The Oracle
The Gospel of Darkwombat
The Oracle, Brad Lohr - November '99- 01:30 South Pole Time

Hi. What's up? You comfy? Hold on, 'cause it's going to be another wild ride here in Q&A land. That's right, I'm like, wild or something. Probably the or something. The south pole and myself are getting along quite well, actually. It's pretty nice down here, now that we're moving into springtime. The arctic monkeys are whistling while they train to become my evil army, the penguins are having a fun time building bomb shelters, the polar bears are laying around and just being fat and lazy.. and I am.. .. I'm writing HTML.

Well, some things never change.

I have a small announcement to make. A neat little webpage has opened up, and I'm announcing it, givin' it props, whatever you wanna call it. I like the place. Why'm I announcing it in this column? What has it to do with the interests of you people? Because well, heh, I write for it as well. It doesn't have anything specifically to do with video games, it's more of a .. culture site, you could say. It's The TOF Project, and well, it kicks butt. If you liked Heather, hear more of her maniacal ranting and raving about the state of school systems and the lovely things they do with your money. Hear Marek go on about Brad, a helicopter flown by an evil wombat, and some guns. Submit something of your own, if you're a writer. Do whatever you want. Go visit it. Also, I'd like to thank Randy Sommerfeld, of, for helping us out with hosting when we needed it, and also Mike Tidwell, and Dreamhaven, who currently put us up on the web. Anyhow, enough with the mad plugging of my other site. I know what you're here for. .. and here it is.

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Suikoden 2 Quickie
Dear Brad,

I just got Suikoden 2 and I read in the manual that you can equip someone with up to three runes but I can only equip them on a persons right hand could you please tell how or when I can equip more than one rune


Well, you can equip up to 3 runes on everyone, and not everyone starts with all the slots available that they will ever have. If you level people up, sometimes they gain the ability to place a rune on their left hand or forehead, and then other characters (such as Luc), start with the ability to have a rune on all three. Just keep chuggin' forward, and you'll be able to throw tatoos of little symbols on all your people quickly enough.

Girls who pick up on me.. and why I'm afraid.

Let's junction ;-). But, no, seriously, Japanese mythology spoke of a turtle that left its shell at night and stole people's children and pulled them into the ocean. There was also a legend about a goblin that carried a knife, who haunted graves. One of them (either the turtle or the goblin, I forget) was called something like the Tanbal, which, I suppose could end up as Tonberry. Pug, like Vicks, was probably just some weird alteration. Of course, I could just be making this all up...nah.

~TaNBaL (GoT Any CHIldREN? "No." NoT ANYmORE! HahahHAHAha!!!)

First off, the question.. if we 'junctioned'.. would that make you my GF? (girlfriend.. gaurdian force.. get it!? quack).

Right. Anyhow, hrm. Interesting as far as 'Tanbal' goes. Mayhaps.. we'll see.

Beating up poor little gangsters...
*** Possible SO2 Spoilers Here ***

Yo, B! I gots some Star Ocean 2 infos for ya.

Regarding Yul and Zand... It's all part of a Rena only series of PA's. It's kind of like that Chris thing: if you return to Herlie and do another PA later on (assuming you've done the first and saved Yul's neck) you'll find out that he got caught by Zand (I think) and Rena goes to help him. She gets the crap beaten outta her and is taken prisoner. Then you get to fight Zand with Rena. Alone. You'd think it'd suck, trying to do 3000 damage to that guy with her, right? Wrong. He's a pushover. Beat him and you get a special item, I think. But that's basically it.

Oh, and you're right: Ernest does sound weird. At times, I think he kinda sounds like Spaceballs' Dark Helmet... although it's been ages since I've played that game so I can't give you an exact quote.

I'm the B with the most, yo. Thanks for the Zand info. I never get back to those first cities.. well, unless of course I'm going after Ernest.. and well, I did the whole Opera/Ernest thing while being Claude, so I guess I just missed out. I dig Ashton better anyhow.

