Friday, September 14, 2012

Friday Night Geekery

Usually Friday evenings are reserved for family, but today I was really itching for some immersion into whatever; so I brought the laptop to the couch, and everybody's happy. The rest are watching some incredibly uninteresting program on the television, while I have taken off from this harsh world for a trip into...well, an even harsher world, as I decided to play a round of Crusader Kings II. I added, through Steam, the add-on 'Ruler Designer', which allows you to design rulers. Not the ones you use at school mind you but the medieval feudal lord type. This particular add-on wasn't expensive, fortunately, for it really wasn't all that much. You can click through a number of options for your personal shield, your portrait and you can adjust the scores of your character and of course choose your own name. By increasing your character's scores you also, I found out, add Age to your character, so if you want a fabulously adept character he or she is going to be like 102 years old and die upon entering the game. When I found that out, I lowered the scores until I got a reasonably nice character looking a bit like me, only ten years younger so there's at least some skill left to the dude. 
I picked a small, independent realm wedged between Norway and Sweden just for kicks and started the game without an heir, so the first thing to do was of course to get a spouse. Without an heir I'd be out in just one generation. Sending a letter to a duke in Wales, I convinced him to send his daughter over. But the years passed by without offspring, even though I did "Send gift". And here I thought my character was a dashing scoundrel well-liked by the ladies. Eventually the game threw me an option to initiate a love affair with another lady in the court, so out of frustration (imagined frustration that is!) I sent "my man" off. And lo! and behold. Nine months later she gives birth to my first son, and upon his birth I legitimize him, not caring what my wife says. Turns out she doesn't say anything about it, so all is well in the realm of Dal. 
Not long after, my lover gives me a second son, so I am at least relieved the general is firing proper. A few years pass by, the boys grow up, I name the first-born my heir, and then out of the blue my wife decides to reveal my dirty secret to the court. I shrug and tell the monitor with an Italian accent, "It wasn't me." What's surprising is that a year after this wicked slander, she - the wife - gives birth to my daughter. I guess we made up... Only three months after my only trueborn child's birth, my lover gives birth to yet another girl!

And that's the story of what's-his-name so far tonight. The thing is, that even a strategy game (in this case, set in medieval times) generates story, and secondary worlds (in that real medieval history cannot but become alternate in a game such as this), so even though Crusader Kings II isn't a fantasy story, it still gives me that fix that I crave all the time. It's the kind of game where you want to tell others what you have done, if you know what I mean. Kind of the opposite of a MMO, where everybody plays and experiences the same. That's why, after years of MMO-addictions big and small, I still hold single-player experiences on the computer gaming front in the highest regard.

For the weekend, I've got a few geeky things planned that I am looking forward to: Meeting up with some people for a pen-and-paper around-the-table game of roleplaying, finish Gardens of the Moon for the second time, get in a few more chapters of The Wise Man's Fear, play a little World of Warcraft since it's free (five days to go - so far I have not been enticed to renew my subscription, which I last cancelled almost two years ago) - I did, in the twenty minutes or so I played a couple of days ago, ding level 78, and the rest of the weekend will be entirely dedicated to real life activities and relationships, lest you think I live in a cave of nerdity +2. 

Meaning, have a nice weekend.

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