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Fable 2 review, part 1 of 3
by Dan Repperger

As with all reviews I’ll do, this will be spoiler free. So if you haven’t played the game yet, read on without fear!

I started playing Fable 2 about a week ago. It’s taken up so much of my free time that I haven’t touched Fallout 3. So far, that’s one of the few bad things I can say about it.

I never played the original game. In fact, I only saw about ten minutes of it while at my brother-in-law’s house. He showed me the Jack of Blades fight, after which I accidentally broke his TV, bringing a swift end to the demo. Whoops. As a result of gravity’s consistency when acting upon a TV set, this review will be very short on the otherwise inevitable comparisons to Fable 1. People tired of that particular angle — or anyone new to the series — will probably find this refreshing. Anyone looking to see if Fable 2 can match or beat their experience in Fable 1 won’t find a specific answer to that question here.

When the game starts, you don’t have a lot of customization options for your character. That’s not to say customization isn’t possible. You can change a great deal in regard to your character’s appearance, disposition, armament, and skills. However, that occurs during gameplay. In fact, the only real choice you can make at character creation is whether you’ll play a male or female.

The game starts in a sort of tutorial mode that takes about an hour to play. You’re a child in the slums of a large city, struggling through street life with the aid of your sibling. I had a sister, but I’m guessing you get a brother if you play a girl.

You’re given a series of simple tasks to complete, designed to introduce you to the controls, game concepts, and plot. The tasks seem trivial, but don’t take this tutorial lightly. This is where you start deciding how you’ll get along with the world (or fail to do so), and some of your choices have lasting effect on the rest of the game.

It’s also during this tutorial you meet your only permanent party member and possibly one of the best features in the game: your dog. The canine does the simple things you would expect from an RPG-rendered pet. It follows you around, has a basic mood, does silly things, and offers modest aid in a fight. Nothing new there. But it also helps alleviate one of the things I hate most in RPGs: obfuscation. He can sniff out treasure chests and hidden items. So if there’s a box of goodies just around the corner, concealed in a shadow, he’ll start barking and lead you right to it.

After the tutorial is over, the game advances 10 years, showing you as a young adult ready to strike out in the world. Your canine companion is still faithfully by your side, presumably about 12 years old. The age doesn’t seem to bother him. I estimate he’s around 25 by the time the main plot is over, but he runs, fights, and plays just fine. Having a 9-year-old shepherd/retriever I’m rather fond of, I wish I knew his secret to longevity!

I’ve heard horror stories regarding the load times in Fable 1. I can’t speak to that directly, but I can say that Fable 2 takes good advantage of the 360’s hardware. The graphics look good, the game only goes to a load screen when you make a major change to your location (for example, completely leaving a forest), and the load times are generally short.

Tomorrow, I’ll be back for some details on game play and the multiplayer feature!

Let’s Play a Game
by Dan Repperger

I’m sure it’s known by many names and played with many rules, but there’s a popular party game I’ve always heard called, “I’ve never…”

The concept of the game is simple.  Everyone at the table has a stack of pennies.  One person tells the table they’ve never done something before.  Anyone at the table who has done such-and-such must give this person a penny.  The game is over when one person has all of the pennies.

As a socially isolated geek, I can easily win this game at most parties.  I’ve never had sex with two girls at once on an airplane.  I’ve never shoplifted.  I’ve never been to a professional football game.  Heck, I’ve never ridden a skateboard.  But despite being a bona fide nerd that moderates a gaming podcast under the watchful eye of a Transformer toy, I think I would lose this game if it were played amongst my peers.

There are so many things geeks are expected to have done that I have not.  I haven’t seen Firefly.  I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of Doctor Who episodes I’ve watched.  I own only a small stack of comic books.  I don’t speak a word of Klingon or Elvish.  I’m mediocre at chess.  I’m just now reading Lord of the Rings for the first time.

You wouldn’t believe the number of shocked emails I’ve gotten from listeners or friends over the items I’ve just listed and more that I haven’t.

There’s an irony here that’s not lost on me.  Having never done those things would be a badge of honor — if not simply an accepted, unquestioned fact — in most social circles.  “Socially acceptable” people can quote sports statistics, not read runes.  Among such people, I’ve been repeatedly shamed for being a nerd.  But amongst my fellow geeks, I’m shamed for not being nerd enough.

I’ve outgrown the elementary school playgrounds and high school hierarchies.  I’ve come to accept the fact that I’m a nerd, and I enjoy life more for it.  But like all social groups, we’re not a homogenous mass.  I want to trust that my fellow geeks are excited about various topics because they’re genuinely worth the buzz.  But I have no desire to cast my own tastes or time restraints aside simply to follow the flock.

I may be a nerd, but I’m my kind of nerd.

I’m curious to play this game with the general public.  We aren’t sitting around a table, and I have no pennies to give you.  But what are the things every nerd has done, execpt you?  And why haven’t you?

Episode 121 – when to upgrade your gaming library
by Dan Repperger

* An online Diplomacy game is starting!  If you’d like to join, click here for more information.

* World Wide Wing Night 5!  You can find information about the St. Louis and other locations here!

* Fear the Con 2 information can be found at http://www.fearthecon.com or http://www.warhorn.net/fearthecon.  If you’re looking for a ride to Fear the Con 2, check out the carpool thread here.

* Be sure to check out our new blog here!

* Reasons for and against updating your gaming library.  We present both sides of the argument, so if you think we’re only for or against, be sure to listen through the end of the episode!

