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Topics - hgjs

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Other Games / Dragon Age: Which mods to use?
« on: December 06, 2010, 03:01:53 AM »
I recently grabbed a copy of Dragon Age: Origins - Ultimate Edition (which includes the expansion and the various paid add-ons).  Since the game has been out for a while, I decided to look at what worthwhile mods might be out there.

I'm interested in hearing anyone's recommendations.  Here is what I found so far on my own; I basically browsed through a bunch of sources and saw if any names kept coming up, or sounded particularly interesting.  Since the Ultimate Edition comes with all of the paid DLC, I don't bother including mods that just replicate DLC content.

(Some forum) What are the best Dragon Age mods?
Stuff mentioned that was mentioned by multiple people
  • respec mod gets mentioned a bunch of times
  • "Skip the Fade" gets recommended by several people

(PC Gamer) 18 essential Dragon Age mods
Stuff mentioned that was also mentioned by another source
  • "Dragon Age Redesigned"
  • "Skip the Fade"
  • "Lock Bash"

Other things that sound interesting
  • Alley of Murders (extra adventure).  Why not?

(Some Website) Must-Have Mods for Dragon Age Origins
Stuff mentioned that was also mentioned by another source
  • Combat Tweaks
  • Advanced Tactics

I'm interested in finding mods that offer new content (e.g. dungeons, dialogue, characters).   Are there any mods in particular y'all would recommend, or advise me to stay away from?

Media and Inspiration / Awesome images of a modern recreation of a castle
« on: September 13, 2009, 06:34:10 PM »
I found these images on another site that requires registration.  I thought it was really cool.

Quote from: dralasite
A little backstory first: 12 years ago, some french people wanted to try a large scale archeological experiment: building a castle using medieval technics .

After many troubles finding a site and enough starting money, they finally begun the construction, scheduled to take 25 years before completion.

The first time I went there, the castle was exactly 3 stones high. :D
Since then I went back nearly every year.

The website, for more information, can be found here:

These days the castle is still mostly unfinished but is a touristic success and is financially self sufficient, they even managed to hire more people.

Obviously, this is a very ambitious work and it's quite impressive to see what they have done so far. As an archeological experiment, they try to stick to medieval technics as much as possible, except for some specific cases:
- security: masons wear modern hard hats (camouflaged under a straw hat), stone cutter wear protective goggles and the scaffoldings are subjected to modern security standards (the goal is not to test medieval wounds!)
- archeological interest: the hearth foundations have been brought with modern trucks, because spending a full year moving dirt with wheelbarrows wasn't of much interest for anyone. Once done any modern construction device got banned
- some material had to be bought from modern factories: quicklime is dangerous to produce and store, so they buy it from "outside" already hydrated to avoid accidents (remember that scene in "Fight Club"? Now imagine a truckload of that stuff lying around with tourists and kids running around). Iron is also bought from outside, it would be possible to extract it on site but far too time and ressource consuming, unfortunately.

Here is the map of the future castle:

(main gate at the south, chapel in the NW tower, dungeon is the NE tower and the living quarters are in the square building)

Here is a recent picture of the castle:

As you can see, the south wall and towers are barely began, they try to build first the living quaters, dungeon and chapel. More details later.

The construction site itself is in an old stone quarry, surrounded by a forest. The local stone is hard enough to provide the main building material, there are enough trees to provide contruction wood and clay is easy to find for tiles and such:


I wanted to make a thread or posts about this castle since a long time and I have a truckload of pictures. I guess that the subject might interest some people here and since it might get quite image-heavy I preferred to create a separate thread rather than clog the regular picture thread.
i will, of course, post only a fraction of the photos I have, so if someone would like to see more of a specific subject, don't hesitate to ask! :)
The vast majority of the pictures have been taken by my GF, with a Canon EOS 450D and a very tiny number by myself with the same camera.

One important advice for the rest of the visit:

Yep, that's me in the pillory, how could I know I wasn't supposed to loot the dungeon? It's a DUNGEON godammit! :mad:

(Like the original, this will be split up over several posts.)

