Town of Salem

Main Screen

One of my friends showed me a new game this weekend called Town of Salem.

Town of Salem is a Flash game produced by Blank Media Games that you play in your web browser. The company recently finished a successful Kickstarter campaign to fund mobile versions of the game, an independent PC client, and translations to play the game in other languages. The Kickstarter just finished so those projects are all still in the works.

The game is a more fleshed out version of the party game, Mafia.

For those of you who haven’t played Mafia, it’s pretty simple. All the players sit in a circle and are secretly assigned roles.

The game is effectively split into two teams, the Mafia and the Townies.

The Mafia want to take over the town by killing everyone and the Townies want to live, which means hanging the Mafia members after a swift trial.

There are fewer Mafia than Townies, but the Townies don’t know who the Mafia are.

The game is played in a series of days and nights. The party game simulates night by having everyone close their eyes and put their heads down.

At night the Mafia wake up and silently decide who to kill that night by pointing at people and gesturing wildly. In Town of Salem they can still talk by typing to each other secretly.

In the morning that person is dead and the Townies can vote to hang someone for the murder.

There are a few other roles that occasionally get included in the party game. The Doctor can heal someone each night and prevent the Mafia from killing them. The Sheriff can investigate someone and find out if they’re Mafia or not. Other stuff like that.

Town of Salem gives a special role to everyone. There are Mayors, Lookouts, Escorts, Mediums, Framers, Jesters, Executioners, Jailors. Tons of roles! There’s so many that a wiki page was created to keep track of them.

Town of Salem takes all the intrigue and guess work of Mafia and turns it into an easy to pick up internet game.

Each game has fifteen players. There are a couple different modes, but the classic mode has 3 Mafia members, 3 Neutral people who have their own agenda outside of killing all the Townies or all the Mafia, and 9 Townies that want to eliminate all the evil people like the Mafia or the Serial Killer role.

The game is just like the party game. People die each night and the Townies try to figure out who did it while the Mafia spread misinformation among the townsfolk.

Its a lot of fun and super quick to play as well. You can try it out at Blank Media Games if you’re interested. I’ve also posted a Youtube clip of one of my games with my friends for your viewing pleasure.

-Mister Ed

My D&D Campaign: Cimmeria

I gave a brief description of my D&D campaign world previously, but have written nothing on it since.

I got involved in the Gurutama posts and I felt that writing about two different D&D worlds might get confusing.

The result is that there’s very little on the blog about what I actually do in my biggest hobby and that frankly seems a little stupid.

There are other reasons why I avoided describing my current D&D sessions besides the confusion between Cimmeria, the campaign world I use now, and Gurutama, the campaign world I’m building.

First, I’m not always the DM for my group. Sometimes my best friend DMs a campaign based in the Aegean where the other players and I oppose an evil conspiracy.

Should I be writing about those sessions here as well? Bringing a third campaign world in? Its already a little difficult for some of the other players to keep track of what’s happening in each campaign. I can’t imagine what it would be like for people who aren’t playing and taking notes on this stuff like we are.

Second, there is an immense amount of existing information for Cimmeria that makes it a little difficult to describe the sessions to a newcomer.

For example, there is an NPC called Astyanax in Cimmeria. He is a prominent member of the Alliance opposing the evil guys.

I say Astyanax and the players all know what I’m talking about because they’ve interacted with him in the past and with his father, Hector.

There’s a mythical parallel to Astyanax as well. The mythical Hector was the greatest hero of Troy who died defending his city. After Troy was conquered, the Greeks killed the mythical Astyanax.

The Hector in my campaign died just like his namesake, but Astyanax lived on. He is now the greatest defender of his city in his father’s place. He might end up dying like his father did as well.

So imagine that level of explanation for not only the people, but the places and objects in my campaign. Everything has a history and I try to DM in a way that makes that history relevant.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I want to write stuff here about Cimmeria, but I’ve got explain in a way that anybody can understand the topic.

Not really different than how anything should be written when you think about it.

-Mister Ed

League of Legends Meta

I'm the blue one in the middle on the right. Yeti to the rescue!
I’m the blue one in the middle on the right. Yeti to the rescue!

My previous post outlining League of Legends was forever ago. I posted League of Legends Map Part 3 on March 22nd.

Today I’m going to talk about the League of Legends meta.

In the everyday usage of the word, meta means something that is self-referential. But meta means something different when you’re talking about video games.

The meta of a video game refers to specific strategies used to play against other people.

The meta of a game evolves out of the rock-paper-scissors mechanics that most games use.

The meta can shift so that more people are playing rock than any other symbol, but if that happens then inevitably more people will start playing paper because paper is good against rock.

