Sleepy Sunday…

Zzzzz… hmm? Oh, right. Happy Sunday, y’all. Hope you don’t mind if I kinda phone this one in.

Got a chapter of Anubai posted, the one I have been writing off and on since January. What the hell, me. But, yay! ^^;

Been playing the hell out of Shadows of Mordor. I like it, the systems work smoothly together. If I had one complaint, it’s that the Nemesis system is amazing, but completely under-exploited. :\

It has been snowing for the last two days… It’s really killing my motivation to do anything… What happened to spring, dammit… Grumble, grumble… 😦

Zzzzzzz….

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Wait, why is it Monday already?

Hey, happy Monday, everyone. You may be wondering what happen to the traditional Sunday update yesterday. Well, you see, a funny thing happened…

I completely forgot about it. :\

Oh well. If I had remembered to do yesterday’s update, I would have mentioned that I made a couple new pages for the site: one for game reviews (This Week’s Game), and a gallery highlighting my beloved wife’s baking obsession (Pretty Pretty Cakes). I have not finished compiling my Monster Hunter World stuff, however, so that’s still in my workshop. I had the urge to expand my coverage, too, but so far I’ve controlled myself. 😛

So what have I been doing, you ask?

DARK SOULS™ III: The Fire Fades™ Edition_20180406105824
Admiring the scenery.

I’m not going to do a review for Dark Souls 3, mind you. I can settle it in two sentences: I enjoy Dark Souls. If you dislike doing things patiently and with precision, you will not enjoy Dark Souls. See? All done. 😛

I actually threw in a few games that I haven’t played, or underplayed like DS3, and gave them a bit of a whirl. Bloodborne and Doom, mostly. I need to sit down and play Ni no Kuni II as well, at some point. Other than that, I actually threw in AC: Syndicate for a bit as well, just to faff about London a bit with Evie Frye. Took me a bit to remember how the controls work, mind, and I didn’t really accomplish much, but hey, I had fun. 😉

As for this upcoming week, I solemnly promise: there will be a new chapter of The Anubai Hero on Friday! Absolutely! Even if I have to rewrite the series from the very beginning, there will be a chapter!

…That sounds painful, so let’s not start over. At worst, I’ll completely rewrite the chapter that’s been on hold for over a month. Hope it won’t come to that, though. 😦

Well, anyway. Hope you are all having a splendid week, and I’ll see you on Friday! 😀

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Easter update… Wait, wasn’t there supposed to be a post yesterday?

Happy Easter, everyone. And yes, there was supposed to be an article yesterday. However…

1. An old friend of mine was in town with his wife and son, and so I took my daughter and went to a local egg hunt so I could visit with them.

2. I was taking care of my children until my wife got home from work. Yukiko in particular doesn’t like it when I try to write in front of her.

3. After my wife got home, I took Yuki and went shopping for things we needed for brunch today. (In retrospect, I shouldn’t have let her have that fruit smoothie at Costco — she got really wound up after that. 😥)

4. After finishing shopping, I did get an hour to work on the article, so it’s started at least. But then I got an invitation to go visit friends that I literally haven’t seen in years, so I took Matthias and went to visit them.

5. I had only expected to stay there a couple of hours, but… it was actually 11:30 before we finally left. (Incidentally, we played Ticket to Ride. Fun game.) (Incidentally, I won. 😛)

So, in view of my not getting the final article of Monster Hunter March done on time, I’ve decided to officially extend March two days. Today is March 32, and I will post the article sometime tomorrow, March 33. I think that is the most reasonable way of dealing with the problem. 😉

Alright, that’s settled. Go enjoy the day that Crystal Dragon Jesus rose from his grave to seek his revenge against the living, lurking in the shadows and fighting crime with his multiracial band of misfits and oddballs, until he realized the true meaning of friendship and saved Christmas, all the while holding down a job at a local convenience store…

