This Week’s Game: Anima: Gate of Memories

Anima: Gate of Memories is a game that is somewhat fun, somewhat interesting, somewhat pretty; and one that I can’t really recommend, sadly. It’s not, by any means, a bad game; but there are many factors holding it back from being a truly excellent game.

So, let’s talk about TRPGs for a moment. Yes, that’s Tabletop Role Playing Games, the old school pencil and paper games, i.e. the only true RPGs. Come at me, video games!

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-Every sourcebook ever 😛

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Sunday Update: The Pallid Lands Campaign Setting

The Pallid Lands…

Upon the face of the world, there lies a great continent known as The Wheel. In the north lies the mighty Peranum Empire, ancestral homeland of the human tribes. The Peranum Emperor, Kharles VIII, rules the Council of Kings in the imperial capital of Nershua, and while the six subordinate kingdoms are always fractious and seethe with petty rebellions (as befits a human country), the rule of the Empire is largely stable. The Perani watch their borders closely, but do not fear their neighbors overmuch.

East of the Empire lies the Holyland of Sun’s Blessed Light. In the distant past a group of pilgrims, worshipers of the sun goddess Sarenrae, left the warring human kingdoms of their time in order to find a place where they could live in peace. They found a high mountain, surrounded by a deep ravine, and they took it for their own. Today, a sprawling city has been carved in the side of Solar’s Glance, as the mountain came to be known. The priest-princes rule the theocracy of the Holyland, and the paladins of Sarenrae enforce their will — all in the name of good and light, of course.

Southeast of the Holyland lies the Federation of Hidden Vales. This is something of a joke, that only the halflings who dwell in the Federation seem to understand. After all, the lands they claim for their own are some of the flattest on the continent, none of their villages are even slightly hidden, and even the name “Federation” implies an organization that seems quite lacking in actual fact. The halflings wander their lands, working wherever it strikes their fancy, be it for a month or so in some farm’s field, a week or so wiping tables in a local inn, or maybe just a couple of hours telling stories to children.

South of the Federation, the land breaks into a series of interconnected canyons and ravines, cut through by many rivers. These deep crevices are the home of the tiefling civilization known as the Children of Lakmantiyu. Though Lakmantiyu herself is long dead, her descendants live on, practicing their unique form of ancestor worship and jealously guarding the borders of their lands. They trade a little with the Federation, but for the most part they are completely self-sufficient, and extremely insular.

Further south from Lakmantiyu lay the vast grasslands of the orcish nomads. The orcs, as a whole, worship the god of history and knowledge, Irori, and great cities have sprung up around the large temples where orcish monks gather to record history, debate universal truths, and provide a place for grievances between the various tribes to be adjudicated, without having to descend into open war.

Southwest of those open lands lies a series of mountain ranges, extending on around the south of The Wheel into the west. In the foothills furthest east, a small civilization of gnomes flourishes. A strange bunch, they seem racially attracted to tinkering with both magic and devices, and have taken to calling themselves the League of Interesting Knowledge and Grand Experiment Refiners, or “Lingers” as they proudly term themselves. Most everyone else simply calls them “the League,” or more commonly, “those irritating pests.”

In the deep south of The Wheel lies a giant mountain known to its inhabitants as “The Great Stone God.” This mountain is home to the capital of the dwarvish empire of Kudrzistaka, which lays claim to mines and tunnels throughout the south of the wheel. The dwarves of Kudrizstaka hate dealing with other races, and especially hate the elves on the west edge of The Wheel; but surprisingly, they get along well with the duergar kingdom that lies deep to their west.

The duergar kingdom, called Gorbach Kingdom, is surprisingly open for a duergar community. Although they are just as suspicious of outsiders as their dwarven kin to the east, they maintain fairly friendly trading relationships with both their cousins, and the dark elf forest cities to the north. They provide a much needed buffer between the elves and the dwarves, a very strange place for duergar to occupy, but one that seems to suit their needs.

As the long mountain range tapers to an abrupt end in The Wheel’s southwest, massive forests take over the landscape. These are the ancestral lands of the elves: the dark elf cities of the southwest, the high elf citadels of the west, and the so-called swamp elves of the northwest fens. Although the races seem distinct at first glance, much intermarriage between the three types has blurred the lines between them. It is quite possible for a girl who has the grey skin of a stereotypical dark elf to be the daughter of two high elves; or for the offspring of a dark elf and a swamp elf could have the platinum blonde hair of a high elf. The organization of the elves is loose, without distinct lines between one civilization and the next.

Finally, northeast of the swamp elf lands, and west of the Peranum Empire, lies the large human kingdom of Cinderfall. A series of natural disasters cut a portion of the ancient Empire off from direct contact with Nershua, and the surviving citizens banded together to form a new kingdom, with a new royal line unconnected with the Peranum Emperor. The new regime promoted the worship of Nethys, God of Magic, and began studies into immortality. The success of this enterprise was… limited, but Cinderfall has remained independent of the Empire for centuries, so they must be doing something right.

