Friday, October 7, 2022

Running D&D in 4K with 500 Mods

 You won't believe my frame rate! Haha - JK I'm messing with you. But am I, really?

So I remarked to a friend the other day that even though they are cooking up 6th edition D&D right this moment, I'm just now getting used to 5th edition and starting to see that it's not as lame as I first anticipated back in the Google Plus days. At that time, I lamented something like "I've got DCC, Labyrinth Lord, d20, AD&D, Moldvay/Cook, Call of Cthulhu... why would I need ANOTHER edition of D&D?" You must understand, I just had purchased the Codices for my imperial troops in Warhammer 40K and they dropped 7th, or maybe 8th, or maybe I missed one? Anyways, too many editions, amiright?

Fast forward to last week, I just beat Calamity Ganon in Breath of the Wild on my kid's Nintendo Switch. If I may say, so, I must say the way I did it was pretty epic - I bounced his own big-ass laser beam back at him with my Hylian shield and it was down to the wire, too. I think it was my third try. Breath of The Wild is pretty amazing not because of it's cartoony graphics, or its well-developed protagonist, or its novelty or anything. It's amazing because you can spend a day or two running around the tutorial part of the game (the Plateau) thinking "Damn this place is big!", solving puzzles, engaging in classic Legend of Zelda-style play and then once you get the tools you need to open up the rest of the gaming world it's like KABOOM. It's gigantic! A lot of it is, admittedly, sort of big and empty and just running around exploring and climbing and beating up mobs or getting your shit pushed in by the occasional super-mob sub-bosses. I've got like 25 hearts now, and still getting my ass handed to me by the lion-centaur guys.

She's happy BECAUSE she has a paraglider and a hi-def texture pack mod

It's great because of the paraglider, and because it's non-linear for the most part! When you see a vast open space before you, you can often climb up the nearest cliff or tower, look around with binoculars, spot something to check out and WHEEEEEEE paraglide over to it and check it out. You don't even necessarily have to do any of the side-quests or anything, you could kind of just gather ingredients and cook stuff and run around looking at stuff. There's even a whole section of the map that is entirely optional - one gets the sense that it was meant for bigger stuff that must have been edited out for time. The game even provides a down-hill shield-skiing mechanic for making your way downhill quickly but it wears out your shields - why would I do that when I've got this totally kicking paraglider?

Anyways, BotW has that wide-open, run around agape looking at stuff, beating up monsters and sometimes running away feeling that I like in D&D. I distinctly recall that after I'd finished Fallout 3 and the DLCs for it, I got a "no deaths from jumping" mod and spent my time climbing to the highest points of the game and jumping off of things - night-time, day-time, exploding bombs behind me. I think at one point I was actually trying to figure out how to import a hang-glider or low-gravity parachute model into the game but it's beyond my limited ken.

I suggest you leave airships, binoculars, cars, teleporters, pegasi, telephones, telegraphs, trains, giant-robots, starships, rockets, warpgates, portals, computers, networks, the whole shebang. Give the players reasons to explore and a fun time exploring and the rest of the game will practically play itself. I just got access to a playtest version of "Wasters" RPG testing doc which has a procedurally generated burned-out city and a system for populating it with factions and generating missions etc. and I think it'd be cool to drop into my local face-to-face game. We'll see.

Keep on paragliding and exploring. Seriously the Zelda folks need to do a Nausicaa game with air-to-air combat c'mon folks just money on the table right there

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