Spoiler Warning Episode 100:
Probing Questions, Part 2

By Mumbles
on Feb 9, 2011
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning

95 comments


Link (YouTube)

In this episode we actually talk about a thing called Dungeons and Dragons. I heard it’s kinda fun? My only real-life experience with it was in High School where I got kicked out of a campaign because I wanted to make a Robot Abraham Lincoln. Josh mentions a game we tried to start with Randy one late night in Ventrilo through some shotty D&D program. But, I’m not sure if that counts since we just spent the entire time getting in bar fights before promptly being kidnapped.

I’m not entirely sure how a campaign would go with these boys. I’ve heard stories about Shamus vanishing from the group in Borderlands so that he could park everyone’s vehicles on top of an impossible peak. Rutskarn is unrelenting in his hipster swagger and drawn out, blood curdling puns. And, Josh insists on breaking everything in his path. I don’t know if I’d get out of it alive.

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2020202015There are now 95 comments. Almost a hundred!

From the Archives:

  1. Josh R says:

    Wasn’t there a robot abraham lincoln in sam and max?

    For me, best writing was Max Payne. Over the top dramaticism just worked so well in that game.
    Best setting, bioshock 1, first time in rapture is simply awesome.
    Best plot? um… Probably Zeno Clash despite the plot being left at a “to be continued” but the narrative was pretty awesome up til that moment.

  2. Will says:

    The actions you describe are pretty much buisness as usual for a Dungeons and Dragons group. I’ve heard mythical tales of players that work together towards a common goal for the greater good, but i have no evidence to support these extraordinary claims.

    • SolkaTruesilver says:

      When I was in Dubai, our group of players were probably one of the most disparate you could think of. One was a combat-happy player, who just loved combat and overkill stuff. He always ended up playing a psychopath of some sort.

      Another (girl) was a psychological novel writer, and liked to have character with deep psychological issue that sometimes ran deep in her way of playing with us.

      Another was your standard roleplaying that wasn’t that excited about too much combat, he was more into creating and playing razzle-dazzling character and use roleplaying to get out of tricky situation.

      A last one was the ultimate munchkin, but he was very positive (in my jugement) about it and usually deliberately created crippling flaw in his character designs just for the sake of playing something “different”. He would think of a character concept that was original, and run it to the ground until the GM started to cry. (Said GM was me from time to time). He never hogged the spotlight more than necessary.

      So, how could such a rag-tag bunch of players, each with different liking, could get along? I have no idea, but we did. Why? BECAUSE WE WERE THE ONLY ROLEPLAYERS IN THE ENTIRE COUNTRY. We knew there wasn’t an alternative. We didn’t had player drama, because we couldn’t AFFORD drama. We knew we were stuck with the current members, and darn it, we were going to have fun playing together!

      I think too many potential role players just act as spoiled kids and think of themselves. They never stop to try to think of their behavior as “is this disruptive to the group?”. Group-disruptive behavior was a very, very big deal in our group, and whenever it happened, we never let it simmer for long: we dealt with it right here, right now.

      When I gather player for a game, I tell them: I am going to let you go away with anything you want. Screw my storyline as much as you want, have fun. But the only rule I enforce is: it is every player’s responsibility to make sure the group has fun. It means each player having their spotlight moment. It also means a clampdown on silly aggressive “roleplaying” issues that create inter-player conflict (the Paladin Police Syndrome, for example).

      • Tizzy says:

        Actually, what you’re saying is one of the reasons why PnP is such a great activity in teenagers’ development. Now that we’re replacing this with the socialization offered by online shooters and WoW, I think we won’t have to wonder too much if the world goes to hell in a handbasket a couple of decades from now. ;-)

    • Chuck says:

      In my experiance if they do somehow manage to strive for the common good, its because the good npc is sronger than the villain npc :).

      • Felblood says:

        In my DMing experience, it’s too to make sure that every player character has a tie to some sort of group, that is important to their concept.

        Monks are easy, because they come from a monastery, but everyone has a family, hometown, military background or respected mentor, who they want to protect and be respected by.