These, then, are the civilizations of The Wheel — but for those who chafe at the rule of law, who seek wonder, fortune, and adventure, need only move inward. Away from empires and kingdoms, into the wastelands, the hidden places, the deepest secrets… These are the lands that were never conquered by any invader, never tamed by any settler… Where monsters roam, goblins rampage, and every sort of fey creature might be hiding behind any given rock…

These are the Pallid Lands. The dark, primal heart, pulsing at the hub of The Wheel; around which, the civilizations of The Wheel turn. In the Pallid Lands, the races of Man join hand against the unknown, and ancient grudges are set aside in front of a greater foe. No one knows all the secrets of the Pallid Lands, but everyone desires the knowledge, the resources, the power they represent.

Including you, adventurer. Welcome to the Pallid Lands.


Sooo… that’s what I’ve been working on, instead of finishing a chapter of Anubai. Or for writing tomorrow’s game review, for that matter. I’m going to try to keep the review shorter, though, I don’t want to spend so much time on it as I did last week. But we’ll see. Tomorrow. 😛

Anyway, this is my personal setting for a Pathfinder campaign. The various races are very segregated on the edge of the wheel — somewhat unnaturally so, in fact. 😉 Basically, my conceit is that the civilizations represent the forces of Law, which attempts to encroach upon the Chaos that is the Pallid Lands in the center. Well, there’s much more to it behind the scenes, of course, but this is the general knowledge of an adventurer in the Pallid Lands.

Now I just needs some players… just kidding, there is a lot of detail I want to fill in. (What exactly is a swamp elf? Even I’m not sure… 😛 ) But yeah, my players will start as adventurers in the Pallid Lands, either searching ancient ruins for treasure and secrets, or helping local communities to survive against monster depredations and other environmental hazards. Either way, they will eventually fall afoul of one of the strongest beings in the Lands, and be forcibly enlisted in a secret war they want nothing to do with… probably. Unless they do. Players are weird. ^^;

So, yeah. Review tomorrow, chapter someday, and I’ll keep y’all posted on how (and if) my Pallid Lands develop. Just because. 😉

Have a good week, everyone. 😀

Oh, hey.

Didn’t post anything yesterday, did I… Sorry, I haven’t been feeling well this week, so I haven’t really been writing, or really doing much of anything. Um, I don’t really have anything to recommend, either… Well, I have been watching Eurogamer’s “Late to the Party” videos, those are pretty fun. Suppose I should mention that they swear a lot, though. Especially Aoife, for some reason… I love her name, though. 😛

Anyway, I’m feeling a bit better today, so I’ll try and sit down and write. Unfortunately, I’m probably going to create a Pathfinder adventure setting, so I won’t be working on the next chapter of Anubai.

Unless I do. Who knows? It’s been sitting open on my laptop for weeks now. Makes me sad. 😦

Cough, anyway… New review on Monday, and probably a post tomorrow for no reason. Ya know, the usual. Hope everyone is having a good week. 😉

This Week’s Game: The Surge

Here is my review of The Surge: it is science fiction Dark Souls. Ok, review done, moving on. See you next week.

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Yep, nothing more to see here.

Huh? You want more than that? Well, that’s fair. For all that The Surge is almost literally a reskin of the Dark Souls games, there are some things that it does differently, as you would expect when the settings are so disparate. I believe that The Surge is actually more accessible to beginners than Dark Souls, but it also lacks pieces of what makes Dark Souls so compelling.

But let’s not dwell on the Dark Souls parallels just yet. We’ll get back to that, sure, but I’m going to go ahead and describe the game as though I’d never played Dark Souls, and you hadn’t either, and we’ll go from there. Continue reading

Sunday Update: Super Bowl not very much edition

Hey there. Everyone doing well? The Super Bowl is happening in the other room, but I can’t say I really care… Figured I’d get this done right now, just ’cause. I’m a little tired tonight, though, so I’ll keep it short.

No new chapter of Anubai this past week, as you know. Still a ways to go before it’s ready, too… makes me sad. On the plus side, my review of The Surge is done, so I don’t have to worry about that. It’s scheduled to be posted early tomorrow. Relatively early.

I don’t really have anything else to say, I guess… I’m doing ok, my kids are doing well, no major issues since last week… So, good? I guess?

I have been contemplating running a Pathfinder game, though. Just for fun, I helped my son make himself a character, and he ended up making a half-elf wizard. A female half-elf wizard, no less. It was fun. 😀

Have a safe week, everyone, and tune back in tomorrow for This Week’s Game! 😉

Questionable priorities…

Hey, y’all. Hope your having a good week.

So, as expected, still don’t have that chapter done. Apology, dogeza, done. Moving on.