Icewind Dale name explanation
Okay, someone was asking about what kind of a name 'Icewind Dale' was for a game. Actually, it's one in TSR's Forgotten Realms series, the sequel to Baldur's gate. 'Icewind Dale' is the name of a place, just like 'Baldur's Gate' is. Since Baldur's Gate focused on events in the city of Baldur's Gate, I imagine this will focus around the region of Icewind Dale. Just a little bit of information to those less enlightened/actually have a life. (That's Dale as in the geographical region, not Dale as in a certain old animated celebrity, for those who couldn't figure that out by now. DUH.)

Heh, I've read the Dragonlance novels, but haven't gotten into the whole Forgotten Realms thing, as of this time. No promises to ever do so, but who knows. I liked Baldur's Gate, that's for sure.

In the spirit of letting kids off easy from homework...
hey almightly oracle guy

I know this is straying from the topics of rpgs but... I would really like you to answer these questions about your job. You see I got this assignment im my economics class where I choose a career and set up an imaginery life. Anyway for extra credit I have to ask some one in the industry that these questions, and since your so cool I decided to ask u. Thanx man!

Well, I suppose. Anyhow, everyone wants to know more about this. I'll answer using two sets of answers. That which pertains to my RPGamer 'career', and that which pertains to my other job.

1. How did you get involved in your career?

RPGamer: Honestly? I hung out on IRC and knew the right people. I knew a little HTML, and was in the right place at the right time.

Surveyor(my full time job irl): I knew the right people, and by the time I was hired, I knew some perl stuff, and a lot more HTML. They needed a webmaster. Here I am.

2. What do you like most about your job? Why?

RPGamer: I don't know. I'm popular, but not world-reknowned, so it's not the 'fame'. It's not the money, (laugh), I work a full time job for cash. I think it's the exposure to some new opportunities that I wouldn't have had a chance to have were it not for RPGamer, (one word: E3). Also, the team at RPGamer is a great crew, I dig them all.

Surveyor: I love working in the field that I've chosen. I like doing stuff each day that challenges me a little, (even if I end up wanting to blow up the entire database on occasion...), and I love learning all the new stuff. I don't learn anything in school anymore, it seems... so I gotta get my fix somewhere. Also, the team at Surveyor is top notch. They rule.

3. What do you like least about your job? Why?

RPGamer: Heh, the hours. I'm up late.. and sometimes, the last thing you want to do after a 10 hour workday is get home and answer questions about your jo-- er.. write a column. It's a lot of work, honestly, but I knew that when I signed up.

Surveyor: Hmm. I'd rather be doing stuff a little more programming oriented, whereas with them I'm stuck in the Marketing department, (which I am very not that well suited for).. and well, since the free coke fridge came in.. there are no other complaints.

4. What do you do on a daily basis at your job?

RPGamer: HTML, read/answer/write/(research.. sometimes) questions. Work with a group of people on a project (the webpage) and also organize and help manage the team, to a limited (yet growing) degree. Have fun. :)

Surveyor: HTML, HTML, HTML, HTML, Perl, Perl, Perl, Perl, CGI, CGI, CGI, CGI, MySQL, MySQL, MySQL, MySQL. Eat chicken every two weeks. Repeat.

5. What are the qualifications for your job?

RPGamer: Know HTML, well. Nested Tables, multi-platform compatibility is a big issue, being able to hand code the html is a big plus. Working as a team.

Surveyor: Perl, CGI, Database, HTML (of course), I do a lot of odds and ends around there, including tech support, helping Duncan out with Cat5 cable making, all kinds of things. General computer knowledge, with a focus on making business CGIs work with our database. And putting Amber's press releases up on the web and 'making them look pretty'.

6. Are jobs in your field easy to get?

RPGamer: Good luck. :) We are the few, the proud, the sleep deprived. (Unless you do music box updates twice a year.. errr..)

Surveyor: Once you have the skills and some experience on paper, these jobs aren't hard to pull down, depending on your area. If you've got technology companies sprouting up in your area.. latch on somehow, (do tech support and some web stuff on the side, etc).. and then ride the wave up. These aren't that tough to get once you have the skills necessary.

7. How did you get your present job?

RPGamer: Like I said, it's all about who you know.

Surveyor: Honestly, lots of the same. It's who you know. IRL, what you know becomes a little more important.. (not in all cases, however.)

8. What is the hardest part of your job?

RPGamer: Staying awake to finish.

Surveyor: Learning curve on some of this is steep, and well, I'm not all that experienced in the field, so I'm kinda behind, and I feel it sometimes, when I just can't make something work.