        With that done, you just declare that their various allegiances have assembled a team to investigate some nebulous threat, and they are the team. This places the onus on the PCs to find the plot, rather than forcing you to shove it in their faces all the time.

        In some situations, it will take a little more finesse to excuse the team being assemble, but you can usually get away with having a single other faction request assistance from each group, and have the players draw the short straws. If a player wants to have a special, prophesied destiny, or a powerful family heirloom, they play right into your hands, as it makes sense that someone assembling a team to save the world would take that as a good sign.

        It beats “You all met in this tavern today. An old man walks up to your table and offers you a job.”

        The tertiary organization is also good, in that you can have a consistent cast of quest givers, without overexposing any one player’s supporting cast. Then you can place them in danger, or have them appear in person, only if you feel that player needs a little more spotlight.

        If they really want to get off the rails, then they have to deal with letting their character’s supporting cast down, and that v\can make for pretty interesting game-play, too.

    • Tizzy says:

      And then, there’s always Paranoia to cure your players from any semblance of cooperation…

      Not to mention that when I was DMing for Cthulhu, most of the characters had this weird tendency to become cultists themselves. Well, if you can’t beat them…

  3. AbruptDemise says:

    Does anyone else think it would be interesting to see the Spoiler Warning crew Let’s Play a game cooperatively? I’d want to see how everyone’s personalities and playstyles come together and affect Josh’s psychopathic tendencies.

    Borderlands would probably be out of the question, what with GameSpy’s networking issues.
    Left4Dead may or may not be a good choice, since each session of the game is randomnly generated, it makes it difficult to comment on the game itself. Though this be worked around by talking about the design, though it probably wouldn’t last through 4 campaigns.
    NeverWinterNights 2 would be interesting to see, if they could get around the connection issues. Thankfully, setting up a Hamachi network and using the Direct Connect function works well, though the length of the game might take forever with 15-minute episodes.

    • SolkaTruesilver says:

      Make them play Magicka together.

      I want to see them blowing each other up accidently :-)

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Seconded.But is the multiplayer fixed now?I would love to see them casting spells left and right,but not if theyd crash every 10 minutes.

        • poiumty says:

          Magicka has had a lot of updates since launch. And yes, seeing them play that game would be glorious.

        • AbruptDemise says:

          If Magicka’s multiplayer’s fixed now, then it would make a great Co-op Spoiler Warning. The only potential problem I see is the running out of things to say about the game. Then again, maybe Magicka’s shorter than I think it is, and this wouldn’t actually be too much of a concern.

          If so, I’d pay to see it happen.

          • Rob Maguire says:

            Magicka has 12 chapters (though Chapter 7 doesn’t have any enemies), and most take about 30-45 minutes to complete. Though they might take a bit longer in multiplayer if the players keep “accidentally” killing each other (a game where you can cast Resurrection twice a second, isn’t it awesome?).

            Edit: It’s also meme-heavy and well-written* enough that I think it’d be worth them taking a look. While it’s by no means high art, I did get a chuckle out of it every once in a while. It’s great to see a game that doesn’t take itself seriously these days.

            *Well-written in that the dialogue is funny. They would tear the story to shreds.

            • Daemian Lucifer says:

              “They would tear the story to shreds.”

              But why would they?Its an obvious parody,and the overarching story in a parody is supposed to make no sense,because it shows how dumb other stories of that type are.And I definitely am not a devil,no,not at all.

    • Sydney says:

      I know it can’t happen, but I’d pay to watch this crew play New Super Mario Bros Wii.

      “STOP JUMPING ON ME”

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Worms.They should play worms.The plus side is that they dont need to comment at all,since worms are already doing a pretty good job by themselves.

    • Sekundaari says:

      Co-op would be nice… though I think playing against each other would be at least as awesome. All four playing Civ IV, with us seeing the action from one point of view. Stop DOWing me!

      Actually, this probably would require four copies of the game. So maybe the standard SW setup instead, with Josh playing and others watching, but with other people playing with/against Josh.