Hang on, was that how the story went? 🤔

Have a good one, y’all. 😉

Sunday Update: Acceptable Breaks From Reality, or Why I Don’t Get Bow Coatings

Hey there, happy Sunday! How was your week? Mine was ok, I think. I don’t remember anything horrible happening, anyway. Of course, I don’t remember anything good happening either. Last week actually happened, right? I posted a few articles, so obviously some time passed… well, whatever. No news is good news. 😉

Anyway, setting my problems with memory and the passing of time aside, my playtime in Monster Hunter World recently crossed 100 hours. Admittedly a good deal of that time was spent faffing about exploring menus and lore and making notes for my articles and taking screenshots, but the majority was pursuing actual gameplay objectives, like crafting new armor, experimenting with different weapons, and on rare occasions, advancing the plot. 😛

And while I am still interested in the game, and on finishing my series of articles for beginners, I’m starting to feel a little burnt out from playing it every day. So last night after finishing my article on items, I threw in what I can only call a palate cleanser, a much simpler game with clear cut objectives and little in the way of moral ambiguity. That’s right, I played Doom. 😉

That was a good decision, since Doom is quite fun, and really speaks to the efficacy of my new monitor. (Which is actually my friend’s old monitor, but it was better than the one I had and has an HDMI port, so I can play games in my room instead of on the big TV. Of course, now I never need to leave my room, advancing my Hikikomori status another level. Good thing I have children to take care of, or I might withdraw completely.)

Anyway, I’m convinced that I need to cut back on Monster Hunter a bit, which is both ok, and a problem since there is one week left in Monster Hunter March(™)(not really ™). Fortunately, I am pretty much done with my coverage, and the only further article I have planned is describing the quest system. Unfortunately I am not able to give feedback on one of the biggest draws, the ability to invite other people into your quest to help you fight your monsters, since I can’t do that myself. I think therefore that my beginner’s guide is almost done. Are there other topics I should touch upon? I’m directing this question mostly at Mario, since he’s also playing the game, but also to the readers at large: is there anything else you would like to know, before or while starting the game?

Ok. With that out of the way, let me move on to my main topic of the day: ranting about the Bow.


Now, let’s make one thing clear: I understand that Monster Hunter World is a game. I don’t expect everything to make logical, intuitive sense. Like, I don’t ask why you can only carry ten Herbs at a time, in a pouch that can also carry five Large Barrels. I don’t ask why swinging around a chunk of metal bigger than your torso doesn’t cause you to have a hernia. I don’t ask why right after a large territorial monster is killed, a new one moves in that follows the exact same behavioral patterns. (I don’t ask. But I notice. 😛 )

And to be honest, I do like using the Bow. Sure, it has the absolute lowest attack power of any weapon, and sure, it is quite difficult to manage its high stamina consumption. But it can hit flying enemies without difficulty, it has a strong finishing move, and if you know the trick to it, you can potentially mount a monster without scuttling around on ledges and walls like a chump.

But there is one element of the bow that leaves me with nothing but unanswered questions: the coatings.

Bow coatings supposedly give your arrows special properties: Close-range coatings shorten your range in exchange for supposedly increased damage, but seems more like increased spread like a shotgun blast; Power coatings supposedly increase damage (but frankly, not very much?) and the various status effect coatings, yes, inflict their particular status effect. But my questions are thus:

  1. What the heck is a coating? I mean, from the name, you expect it to be something painted on the arrow heads, right? But a coating is applied by slapping something onto your Bow (with a satisfying thunk, I do admit) and removed by pulling it off. I mean, it could be some sort of gadget that paints arrows as you draw them, I guess, but that just raises further questions.
  2. Why do you need Empty Phials to create them? I mean, from a logical standpoint, sure, if it’s some sort of coating liquid it needs to be contained, but this is the same game that lets you create Potions out of nothing but Herbs. Wouldn’t it make more sense to require these Phials for potions instead? Furthermore, creating Ammo for Bowguns doesn’t require anything extra either, just the plants. Sorry, but it’s weird to suddenly treat something more realistically.
  3. Where do the phials go? I mean, each individual dose of coating requires its own phial. Each shot of the Bow with a coating applied removes one dose. So what happened to all the phials that those doses were placed in? Do they break? And where are they loaded? I seriously don’t understand this mechanic at all…
  4. Why are Bows compatible with so few different coatings? I mean, I sort of get it from a gameplay perspective, to encourage people to try different types of Bow; but why can, say, an Iron Bow use only Power coatings, while the Bone Bow can’t use Power, but can use Paralysis and Poison? I just don’t get it…