Being a science fiction fan, I was somewhat interested when I heard of Eclipse Phase.  The book is available for free legally, so I checked it out, and it seemed rather in the vein of Transhuman Space -- new social structures, mind uploading, AIs, uplifted animals, hypercorporations, colonized solar system -- plus an Earth-killing disaster and more soft sci-fi elements (warp gates, limited alien contact, psionic powers).

What I'm curious about is has anyone played it, or given more attention to how the game works in practice?

A great post I saw on another site.  This pretty much sums up my own experiences.

Quote from: David J Prokopetz
To hear certain segments of the "role-playing, not roll-playing!" crowd define it:

Min-maxer: A player who understands how the game's rules operate.

Munchkin: A player who favours the style of play that the game's rules encourage and facilitate, as opposed to the style of play that the game's self-promotional text claims the rules encourage and facilitate.

Power-gamer: A player who wishes for his or her character to be competent.

As you might guess, we are using (more or less) the rules for Dogs in the Vineyard, except set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe.  The characters are Inquisitors: the PCs are a Catachan ex-guardsman, a fairly young Inquisitor, and a more-machine-than-man priest of the Adeptus Mechanicus.

Today was our first session.  It was brief, because it was interrupted for food and because some of us had dinner arrangements, but it was long enough to explain the premise and get through character generation (including everyone's flashback conflict).  I felt that the flashbacks were a good way to get people familiar with the system in a way that just a description might not, and I'm letting people make changes to their sheets based on their experience before we start for real next week.

The Catachan guardsman's flashback scene was trying to hunt a Catachan Devil (opposed by the Devil itself).  It was a rather straightforward fight: the guardsman tracked it through the jungle then chopped it apart with a chainsword while avoiding the monster's claws.

The Adeptus Mechancius' flashback was trying to put down a rebellion.  The central event was trying to overrun a factory the rebels had seized control of before they managed to start churning out armored vehicles.  The rebels sabotaged the troop transports; the adept repaired them.  The adept refitted the transports with reinforced frontal armor to withstand fire; the rebel leader's spies learnt of this, and deployed IEDs along the various routes to their factory-base.  Then the adept used his robot servants to sneak ahead and disarm the land mines: the rebel leader was out of dice at this point, so the Imperial Guard offensive reached the factory unimpeded and slaughtered the unprepared rebels.  I thought it might have been cool for the rebel leader from the flashback to have lived hideously scarred and bent on revenge, but the player explicitly killed him off in his victory narration.  (Killing the leader was definitely within the stakes he initially declared.)

The Inquisitor's flashback was a first contact incident with Tau.  His goal was peaceful negotiations: I decided that his opposition wasn't the Tau negotiator, but the commander of the ship he (the Inquisitor) was on.  The commander ordered his men to open fire on the Tau ship while it was attempting to communicate.  The Inquisitor countermanded the order and tried to pull rank as a member of the Inquisition, saying that overriding his authority would be heresy.  The commander was unimpressed, and pointed out that negotiating with xenos was blatantly heretical, and threatened the Inquisitor himself with the ship's Commissar.  (In game terms he "turned the blow," which is rather bad for the other player.)  At this point the player was running out of dice, so he allocated one of his unspent Relationship dice to the commissar, and declared that the two of them went way back.  ("You know me, and you know that I know what I'm doing.  By the way, say hello to my sister for me when you see her.")  The Commander then pointed his pistol at one of the gunners, and told him to fire or he would burn him down on the spot.  The Inquisitor's player didn't have high enough dice to stop this outright, so he was able to interpose himself between the crewman and the controls and cause him to hesitate, but the Commander then shot the crewman in cold blood.  The Inquisitor then finally drew his own weapon (gaining more dice) and pointed it at the Commander, ordering him to stand down.  Since the Commander was out of dice, he had no choice but to acquiesce, and the Inquisitor was able to answer the Tau ship's hail and conduct peaceful negotiations with the ambassador.

