The pain of the superbowl is finally starting to subside... ok not really, but it's time to move on to better things. To that end I have attempted to fix the crappy dungeon map I attempted, resumed work on my Caliburn game, and rented BioShock 2.
Let's start with BioShock 2 as this will, like the game itself, be brief. I know this isn't necessarily an RPG, but I know many of our readers are also video game players and I think they need to hear this. I picked BioShock2 up on Tuesday, it's release date. I finished it on Wednesday. Yeah.
Now the first one wasn't my favorite game of all time, but it was entertaining and I figured since the first one was such a success and since they took forever to release the sequal that we would see all kind of improvements. I was wrong. Two is much the same as One. It has a different story, obviously, but it isn't even as good as the first one. But that isn't my main problem with the game. My main problem is that I got it for the campaign (I don't have Xbox Live) and the campaign lasted for all of TEN HOURS. Now I should tell you that I rent games from Blockbuster on their freedom pass, so I didn't shell out 60 bucks for this thing, and can only imagin how ripped off I would feel if I had. While I didn't complete all the achievments in the game (I never found all 14 weapon upgrades) I did find and deal with every single little sister in the game. I researched every plasmid. I even opened every tonic slot. I was pretty thourough, though not overly so. Yet all that netted was 10 hours. Disgraceful. If you plan on picking up BioShock 2 for the multiplayer then fine, since I don't have XLive I couldn't even see what the Multiplayer menu incorpartated. It could be great... Maybe that is where 2 years and millions and millions of dollars went. But if you plan on getting the game for the campaign here is my suggestion, DON'T. Either that or rent it like I did. Trust me you won't be charged a late fee on this one.
The good news is that since I've taken longer bathroom trips than BioShock 2 I was able to resume work on my Caliburn game. Continuing to put off a final version of the map I decided to pick up working on character creation. Part of the character creation process won't involve the player's characters at all. Before they can get to that they must design the noble house to which they are apart or serve.
To do this I am modifiing the ASIF RPG's House creation system. Green Ronin did an amazing job with this innovative feature that let's the players design the House themselves from the ground up. By making the house themselves the players feel a sense of ownership with the game and the setting, a sense of comradery with one another, and an investment in key NPCs who also serve the house.
In creating a House I am giving the players the choice of which of the fifteen Kings of Caliburn they want to serve. Choosing a Kind is about more than which banner looks cool. Each Kingdom grants certain bonuses and penalties to the House's statistics (a feature that is built into the the ASIF RPG House creation system), grants a special bonus and liability, and has a completley different setting and story. The goal is that the players are just as invested in the game, and have nearly as much control in shaping the outcome, as the GM. Typically I run a more structured, plot driven game, but this game is more about everyone playing a role in shaping the story. So if the players want to focus on political intrigue they will likely serve Cador Von Draken of Albion. But if they wanted to focus more on exploration then they would choose to serve one of the Frontier Kings of a more remote region.
Above is a preview of one of the quick reference pages in the House creation chapter of the players book. Obviously it isn't finished and formatting is still a work in progress. I'm using Indesign, and it isn't all that easy to use.