On top of everything else, switching coatings can be a pain. The game doesn’t always seem to recognize when you want to switch them on and off, especially in the midst of battle. All in all, this is the most disappointing part about using a bow in MHW, which is too bad, because I love using bows. In fact, I’m going to go finish Rise of the Tomb Raider now…


Phew, ok, I’ve got it out of my system. I use Hammers more, anyway. Let’s see, I’ll aim for Wednesday for my article on the quest system, and Friday for anything further, if I can think of a topic. Seriously, is there anything further I should talk about? Please let me know.

Have a good week, everyone, and I’ll see you soon. 😉

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Sunday Update: The Bestiary (Final Part)

Hey, everyone, happy Sunday! Today is the last day of my monstrous presentation, and I hope my humble commentary has been helpful in some small fashion. I really like how the game escalates the difficulty of the missions, and then doesn’t hold your hand as you figure out how to clear them. You are free to use any weapon, any tactic, any item you want…

…And now, you’re going to need all of it.


Large Monster #7: AnjanathMonster Hunter: World_20180318192451

Yup. It’s a T-Rex. It’s absolutely a T-Rex. Big freaking T-Rex. It has big gaping jaws and teeth like a T-Rex. It has short stubby forelegs like a T-Rex. It can breathe fire like a T-Rex [citation needed].

I call it “Angie.”

(Yeah, I know it doesn’t fit the rest of my naming scheme. But, see, the nickname for the tyrannosaurus from Jurassic Park is “Rexie”; and since Angie is absolutely a tyrannosaurus, I wanted something similar.)

So, we first meet Angie when it unintentionally saves our character and the Handler from Dreadlocks at the very start of the game (y’know, right after the ship your riding gets stuck on an elder dragon and you plummet into the jungle. Man, I love this game. 😀 ) There is a chance that you have had it chase you around the Ancient Forest while out on an expedition. If you have attempted to fight it, however, you may have learned something very, very important: the Anjanath is an absolute beast. Harsh attacks, a hair-trigger temper, and yes, the ability to breathe fire make Angie an absolute terror.

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Its favorite pastime is savaging Dreadlocks, though, so it isn’t all bad. It’s like sharing a hobby. 😛

That’s not to say that you can’t defeat Angie early; as mentioned earlier, it often wanders around the Ancient Forest during expeditions (but not early investigations, fortunately) and you can give it a shot in a (relatively) risk-free environment. Of course, the thing to remember is that during expeditions monsters will leave the area after a while, and if you have any trouble damaging this monster, it will probably run down the clock on you; on at least two occasions I had Angie on the ropes, only for it to burrow under the water and disappear, leaving only my consternation and rage. (And a few loose scales, so it wasn’t a complete loss.) 😛

But you will eventually have to fight this behemoth. Fortunately, despite being a T-Rex, Angie is not invincible; but it can become a big scary wall if you’ve been scraping through fights by the skin of your teeth. Here, therefore, is my vague checklist for preparing to face your fears:

  1. Practice, practice, practice. Fight Wedge, fight Nessie, and fight Fluffy until you are comfortable with fighting large, mobile monsters. Learn your chosen weapon inside and out, and be aware of when you are most vulnerable while using it. (When in doubt, Aqua Hammer. Actually, why wait until you are in doubt? 😉 )
  2. While you are fighting and practicing, you will naturally gather materials for making armor and weapons. Make the highest available water weapon of your favorite type, and start picking out the armor you want to wear. There is no advantage to wearing an entire set (yet 😉 ) so evaluate what skills you would like to have, and whether it has extra fire defense. Two pieces worthy of note: the Kulu headdress has the skill Fire Resistance and decent base stats; and as I mentioned yesterday, Kestodon Armguards have both good physical defense and significant resistance to fire. (Of course, when you pick and choose pieces from different sets you end up looking like a fashion disaster; but what’s more important, looking good, or survival? Don’t answer that. 😛 )
  3. Take and complete bounties, especially easy gathering bounties. Completing bounties scores you Armor Spheres, which you can use to level up your armor’s physical defense. Hopefully you have been doing this all along, so you won’t have to deliberately grind these too much; but leveling up your armor can be the difference between being one-shot by a giant T-Rex, and surviving until the second bite. >.>
  4. Carry a full inventory of Potions and Mega Potions, and make sure you are comfortable selecting them off the item radial dial. I would also suggest creating and carrying items to increase your defense and attack power, especially defense. Finally, if you are using a weapon that needs sharpening often, I suggest fishing up some Whetfish Scales: these items greatly decrease the amount of time needed to sharpen your weapon, and are much safer to use in a combat situation than the ordinary whetstone. (Safer, but not safe; it’s still best to find some cover before fixing your weapon.) And if you really want to treat yourself, carry an Ancient Potion for emergencies.

Now, if you wait until the story assignment to face Angie, the battle will start with a cutscene of you dropping a bunch of rocks on Angie’s back. Take that as a hint: the battle will be much smoother if you take advantage of the environment. Lead it into traps, lead it to other large monsters, and generally do everything you can to make sure you don’t have to face 100% of its gentle attentions. 😛

Inevitably, however, you’ll have to wade in and deal your damage directly. Things to keep in mind: if you stand in front of Angie it will charge and bite you, if you stand behind it you will be smacked with a strong tail swipe, if you stand beside it then it will shoulder check into you, and if you stand beneath it Angie will kick you. The takeaway? Keep moving. Don’t stand in one place and whale away unless you are absolutely sure Angie isn’t about to tag you. Take a couple swings, dodge away, and check to see if it is looking at you before heading back in again.

Now, large monsters have a berserk state where their attacks become more deadly; and Angie goes berserk early and often. Watch the little eye marker on the minimap while you are fighting; when it turns red, Angie is about to unleash its most violent attacks, including a huge diving body slam which will absolutely ruin your day — especially if you get caught between it and a tree, in which case you might be in serious trouble. Finally, it can pick you up in its mouth and toss you through the air, which is fun to watch although bad to experience. Fortunately, this attack doesn’t do additional damage past the initial bite, but it will leave you prone and vulnerable to follow-up attacks.

The other thing that happens when Angie gets ticked is that it will start spouting fire from its mouth. If you get bitten at this time, you will be set aflame (in addition to taking damage from being chewed on, naturally). Fortunately, all you have to do to put yourself out is to do a series of dodge rolls, which since you were just bitten by a giant dinosaur, you are probably doing already. It can also spout sparks in front of itself in an arc, like it’s swinging a fiery sword, so watch out for that. Lastly, it can take a deep breath and spit out a huge flamethrower-esque line of pure death. Yeah. Don’t get hit by that. You’ll be sad. :\

And if worst comes to worst, there’s nothing wrong with running away. Heal up, make new potions, maybe eat at the mini-canteen at camp, and go find Angie for another round. You have fifty minutes, so don’t try to rush too much. Play it safe, and keep up a steady pressure, and eventually Angie will capitulate.

And your reward for victory (apart from access to Anja materials and better bounties) will be a major setpiece battle against the world’s most volcanic elder dragon, Zorah Magdaros! It will be grand! Seriously, though, it’s fun, so look forward to it.

Oh yeah, armor set:

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Wild.

Small monster #7: KelbiMonster Hunter: World_20180318201851

It’s a deer. Yup. It’s a dear deer. You’ll find them immediately when you enter the Wildspire Wastes.

It is harmless. It won’t even pay any attention to you until hit it with your large, scary weapons, and then it will zig-zag away and try to find some cover to watch you from, and hope you don’t come after it.