  4. Gil says:

    “Josh insists on breaking everything in his path.
    Shamus: vanishing from the group in Borderlands so that he could park everyone’s vehicles on top of an impossible peak.
    Rutskarn is unrelenting in his hipster swagger and drawn out, blood curdling puns.”

    Sounds like a typical DnD party to me!

  5. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Chris Melkus, Kelly. Kelly said: heeeeeeeeeeeey look I did today's Spoiler Warning post http://bit.ly/gLIMhe […]

  6. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Well if you cant do it as a group,why doesnt Shamus pick apart system shock by himself?He could always invent a few personalities to spice things up a bit.His feminine side would represent Mumbles,his grumpy side would be himself,his hipster side would be Rutskarn,and his insane side would be Josh.

    • Rosseloh says:

      The main problem is getting SS2 to run on a modern system. I succeeded a while back, only to have it crash every 5 minutes anyway.

      • Blanko2 says:

        there is a new fanmade patch that lets it run really well.
        at least it works completely on my system and its vista, so its pretty hard to get older games to work :D
        i wish i could link it to you but i cant remember where it was, i just googled it, really

  7. Hitch says:

    We need to start a write in campaign telling Bioware that if Garrus comes back in Mass Effect 3 we want Josh to be the new voice actor. He just fit so well at the beginning of this episode.

  8. poiumty says:

    You know, part of the reason I asked the question was because the name is especially hard to pronounce. I wanted to hear one of you struggle with it. And it came out to be Mumbles! BONUS POINTS!
    Don’t worry, i have no idea how it’s supposed to be pronounced either.

    For the record, here’s my take on my own question.
    Favourite plot: Legacy of Kain. Unfinished and lots of plot holes, but stil my personal favourite.
    Favourite writing: Baldur’s Gate 2. I choose this over Planescape: Torment because Irenicus is one of the best-written villains ever.
    Favourite narrative: Half-Life 2. Games with little dialogue in general tend to communicate the story better through enviroment and events, because they have to.

    And i’d defintely play me some Planescape Tournament.

  9. RTBones says:

    Love the DnD idea where you each take a turn writing up a gaming session – getting different points of view/perspective. While I am sure it would be a huge time commitment on a group of individuals that are already time crunched (because if you did this, we’d still want Spoiler Warning, Stolen Pixels, Digital Mumbles, Chocolate Hammer, etc. to still flow), I can also see where that would be a lot of fun.

    Black coffee…see, I knew that Josh was a smart guy. Not to mention, think of the squirming you could cause Ruts to do by dumping hot coffee down that Hole of Hipster Swagger +2 that he finds himself at the bottom of. Ruts starts to pun his way through an episode causing pain and suffering, dump the coffee. Buuurrrn! Then again, that might be a waste of good coffee.

    Oh, and Shamus – its not the years, my friend – its the mileage. Old man indeed!

  10. ccesarano says:

    Okay, you guys either need to make the poster’s name larger or start having the poster’s picture in the posts, or SOMETHING to identify when it isn’t Shamus, because I’m sitting here thinking everything is Shamus’ silly sort of sarcasm until “I’m not entirely sure how a campaign would go with these boys. I’ve heard stories about Shamus vanishing from the group in Borderlands…” and so on.

    It completely changed the tone and made the conclusion more confusing than the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

  11. krellen says:

    They sell Cactus Cooler in New Mexico.

    Also, Ruts is totally hipster, and Mumbles is still a nerd.

    • Dante says:

      I thought Mumbles was a hipster as well.

    • Kavonde says:

      Man, I know the crew was just giving Ruts a hard time, but let’s not belittle the awesomeness of Cactus Cooler. It IS damn good, and it’s pretty popular around Bakersfield; even our soda vending machines have it. It’s one of the few highlights of living in this crappy oh god I’m such a hipster too.

      Well, screw it. You want to talk about exclusive food that no one outside of a small region of the country knows about and absolutely adores? Kitchen Cooked potato chips. Central Illinoisans, you know what I’m talking about. When I’d fly back there to visit family, I’d smuggle multiple bags back in my luggage. Those chips are RIDICULOUSLY good.

