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gem helper

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Everything posted by gem helper

  1. an ideal nation-state is an oxymoron and personal leadership is never any better (and rarely significantly worse) than the collective forces that support it... just sayin
  2. Sharimik should be open to you if the dragons are - they're supposed to let you in once you've solved one of the plagues (either slimes or roaches, both also fine). Same with Lorelei. I dunno if you can get into Gale before dealing with one of the plagues but it never "opens" - you have to get in by a side entrance. I think the contact you need to ultimately get into Blackcrag is in Lorelei.
  3. i know what this poster is meant to be about but it looks like it's trying to protect businessmen from being lured into hostile takeovers
  4. all of the communist merchandise i have i made myself but it's the thought that counts i suppose
  5. i think that's the thieves' guild entrance?
  6. iirc, you're only able to get in when the dragons invite you to come in. you get that invitation from finding evidence implicating the dragons in the roach factory, and showing it to the usual people in fort emergence
  7. i'm mildly surprised by this; the last time i was here i didn't have glasses it's exile 2's graphic for destroying the empire portal, of course!
  8. this is sometimes a good policy; there are people whose web identities are more stable than anything else about them, including their bodies. consequently getting attached to faces can be a little silly sometimes — and really bodies are as malleable and performative as anything else about someone, so ...
  9. i dunno if anyone's suggested this, but an editor feature i've longed for is importing monsters and items from scenario to scenario, both individually and as a group. in the same vein, i'd be happiest if there were a couple of settings/features for items that don't exist now - "destroyed on leaving scenario" (previously implied by custom graphics but only by custom graphics) "loses ability on leaving scenario" (previously implied by certain plot-related options), "traders pay/charge X% of normal". oh, and copy items graphics to a folder so they can be transferred from scenario to scenario; custom graphics causing items not to transfer sort of acted as a disincentive for making custom items certain ways
  10. exile 1 is okay, but exile 2 is a way, way better game. i don't regret playing it but avernum 1 was more fun for me - there's some crude stuff about the interface, gameplay, and plot that gets way better later in the series.
  11. Does anama membership prevent casting mage spells? I was told it just dropped Mage Spells level to 0. I dunno if casting them again makes you lapse and if so if you lose the Ravage Spirit effect, and I wish I did - it'd suggest a minmaxy way to build a new party.
  12. i love photo threads!! here's one of me at dinner on the space needle fancy! (i had some really nice lipstick on and i'm kinda upset i didn't get any great photos of me in it)
  13. it can be really hard for someone GMing to accept that they need to hand off power for a little while, for perfectly understandable reasons (don't underestimate people's unwillingness to look flaky as a source of flakiness + sort of proprietary mama-bear feelings about other people's ability to handle the world), and the result of that can be it being too little and too late. it's something i've succumbed to myself, and something to look out for. and, again, a good reason to have people to pick up slack - that way it's not an obligation on the GM to keep perfect tabs on their own schedule and level of commitment, which is very stressful
  14. i mean, i agree that the way i stated that suggested the idea of a moderator getting involved outside of extreme circumstances and that's incorrect, but as far as i'm concerned a GM getting involved outside of extreme circumstances is going to generate bad blood pretty quickly anyway. i dunno; i think forums rp working and sustaining itself is always on some level a crapshoot and other than having firm and collectively respected rules and standards there's not a lot you can do to help that. like, a few things do help to maintain a permeable but stable core group of active players and help keep barriers to entry relatively low, but they're sorta things that can be done in a relatively anarchic and community-based fashion just as easily as one with an established power structure. i'd suggest that a formal GM rather than just an informal cartel introduces a related problem: things can be stalled by GM interest or ability to engage, and switching out GMs sort of collectively weakens the action in a bunch of little ways. like, it's doable, but plan around it causing some problems. i've seen forums rp work and not work equally well with a formal gm and no formal gm, and with formal rules and no formal rules, and i don't think any of them is exactly a magic bullet or poison. my own experience leads me to favor no gm but fairly hard rules, established both in advance and on the go, but i don't think i'm convinced that always works or even that it works markedly more often than with a gm and no rules (or a gm and rules, or no gm and no rules). i guess it comes down to what exact kind of bad blood you prefer to deal with. to be perfectly honest, if there's one factor that has always been a major one for forums rp that i've been part of, it's schedule compatibility. you want the biggest collective amount of free time in a forums rp to come about a third of the way into its lifetime and last about half of its lifetime. (in other words, the climax of things should come during a time at which people generally have spare time, but represents the last point at which delays are going to kill the action.) this is why a core group of players generally define things - they include people who not only have the most interest but whose schedules are the most flexible. finals seasons and crunch times are going to be lulls in the action, and breaks and slow periods are going to be peaks of potential activity (and that can actually sink you worse - an rp where nobody involved has more than an hour a day is rocky but an rp where everyone with time has nothing to do sinks like a lead balloon). if there's anything that causes me agita about the idea of a gm it's that a gm is an individual person with an individual life, and their time commitments can go a ways towards defining everyone else's potential time commitments. it's something that can trivially shear off a little knot of european or australian players if you're not careful. maybe two or three people with one doing most of the gming under normal circumstances might be better?