You can carve it for its hide (a craftable material), its liver (worth commision points), or bog-standard raw meat. It doesn’t even have an armor set of its own, and is only used as a secondary material in a few other sets.

So why do I even mention it, you may ask? Well, if you strike it directly in the head, you might break off one of its horns (why the horn can’t be carved from the body itself is, of course, an open question.) This horn is used in a very useful crafting recipe that I think you should know about. For this recipe you will need:

1 Bitterbug

1 Honey

1 Mandragora

1 Kelbi horn

First, mix the Bitterbug and the Honey to create a Catalyst, which has no use on its own but is part of many other recipes. Next, mix the Catalyst with the Mandragora mushroom to create Immunizer, which… apparently increases your recovery rate? I haven’t actually tested it yet… but never mind. Take the Immunizer and add ground Kelbi horn (Ok, ok, you don’t actually have to grind the horn, just work with me here. 😛 )

The final result will be the Ancient Potion. Not only does this little beauty heal your wounds, it also maxes out both your Health bar and your Stamina Bar, very useful if you want to finish a long drawn out fight against a monster in peak condition. The bad news? You can only carry one at a time. How big is that potion, anyway…? 😐

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why you should go out and hit gentle deer-creatures in the head with dangerous weapons… Man, it sounds even worse when I put it that way. Seriously, check your conscience at the door when you join the 5th Fleet, people… ^^;Monster Hunter: World_20180318201825


Ok, that concludes my coverage of interesting monsters in the early game. Naturally, there are many more to find, confront, and “research”, but this is definitely enough to get the beginning hunter started. I’m going to take tomorrow off, but I should be back the day after with coverage on the home base of the Research Commision: Astera. Hope you have a good week, and see you later! 😀Monster Hunter: World_20180317234833

Sunday Update: The Armory (Final Part)

…Late. This is late. It was a busy day, so let me off, ok? I thought I was supposed to have more time on Sundays, not less… Well, never mind. Weapons! 😀

Light Bowgun, Heavy Bowgun

For those hunters who wish they were playing a shooter instead. Yeah, I’m presenting these two together; unlike the rest of the weapons, which all operate in a unique manner, the bowguns work pretty much the same with only minor differences between the two. I mean, the differences are enough to justify having two different weapons, but they operate more or less the same.

Attack Power: Low

Attack Speed: Fast (Light) / Moderate (Heavy)

Movement Speed: Normal (Light) / Slow (Heavy)

Unique Abilities: Multiple ammo types

Stamina usage: None

Advantages: As with the bow, the main advantage of the bowgun is range. Of course, there are many monsters who can cross that range extremely quickly, but it still gives you a better view of the battle than you might have otherwise. The core differences between the bowgun and the bow are twofold: first, the bowgun can use numerous different types of ammunition with various effects, including elemental damage, status effects, and even tranquilizer ammo for capturing monsters (versus the limited number of coatings available for the bow); second, the ammo is loaded into the bowgun like bullets, meaning that you will have to periodically reload. The light bowgun has a lower capacity for ammo than the heavy bowgun, and bigger recoil; in exchange, the mobility of the light bowgun is much higher, and it fires slightly faster. Both types can be modified at the smithy with custom modifications, either to shore up a weak point, or exacerbate an advantage. The biggest difference between the two types is the special ammo linked to the circle button. The light bowgun has a small number of explosive traps that can be deployed at will; shooting these traps, or encouraging a monster to strike them, will cause a nice explosion. One version of the heavy bowgun loads a special type of rapid fire ammo, essential turning it into a heavy machine gun; the other type loads a single powerful sniper round. All types of special ammo regenerate over time, for no readily discernible reason except game balance. ^^;

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Disadvantages: You can only carry so much ammo in your pouch, meaning you either have to be good at conserving your better ammo types, or get used to crafting them out in the field. To be fair, to hunt a single large monster or two, you probably won’t run out; but it’s one more thing to manage. Otherwise, the weapons are fairly straightforward, so as long as you watch out for the heavy’s lack of mobility, they are fairly easy to get used to. Just remember to put the bowgun away before trying to loot corpses; I continually find myself placing extraneous traps with the light bowgun because I forget to sheath it before trying to grab something. I’m… kind of glossing over the different ammo and customization options, but there is a lot of things to look at when comparing different bowguns, and to begin with it’s better just to grab one you like. 😛