      I was so sad when I moved to Carbondale and discovered it was about 50 miles south of the Kitchen Cooked distribution range. So, so sad.

      Edit: HOLY CRAP YOU CAN ORDER THEM

  12. Deadpool says:

    Honestly, I think GURPS lends itself to the kind of people we’re talking about here more than D&D… Mostly because it’s easier to have insane, wide reaching, not taking itself too seriously, plots. I mean, I once did a campaign with giant mobile suits… and mine was stealth painted white with pink poka dots because we figured no sentry guard would EVER call in “there’s a pink poka dot gundam attacking our base” to his superior… And it WORKED. We were just that kind of stupid people.

    Btw, let’s answer the best writting answer properly: Anything Black Isle/Trokia did. Seriously, their writting was consistently top notch…

  13. eri says:

    I honestly don’t know how you can’t pick Planescape for “best writing”, but whatever! I’ll just go cry in my corner now. :( Seriously, Josh had it dead right: BioWare are great at interesting stories and concepts, but utterly awful when it comes to the actual writing part: plot details, dialogue, characters and their personalities. It’s why their games are so predictable and formulaic despite being so interesting.

    Also YES PAPER MARIO REPRESENT, Nintendo and Treehouse especially just don’t get the credit they deserve. Paper Mario is an awesome, hilarious game and far more witty, clever and well-written than it should have every right to be. It takes what would otherwise be a middle of the road platform-RPG and turns it into one of the most memorable experiences I’ve had. Along with the Mario & Luigi series on the DS, Paper Mario is the perfect thesis to the artistic credibility of “non-serious” games.

  14. Vect says:

    Also, from the last episode of the mention of a Deadpool game:

    I once tried to write up the basis for a Deadpool game, but I couldn’t quite decide what gimmick I could do with the ability to shatter the 4th wall. At most, I thought up the concept that Deadpool is forced to go along with the player’s actions has something of a “Relationship Value” with them depending on how good the player is at the game (Wade’s all :) if they’re good and >:( if they start sucking) and if the player is able to make decisions that work out perfectly in Wade’s favor.

    Also, there was a “Rival” system in which depending on who Deadpool piss off (and he’ll piss off someone eventually) it’ll change the guys he’ll end up fighting. Ultimately I got tangled up in the details and kept pointing out the flaws in each of my ideas to the point that I made no progress.

  15. Kanodin says:

    I am getting an ad for D&D Illithid soda here. These ad men are onto you.

    • Velkrin says:

      There’s also the Illithid Interview.

      And here’s a preview of what a D&D game between the four of them would look like.

      Note: Gore warning. Not Al.

      I’ve been waiting for an excuse to post those.

  16. LurkerAbove says:

    I like the plot of KotOR II more than pretty much anyone I come across, that’s my choice.

    And Kreia is probably the best written game character ever.

    • krellen says:

      At least two of us in the last thread mentioned KotOR2 as our prime game moment. That probably means we think it had a pretty great plot and writing.

    • John Magnum says:

      The problem with KotOR II is that it turns out not to have a plot. All the elements of the plot–a hole in the Force, a mysterious entity snuffing out Jedi, the true resurgence of the Sith as philosophical ideas, the mass shadow generator, the events of Malachor V–turn out to be non-concepts. They don’t refer to anything. None of the events mean anything, in that they are literally semantically empty.

      Kreia was at least interesting, although I found it annoying that the writers had to keep her staggeringly cryptic so that they could sort-of plausibly force the player into failing her. It would’ve been nice if, on Dantooine, you could have actually managed to do whatever the hell she wanted you to do. To avoid that, the writers just made it so that she doesn’t actually have any comprehensible goals, so the player can always fail them. The problem is that “What the hell is Kreia up to?” is a central mystery of the game, and it doesn’t get resolved even after the plot stops demanding that she remain cryptic and ambiguous.

      • Felblood says:

        She wants to kill the Force so the Dark Side can’t control her anymore.