A few days ago, certain changes for the upcoming 6th edition of the HERO system were announced.

During Steve Long's chat of Wednesday, June 3, Steve revealed several details of HERO System elements which will definitely change, or not change, for the upcoming Sixth Edition. People who were at the chat have responded to individual questions regarding those changes here on the forums, so the information has been filtering out piecemeal to the general community; but I thought it would be helpful to post all of it in one place for people who can't wait until Sixth Edition is published.

None of what follows is speculation. It's all been confirmed by Steve Long as definitely happening, although in some cases Steve didn't elaborate on specifics. As new information comes to light I'll add to or clarify this list. I welcome anyone else who wishes to add data that they're aware of to this thread, but only if it's been confirmed by Steve or another DoJ staff member.

And so, on to 6E:


The basic 3d6-roll-for-success mechanic remains, and it will continue to be "roll-low."

No changes to the Speed Chart.

Movement will continue to be measured per Phase.

All measurements will be given in meters. There will be no use of "hexes" or any other mapping arrangement in 6E.

Comeliness will no longer be one of the Characteristics. It's being replaced with an optional Talent, Striking Appearance.

All the other Characteristics will remain, but none of them will be "Figured," i.e. derived from other Characteristics. They'll all start with a base value that must be bought up separately. The costs of some of them have been "tweaked" -- no further details yet.

OCV, DCV, OECV, and DECV will become separate Characteristics, not derived from DEX and EGO. They'll start with a base value of 3 and will be bought up separately.

Suggested starting point totals will be raised to compensate for the change to Characteristics -- no specifics yet.

Leaping will no longer be derived from Strength -- it will start at a base amount for all characters, as with Running and Swimming.

Skills will still be calculated from CHAR/5, but there will be an optional "Toolkitting" note about changing that if desired. Other Toolkitting notes will appear throughout the rules -- no further details on those.

Seduction Skill will be renamed Charm.

Some new Powers have been added, and others have been removed. The only one mentioned is Find Weakness, which is being removed. There will be no official way to reduce Defenses below 1/2 as with Armor Piercing.

Adjustment Powers have been significantly reworked -- no further details yet.

Energy Blast and Killing Attack will still be separate forms of Damage, as they are in 5E.

The Stun Multiplier for Killing Attack will become a straight 1/2d6. It will still be possible to buy up the Stun Multiplier with Advantages.

You will be able to apply your Normal Defenses to the STUN damage of a Killing Attack whether you have any Resistant Defenses or not.

Nothing has changed about the way STR adds to Hand-To-Hand Killling Attack damage.

The method of Adding Damage is supposed to be simplified -- no further details yet.

The Multipower and VPP Frameworks will remain, but Elemental Control is being replaced by a new Limitation, Unified Power (no value given).

I've been mildly interested in the idea of HERO, but never played it (as I never met anyone running the game).  Can anyone familiar with the game say whether these changes are good or bad?

I picked up a copy of Mongoose Traveller not too long ago, and I like the look of it.  But I was wondering, how does it differ from the original?

The book itself mentions that they changed the "survival" role in character creation so that failing it doesn't mean character death, and I assume they might have a different set of standard careers than Classic Traveller does.

Is there anything else?

Media and Inspiration / Political threads now have their own subforum
« on: September 23, 2008, 07:50:24 PM »
A politics subforum has been created.  New threads about politics should go there; a number of existing threads have also been relocated to the new subforum.

Media and Inspiration / R. Sean Borgstrom: Ryan or Rebecca?
« on: July 16, 2008, 05:52:47 PM »
A poster on another forum did some digging, and came across a "Ryan Sean Borgstrom" who appears to have written all the papers by "R. Sean Borgstrom."

Originally posted by babayaga

It's a small world, and in my job I recently chanced upon a computer science paper (co-)authored some 15 years ago by one R.Sean Borgstrom: Comparison-Based Search in the Presence of Errors, R. Sean Borgstrom, S. Rao Kosaraju, STOC '93 pp. 130-136. For those of you who do not know, STOC is one of the two most prestigious conferences (together with FOCS) in theoretical computer science, and Kosaraju is a fairly big, senior name in the field. The paper is cute and elegant (to a mathematician's aesthetics).