 

Well, there you go. Fourteen weapons, each with something to recommend it. As for my personal favorites, I’d rank the top three:

1. Hammer

I was surprised how much I enjoy using this weapon. Although it looks like it should be quite cumbersome, it’s actually fairly easy to move around with; and while attacks can leave you quite vulnerable, you can also deal out fairly huge damage fairly quickly and easily.

2. Long Sword

Something about this weapon just feels intuitive to me. It also occupies something of a sweet spot where, although it doesn’t reward button mashing, it isn’t too difficult to chain combos and evasion. A very good weapon for learning the game, and teaching you to be accurate with your strikes.

3. Switch Axe

Frankly, I think this weapon is even easier to use than the Long Sword. It even works well even if you aren’t particularly thinking things through and just mashing buttons. I just hove to expect to take a few big hits when things don’t go my way; it is not a very defensive weapon.

Honorable mention go to Great Sword and Bow, which I don’t like quite as much but still very much enjoy. My least favorite weapon, at least for now, is the Charge Blade; I just can’t get used to it or make it do what I want.

Well, ok. That’s all for the Armory. While it might seem strange to start with the weapons instead of the monsters (the game is called “Monster” Hunter, after all), the choice of weapon is really the first major decision you have to make in the game, and every single weapon is already in your inventory. So take your time, test each one in the Training Ground, and find one that feels right to you. I hope my impressions will help guide you to the playstyle that you desire. 😉

But enough beating around the bush, it’s time for the main draw: Dinosaurs! 😀

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…Yes, some of the dinosaurs are birds. 😛 Starting tomorrow: The Bestiary! See you then! 😀

Sunday Update: An Introduction to Monster Hunter March

Happy Sunday, y’all.

I honestly don’t feel too well today, but hey. Figured I’d set up for the rest of Monster Hunter March, though, by introducing the game that’s inspiring it: Monster Hunter World.Monster Hunter: World_20180301105212

To be honest, it doesn’t need much introduction, since it’s pretty much exactly what it says on the box: a world where everyone hunts monsters. I’m actually not sure how to classify it, frankly; it isn’t a typical high fantasy, because it doesn’t have explicitly magical elements. There are dragons, but they are natural creatures, not magical ones, if you follow me. Honestly, I could almost classify it as science fiction, rather than fantasy; I mean, they don’t have a technological base higher than ours, but it is definitely based on scientific principles of development and research, even if it ends up being somewhat weird…

…I feel like I somewhat lost the thread, there. I did mention I wasn’t feeling well today?

Anyway, the story, such as it is: you are an experienced monster hunter, who joined the so-called Fifth Fleet to travel to the continent known as the New World in pursuit of the Elder Dragons, which apparently migrate from the Old World to the New World on a regular basis. Yeah, it has a very Age of Exploration vibe to it.

Monster Hunter: World_20180216182033
Well, if the Age of Exploration was all chainmail and leather, I guess.

So, the fleets are apparently “researching” the monsters; I won’t be the first one to point out that most of this so-called “research” is murdering monsters for the parts, so let’s not dwell on it… So, the game is all about taking quests to hunt specific monsters, gathering their parts, and forging new weapons and armor out of those parts. You can also craft a wide variety of helpful potions and tools yourself, out in the field… Well, I’ll go into that in a later post.

There are a lot of places I could choose to start this project, and to be honest, starting with the monsters would probably make the most intuitive sense. It is their game, in a way… But for me, the thing that made the biggest impression when I started the game — setting aside the pretty jungle visuals — was the weapon system.