        Yes, really.

      • Electron Blue says:

        Uh, yes it does get answered. Her entire goal is to kill the Force. She states this quite emphatically.

        • John Magnum says:

          Another semantically empty concept, as cryptic and abstract as any of the various ciphers she used throughout the game. Why does she have this goal? What effect would this have on her, or the rest of the galaxy? How is she going to accomplish this? Beyond some vague portents about using a wound in the Force to make echoes (echoes echoes echoes echoes) and people talking up how dangerous everything is (vaguely, of course), there’s nothing.

          • LurkerAbove says:

            She has the goal because she views the Force as a conscious entity controlling people’s lives, in particular the lives of Force sensitives. By killing the Force, she would give true free will to the galaxy.

            Granted, how she plans to use the Exiles Force Bonding abilities to create a wound in the Force are not fully explained, but since it is basically space magic, I don’t think there needs to be a detailed explanation.

            I’m not sure what you mean about the plot.

            • Gale says:

              The Exile factored into her plan because the Exile was a wound in the Force. The Exile was a hole where the Force went to die. The Exile had Force powers because her innate ability to create Force Bonds with pretty much anyone meant that she could twist and control the Force juju of her friends. Kreia’s ultimate goal was to make the Exile as strong as possible, to feed her as much EXP as she could, so that she would grow to become an enormous Force black hole. Kreia being killed by the Exile was another step along that road. Canonically, the Exile only foiled Kreia’s plan to kill the Force by leaving known space, following Revan to help fight whatever it is Revan went off to fight, but I can’t remember if that was actually in the game, or just a detail in the EU.

              The game didn’t go out of its way to feed you this information, but I didn’t think it was obscured to the point that people would think that Kreia had no real plan, or miss the whole “the Exile is a hole in the Force” thing.

          • Sleeping Dragon says:

            Well, to be perfectly fair the entire concept of Force is a bit vague to begin with, barring the “telekinetic tapeworms” idea of episode 1. It has a light side, it has a dark side, you can use it, you can control it, it can destroy you, it can guide you, there are no coincidences just the Force, it may or may not be measured you can be sensitive to it, the sensitivity may or may not be hereditary, it may or may not be artificially infused into a person etc.

            KOTOR2 spoilers ahead but seeing the stuff above I won’t really bother with spoiler tags.

            Kreia is a nice character because she falls outside of the light side-dark side setup that we are used to and at the same time managed to do something interesting with it rather than just doing the obvious “neutral-neutral” “Jedi of balance”, or the “dark sider using his power for good”/”light sider using his powers for bad” things. There are also good reasons why she would hide her agenda, even for those who aren’t sensitive Force is pretty much a religion of the galaxy, she would probably had few allies for her actual objective. Though I do agree that once the concept becomes more prominent they should have explored it somewhat more and possibly gave it a bit more time to mature.

            • krellen says:

              I just realised – they did. They just explored it more and gave it more time to mature in an entirely different game: Mask of the Betrayer.

            • John Magnum says:

              Agreed: The Force in the Star Wars films is super vague and wishy-washy. Obsidian spent twenty hours expounding on one specific aspect of the Force, and didn’t manage to come up with anything more concrete. Worse, they didn’t come up with any human connections that the films had. In Star Wars and KotOR 1, even when the blather about the Force washes over you, there are still people being affected by wars and politics. In KotOR 2, aside from Onderon, virtually everything that happens is relevant solely by virtue of its connection to the Force. They ended up making the world and the plot even less concrete than what they had to start with.

              It’s nice that Kreia isn’t defined solely by Light side/Dark side, but it’s unfortunate that they couldn’t think of something for her to actually be instead.

    • somebodys_kid says:

      I thought KOTOR II had the finest cast of characters ever devised in a video game. Despite its technical flaws and incomplete state, I still enjoy playing it.

