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googoogjoob

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Everything posted by googoogjoob

  1. I suspect what might be happening- based on the appearance of the quotation marks in your posts- is that your browser (or the iPad itself, or whatever input method you are using) has "smart quotes" enabled. That is, it automatically implements fancy, contextual, printed-book-like quotation marks (“...”) instead of the more common, noncontextual, computer standard "dumb quotes" ("..."). And I think what might be happening is that the forum software is not interpreting the smart quotes as quotation marks, for the purposes of searching. You can try to turn off smart quotes, if that's
  2. If you search for "Tower of Barriers" (in quotes), you get 13 results on this forum. 1 result is this topic. The other 12 are all about Avernum: Escape from the Pit, and 6 of them are topics specifically and exclusively about the Tower of Barriers. None of the results are from 2 or 3.
  3. Okay. I think this is a point of misunderstanding which a lot of this disagreement stems from. In Avadon 1, the method of selecting a Keeper is not made entirely explicit. Several Keepers in the past disappeared or were assassinated, and it's implied that their successors may have had a hand in these happenings. At some point in the writing of Avadon 2 or 3, however, Jeff decided to change things, or at least make them more explicit, and retconned it so that Keeper is a lifetime position, and that succession to the position is determined by whoever manages to kill the sitting Keeper. (Presumab
  4. Redbeard almost certainly has more power than anyone else in the Pact- more than any Councilor individually, probably more than the Council collectively, and probably even more than the heads of state of the constituent nations of the Pact. He has the authority to conduct diplomacy with foreign powers with no real oversight from the Council. He has the authority to destabilize said foreign powers and even conduct de facto warfare with them. He has the power to run an effective and omnipresent spy network not only without, but within the borders of the Pact. He has the authority to basically di
  5. I'd say the Codex is mostly reliable, but a) it only includes information which is public knowledge at the time of the games, and b) it's written from the perspective of an observer within the Pact. I'm not sure I'd say Redbeard recognizes the limits of his power in the sense of knowing what he can or cannot do, but that he recognizes that the Pact is only capable of withstanding so much internal meddling without flying apart- if he quashed ALL dissent, and ensured EVERY Councilmember was friendly to his causes, then the Pact would likely tear apart at the seams, with no other outlet for its c
  6. I think it's possible to come to certain conclusions (which are up to interpretation) that support alternate readings of events. I think some of the particulars are impossible to know with certainty, given the limited view the player is given of the gameworld, and I think this uncertainty is deliberate, to allow a player to plausibly interpret events in varying ways in order to justify the different options they're given. I'm not sure I agree that Hanvar's Council has meaningful leverage over Redbeard. Their underfunding of Avadon is definitely part of its lack of preparedness when
  7. I can think of two basic angles of attack to justify removing/killing Redbeard ideologically. First, the internal one: I think it's possible to decide, from the perspective of a Pact loyalist, that Redbeard is a danger to the long-term health and stability of the Pact. He willfully arrogates a ton of power from the constituent states of the Pact, and isn't meaningfully answerable to the Council or the states individually. A Pact loyalist might decide that it's wrong for anyone to have as much unaccountable power as Redbeard has amassed. Prior Keepers evidently didn't have as much p
  8. They're mostly just grandfathered in from the prior iterations of the games. In Exile/Avernum (not the Avernum re-remakes at hand), some areas are pitch-black to the extent that you cannot see more than a few tiles in any direction without lighting. In the re-remakes, lighting objects are just kind of an unnecessary novelty. You can still see pretty well without them, and having a light source doesn't eg let you see interactable objects you wouldn't otherwise. (The older games also had a "light" spell that rendered light sources mostly irrelevant, too.) The pylon syllables are,