Or maybe the game designers will notice that scissors is losing more games than it should on average. The designers give scissors a buff for fighting the other symbols. The buff results in more people playing scissors and then more people playing rock because it counters scissors and on and on and on.

So what is the meta of League of Legends?

Like I said in my previous posts, League of Legends has three different lanes that shape the map.

Each lane has a set of resources that give gold, the enemy minions. Killing minions gets you gold.

There’s also the jungle monsters inbetween lanes that give gold.

So four places to get gold, but five people on each team. Not quite enough to go around.

The jungle, top, and mid lanes are what you’d expect. One person in each collects resources from that lane.

In North America the current meta is a large champion who can take a lot of hits in top lane.

The mid lane usually has a champion that can’t survive a lot of hits, but can deal a lot of damage with their abilities.

A lot of different champions work in the jungle. The North American meta for League of Legends jungle champions has been shifting a lot lately, so I couldn’t say what really fits there. In the picture above I’m a tanky jungler who can take a lot of hits and slow the other team down by throwing snowballs at them.

The League of Legends puts two champions in the bottom lane.

Because there’s two in the same place, you can’t name the lane based on the position. Instead the two positions are called Attack Damage Carry (ADC) and Support.

The ADC is responsible for shooting arrows or bullets at people. They’ve got a lot of abilities that make their arrows or bullets hit harder or reposition themselves so they can keep shooting arrows or bullets at the enemy team, but that’s the gist of the role.

The support is supposed to keep the ADC alive and provide basic utility to the team as a whole.

For example, a friend of my is playing Nami in the top left of the picture above.

Nami is a mermaid support. Her abilities let her heal her allies, trap her enemies in a bubble of water, buff her ADC’s attacks to make them slow enemies, speed up her team, and create a giant tidal wave that pushes the enemy team away.

So if Nami’s ADC is jumped on by an enemy, Nami can trap that enemy in a water bubble to save her ADC.

If someone is running at her ADC, Nami can increase the ADC’s speed and allow the ADC to slow the running enemy with their arrows and bullets.

The support’s role is so focused around keeping the ADC healthy and alive that the support doesn’t even share the gold from minions in the bottom lane. It’s expected that the ADC will kill all of the minions and get all of the gold.

So that’s the meta in League of Legends right now. More League posts to come!

If you’re interested in playing League of Legends you can give it a try using this link. Feel free to message me in game if you want to play a little with me! My name is SoapySeahorse on the North American server.

-Mister Ed

Dawn of Worlds

The cover on the 12 page PDF of the rules for Dawn of Worlds
The cover on the twelve page PDF of the rules for Dawn of Worlds.

Dawn of Worlds is an interesting game my friends and I have played a few times. The rules can be found at the website of Legends, the creator, if you’re interested.

Most games have a set goal to win the game. Having all the money in Monopoly, having the highest score in Scrabble, getting all your pawns home in Sorry, etc.

Dawn of Worlds is… different.

The game was designed not to be competitive or even really to be fun. The goal of the game is to create a fantasy world as a setting for a novel or a roleplaying campaign world.

My friends and I used this to create the world for our next campaign.

How does the game work? It’s really simply actually.

Each turn you get 2d6 points to spend on the world. There are ways to get bonus points as well.

The points are used to add things to the world or to influence already existing entities in the world. I can use my points to add a mountain range. On my next turn I could also use my points to infest the mountain range with dragons.

Everyone else is using their points to create or change things in the world as well.

The game has three ages. Different actions cost different amounts during the different ages.

The first age makes creating terrain features cheap and makes other actions expensive. You’re supposed to be building the physical world at this point.

The second age makes creating races and cities cheap. You build up a civilization during this age.

The third age makes changing races and cities cheap. The game encourages conflict between the players at this point.

The third age is probably the most interesting due to the conflict between parts, but this conflict is different than other games.

In Scrabble I fight with my opponent for the triple word score bonuses at the edge of the board.

In Dawn of Worlds, the conflicts aren’t really about having my civilization “win.” I just want a more interesting story for the game.

I found myself most often in conflict with one of my buddies whose internet name is Throgg. He developed a civilization of humans while I developed dwarves.

Throughout the whole game the humans and the dwarves fought. In the end neither side won the war, it was still ongoing when we ended the game.

Why would we end the game with the conflict unresolved?

Because that was the point! Now when we play D&D within the world there are issues threatening the peace and security of the world. Issues that our characters can attempt to solve, avoid, or survive.

Will our characters try to end the conflict between the dwarves and humans? Will they try to repel the undead scourge coming out of the north? Will they journey into the southern jungles looking for the first civilizations of the bird people?