  15. to be honest, i don't know how much GMs contribute to forums RP. either way, the problem that needs to be solved is someone playing to win, or in bad faith, or in a way that creates a hostile environment - basically one person having a different take on the goals and rules of the whole thing than most or all of their fellow posters. that's a problem that needs to be solved by that person being made to back off and accept the consensus view, or by the consensus view changing to accomodate them, or at worst by removing them outright. all of those are things that are solved as easily by a crowd as by a single person; having a single person just obligates them to be the one who does the yelling when yelling needs done. and when you're on a moderated forum like sw, the whole "gm who's only called in to punish major infractions of the unwritten rules" thing is the case by default - someone being a jerk is cause for normal forums moderation to be called in, and is already part of that person's unpaid job. functionally, the mods/admins already behave this way, and probably more objectively than anyone involved in the action could. also, it warms the cockles of my heart to hear that sprinting up the (nonexistent) tech tree is still the problem to beat with faction-based forums rp, not gonna lie.
  16. I've been replaying the Exile series as a personal project, actually. Exile 2 is one of my favorite games, E3 is also real great (I kinda hate the plot though ), and I've been playing E1 for the first time lately. In a way Nethergate is kind of like a spiritual successor to the Exiles; it continues themes from E2/E3 which weren't exactly continued in A4.
  17. This is sort of a big bump, but is there any kind of changelog for the versions Mr Flibble posted? I've been digging through them a little bit and there's some epochal stuff (the interface in Exile 1.01 was heinously crude, and a few sound effects are inexplicably clipped or compressed) but also a lot of minor stuff (Exile 1.01's graphics are significantly different than Exile 1.12's, but both are Shirley Monroe's handiwork and the changes seem to represent a sweeping if subtle change that would persist through Exile 2). I've been digging through them myself to form my own conclusions but I'm not all that technical and it's sort of a hassle to install them on a virtual machine one by one.
  18. I'm nearly finished with my nostalgia-driven E3 playthrough (Windows version), and I've begun to feel like there's some stuff very different about it than how I remember, just in terms of basic engine mechanics. Evil Acolytes cast spells (I remember them being unable to); Major Summoning seems to summon monsters marked for Weak Summon sometimes (I don't remember this being the case); the biggest difference I can think of, though, is that Ghasts and Quickghasts now have a special called "Paralyzing touch", but which, on connecting, says "Stuns!" and attempts to slow; this makes Ghasts more or less duplicates of Ghouls. (Dark Wyrms and a couple of other things also have specials that read as "Paralyzing touch", but actually try to paralyze on touch.) Rentar's special has been changed to "Highly Protected". This is all, if it's actually different, a difference between an earlier Windows version and the one on the SW website. (Or maybe a later version, for all I know.) It's not a PC/Mac thing. Also, three things that I'd call "oddities" which as far as I know are not different from either BoE or earlier versions of E3: Hyperactivity isn't marked on the status bar, but seems to make the whole party magic resistant. I haven't experimented with it extensively but after I cast it, stoning attacks seem to have become dramatically less effective, although not totally ineffective. The same monsters do significantly more damage to PCs than to monsters, apparently due to a level-based saving throw. Splitting only works if there's a space without a magical field within 2 squares for the splitting monster to spawn a copy in. Dispel Fields has a chance (maybe the same chance, if so experimentally around 25%) of dispelling quickfire or antimagic in each square in its radius. It's almost impossible to imagine fighting quickfire this way, but this can be a way to defeat monsters generating antimagic fields (altho most of them have heavy magic resistances anyway). Also also! I was struck by how intense the mixup over dragons' pronouns was. The same nodes or dialogue trees talking about Athron giving birth to a brood also call Athron "he". The hintbook calls one of the caves there the Caverns of Motrax, but obviously he died in between games so that must have been changed. Plus, a tiny little nitpicky thing almost nobody probably noticed: there's a town somewhere (I think) in the northwest where you can meet an evil priest in a shop - he's hostile by default, but if charmed he has dialogue. Not too interesting, but there's stuff about him being nearly blind that suggests it was intentional, or at least retroactively justified by writing. I sort of had to roll through the rest of the game trying to find out if anyone else talked when charmed (and I really hope I didn't miss anyone :<)
  19. This is a lot of information I didn't actually know - especially the possibility of capturing a dragon. Celtic Minstrel is right it'd have to be E2 - multiple-tile monsters were introduced (and made uncapturable) in Exile 3. I could swear I remember capture resistance in Exile 2 only being conferred by level, not by level and magic resistance - so if true that's another reason E2 would have allowed for that. Magic immunity, IIRC, makes capturing things impossible in E3/BoE, whereas high level just makes it prohibitively difficult. I never tried it but it's amazing to imagine it working. Having played all the way through E3 again, my crystal is now Null Bug / Mad Monk (cheap for their health/armor/skill at level 12) / Ruby Skeleton / Slith Archmage (hasting friendly monsters). I think I'm happy with that. Also, I think the monster you mean is Empire Archers - they're really strong at range and unlike most other monsters with a ranged special, switch to melee consistently when something is in range of it. (I want to say razordisks and regular archer also work this way.) They also get ranged attacks for 2 AP each and a lot of AP and resistances. They're a really strong get if you can capture them and afford to summon them.
