close. Two of the boss fights ended with Wayne going through two mecha, a handful of grenades and a missile launcher. Now THAT'S a fun game! [MORE]

Labels:

posted by Michael Tresca at 7:24 PM | 0 comments links to this post


Want more? Please consider contributing to my Patreon; Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and the web; buy my books: The Evolution of Fantasy Role-Playing Games, The Well of Stars, and Awfully Familiar.

Wednesday, June 13

Grains of Sand - Part 3: Well, It’s About Time…

About ten minutes later, the caravan ground to a halt. They couldn’t see anything beyond the caravan due to the wagons and the dust, but a loud voice echoed back down the canyon, shouting in broken Low Coryani. “You stop! This Salt Devil land. You no bring wagons here! We keep wagons and horses. You leave or you die!”

“So articulate,” said Ilmarė. [MORE]

Labels:

posted by Michael Tresca at 7:03 PM | 0 comments links to this post


Want more? Please consider contributing to my Patreon; Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and the web; buy my books: The Evolution of Fantasy Role-Playing Games, The Well of Stars, and Awfully Familiar.

DVD Review: School of Rock

Black flops around, he sweats, he tosses his head with manic glee, but most of all he passionately TEACHES. He teaches a large girl that her weight doesn't matter, teaches the geek that he should ignore the kids who make fun of him, teaches the brat some discipline, and encourages the brilliance of the lead queen bee to use her powers for good instead of evil. He makes a difference with the kids by bringing what he knows best to the room; not school learning, but plain old-fashioned street smarts. Dewey's, and by extension Black's, sheer enthusiasm makes up for his rough edges.

If only teachers were this enthusiastic about anything these days! [MORE]

Labels:

posted by Michael Tresca at 6:59 PM | 0 comments links to this post


Want more? Please consider contributing to my Patreon; Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and the web; buy my books: The Evolution of Fantasy Role-Playing Games, The Well of Stars, and Awfully Familiar.

Sunday, June 10

Grains of Sand - Part 2: Caravan Duty

Quintus offered little comfort. His eyes were scanning past him. “You’ll be fine,” he said. “Where’s Kham?”

A swaying figure answered Quintus’ question. “Oh, hi guysh,” said Kham.

“Kham,” said Quintus, “are you ready to go?”

“Ready for what?” asked Kham. He looked around in confusion.

“You didn’t get my note? I left it at the inn.”

Beldin slapped his forehead. “Drunk again.” [MORE]

Labels:

posted by Michael Tresca at 9:50 PM | 0 comments links to this post


Want more? Please consider contributing to my Patreon; Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and the web; buy my books: The Evolution of Fantasy Role-Playing Games, The Well of Stars, and Awfully Familiar.

Thursday, June 7

Marketing to the online persona

My thesis has once again been quoted completely out of context, without interviewing me, and without my consent. I'm not complaining mind you -- it's a form of flattery. But it does shake one's faith in journalistic integrity, who apparently have the same skills as 12 year olds copying from Wikipedia.

Rider University’s Dr John Suler describes a player’s (resident’s) online persona as often being an amplification of a player’s personality separating them from the real world. He finds residents often experiment with their identity.
“They say and do things in cyberspace that they wouldn’t ordinarily say or do in the face-to-face world. They loosen up, feel more uninhibited, express themselves more openly,” Dr Suler said.

This is called the disinhibition effect.

Some players may be benign in their in-world actions becoming more generous or revealing more about themselves, their wishes and concerns, than they would in real world social interaction.

Other players can show signs of toxic disinhibition reverting to abusive language, violence and harsh criticisms while in-world.

Michael Tresca's Masters thesis said a player’s in-world views are influenced by both a lack of non-verbal clues and visual appearance.

Players use typed dialogue to project an image of their physical self, their personality and thoughts. They rely on various words, capital letters, expletives, exclamation marks and avatar graphics to respond to electronic communication.

They use the three-dimensional avatars to add actions and physical responses to in-world stimuli.

Missing from these communications is the ability of one player to respond to another’s player’s body language, verbal pitches and stresses and other real world physical stimulus.

Mr Tresca said that they are also influenced by the “absence of social context clues”.

“…others exist only within the context of the computer medium, a user can shut the computer off and the entire virtual society ceases to influence that user,” Mr Tresca said in his Master’s Thesis.

Mr Tresca said players believe they are protected from physical and social repercussions of their in-world actions.

“Users may often perceive that they are anonymous when they are not, may find a deeply personal attachment to a label so that it becomes part of their own personality, or may be far less protected from repercussions than they perceive.”

Players can only see each other through the avatar.

Dr Suler said the anonymity works wonders for the disinhibition effect.

“When people have the opportunity to separate their actions from their real world and identity, they feel less vulnerable about opening up,” Dr Suler said.

Mr Tresca’s research indicates that the more anonymous a player is, the more the player’s communication will contain disinhibitive indicators.

The fluidity of a player’s identity is another element of disinhibition as players adopt a new persona with each interaction. [MORE]

Labels:

posted by Michael Tresca at 6:54 PM | 0 comments links to this post


Want more? Please consider contributing to my Patreon; Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and the web; buy my books: The Evolution of Fantasy Role-Playing Games, The Well of Stars, and Awfully Familiar.

