Autumn is my favorite time of year, and it finally got a little cooler out so it actually feels like it. At some point, the leaves will turn if the temperature keeps dipping the way it does at night.

Right now I want to finish Long September, but I also want to maintain the focus necessary to finish a damn rpg in RPG Maker. Ideas compete in my head for dominance. I want to do something interesting, but I don’t want it to take forever. And sadly, that just isn’t how it works.

I have also been chipping away at two hopeless battles. One is Diablo III. The other is my student loans.

I have a relatively low amount of debt left, but it will still take, at best, two years to pay down. Meanwhile, I have played Diablo III to the point that there remains almost no mystery or discovery. I have reached the level cap and begun earning “paragon” levels, which trick out individual stats.

The process of surviving while you try to beat a boss or a pack of elite enemies in Diablo III is in many ways just the same as paying off an unmanageable amount of debt, and it excites the same feelings of resentment and frustration as you watch one number tick down and hope it ticks down faster than your number is. It feels like no amount of doing it will make it be done.

It is partly this feeling, coupled with the endless drudgery and the endless impasse of Springfield politics, that have given me a sense that my momentum has stalled. It feels like I need to craft a new and better weapon, one that gives me more life per hit, more damage, tricks out an attack skill.

Fortunately, I do have things on the horizon. I will be heading to Colombia for a brief excursion at the end of the month to see my father and friends, but also to go on a journalistic adventure I will need to speak more on afterward. I’m excited and a little nervous about it. I’ll be headed into the brush, and don’t know what to expect.

I should speak a little on my latest game attempt. I like the Diablo-ish way of creating a character and heading into the dungeon, with a simple story. I want to emulate that, but hopefully push past the random encounter cookie cutter setup.

I have it in my mind to forget about random dungeon layouts and instead focus on things like random selection of quests and enemy placements or composition.

There are ways to do this by “eventing” (that is to say, without monkeying around in code). I think I will attempt to make some progress in this idea. To begin with, I wrote out a basic idea for the character creation process, in which a hooded and judgmental figure asks you a series of questions about whether you were born in the cultish town the game is set in and what you received training in.

I will likely hash out some classes and decide on a finite list of enemies and dungeon floors, then decide on a level cap. I don’t think I’ll mess with stats at all in this, because honest to goodness, it is impossible to rebalance things by hand.

Right now, I have decided on Knight, Ranger, Barbarian, Cleric, Mage, Alchemist and Rogue as my classes. I have established that Alchemists can use components to mix up items, and if I make sure to limit the skills available, it should work. The other classes should be straightforward.

I’ll of course check in with you here as I accomplish more… or don’t.