So I finished up watching Arcane, and I enjoyed it, but I'm really annoyed that I didn't recognize that Kevin Alejandro was voicing Jace. Having just been delighted by his acting (and directing!) in the final season of Lucifer, that was kind of cool.
Confession: I was a little let down by the super punching. It was fun, no question, but at no point did the fights manage to pass the quality of the bridge fight in ep 3, which was brutal and magnificent.
Also, I am much more forgiving of hoverboards by virtue of being delighted across the board(ha ha) with Echo and his spotlight episode. All in all, the tertiary threads (Viktor, Echo, Heidigger) were where the real story strength came through.
I am a firm believer in genre tropes, plot armor, named characters and so on, but there is a necessity to give those things at least a *patina* of credibility, and Arcane didn't really try. Deadliness of explosions was almost a running joke.
There's also some bias because WOW do I dislike the Joker superpower set, because it allows very lazy writing under the auspices of "There's no need to explain anything, they're so unpredictable!" and it just grates on me.
I remain glad that I went in ignorant, if only so I did not get the laundry list of who and who doesn't have permanent plot armor. It introduced a touch more uncertainty, which the plot badly needed.
I *did* like a lot to the worldbuilding (because it was mostly implicit) and I'm aways a fan of setting where weird power stuff comes from *somewhere*, and it leaned that way.
I don't deduct any points for this, because lord knows this is a problem in most settings, but it's always hard to walk the line between progress/science/power coming out of groups rather than out of lone heroic/villainous geniuses.
Lone geniuses are WAY easier to write & play. If other people could replicate their success, then the story might need to go elsewhere!

It's a crutch. A kind of toxic crutch, but also a fairly ubiquitous one.
Aside from poisoning how we look at things like collaboration, it has a bad habit of watering down a setting. There is a difference between "we are watching these characters" and "anyone but these characters will be ineffective and interchangeably useless"
Once that becomes the dynamic, the setting falls flat, because it doesn't *react* to anything (except when the plot demands it).
As an example, it was *really neat* when they introduced the idea that there were other crime bosses than Silco. Suggested a much more complex world!

But then revealed they were just there so Silco had people to Darth Vader around.
This is similar to the 'Never have an "address the council" scene unless you actually care about the politics' rule.

Don't give other characters power in setting if it's just a sham setup to allow your fav to show them up.

It cheapens everything.
And it's a bummer, because when you have a council of baddies, it's implicit that they all *would* kill each other, if they had the chance, so what keep things interesting is the question of why they haven't.

If the answer is "because EvilGuy hasn't felt like it", that's blah.
I mean, feel free to have a council of toadies who know their job is to suck up and take care of petty bullshit or get force choked. That's a great model! Tons of fun. But doing both at once invites a lot of trouble.
It can work if the toadies are badasses and in conflict with EACH OTHER, but are all sucking up to the bog bad because he's in another weight class, but that's a very specific sort of solution.
Anyway, Episode 3 ends up being my overall favorite in terms of visuals and badassery, with Episode 7 getting honorable mention because of all the Echo stuff which is just that amazing.
Honest to God, if the camera had just dropped the A and B plots to continue to follow Echo & Heidegger, this would probably have ended up as one of my favorite shows of all time.
And, man, THAT is a seed for a game right there. Keep all your steampunk and giant fists and drug monsters and all of that but then say "right here, we are building something, and we will fight for it" and GOD DAMN if I wouldn't play that.

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More from @rdonoghue

23 Nov
Reading a random Pirates of the Caribbean remark (like I said, random) has me thinking that RPGs would really benefit from language that allows someone to simultaneously be THE BEST and also THE WORST at something simultaneously.
It absolutely won't work in all genres, so obviously not something for all games, but there's a whole slice of play where "Incredibly competent within my domain but you can be confident my every action will end with disaster" is a legitimate space to claim.
This is easy enough to *do* in many games. If the agreed upon fiction in a Blades in the Dark game is that you are the best lockpick in the city, but you only have a small dice pool, those dice are going to go wrong a LOT.
Read 10 tweets
21 Nov
This, I should note, is why it is very weird to follow different rules for building a town and building a dungeon. In classic terms, the dungeon is just a town full of people you're allowed to murder.
Yes, I'm being both tongue in cheek and deadly serious. The dungeon full of murderable intelligent beings *is* a weird, sketchy idea in need of interrogation, but ALSO, if you're going to accept it, then it merits a little bit of thought about logistics. Food, Water & Waste.
(The challenge, of course, is that once you start thinking about WHY they picked this dungeon to live, how they survive, how the community forms, it becomes harder and harder to think of them as murderbags. Weird.)
Read 7 tweets
21 Nov
So, the little dude has - unsurprisingly - a great backpack. It's a Red Oxx kids backpack, and it's both indestructible and very well suited to the "Time to go to locker between classes? HA HA HA" lifestyle he lives. It's main flaw is the laptop compartment offers no protection
Design is intended to be used with a separate laptop sleeve or similar (or with no laptop), but adding one more layer of unpacking to his process is not going to end well for computers, as we have some evidence of.
So I am now considering other backpacks which will hold a crapton of textbooks, but also keep his laptop safe. I have some good contenders on hand, but I figured I'd check what recommendations they have out there for students.

Answer: Only crappy ones.
Read 14 tweets
20 Nov
Sidebar: I have 100% been the GM who would kill a player because they spit in the mob boss's face.

I'm not anymore, but at the time, it was 100% logical. An NPC is very vibrant in my mind, and responding with lethal force was entirely "what my character would do", just as a GM
Spoiler #1: that's as much or more of a red flag for a GM as it is for the player.

Spoiler #2: There is no way to pretend this wasn't also about the player failing to RESPECT this NPC, and that I WOULD SHOW THEM. No way I'd have admitted it, but that was totally in play.
The thinking behind this is not malicious, or even explicitly anti-player. It's just the narrative logic of the game carrying forward. As long as you buy into this logic, it's easy to be an utterly monstrous GM with neither guilt nor shame.
Read 21 tweets
18 Nov
I've been getting involved more in how we form scrum teams (in the logistics and hiring sense, not the "forming, storming etc) and it's struck me that it is ass backwards that we seek out Scrum Masters & Product Owners the same way.
Getting a Scrum master for a team is like hiring any other specialist. Some overlap of domain knowledge is valuable, but you are bringing them in to do specific work with specific tools and learning what they know is part of the expertise.
Like a facilitator, much of what a good scrum master can contribute is agnostic to what the product is. Expertise and learning add value, but the baseline requires very little. Which is great, because it means you can air drop a scrum master into most situations and see results
Read 32 tweets
18 Nov
Just seeing the snippets from #agiletesting is making me miss live events. Not because of seeing people (though I miss the too) but because actual presentations are so much better than Zoom presos.
Not that Zoom presos are bad - they enable lots of things that would otherwise be impossible - but they impose different constraints on the speaker, and because we’re still immature at this, they are not all terribly fruitful.
Zoom (as a stand in for the category of software) makes the habit of presenting to the slide deck so much worse due to the default nature of screen sharing. It removes the speakers ability to read and respond to the room.
Read 4 tweets

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