* Shout-out to the d21 Gaming site regarding World Wide Wing Night!

Hosts: Chad, Chris, Dan, Pat

Episode 120 – group leaders and how education impacts roleplaying
by Dan Repperger

* World Wide Wing Night 5 on November 8th!  You can find the details for the St. Louis location here.  If you’re not in St. Louis, you can find a list of gatherings in other cities here.

* Fear the Con 2 on March 6th and 7th!  What details we have can be found on the Warhorn site or our forums.

* Our new blog is up at http://www.feartheboot.com/ftb.  Or just click the “Fear the Boot” link on our homepage.

* Upcoming Skies of Glass web comic.

* Selecting and managing leaders in your roleplaying game party.

* Why John is so old and Pat is so quiet.

* How education affects your roleplaying.

Hosts: Chad, Dan, John, Pat

Skies of Glass – The Comic – Laying Groundwork
by Chris Hussey

The Skies of Glass comic is off and running, or at least walking. As this is a new venture for me, it’s kind of tricky as to how to approach it all. So what is the status and where are things at?

Well, first you can’t have a comic without art, and Dan met up with a great artist at Gen Con that I have now met. His name is Don Higgins, and you can view his work here. I like it, and I think he’ll be able to capture the visual flavor of Skies of Glass just right. We’ve exchanged several e-mails and he seems like a pleasant guy to work with.

Next up is plot. I hate it when you have that sense that something you are reading is meandering along like it doesn’t know where it is going. I’m making sure that is not the case this time around. I’ve already sketched out the plot, finishing it up while having a pint at my local pub I might add, and I’m pretty pleased with it. It still has to pass muster and review, not only from me, but from Dan as well, as Skies is his brainchild.

Characters have also been mostly detailed, and soon will be passed on to Don for visualization.

I think the hardest part of all this will be learning to work with Don. While writing a story is one thing, as you really only have yourself to answer to (besides the editor), you are dealing with your own interpretation of the work. In this medium, Don and I will need to work together so that I can give him something coherent and he can translate my words into his pictures. I’m actually looking forward to it.

Is there a timeline/duedate? Not yet, though I would have to say it’s still a few weeks off, knowing everything that needs to happen first. But the important thing to know is that it is moving forward, and you’ll have another reason to love Fear the Boot!

Episode 119 – GM-assigned roles
by Dan Repperger

* Murphy’s Law strikes again!

* The Warhammer Online guild is going strong.  You can find the details here.

* World Wide Wing Night 5.  You can find details here.

* Email addresses for all hosts are back.

* This is the last week for the GM profiles!  Be sure to get yours in!

* Why is self-destruction a constant in all of John’s characters?

* Fear the Con 2 is set to go!  It’s on for March 6th and 7th.  Same location.  Expect the sign-up site and other details in the near future. If you want to volunteer or just sound-off on the con planning, visit the forums here.

* Why we create characters the way we do.

* How the visual element of a movie can affect your experience of a book.  I managed to track down the Harry Potter audio spoof John was talking about.  WARNING!!! This is extremely not safe for work!!!  Click here at your own risk.  The Harry Potter 6 trailer, however, is perfectly safe.

* GM-assigned roles or character concepts

Hosts: Chad, Dan, John, Pat

Episode 118 – personality archetypes
by Dan Repperger

* World Wide Wing Night 5 on Saturday, November 8th is coming up soon.  You can find details here.

* The Seinfeld/Microsoft commercials.

* Our Warhammer Online guild is doing unexpectedly well!  Join us on
the Order side of the Thorgrim server.  More information can be found here.

* Character, role, and personality archetypes.

* Implied archetypes we’ve only seen once.

Hosts: Chad, Chris, Dan, Pat

Episode 117 – separating yourself from your characters
by Dan Repperger

* The episode 115 tutorials are NOT available on CD.  We’re having problems getting CafePress to process the sound files properly.  However, if you want to create your own CD, we’ve compiled the MP3 files in a CD-ready format (intro music removed, etc) in a zip file that you can download here.

* World Wide Wing Night 5 on Saturday, November 8th is coming up soon.  You can find details here.

* Our Warhammer Online guild is doing unexpectedly well!  Join us on the Order side of the Thorgrim server.  More information can be found here.

* What percentage of roleplaying books you own have you actually read?

* Should players be familiar with the games they’re playing or expected to do any work outside of the game?

* Getting out of your character ruts and separating your own traits from those of your character.

Hosts: Chad, Chris, Dan, Pat

Episode 116 – easing new players into the hobby
by Dan Repperger

* Chris is old!

* Will we outgrow roleplaying games?

* The episode 115 tutorials are NOT available on CD.  We’re having problems getting CafePress to process the sound files properly.  However, if you want to create your own CD, we’ve compiled the MP3 files in a CD-ready format (intro music removed, etc) in a zip file that you can download here.

* World Wide Wing Night 5 on Saturday, November 8th (not 18th) is coming up soon.  You can find details here.

* We’ve started a Warhammer Online guild, Order side, on the Thorgrim server.  You can find details on our forums.

* Chris pulls out Pulp Dungeons from the gamer closet.

* GM profile for Dan.

* Don’t forget to send in your GM profiles!

* Easing new players into the hobby.

Hosts: Chad, Chris, Dan, Pat

Episode 115, Chapter 7 – It Takes All Kinds
by Dan Repperger

An explanation of the diversity you’ll see in how people play or modify their RPGs.

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