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Sagecraft And Shadowrun

My endeavoring to be a better writer on this blog is getting off to a slow start.  Fortunately, I know the way: a few essential steps to writing anything of significant pull.  They go something like this:
Another awesome blog thumbnail pic.  When the day comes that
I am so utterly over ponies that I will be embarrassed by each and
every one of these I ever posted publicly, the karma will be glorious.
  • First, think of something worth writing about.  The better the idea, the less work you have to do to make it interesting.  Talking about my day-to-day activities is a tough subject to work with, but it's certainly easy to find material for.  Moping about why I can't keep any friends is better, but not by much.
  • Freewrite, outline, bang your head against the keyboard, or whatever else it takes for you to slam out a rough draft as soon as possible.  Don't dwell on it, that would only prevent you from finishing, and your rough draft is soon to become irrelevant anyway.
  • Got what you wanted to say down?  Good.  Now, read it aloud.  This is important because it will sound different aloud than it does in your head.  If it sounds bad, it won't track well with your readers, either.  Rewrite the bits that sound awkward to read.  Add important details you feel need to be added.  Murder your darlings when you feel the details you added drag too much from what is being said.  Repeat this step again and again until the story is refined to something you are comfortable reading from beginning to end.
  • If you want to be really professional about it, don't publish it right away.  Instead, leave it to rot as far away from you as possible for awhile: a day, a week, a month, a year, or whatever works for you.  Then, mind fresh from being away from it for awhile, give it another read.  If you recoil in horror while reading what you previously thought was good, that's normal.  Rewrite the damn thing, yet again.  If, after extensive incubation away from something you wrote, you can read it without being repulsed or bored, you're done.
Congratulations: you now know everything you need to know not to suck at writing... well, outside of knowing the ins and outs of your language of choice.  Clearly, I have not followed these steps on this blog often enough.  Being borderline obsessive compulsive, I will usually come back to rewrite an entry at least once, but rarely do I bother to read anything aloud, and it shows.

Speaking of shows: on with it.

So, Shadowrun Returned, Did It?

Indeed, I played Shadowrun Returns when I said I would, and it was fabulous.  Like many roleplaying games, its primary strength was on the storytelling front, and the creators of this game have pooled a great deal of talent to succeed here.  At the point of the story I am at, there is a sense of a looming endgame that causes me to suspect that I am most of the way through the campaign by now,  leaving me to doubt it is going to last 17 hours.  Still, life is about the journey, not the destination.
I decided that my first character would be a Street Samurai.  They are basic physical combatants who excel at the use of weapons and tend to deck themselves out in cybernetic bionics (cyberware).  An accomplished Street Samurai is the perfect killing machine, dashing around the battlefield with bionically-enhanced limbs, sub-dermal armor, or wired reflexes that make it seem like their enemies are in slow motion.

Shadowrun has a great deal of character generation flexibility; you can build your shadowrunner (a.k.a. runner) in many different ways.   In this case, I have built my Street Samurai to be a reflex tank.  He entices enemies to attack him by being the closest opponent out of cover.  When attacked, his unusually high dodge skill and wired reflexes cyberware means that the attack will often be wasted on thin air.  I mostly do battle with a melee weapon, but there is no real benefit to that, so I am largely showing off.

Because I usually have other runners with my main character, this tactic pretty much trivializes the content in the game: he dodges the enemies' attacks, the other runners just mow them down.  Frankly, the enemy AI is a bit of a foil, doing little more than getting into cover and blazing away.   They are not nearly as difficult as the enemies I faced in XCOM: Enemy Unknown, a game that shares more than a few similarities in combat.  Maybe there is a difficulty level adjustment around here somewhere?

I may well try making an extra scenario for this game, while it's still in the relative limelight of new users, but I am a little rusty with Shadowrun lore and I hear that the scenario creator is not quite as user friendly as the Neverwinter Nights one... we'll see.

It's going to be a busy August for me.  I am not entirely positive I will have any time at all to play all the games I bought during the last Steam sale.  Of course, I could have a lot of time if I would just keep off the forums... mental note: break the forum habit... again.

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