Monster Hunter: World_20180225204914
You’ll just have to wait, bro. 😛

There are fourteen different weapon types in the game, and each type handles very differently. I found this extremely intriguing, and that’s why I wanted to start by examining the different weapon types. They are also difficult to place into related categories, making it difficult to decide what order to present them in. So I’m just going to use the order the game places them in, starting with the heavy sword, and finishing with the bow. If I present two weapons a day, I’ll be done by next Sunday, and I can give my final impressions and list of favorites at that point. A mini-feature each day, I guess?

So yeah, starting tomorrow: heavy sword, and long sword. As for metrics… well, it’ll mostly just be subjective, but I’ll try to describe the advantages, disadvantages, and unique points as well as I can. I’m not too fussed about the actual stats…

Anyway. Hope you all are having a more coherent day than I am, and I’ll see y’all tomorrow. ^^;

Monster Hunter: World_20180227120031
Have a good night, everyone. Don’t let the Jagras bite. 😀

Sunday Update: Today’s post is brought to you by the Orbiculate Batfish

Na na na na na na Batfish! 😀

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They fight crime! 😉

…Cough. Sorry. Went to the Minnesota Zoo today, which is always a lot of fun.

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And it has a mysterious protector in the shadows… 😛

I don’t have anything else this week, but here, how about some pictures:

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Coyote. This one was at the zoo, but my dad got some excellent pictures of one in his backyard… I should have him send me those…
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Puma. Adorable little (?) kitties. 😀
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American Bald Eagle. I’m pretty sure he isn’t named Sam.
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Black bear. …I just realized, I’m probably actually a black bear. Zzzz… ^^;

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…Ok, yeah, that last one isn’t even the real animal. I just had to take the picture, since it’s a “Bat star.” Yeah, I have kind of a “aquatic bat” thing going…

I guess I’ve just gone batfish-insane. XD XD XD

20180225_105623
“…Glub. (That was awful.)”

I’m really sorry. I’ll see myself out. :\

(Agents of Mayhem review tomorrow… I had started it, but threw away everything I had written, so, it’ll be relatively short.)

Sunday Digest: Gonna break one of my rules today.

Hullo, everyone. How are you today?

It’s been a quiet week on my little site, here, hasn’t it? Full confession: I haven’t so much as touched the keyboard since Monday, except to start playing Stardew Valley on my PC again. Lovely game, by the way; I don’t like how it feels like I never handle things efficiently, though. Oh well. ^^;

So yeah, no chapter, no extras, no nothing. Bleh. I have started composing my review of Persona 5 for tomorrow, so that’s something, I guess. Just got to put the words on the page, now… 😛

Well, I’ve kept myself distracted in various ways this week, watching Outside Xbox/Xtra videos, watching Eurogamer “Late to the Party” videos, keeping an eye on the news; but I also began rereading a certain Korean web novel translation. It’s called Breakers, by Chwiryong (취룡), and translated by Rainbow Turtle. It is currently hosted on Wuxiaworld.com, which is a site I don’t really like recommending for various reasons (read on an ad-free browser, is my best advice :\ ), but I love the story so much that I just can’t not recommend it. So I’ll break my rule about not posting links to that site, just this once. 😛

Joo In-Gong has just acquired the VR remake of his favorite game, Knight’s Saga. But on his first time logging in, he finds himself transported into the body of the weakest child of the Demon King, Shutra, and in order to survive he must become strong enough to resist his older brother, the original main character of the game named Zephyr, who will kill Shutra (along with all his other siblings) in about three years.

Fortunately, In-Gong’s class is “Protagonist.”

Just looking at my summary, you might judge it to be a standard “trapped in a VR world” or “transported to a fantasy world” plot line, but the only trope the author plays completely straight is the “absurd growth” of his protagonist; everything else is either a twist, or not what it seems, or both. Breakers is a wonderful novel, and I heartily recommend it for fans of the LitRPG genre. Incidentally, Munpia is the original publisher, so if you can read Korean… Unfortunatly, I can’t; but Rainbow Turtle has done an excellent job translating the work. 😉

Kk, that’s enough of that. Go read Breakers, if you can stand it, and I’ll see you tomorrow for Persona 5 and rebelliousness! 😀

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. 😀