9. What other kinds of organizations hire people with your skills?

Anywhere that has a webpage that's getting a couple thousand hits per month, (or in RPGamer's case, many thousand per day..) is going to need some people to maintain that webpage. Lots of businesses have webpages nowadays. Go for it. Get some experience, then jump in. The water's nice.

10. To whom would you suggest I talk?

Mr O'reilly is the best bet, if you ask me. These books will prep you for the tasks you're looking at. As for perople to talk to.. er.. find someone who knows what you want, and ask them how they got there. Like you're doing to me. If they point you to someone else.. well, er.. keep going until you find someone with time to really explain everything. Buy books. :)

11. I guess I better buy Lunar before its too late, huh?

Yes. Lunar is cool. :)



Vandal Hearts.. OooOoh I love it!
To the great and knowledgable Oracle,

I'm looking to buy a new RPG to tide me over until Christmas and right now I can't afford any of the new games (man, being a college student sure drains your money). I saw Vandal Hearts on sale for $12.00. I have heard how much you like this game, but could you give me some reasons why this is such a good game? And just out of curiosity, what kinds of non-RPGs do you play? Thanks.


Best $12 you could ever spend. Vandal Hearts has a lot of the good ol' tactical goodness of things like FFT, except you have a lot more pieces on the field. Also, you have a much better 'win scenario' system, where it's not always just "Kill boss" or "Kill Everything", but sometimes it's "Do this in under 5 rounds" or "Escape all characters to this ground" .. and other really cool things. It lacks the complex job system that Tactics had, but had a job system of its own, just .. a lot less flexible. But the graphics on Vandal Hearts (the maps have a lot of things you can change about them, drawbridges, elevators, some really cool things) are excellent, and the story is good. Not only that, but there are some secrets that are fun to run across, and .. well, I don't know. It's a rad game. If you like to see a nice gushing blood stream pour out of a skeleton (and nearly everything else) when you impale it.. well, VH is a great game for ya.

As for 'other' styles of games that I play.. well, er.. not a whole lot. I don't have a lot of time, but I enjoy the occasional really good fighter or racer... OH! I know. Shooters. Like Einhander, or Raystorm, Raiden Project.. 1942,3,X, etc.. ohh.. I love those games. Gradius! Life Force! MORE MORE MORE!

Arctic Monkey Quickies

Don't make me stone you! ...Cuz then you'd be stoned and I'd have to turn you in for illegal possesion of Marijuana. Wouldn't that bite?

Well, technically, since I wouldn't possess any marijuana, I couldn't be arrested for possesion, and in California, it's not illegal to be stoned off yer butt, only illegal to have that which stones one.

Why is is that words with the letter "w" are funny, like weasel and kiwi and chainsaw? And would "monkey" be a funnier word if it had a "w" too?

Monkey could be no funnier, save for .. "Chicken Monkey".

Hello. I was just wondering if there was an all 8 fever in FFVIII. Thanks.
Kismet Nightingale

Not that I'm aware of.

Wipeout 3 has amazing control, but the courses are rather dull visually. Also, the classes get very hard, and the weapons still suck (except for quake). I'd give it a 6 out of 10.

By the way, aren't you getting tired of answering FF8 questions?

Heh, sounds like a renter to me.. rent, if you like, then buy. As for FF8. YES.

won't monkies die in the south pole? It's cold

Or did you give each monkey in your army their own sparkling-white thermal suit? High ranking monkeys wear sparkling yellow thermal suits! What color do you wear?

-Zack S.

They'are ARCTIC monkeys, so they like the cold. And I wear the big red shoes, duh.

When I look at any of your pictures, I think, "Here's Johnny!" Yeah you look kinda like ol' Jack Nicholson.

I've been told I look like a lot of celebs.. but this is totally a first for me. I love Jack Nicholson, btw. :D

Words from the Wise One:

Well, It's been a late evening.. it's approaching 1:30am, and well, it's still kinda light outside here at the south pole. Very disturbing. Oh well, time for me to let the monkeys tuck me in, and call it a night...

Brad "I had this watermelon seed stuck in my teeth for like, six years. Then I found out it was really just an imaginary friend." Lohr

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