  20. Lately I've been doing a lot of research-based reading for writing. The Big Bonanza was the biggest and most important, which in a lot of ways was a stupider and meaner version of Roughing It with more direct historical documentation. As an example of what I mean: Twain relates the story of Hank Monk driving too fast for Horace Greeley in a repeated, deranged fashion, like an earworm, to emphasize the received-wisdom quality of popular stories - the story follows the same format whoever tells it and comes to the same end and isn't in the first event that interesting. It's a joke about storytelling and about the yahoos who do it. De Quille tells the same story straight, as though it's actually interesting. The racism is just as vicious, and in parts way worse (De Quille lacks Twain's contrarianism, which is almost always to his moral disadvantage). It's poorly-organized as a primary source - there's a book's worth of fascinating first-hand information about hard-rock mining, and the way 19th-century Americans experienced hard-rock mining, but it's thrown in in a disorganized way in chapters with no overriding theme or narrative. The process of reading The Big Bonanza is really more interesting than actually doing so most of the time - trying to make the state of science in the 19th century correspond in some meaningful way to terminology and ideas in the 21st. One of the more grimly comedic parts, in an unintentional way, is his treating the tragedy of the Donner Party as though it was one sinister German turning to cannibalism for no compelling reason. It's also kind of funny in a meta sense because De Quille keeps on trying to argue the Comstock lode would last forever and become the most economically important mine in history, but it would peter out in his lifetime, only a decade and change after he wrote his book. As a palate-cleanser, I've also been reading a history of Jewish immigration and community politics in the 19th century US, and Sarah Winnemucca's autobiography. Both sort of personally engaging and important, like a long warm shower after having to roll around in a cesspool. I loved LHOD, was always a huge fan of Le Guin. (She's probably my favorite blogger - was inspired by translations of Jose Saramago, who also started blogging in his 80s. Writes pretty captivatingly about growing up in California in the 30s; weird thing to see in a modern idiom.) I sort of wonder how I'd feel about it having gotten queerer and more radical than I was as a teenager - probably parts would be less challenging, parts more. Still haven't finished The Dispossessed, but boy, have I meant to.
  21. I think this is actually an excellent example of the class-determinedness of the whole situation. "Voting with your dollar" is an idea that presupposes you have control over your dollars. When I have a hundred dollars sitting in my hot little hand the main thing I do with it is eat it, and I have depressingly little choice as to how. If I had a thousand dollars it'd vanish almost as quickly because of debts and put-off necessities. Basically, every purchase in my life involves a crunch for time or resources that makes meaningful "choice" impossible and the amount of information I act on insufficient for an informed choice. And even leaving all of that aside, I've been conditioned by life experience which isn't universal to expect that windfalls will be devoured not just by utilitarian purchases but by service and other fees and interests. There's a significant contrast between this way of living and thinking and the way of living and thinking imposed by a situation where purchases can be considered carefully and left to wait, and money can also be left alone without disappearing. This is why a lot of the discussion about privacy online always rings a little hollow - a large class of people in the discussion presume that everyone's presence in social media or the Internet is an opt-in, rather than being something foisted on us by a society that increasingly uses the Web to manage things we can't do without. The assumption is that people's relationships to capital are one in which they have individual power rather than being to a large extent individually powerless. You can opt out of a 401k but you can't opt out of calories. As a sidenote, a boycott is way more than just individually not buying something - it's necessarily a propaganda campaign, and involves doing way, way more than voting with money. It involves voting as much as you vote for anything, with words and ballots and the real threat of social disorder. The day-to-day bottom line is not what moves the people targeted, it's the long-term stability of their way of doing business.