  9. Recently read: Ficciones, by Jorge Luis Borges. Uneven. When a given story contains a solid alignment of idea and style (eg, Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius, The Library of Babel) it's spectacular. When they aren't quite aligned (Funes the Memorious, The South) the coy, oblique, allusive style feels like a tiresome smokescreen to cover for Borges's unwillingness to really develop an idea. Tales of Pirx the Pilot, by Stanisław Lem. Okay. Blunt, low-stakes stories in a setting where interplanetary travel, and all it implies, is common, and even boring. They work fine as escapist thrillers,
  10. Because they're aware that they can get even further right candidates, and can't conceive of settling for getting one who agrees with only 90% of their policy ideas. All expectations of compromise in American politics flow rightward, never leftward, and this is maintained institutionally by the party duopoly who have a stranglehold on the system. This is underpinned by Democratic leadership (and many committed liberal/progressives generally) believing that the American electorate is, deep down, unshakably center-right-to-right politically, and thus Democratic candidates who try to
  11. I don't think there are firm dates in the games given for the exile of the violent Sliths. IIRC the leader of the violent Sliths into exile, Sss-Thoss, is said to be father or grandfather of the present Slith leader, Sss-Thsss. Again, we don't really have firm numbers for how long Sliths live, but this'd presumably put the Slith exile within the past few centuries at the outside- well after the most recent Olgai Resting began. The only Sliths we see in the games are members of the fractious, violent group of exiled Sliths, or repentant splinter groups thereof. I don't think we c
  12. I agree with everything Ess-Eschas has said above about mysteries in stories. I think that in-universe, the source of Limoncelli's speed is genuinely somewhat mysterious, but also it's not something that's particularly important. The real-world reason for his speed, of course, is a) to make him a more memorable boss fight than just "generic Empire general," and b) to enable a particularly memorably gruesome death scene for him. Avernum has a bunch of this sort of mystery... Who built all these clearly-pre-human-cave-discovery forts and crypts and such, and why? Why is the Mertis Sp
  13. The first two of these questions are basically answered in Geneforge 1, in the super-secret area. The last isn't a mystery at all: the Sholai are just the inhabitants of a different continent than the one the Shapers are based on, and marine navigation isn't particularly advanced in the world of Geneforge, so the Sholai and Shapers hadn't made contact prior to the first game. (Also, the Shaper empire has only existed for about three centuries at the time of the games, dating from when the Shapers began expanding eastward from their main provinces across Terrestia; and it's never expanded beyon
  14. Geneforge 5 establishes explicitly that ten years have elapsed since the start of the rebellion (in 3), with 4 happening at some point in between (the dates on the loading screen creation datafiles in 4 and 5 imply that 4 happens five years before 5, and thus five years after 3; "Year 4128" is the latest date on the loading screens in 4, and then "Year 4133" appears on every creation loading screen in 5). I don't think there are any other firm dates given, except that Sucia was abandoned and Barred about 100 years prior to 1. Character aging is not entirely consistent... Amena ages
  15. "The plot is basically melancholy but in a weirdly understated way for videogames. The frog's only ways of acting are by jumping and shooting so it's unable to help its friends until their emotional problems get bad enough for this hyperspecific skillset to become relevant again." -Stephen Gillmurphy, writing on the game Kero Blaster
  16. On other forums- that is, forums not populated entirely by Spiderweb aficionados- Exile 3/Avernum 3 are inevitably going to be held in the highest regard of any Spiderweb RPGs, pretty much exclusively because they've always been the most popular. They had big shareware demos that got spread very widely, and there are many people whose only exposure to any Spiderweb games has been those demos. Among dedicated Spiderweb fans, I think they're still pretty well-regarded, but they're not necessarily so dominantly regarded as the best Spiderweb games.
