August 26th, 2008

Me 2012

So Wrong

After Lut went to bed last night, I wasn't sleepy yet, so terrycloth and I decided to switch characters away from our Arachnos set (which the three of us are keeping at the same level) to some other pair.

Me: "You wanted to play Pasture, right?"
Terry: "Kinda, yeah."
Me: "Okay. I'll bring on Alice."

This was a purely pragmatic decision on my part. Pasture is 32, and Alice Bocor, at almost 26th, is the closest character I have to his level.

Alice is the second character I made for City of Villains with an actual personality in mind. I'd seen a villain named "Daddy's Little Girl" running around, as a 4' toon with pigtails, and I thought "Playing a little girl sounds like fun." I wanted an angle to tie her to the CoH setting, so I thought I'd make her related to one of the NPCs in the game. Mr. Bocor is one of the first contacts that had stuck in my mind: he's an undead sorcerer of a sophisticated, well-spoken kind of evil. "I know! I'll make her Mr. Bocor's daughter! And she can be a zombie mastermind!"


And that's Alice: a little blond kid with a ponytail and a white and pink schoolgirl outfit, who has undead playmates. That she adores. And calls by names like "Cuteypie" and "Spikeykins". She's sweet, friendly, guileless, and likes to rob banks and use her dead friends to beat "mean" people up. One of my favorite lines from her: "This is Captain Perfect! He's my best living friend EVER!" I had so much fun with her little-girl schtick that two of my heroes, Sugar Rush Girl and Jade Wind, are versions of the same concept played without the creepy twist. Still, it's the creepy twist that makes Alice work. She has a kind of child-like innocence to her: child-like in that her evil stems more from unawareness that she's doing wrong than from conscious intent. She feels guilty for not going to bed on time, but commanding undead abominations to kidnap people has no moral implications whatsoever.

terrycloth's Pasture is a half-plant, half-goat humanoid, a vulgar, mammal-hating, hardened criminal who spent his formative years in jail The combination means that he says a lot of things that would be obscene except that he's using plant-based biological terms. The result is ... still sort of obscene, but in a way that's more startling and funny. Sample insult: "Pollinate THIS, insects!"

Concept-wise, the two of them make a terrible combination. There's something horribly, horribly wrong about this little angelic-looking little kid whose worst slur is "you're MEAN!" running around with this 6'6" foul-mouthed green-furred satyr. Alice'd be shocked by his cursing if she could actually understand it.

And there must be something horribly wrong with me, because I had a great time doing it. If it'd been a normal little kid paired with a typical demonic thug, I don't think it would have been half so funny. But the two characters have such bizarre twists that all conversations between them take on a surreal quality.

Pasture: "Hello, little girl."
Alice: "Hi! Do you like little girls?"
Pasture: "What kind of question is that?"
Alice: "Ummm."
Alice: "I don't know?"
Pasture: "Good."

We were running around a mayhem mission destroying everything in sight, which is pretty fun in itself. Alice had her horde of six undead minions, and Pasture had a kind of walking Audrey-plant pet, plus rooted creeper vines he could summon, so there was lots of pet goodness going on.

Alice: "Did you hear that? Your pet just made the cutest little noise!"
Pasture: "No, I didn't."
Alice: "It made this little 'scrreeeawk!' sort of noise."
Pasture: "Awww, I missed it."
Alice: "Let's go break Shock Treatment out of jail. We need more minions."
[ After breaking her out, she started following Pasture. ]
Alice: "There, now you have another pet to keep your plant company. You should always have two pets so they won't get lonely when you're not around."

Anyway, I spend a lot of time playing City of Heroes/Villains, relative to the amount of time I spend writing about it, so I figured I'd give a snapshot of one session for a change. :)

Technology Makes the World a Better Place

Does anyone know an easy way to email one page from a .pdf using Adobe Acrobat Reader 7.0? For reasons too annoying to explain, I often need to email a single page, or a handful of pages, out of one ginorourmous pdf or other. Despite much clicking around inside the reader, I have not discerned any decent way to do this. The snapshot tool almost works, except that the resulting snapshots seem to be (a) illegible and/or (b) truncated. >.

Dream Snippet: Deus Ex Machina

I woke from an atypically interesting dream this morning. The story revolved around a resistance movement against an tyrranical government. The environment was claustrophobic, like a space station or arcology. All up and down levels and long corridors. The members of the resistance movement were captured, one by one, until only a few were still at liberty. One was a woman who wasn't yet under suspicion. She was in one of the enemy military facilities, looking for something that could help her free the others. She found and successfully stole something that looked like a coffee cup, but was actually an alien artifact that gave the holder a "somebody else's problem" field, that made them functionally invisible, and it bent probability so that any attacks made on the holder would always miss or be deflected. It made her all but unstoppable.

With it, she was fearless but not reckless. She became very cautious, in fact, because she now had this huge edge and she didn't want to blow it by doing something stupid.

She managed to get her hands on two more artifacts -- another SEP device and a phase gun. The phase gun could be used to take the wielder out of phase with reality, at which point they became intangible, desolid, and immune to all attacks from people who were in phase. It also fired disrupter beams, wide beams of fluid golden energy that would scramble whatever they hit into tiny bits, half in phase and half out, effectively annihilating the target.

She gave the other SEP device to another resistance fighter, and the phase gun to a third. They found out about a weakness in the SEP device now: it only worked if the holder acted like it was going to work. If they were trying to be sneaky and skulked in shadows, it wouldn't make them go unnoticed, and if they were trying to dodge attacks, it wouldn't make the attacks miss. The new woman who got one didn't have confidence that it would work, so when she tried to sneak past the enemy with it, it didn't work and she got killed.

I remember thinking at this point that the phase gun was a better tool, because it was more predictable and provable. You could tell that you were invisible and intangible with it, you didn't need to have faith that magically no one would pay attention to you.

Then the person with the phase gun shot at someone with an SEP device, and the SEP device deflected the disrupter beam back at the shooter. Since the disrupter beam worked by scrambling phases, it worked on the out-of-phase shooter and killed her.

I think the moral of this story is "If you have two deus ex machina devices, keep both: one might not be enough." Or possibly, "don't get involved in violent conflicts."