Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Tuesdays are starting to feel a lot like Mondays...

So, it looks as though our D&D games are on hiatus for the time being, since we've got a 4th year tearing her hair out over her dissertation, as happens, me with a small pile of work I really should have done by now, and various other hang-ups and obstacles and to be quite honest we can just get back to it later anyway.

Anyway, this is yet another post where I don't actually have anything non-nebulous to say. I might have an idea for a post in the near future, but I'm warning you; it may contain Warcraft. Or possibly webcomics.

But while I'm here and babbling on anyway, I thought I'd mention that I started a new blog for reasons pertaining to the fact that I am unemployed and skint, and since my writing is the only thing resembling talent that I've got, I'm desperate enough to whore it out for money. Yeah, I do commissions now and if you commissioned me for something I would love you forever I really would. For evidence that I can actually write, you can look me up on fanfiction, fictionpress or deviantart.

Yes, I am basically shameless. And desperate. And also slightly pathetic.

So yeah, have a great day you guys!

Thursday, 17 March 2011

A short blog about stuff

No D&D Stupidity this week, since we were down the player for our artificer, and given that the party hasn't actually met her properly yet, it didn't seem fair to continue. So yeah, that'll hopefully pick up again next week.

Anyway, I don't actually have  topic for this week, since I haven't really be doing very much except playing video games. Oh, and I did some coursework too, but we don't care about that. I also started up a new deviantArt account for my writing, since my old one was full of all my disastrous attempts to draw things.

I came to the conclusion this week that Dragon Age is not really for me. I like being able to have conversations with all the party members and stuff, but for some reason, the goals seemed too vague and everything was kind of grey and brown and no amount of Morrigan and Sten deadpan snarking at everything was making it better. So I went and played Final Fantasy XIII instead (don't mock me; I know which one is the better game, XIII is just prettier).

And today I played Warcraft. Again. That's pretty much what I do every day that I can't be bothered actually leaving the flat, and since I woke up today feeling like a train had run over my skull, Warcraft it was.

Anyway, self-imposed posting obligations are now dealt with, and I'm going to slope off.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

The Return of D&D Stupidity!

Yes, we are returning to these posts, as I have returned to playing D&D on Monday nights. This post would have been done yesterday, buuuuut Warcraft happened instead. Anyway, here we go again.

In our last installment, the party had just commenced storming an abandoned keep in order to try and stop a ritual to open a portal and let an underworld god through.

Unfortunately, the party's failure to stop the two goblins that were running to warn everyone else in the keep of their arrival was their downfall. One of the goblins accidentally ran into the ritual circle in his haste, and as a result, the thing blew up. The next thing the party knew, Damakos and Carric were screaming something incoherant and running away, while the rest of them were caught in a big flash of purple light...

We now cut to the realm of Eberron; a world of vast oceans, mountains, deserts, forests, swamps, tundra and various other geographic features spread across six continents. More specifically, we cut to the  city of Sharn, a great city of towers that lies on the south coast of the continent of Khorvaire.

Wandering through the shopping district of Sharn were two companions; a human and a halfling, artificer and rogue respectively. The two have been through their own harrowing adventures, and so were taking the time to have a relaxing wander around the shops. However, as they turned a corner, a pair of thieves ran out a jewellery shop, hurling threats and trailing jewels. A couple of elven archers also began firing into the crowd to thin them out and aid in the escape.

Before the two companions could react, there was a gigantic purple flash, which caused everyone in the immediate area to cover their eyes and prompted many a cry of 'holy shit!' When people finally got their vision back and thanked respective deities that they had retained use of their retinas, our beloved trio was found looking bewildered and bedraggled in the middle of the road.

Well, Illyria wasn't so much bewildered as severely pissed off, as Larrsinan found out when she pulled her dagger on him and started demanding to know what he'd done now. Bob, ever the practical thinker, simply wondered if there was any chance he could get some grilled chicken any time soon, since he had a craving. He also decided that if this was the sort of thing that was going to happen in the service of his chosen deity, then Bahamut could stuff it; he was still bloody handy with a weapon with or without paladin status.

In any case, the jewellery shop owner suddenly remembered that he had been robbed, and promptly started yelling for someone to catch the thieves, which prompted them to continue running away, while the archers resumed shooting. The party, shrugging and deciding that taking their confusion and irritation out on other people was probably better than taking it out on each other (this was highly grudged by Illyria), gave chase.

The rogue and the artificer, shooting glances at each other, took off up a side street after them, figuring that this could at least be interesting.

The party chased the thieves for a little ways, until the thieves actually noticed, at which point they pulled their pet drake out from a handy alleyway and hurled a dagger at Larrs. This missed horribly, so they settled on throwing a few insults instead. Not good ones, but they didn't look all that bright, so it was to be expected really.