  22. I've considered that, actually! The bladesman is mostly in the lineup to act as a damage sponge, and also mostly on the list because it's real, real easy to just find and capture. I forget if either ghasts or quickghasts summon any other way but whether or not they do being able to pop one at will would be 100% worth it for the slow/paralysis special, and I'm going to grab one to replace my current fourth ASAP. The fourth monster I've got there right now is actually, oddly enough, an Emerald Slime - they've got lousy skill and are made of tissue paper but they do occasionally act as a cheap and unreliable sleep. Plus they're sort of pretty.
  23. I'm replaying Exile 3 for the first time in years and I found myself really getting into Capture Soul. If memory serves I had the same kind of silly exuberance over it as a kid too - it's really a great little mechanic, one of a bunch of really neat mechanical things the later Exiles add to what's basically an Ultima clone at heart. I'm wondering, as I do this: what are the best and worst options for Simulacrum? Some abilities are really powerful against other monsters, and some monsters are more beefy than their level really answers for, and for some both is true. I like having a Bladesman for sheer physical damage - Dervishes do a little more, but it's really just the 20+ skill, 5+ speed that does the trick. A Null Bug as sort of an alternative delivery mechanism for antimagic fields - at level 12 only slightly more expensive than Antimagic Field, and available earlier. And finally, but most importantly, I like Ruby Skeletons a lot. They seem to do less damage against monsters than against PCs, but they still get 4 attacks a round, and Fire is an uncommon immunity. In Exile 3, at least, they're level 10 (!!!), which is probably three times cheaper than they should be. (And way, way less experience.) When I was a kid I used to like Basilisks and Empire Archers a lot, but lately I feel like Empire Archers are expensive for their (admittedly good) special, and basilisks are cute but not a viable alternative to the half a dozen or so debuffs, disabilities, or kills that can be inflicted on a magic-vulnerable monster directly. What do you like to capture? Doesn't really even have to have a justification - honestly I think part of why I liked basilisks so much was how it looked when I summoned a couple dozen of them. (Also doesn't have to be E3 or E2 or Blades specific.) Alternatively, what would be bad to capture and use? A few abilities outright don't work against other monsters, or don't really have a friendly application. (I think anything that splits does so as hostile - so Viscous Goo is out, and so would be Doomguards if they weren't magic immune.)
  24. I tend to see this question as a positional matter, and Zizek's discussion of the impossibility of ethical consumption under capitalism as class-limited. (I feel a little cynically that Zizek's popularity among American leftists owes an awful lot to his willing role as the toothless court radical of the first-world petit bourgeoisie. He presumes the universality of 1WPB mores, resources, and narratives; as someone from outside of that background once I stopped reading exclusively 1WPB sources and thinkers I sort of stopped respecting him all that much.) As someone who makes a living by performing work which is mostly stolen from me via structural violence, I'm part of the class that Walmart exists to extract value from. I might very well consider it in my interest to resist them in doing this, but this would necessarily require understanding a coherent political strategy. But I don't see an alternative or an urgent reason to pursue one - I don't live anywhere near the infrastructure to feed myself without paying a component of monopoly capital with money. Ironically, Walmart literally is one of several more or less interchangeable options for my food budget, and in the absence of a mass political context for avoiding them it would only make me miserable, and the people it enriched instead of the Waltons and their lackeys would still be first-world capitalists. There's been a labor struggle on with a local mall which has involved a boycott, and I'm not going to that mall for that reason, and if the topic ever came up I'd consider it worth talking about. But boycotts are different. The boycott is a powerful and useful political tool, an assertion of political will by a mass movement - it's in fact one of the prototypes of resistance to imperialism in its modern form, developing in India and Ireland in struggle against British capitalists. But it's sort of been absorbed by capital and reinterpreted in its own logic as an individual choice mediated primarily by anxiety: e.g., an organized response to a call by the UFW to consciously and politically spurn purchasing grapes as part of a specific campaign percolates through layers of mass culture into a vague and nearly inchoate anxiety about purchasing grapes because of someone somewhere being exploited behind their production. (This conveniently erases the actual resistance and its human protagonists and recasts the struggle between exploiter and exploited as one between the consumer and the consumer's conscience.) I know people who were alive then and avoid grapes even now, decades after the boycott, completely outside of its context. This robs the boycott of its historical particularity and removes the opportunity to examine its success or failure and learn lessons from either, and more prosaically is incredibly silly. The move to boycott specific commercial holidays over the ongoing white supremacist state violence in Ferguson & around the country located in that context - it's a mass movement, and it's specifically one that's asked for a wider base of support to leverage pressure on companies involved in the prison-industrial complex. I don't know how or if people who live by having money and using it to make more money, or by working for themselves and keeping whatever the state doesn't skim off the top, would manage to live politically radical lives; it's not a question that especially concerns me, and the answers they find for themselves don't make a lot of sense to me. Zizek seems to believe he's crafted a moral justification for inertia but it feels to me like he's at best proven it's equally as bad in his context as individual action.
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