Wednesday, June 6

DVD Review: A History of Violence

This movie poses important questions that challenge American assumptions about violence, similar to how American History X challenged our assumptions about racism. It's in answering those questions that the movie becomes more than action film and transforms into a morality tale worth seeing. [MORE]

Labels:

posted by Michael Tresca at 7:58 AM | 0 comments links to this post


Want more? Please consider contributing to my Patreon; Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and the web; buy my books: The Evolution of Fantasy Role-Playing Games, The Well of Stars, and Awfully Familiar.

Tuesday, June 5

Grains of Sand - Part 1: Setting the Trap

“I’m sure my companions will take the gold,” said Quintus. “But I do not seek treasure. I wish to own land.”

“Ah,” said Gratian. “Farmland.”

Quintus nodded.

”That will take some doing. The Five Families do not easily let those into their ranks, Quintus. They’ve been managing the grain trade for generations on behalf of the val’Dellenovs. Any house that solves this problem will certainly look good.”

Quintus’ steadfast gaze did not waiver. After a moment, Gratian sighed. “I will do my best, but I can make no guarantees. Discovering the source of the problem will certainly go a long way towards securing a grant of land in any case.”

Quintus shook his hand. “Then we have a deal,” he said. [MORE]

Labels:

posted by Michael Tresca at 5:24 PM | 0 comments links to this post


Want more? Please consider contributing to my Patreon; Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and the web; buy my books: The Evolution of Fantasy Role-Playing Games, The Well of Stars, and Awfully Familiar.

Spycraft: Combat Missions on the Horizon!

From ENWorld: http://www.enworld.org/showthread.php?t=198243

We also have a Spycraft book called Combat Missions, but due to a small
production glitch that probably won't be available until Gen Con.

Labels:

posted by Michael Tresca at 2:47 PM | 0 comments links to this post


Want more? Please consider contributing to my Patreon; Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and the web; buy my books: The Evolution of Fantasy Role-Playing Games, The Well of Stars, and Awfully Familiar.

Monday, June 4

DVD Review: The Italian Job

The Italian Job has lots of cool car chases, lots of near misses, and a lot of twists and turns (literally and figuratively) that make it a brisk, entertaining movie. You get quickly caught up in the machinations of the characters, which allows the film to get away with a lot of unbelievable nonsense. But who cares? From the funky flashbacks to the quippy asides, it's clear that Italian Job doesn't take itself too seriously. [MORE]

Labels:

posted by Michael Tresca at 10:33 AM | 0 comments links to this post


Want more? Please consider contributing to my Patreon; Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and the web; buy my books: The Evolution of Fantasy Role-Playing Games, The Well of Stars, and Awfully Familiar.

Friday, June 1

Chapter 18: Grains of Sand - Introduction

This is the second hard point in year 2 of the Living Arcanis campaign, written by Brian Schoner and (loosely) set in the Arcanis setting. You can read more about Arcanis at http://www.onaraonline.org. Please note: This adventure contains spoilers!

Our cast of characters includes:

· Dungeon Master: Robert Taylor (http://www.storyboardz.net)
· Beldin Soulforge (dwarf fighter) played by Joe Lalumia
· Ilmarė Galen (elf bard/fighter) played by Amber Tresca
· Kham Val’Abebi(val rogue/psychic warrior) played by Jeremy Ortiz (http://www.ninjarobotstudios.com)
· Vlad Martell (human fighter) played by Matt Hammer
· Quintus Aurelius Ignatius (human cleric) played by Michael Tresca (http://michael.tresca.net)

Grains of Sand is one of those adventures where if you make an innocent mistake like say, chase one set of bad guys instead of waiting for hours for another set to show up, you can really botch the adventure. Fortunately, Rob’s a great DM and knows when to kick us in the butt to keep the action moving. He also confined the action to one room, keeping the adventure from bogging down into a slow dungeon crawl.

The group has come a long way since the early adventures. Now, Ilmarė fires arrows with the intent of disrupting spellcasters, Quintus memorizes spells to assist his companions, and Kham actually uses a feint tactic to sneak attack with his pistols. They’re all starting to act like a mid-level party (levels range from 4 through 7) and our tactics are beginning to gel. Nevertheless, Quintus soundly got whupped when the Big Nasty Thing From Beyond Space showed up.

This is another adventure that I moved out of the order of play (we played it after finishing the Freeport trilogy) for two reasons: it makes a great introduction for Jarel the Encali dwarf and also gets Quintus his farmland. Additionally, the last time we saw Quintus, he was tortured for three weeks by cultists of the Brotherhood of the Yellow Sign. That kind of treatment will change a man, and it’s here that we see Quintus begin to have a change of heart about his allegiance to the Empire.

To say that, “Quintus nearly bought the farm” is a terrible pun, but it’s quite accurate too. Not his proudest moment, but Quintus has other things on his mind besides killing for once. He’s thinking about settling down, and a farm seems like a great way to start. If he ever survives the legion, that is. [MORE]

Labels:

posted by Michael Tresca at 5:20 PM | 0 comments links to this post


Want more? Please consider contributing to my Patreon; Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and the web; buy my books: The Evolution of Fantasy Role-Playing Games, The Well of Stars, and Awfully Familiar.