  17. The power was out for about nine days due to the derecho, so I have read a lot in the past two weeks, specifically: Vanished Kingdoms, by Norman Davies (reread): maybe sort of uneven, but I really appreciate the histories of eg the Burgundys or the Crown of Aragon or the possessions of the House of Savoy, which get glossed over hard in most history writing as they cannot be slotted into modern national histories cleanly. The collected fiction of Lu Xun: really good. I actually maybe prefer the stories from his first book (variously translated as "A Call to Arms" or "Outcry"), which a
  18. The main reason Avernum 3: Ruined World's intro is like it is, is because it's grandfathered in from Avernum 3, where it was grandfathered in from Exile 3: Ruined World. In the Exile games, it's actually a step up, in terms of presentation and glamour, from Exile 1 and 2, which just have walls of text for intros. It might make sense to change the intro to 3 to match the others in presentation and tone now that they feature lush fantasy art in addition to the portentous prose, but the target audience for the remakes is both old fans and new players, and probably as many people would be upset by
  19. I don't think we'll ever get quantified lore information about anything in Geneforge (or in any Spiderweb game). The answer to any question like "how far is it in kilometers between these two cities?" or "how many people live on this island?"- or "how many creations can a master Shaper control at once?" or "how many Shaper schools are there?"- is always going to be "as many as are necessary for the story to keep humming along." Avadon is the only Spiderweb series thus far that's had a deliberate effort behind it to do any concerted worldbuilding on topics before they come up; mostly, Jeff's st
  20. It would've been neat to see Khyryk in 5, as he's one of the most interesting characters in the series. Maybe in the remake... I don't think there's any reason to assume him dead as of 5. You last see him in 4 in the Grayghosts, on the opposite end of the continent from the events of 5; given his distaste for both major sides of the war, and his reluctance to commit himself to joining anyone, I think it's at least equally plausible that he might've set up for himself somewhere in the wilds, using his Shaping and magic abilities to hide out. He's powerful enough that I imagine he co
  21. If you have Greta with you on Gull Island, Khyryk is the one who teaches her better spells, improving her attacks (although having Greta with you means you're rebel-aligned, and will probably end up killing him). Then, too- although this is only really evident in hindsight from 5- much of the non-Drakon rebellion must've been drifting towards Trakovitism by the time of 4, as an alternative to the Drakons' domination. So I can buy Greta as having some lingering fondness for Khyryk, even if they've happened to end up (ostensibly) on opposite sides of the war.
  22. Short answer: no. Longer answer: I'm not 100% certain, but IIRC how GF3 works is that if you help the rebels on either Harmony or Dhonal's, you can get into the center building in Stonespire and help them on Gull; whereas you don't need to have helped the Shapers before to be able to get to Khyryk and help them on Gull. And then, in either case, which side you help on Gull locks you into that side's endgame on Spears. So you can have helped the rebels prior to Gull, and pull back and spare and side with Khyryk, which will put you on track for the Shaper endgame; but then you must k
  23. There's actually a Penguin edition of the collected fiction of Lu Xun, which is somewhere near the top of the list of books I intend to read. Lao She and Ding Ling were interesting to read about, but Lu was the one who really stood out to me, reading The Gate of Heavenly Peace, as consistently, strongly, even brutally incisive, and the one whose work I'm most interested in. I also need to find a good straight narrative history of the Chinese Revolution(s), which is tricky given a) the extreme complexity of the period, b) the overwhelming focus of English literature on the Communist
  24. I have recently read: The Lord Darcy stories, by Randall Garrett, and the two followup novels by Michael Kurland; fun but slight. The Peshawar Lancers by S M Stirling; the same. Dee Goong An, translated by Robert van Gulik; basically the same. Caribbean, by James Michener; solid as usual with Michener, but maybe felt like he had less of a sympathy for the region (itself heterogeneous and complex) than in some of his other novels. Richard I: The Crusader King, by Thomas Asbridge; slight, as it's a pocket biography for a series of pocket biographies, but solid. The
  25. The QW Kickstarter ended with 2151 backers, and an average pledge of $46. Thus far, Geneforge has 1412 backers with an average pledge of $42. QW saw a few bumps in support as it neared its end, and I expect Geneforge will too; that said I'm a little surprised that it's been sort of underperforming compared to QW. Geneforge is pretty well-known among CRPG initiates, and pretty well-liked, and the basic hook of the game (stranded on an island filled with ruins and lost knowledge, shape monsters) is, I think, more attractive than the hook of QW (serve as viceroy of your mother's empire, manage va
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