Larrs, taking the lead, ordered Bob into an attacking position and then lunged for the theif in front of him, only to somehow trip over his own feet and miss, leading to more insults from the thieves. Again, not good ones, but when you're faced with a tiefling warlord and a dragonborn paladin both around the six foot area in height, you're obviously not really in your right mind anyway.

The two archers took advantage of the small window to fire at Larrs and Bob, but they both missed completely. Bob, now annoyed at Larrs for just shoving him into position without asking, took out his frustrations by crunching the nearest thief into a wall, causing him to see pretty lights and multiple Bobs.

Meanwhile, the rogue attempted to get a better vantage point, and made a very graceful leap up to the balcony of a nearby pub. Graceful that is, until she fell just a few inches short and dropped straight back to the ground. She then got herself up, dusted herself and tried again, more successfully this time, but less gracefully. The artificer, after watching her friend, decided that she'd just take the stairs like a normal person, in order to get into position to snipe the thieves with her crossbow.

The drake, pushing past its masters, lunged for Bob's leg, only to be met with a mouthful of plate armour that didn't move under its teeth. Bob was less than impressed. Illyria, getting bored, hurled a curse at the nearest thief, but her follow-up eldrtich blast missed, singing a wall instead.

Feeling emboldened by Larrs and Illyria's failures to hit them, and also by concussion on one part, the thugs moved to flank Bob. After doing this, they both completely failed to actually hit him, and one took a chunk out of a nearby wall instead.

Larrs, noticing the artificer and the rogue, asked the artificer nicely if she'd shift her position a little bit please. He then yanked Bob backwards to stand next to him, much to Bob's displeasure. Ignoring this, he proceeded to smack the concussed thug with his axe, adding bleeding to the list of his injuries.

The archers, now able to see the artificer more clearly, both took shots at her and both hit her fairly severely. Her friend is annoyed by this, and confused as to who is working with who, as Larrs was the one who told her to move, only to get her shot.

Bob, now even more annoyed, decided to forgo hitting things, and instead opted to breathe fire on everyone in front of him. The concussed thug was now singed on top of everything else. Meanwhile, the rogue began heading down a side-street and hid behind a fountain as she made her way towards the archers. Her friend hastily healed herself a little, and then tried to shoot one of the thugs, but missed.

The drake made another attempt to chew on Bob's leg, but was again foiled by the plate armour. Illyria placed another curse, and then managed to aim wide with another eldritch blast. Concussed thug tried to make a swing with his mace, but instead just sort of fell short and stared at the ground for a moment instead. His mate tried to throw a dagger at Illyria, only to manage to hit the sign on the pub and knock it crooked.

Larrs yelled an inspiring word to the artificer in order to pick her up a bit, despite the fact that he didn't know her name. However, she was still grateful, as she now felt a lot less almost dead. However, one of the archers immediately landed another arrow into her, while the other moved round to attack the rest of the group.

Bob landed a solid thwack on the drake's head to try and make it let go of his leg. It did, but relecutantly.

The rogue managed to sneak up behind the archer that had shot her friend, so stealthily that she could probably have pulled off a song and dance routine without him noticing. Instead of doing that, she just shanked him in the back. Repeatedly.

Then, in a stroke of vengeance, the artificer displayed her true talent by casting a thunder charm on the rogue's armour. The electric charge passed straight through into the archer, killing him instantly and blasting his body off the ledge he was standing on. The other archer did not seem happy about this, given the amount of obscene elven swearing that he came out with.

The drake made yet another attempt to eat Bob, only to smack into a wall as he side-stepped it. Naturally, this greatly amused Bob. Illyria, taking advantage of this, cursed the drake and then blasted it. Now seriously worried, the concussed thug staggered off to hide behind his pet, while the other ran up to Bob, only to fail to wound him. Concussed thug then reasoned that he should try to do something useful, and threw his knife at Illyria. The pub sign landed three feet away from her.

Larrs took a swing at the other thug, but missed, only to be stabbed by the remaining archer, who charged down a nearby set of stairs with a short sword. Bob, distracted by this, failed to hit the thug in front of him. With everyone confused and incredibly inaccurate, the rogue leapt off the ledge and made her way up behind concussed thug, who she finished off with a knife to the back.

The artificer made an attempt to repeat the thunder armour trick on Larrs, but was only able to produce a small spark. The drake, now seeing something edible looking that was not wrapped in unyielding plate mail, immediately made an attempt to eat the rogue, but she managed to dodge him. Illyria threw a blast into the remaining thug's chest, but unfortunately failed to budge him. For his part, the thug, in desperation, finally landed a hit on Bob, dazing him.