I really like my bibliographies with the full names spelled out; plus I was wondering what were the chances that this person was actually Rebecca Sean Borgstrom author of Nobilis, having read somewhere that she actually held a doctorate in that field. So I tried looking a bit deeper into the actual name hiding behind that R.

I quickly chanced upon the home page of this person, here:
The quote from Vance's Madouc at the top hints at the RPG writer. Note that many computer scientists are rpg addicts, but there's something about the way Madouc is written (besides the fact that the main character is a young, weird girl) that just has "something" of the whimsy way in which Rebecca S. Borgstrom writes. I also found out that according to wikipedia ( Rebecca S. Borgstrom holds a Ph.D. from the same institution hosting that home page (Johns Hopkins University); and indeed wikipedia links that home page - but I am always wary about trusting wikipedia on these things.

Unfortunately, nowhere in the aforementioned home page does the name hidden behind the R. appear - it's always R. Sean Borgstrom. I checked out two of the other papers linked by the page (the ones appearing in journals, rather than in conference proceedings - more likely to have more details and fewer errors) and I still could not find anything about the first name of the author. Nor could I find the full name in the page of the DSN research group of the author at Johns Hopkins (; in fact all but two of the people on that page sport a photograph - but not the mysterious R. Sean Borgstrom.

Then, I clicked on the (HTML) resume link on the home page, that led me here:
and, although the mysterious R. remained mysterious even in the resume, towards the end of the page, I *did* read:

"Wrote Nobilis, a 260,000 word roleplaying game currently slated for release in January or early February 2002."

At that point things started to get strange.
Note that the resume's date is december 2001, so Rebecca S. Borgstrom still had not exploded into the rpg industry. She had, however, *already* published the first edition of Nobilis, in 1999. It felt a bit weird that she did not put the already published first edition in the resume instead pointing to the second edition (that indeed appeared in 2002). Another weird thing that caught my eye was that in the entry for the computer science publication that started my quest the acronym "STOC" was expanded into "Structural Theory of Complexity", instead of the correct "Symposium on the Theory of Computing". To those outside Computer Science this might seem an insignificant detail, but it's a mistake of about the same proportions as expanding D&D into Dilberts And Demigods in your resume as a freelance rpg writer.

Spurred by these minor inconsistencies, I did one more search, using DBLP, one of the best known databases for computer science publications. And what did I find?
Apparently the author of the STOC paper, and of another paper in the Johns Hopkins home page (the one at WADS), is one *Ryan* S. Borgstrom.

Ok. I searched on the web for "Ryan Borgstrom", and finally found a ton of links to all the computer science papers in the R. Sean Borgstrom home page (in fact, one page is from the Johns Hopkins DSN group, - nothing of that sort happened searching for Rebecca Borgstrom.

Summarizing, R. Sean Borgstrom the computer scientist appears to be a Ryan wherever the R. is expanded. But the resume at Johns Hopkins - - states that this person is the same as the Nobilis author. So does the wikipedia article at . And we know the Nobilis author to be Rebecca.

Hmmmm. Same person? Two people sharing a large fraction of their name? A proxy ritual - uh, wait, did I play too much Unknown Armies? Wait, there's a Rebecca Borgstrom in that game's "One Shots" supplement, too! And not among the authors. Among the *characters*. ARG!

Quote from: Bradford C. Walker
[My favorite thing in] D&D3.5: Eberron, once the implications of the design finally sunk into my head.

This comment in another thread struck my interest.  What I know about Eberron could fit on a small index card.  Aside from general bits about the setting (raptor-riding halflings, necromancer elves, warforged, etc.), the primary features of the world struck me as:

- A setting reminiscent of post-WWI Europe, complete with pseudo-technological magic.

- A not-to-my-taste hack of the Alignment system.