What I have managed to finish is my review of the Surge, which ended up being just as long as a chapter of Anubai itself. Yeah, I had a lot to say. Is that a good thing? A bad thing? You’ll have to wait until Monday to find out! 😛

…And no, I didn’t write the review early because I finished the game in four days. Please spare me that. :\

Um, let’s see, what can I suggest to entertain you this week… Oh, I know! Have you ever watched Deceased Crab’s Let’s Play of La Mulana? It makes for fun viewing, and it convinced me to pick up La Mulana myself, so I can heartily recommend it.

Ok, everyone, see you Sunday! 😀

This Week’s Game: Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate

Well, here we are. Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate. I’m not sure how to say this, so let me just be blunt: I didn’t care for it.

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Pictured: a crazy man talking to a chicken. He said it, not me! 😯

…Alright, I didn’t get stabbed in the back of the head right after writing the sentence, that’s good. Since I appear to still be alive (for the moment) why don’t I tell you about my experiences with the game, and you can tell me why I’m wrong. 😉

By the by, I’m not going to do a separate SPOILER section for this review. Unlike with the previous two games I reviewed, I haven’t actually looked up the story of this game, and so I can’t talk about the ending; and in fact, I barely got into the story when I actually played it (more about that in a bit). So I can only talk about the plot in the broadest of terms anyway. Furthermore, this game is rather late in the series, in both era and development, and so most of the elements that… you know what? Let me start at the beginning. Continue reading

Sunday Digest: Stuff and nonsense. (No, not Oompa-Loompas.)

I miss Gene Wilder. Don’t you?

Gene Wilder
Of course you do.

Well, never mind. Since this is a writing blog, I will sum up all the writing I’ve done this week: none. 😦

Ok, that isn’t fair, I suppose. I did my review of Rise of the Tomb Raider on Monday, which was technically writing. Just not fiction writing. I’ve added a few paragraphs to Anubai 23, but it isn’t exactly getting done in a hurry. Just an FYI, I usually aim for about 3000+ words per chapter of Anubai, and the current chapter is sitting at, let me check… 666 words.

Hang on, let me go write another sentence quick… :\

…Ok, there we go, added another paragraph. 753 words, that seems much safer. ^^;

So yeah, we’ll see when I finally get that done. Aiming for next week, but I’m not going to over-pressure myself again, so we’ll see. As for tomorrow, I’ll be writing a review for Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate. Spoiler: I have more criticism than praise. If the game happens to be your favorite game ever, please make sure you have your torches and pitchforks on hand. 😛

Setting that aside, two other items of business. First, my daughter turned 4 years old yesterday! I think the highlight gift was the Batman blanket from her grandma (my wife’s mom).

Secondly, and much less importantly. You know about Amiibos, right? Nintendo’s figurine line? They have game functionality if you scan them into your Switch (or 3DS, I guess) but I had decided to save money and not get any of them, since they are absolutely not necessary.

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Well, so much for that.

In my defense, Mipha from Breath of the Wild is absolutely adorable. Even if she is a strange fish person. 😛

Eh, well. That’s all I’ve got for this week. Tune in tomorrow for my game of the week review, and have a wonderful evening! Thanks for reading! 😀

No chapter today either. But an entertaining recommendation?

Yeah, I haven’t spent much time writing this week; just absolutely haven’t been in the mood. In return, my stress levels are down, and my taxes are almost done. So call it a wash.

From my point of view, anyway. I suppose people who are waiting for the next chapter of Anubai are more than slightly disappointed with me. And to be frank, so am I; the scenes are there in my head, but it won’t do anyone any good until I get them down on a page, and that process has been stalling badly. But if I get too hung up on that, I just stress myself out, and that’s not good for anyone either. So I’m doing my best not to engage in the cycle of self-blame, and just working on it a bit at a time.

I don’t want to leave everyone with absolutely nothing, though. So. Fairly recently the team of Outside XBox + Outside Xtra (go check them out on YouTube, if you haven’t already 😉 ) recorded some videos of themselves playing Dungeons and Dragons, to my great amusement. (Hopefully that link works. 😛 )

I happened to mention it to a friend of mine, who suggested a Dungeons and Dragons podcast called The Adventure Zone, where three brothers and their dad play 5th ed. D&D. I have been listening to it (again, on YouTube, although I am sure there are better ways) and I have found it extremely fun. So yeah, that’s my rec. Go listen to the Adventure Zone. (And Outside XBox / Xtra. They are awesome too. 😀 )

Ok, I’ll be back on Sunday, and my review of AC: Syndicate will be Monday. Just so you know: my first impressions of the game were not very good, but it’s grown on me. A bit. 😛

This Week’s Game: Rise of the Tomb Raider

So, remember how I mentioned a big snowstorm was coming to my area? Guess whose daughter had her school cancelled today? That’s right, this guy. So, this is getting done way later than I anticipated.

But ya know? A snowstorm is not entirely inappropriate for the game this week. The majority of Rise of the Tomb Raider is set on a frozen mountain in the Siberian wilderness, after all. There is snow, there is ice and there is Lara, running around shivering while people try to kill her. Good times.

Rise of the Tomb Raider
I can’t see how this could possibly be dangerous.

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