      • Aldowyn says:

        The reason for that is it’s a squad-based RPG, in the Bioware style, that ISN’T Bioware. It’s definitely unique

        The balancing sucked, though, especially the endgame. The lvl cap for your party members was 30, but I read somewhere the enemies capped at 20 – resulting in me one-hitting Sith warrior dudes.

      • Gravebound says:

        No matter how many times I read posts praising KOTOR II I just can’t comprehend where the enjoyment came from.

        When I played the game all I thought was:

        “This opening scenario is sure long and dull.”
        “I wish this opening scenario would end now…”
        “WHEN THE HELL WILL THIS MEANINGLESS OPENING END!!!”

        “I don’t like ANY of the characters…these are the most banal and boring characters I’ve ever seen. I wish them all great harm.”
        “Well, now the game is starting to get intere…oh wait, the interesting part is over.”

        “Well that was the most pathetic, buggy, half-assed way to end a game I’ve ever seen” (this was revised to ‘second-most’ after playing Bloodlines).

        And I’m reminded of this every time someone goes on about its ‘fantastic’ story and characters…it boggles the mind. :(

  17. Vegedus says:

    Maybe once 2K are done with Xcom: Totally Missing the Point, they can make Planescape: Tournament.

  18. RTBones says:

    I have to add a shout out for the Max Payne story. Some dialog at the end of MP2 was a little cheesy, but the story was solid. For writing, I like Anachronox. There is some very witty banter scattered throughout the game.

    Oh, and for me – its Coffee and Cheese-Its.

    • Dude says:

      Oh God, yes! Max Payne 2. It is probably the only game that rewards the ones who’re there for the story if you play at the hardest difficulty.

      She wakes up.

      Also, how come there’s no love at all for the old tactical sim games like the first Rogue Spear? It did things a lot of other games after it still don’t manage to do well. The airport level is bliss. Breakable, sure, but bliss.

  19. qwksndmonster says:

    Thanks for answering my question, guys! And Josh, I was kidding about the whole “literacy” thing (no I wasn’t).

  20. PurePareidolia says:

    Oh you laugh now, but guess what I thought Planescape Torment was named ever since I heard about it, up until only recently when I actually started playing it?
    Needless to say I was very confused until then.

  21. Nidokoenig says:

    “…I beat these games because I love them.”
    “…if you don’t say Guild Wars, I will beat you!”

    And we all thought Rutskarn and Mumbles was the budding romance…

  22. Specktre says:

    Bwuahahahahahaha!!! I loved the opening to this episode, I watched it twice.

    And yeah, like the SW team here, one could say that I nitpick and criticize the games I play because they’re games I love and I want to see the medium do better.

  23. NonEuclideanCat says:

    Who is Randy?

  24. Frederick Beuttler says:

    I have an idea for a new game you guys can play!
    Dwarf Fortress!!

    You bastards got me started on it, and so I think you should be forced to play it for our amusement. Josh, however, would likely receive great enjoyment from starting those poor little dwarves out with nothing only to take it all away from them.

  25. Zaxares says:

    Robot Abraham Lincoln: … Mumbles, if you tried to play that in my D&D campaign, I would give you this “ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND?!” look first, and if you persisted, I’d quote that Hispanic drug lord from a Simpsons episode flashback who goes, “I KEEL YOU!” >.<

    Oh, and Shamus? You "beat your games because you love them"? You sound like an abusive partner. XD

    Also, my favourite beverage of choice when gaming is plain old water. Keeps me hydrated, not to mention I often forget to drink if the game is particularly engrossing.

  26. Fat Tony says:

    My post aren’t appearing. Christ.

  27. Fat Tony says:

    I knew about the LARP, he talked about it before, sounds ineresting/ Dork

    I’m a massive dork, I LARP, best, line, ever.

  28. Blanko2 says:

    y’could probably get SS2 running and record it with fraps, you can get thief gold running and record it and SS2 is the same engine.
    there is a fanmade patch that makes it work beautifully, doesnt even take that much messing about.

    even i got it running fairly quickly!

  29. tjtheman5 says:

    Hey Josh, wanna play some Guild Wars, don’t worry, it’s… NOW, USE THE NET!

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