We could eventually do all these things over a series of different campaigns. But Dawn of Worlds allowed us to create a world together with a history that we all know and had some impact on.

Gurutama is the name of the world we created. I think we’ll enjoy playing in Gurutama much more than in any other campaign world because it’ll no longer be a world where only the DM has the full picture. Now everyone will have some input.

I plan on posting more about Gurutama for awhile. The basics of the world were fleshed out in our playing of Dawn of Worlds, but there are many specifics to still fill in. I’m going to use this blog as a tool for writing down those specifics and getting input from the general public as well if there is any input to give.

That’s all for now!

-Mister Ed

Mount and Blade

I play a lot of video games but I am often far behind the latest release. I didn’t finish playing Pokemon Gold until Pokemon Heart Gold came out. I’m still working on Skyrim and Assassin’s Creed too. I’ll probably never experience Mass Effect or Dragon Age: Origins.

Mount and Blade is one of the few games I started playing when it first came out. The game was created by a Turkish couple and once it became popular they created a video game studio around it called TaleWorlds. TaleWorlds has just announced that Mount and Blade will be coming out on the Nvidia Shield. I’ve never heard of the Shield, but the people at TaleWorlds are excited to branch out beyond the PC.

In Mount and Blade you take on the role of a warrior in a medieval world with a variety of warring factions. The game is entirely sandbox based. There is no plot to follow. You have to make up your own plot.

The first time I played the game I started a civil war in one of the five kingdoms and ended up on the victorious side. The second time I formed my own kingdom and conquered the world for myself.

The gameplay is what you’d expect for a third person shooter in medieval times. You get swords, armor, bows, and other equipment to do battle with. RPG elements are mixed in as well. Your character levels up and has a few skills that influence the setup of battles as well as your combat capabilities in each battle. The more battles you win the more gear and money you get, money of course being spent on more gear.

The name of the game is Mount and Blade, so there is a fair bit of horse-riding in the game. Cavalry are vastly superior to other units in open field combat. Mount and Blade is also one of the few games to make horse combat interesting. Mounted combat meshes seamlessly with foot combat. Your character rides his horse around, hitting people as he rides by. If you aren’t careful eventually your horse will be taken out. You can try to find another horse that has lost its rider or you can continue on foot.

Mount and Blade is also one of the few games I’ve seen that fits single combat with RTS style combat. The only character whose actions you control directly is your own, but your character can bring potentially hundreds of others to the battle with him. These soldiers are given orders through hotkeys or a menu during battle. The orders can include positions to take on the battlefield, which weapons to use, whether to mount horses or stay on foot, and how tactical formations such as a wedge or turtle shape.

The soldiers that you command in battle have a morale that is heavily influenced by what food you give them. The greater variety of food they have to eat, the better and longer they fight. I spent a fair amount of game time buying more and more food for my soldiers to eat because they kept eating everything up after each battle.

Your soldiers level up after a battle just like you do. They get better gear and stronger combat capabilities with each new level. A fully leveled army is necessary for one of the greatest challenges in the game, sieges.

Sieges are the final objective in Mount and Blade. Unless you actively avoid it, your character will eventually end up in a siege. Assaulting a castle has two basic methods, just like in real medieval wars. You can wait for the combatants to starve or you can attack them with siege engines and try to take over the castle by force. Using force is almost always the better option in Mount and Blade.

Siege engines are used to breach the walls of the castle in someway first. This can be a battering ram that breaks down the castle gate, ladders that scale the walls, or a siege tower that goes over the wall allowing access. Once inside the castle walls you have to eliminate the enemy presence before your troops run out. Then you break into the inner keep and take on the guard there to secure the castle as your prize.

Your character can also defend from sieges. The same rules apply. My favorite tactic was shooting arrows at the soldiers pushing the siege towers up to my walls to try and slow the advance of the behemoth siege engine.

Mount and Blade also has an intense mod community. There are hundreds of mods that add small new things to the game or completely change it. Different mods can change the game to new historical periods, or fantasy periods. You can play a jedi on a speeder instead of a knight on a horse if you want. Some mods introduce boats. Others let you play as if you’re a King’s Guard in Westeros if you like Game of Thrones. I tried out a few. One of my favorites advanced the timeline of the basic game to Renaissance era, allowing rudimentary firearms to be used in combat.

I played the original game out as much as I felt like playing. A sequel came out awhile back, but my impression of it was, “We added some good ideas that were already present in mods and added a multiplayer mode that Mister Ed won’t be using.” A new sequel is scheduled to come out soon though! I’ve been thinking of taking a look. Maybe I’ll see you in the multiplayer mode there if I decide to try it.

You can find Mount and Blade at TaleWorlds website or on Steam.

-Mister Ed