Those of you who are more familiar with Eberron, though, what are its selling points to you?

Most people I know, and many people online, scorn the Fighter: "the cleric owns the early game, and the wizard owns the endgame."  The consensus seems to be that the Fighter is only good at very low levels, then sucks for the rest of the game.  Yet this hasn't been what I've seen in actual play.

In the last D&D game I played, we had a fairly standard group: a wizard, a cleric, a rogue, a fighter/barbarian, and some bard.  The level range we played was 5 to 10: supposedly when fighters start becoming marginalized.

Yet in most encounters, the fighter/barbarian ended up being the primary damage dealer.  The cleric was played as a battle-cleric (which is favored by the Wizards of the Coast optimization boards), buffing himself to the gills, but as it so happens a fully buffed fighter has far more damage output than a fully buffed cleric.  The fighter/barbarian had better Strength (given that we were using point buy), and with his Rage ability could put out ludicrous damage when he power-attacked with a greatsword.  With his superior number of feats, while the cleric used up all his feats on Divine Metamagic to be a halfway decent fighter, the fighter/barbarian was able to easily pick up things like Great Cleave which let him utterly dominate encounters against large numbers of weaker enemies.  And, of course, the time we were attacked by surprise and didn't have time to prepare beforehand, the fighter/barbarian blew the battle cleric out of the water.

So I don't agree at all with the idea that Fighters suck.  How does this compare to your experience?

Since Robert Jordan has died.  Cached posting:

Sometimes even when you've fought your best...

Posted by Wilson on September 16th, 2007 in the Robert Jordan's Blog category    

It is with great sadness that I tell you that the Dragon is gone. RJ left us today at 2:45 PM. He fought a valiant fight against this most horrid disease. In the end, he left peacefully and in no pain. In the years he had fought this, he taught me much about living and about facing death. He never waivered in his faith, nor questioned our God’s timing. I could not possibly be more proud of anyone. I am eternally grateful for the time that I had with him on this earth and look forward to our reunion, though as I told him this afternoon, not yet. I love you bubba.

Our beloved Harriet was at his side through the entire fight and to the end. The last words from his mouth were to tell her that he loved her.

Thank each and everyone of you for your prayers and support through this ordeal. He knew you were there. Harriet reminded him today that she was very proud of the many lives he had touched through his work. We’ve all felt the love that you’ve been sending my brother/cousin. Please keep it coming as our Harriet could use the support.

Jason will be posting funeral arrangements.

My sincerest thanks.

Peace and Light be with each of you,

4th of 3

To Catalyst: Never, never loose faith. RJ did not. Harriet hasn’t. I haven’t. Going through what we have, our faith is only strengthened. Besides, if God didn’t exist, we would have never had Jim. We did. God does. Remember my Brother/Cousin, my friend, think of him fondly and glorify God’s name.

Editor’s Note:
The entire staff of would like to extend its most deepest sympathies to Robert Jordan’s family. He touched all of our lives in some way and we wish him the rest and peace he deserves. We will be posting information in the near future about where you can send condolences. Please check the News Section for these updates.

Media and Inspiration / What web browser do you use?
« on: September 14, 2007, 12:42:07 AM »
With a poll!

Myself, at the moment I'm using Opera, but will also use Firefox from time to time, and Safari on my iPhone.

I'm interested in trying out RPGs I haven't played before, and I heard about this "Harn" thing during one of their promotions.  I read the introductory pdf, and it tells me that it's a fantasy RPG, but not much about the game's character, and I'm interested in learning a bit more before I leap.  What's the system like in play and pre-play?  What's the tone of the setting?  What are the game's strengths, quirks, and rough spots?

Anyone feel like expounding on this, or happen to have a review lying around?

Other Games / So what's this "Venice Chronicles" business?
« on: July 01, 2007, 05:06:05 PM »
So I read this blog entry and, somewhat curious, I checked out the game's website -- but having visited it, I'm not sure what exactly is going on.  Anyone know or want to fill me in?

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