Larrs broke out the wolf pack tactics and smacked the archer in the teeth. However, this backfired when he immediately backed off, drew his bow and shot Larrs critically. He attempted to follow this up with another shot, which luckily only glanced off Larrs' armour.

Bob, still dazed, managed to connect with the thug's skull with his next strike, making him a lot worse off, and the rogue stabbed the drake for attempting to eat her. This didn't stop it trying again, but it walked into a wall for the second time, clearly suffering from the blow to the head Bob gave it earlier. Meanwhile, the artificer healed Larrs, as thanks for doing the same for her earlier.

Illyria, apparently distracted (possibly by that good looking waiter in the bar there...) failed to do anything productive, and the thug tried to hit Bob again, emboldened by his success last time. He did, however, fail, and so ran away like a little girl, yelling insults at Larrs to try and retain his masculinity.

Larrs healed himself while muttering encouraging things to himself because dammit his horns are not small, whatever that damn thug says. He then chased after the archer, but didn't notice that he'd stopped short, and was thus simply flailing ineffectually at him. The archer whipped his sword out again, but for all that he'd stabbed Larrs already, he didn't seem well-versed in edged weapons, as he completely failed to do any kind of damage to anyone.

So Bob smacked him around the head. Hard.

The rogue finished off the remaining thug, since someone had to do something productive. The artificer also managed to be useful, successfully putting another thunder charm on Larrs and electrocuting the elf, which leads to even more profuse elven swearing. Illyria took offense to this, for her own arbitrary reasons, and proceeded to kill him with an eldritch blast.

The drake, taking advantage of the situation, tried to eat the rogue again. She dodged it. Again. Larrs then charged at it, shifting the rogue into position for an attack and then didn't actually manage to hit it himself. So Bob hit it again. There was a bit of a crunching sound. The rogue the finally killed the damn thing off, and as everyone looked around each other, the general consensus was "pub?"

-next week: introductions, and probably some looting, and definitely more killing-

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Where Did February Go?

Well, it's March already, and I only wrote two posts in February. I am moderately ashamed of myself. So yeah, today, I'll talk about the happiest game about kidnapping and serial murders ever :D

Yes, it's time for the other Persona game! This one was released in early 2009, and while it takes place two years after Persona 3, we have an entirely new cast of characters and a new location.

The storyline in Persona 4 is much, much lighter than Persona 3, despite the aforementioned kidnapping and serial murder. We start off with our new protagonist (I called him Souji, after his manga incarnation) moving to the sleepy town of Inaba to live with his Uncle and cousin while his parents... are not around. I don't know. Persona just seems to have a thing against their teenage protagonists having parents. At least Souji's aren't dead like the last protagonist's.

I'm not going to be talking about the gameplay much here, partly because it's the story and the characters that absolutely make this game, and also because it plays much like Persona 3, only slightly more refined. There is a slightly different dungeon structure, and the boss battles are harder, but other than that, there's not a whole lot that's changed, although I should probably mention that the dungeons are locations such as  a castle, an underground lab, and a strip club.

Right, now that we have that out of the way, watch this:

That is a fairly accurate (if slightly simplified at points) rendition of the introductory section of the game. And yes, the dungeons are accessed by jumping into TVs, in case you were wondering. Interestingly, the murder victims were killed by being pushed into TVs as well.

I think they're trying to tell us TV is bad or something...

Anyway! After two people die and a third is kidnapped, the initial gang decides to do something about it. Then follows wacky adventures, whereupon we add lots of dysfunctional characters to the team, because this a Persona game, and we can't let the protagonist make friends with normal people.

See that blonde kid down the bottom left? Eldritch abomination.
Speaking of, social links are back, and it's much easier to max them all out on a single playthrough (not that I managed, but nearly). This time, there's no reward at the end of it, but it's also stupid amounts of fun. Of course, this is because Souji ultimately ended up being the biggest manwhore in the town on my playthrough, and even though two of his girlfriends had a fight in the middle of the street over him, everyone still likes him. Behold the power of the Persona Protagonist everyone; as long as you help a kid get over his dead sister and let Chie kick you for a while among other things, you can sleep with as many pretty girls as you want.

No, seriously. I'm not even kidding.

So, my whoring Souji out aside, this game is a lot of fun. The plot starts out much more light hearted than Persona 3 as mentioned (although how it manages to do this with two people being killed in the first hour or so is beyond me), and ultimately stays that way, despite what should be extremely dark plot development. It also has an entire section devoted to a class trip back to the area where Persona 3 was set, which made me ridiculously happy (and it also features the cast of 15/16 year olds getting smashed. On juice).

Overall, no, this storyline is nowhere near as good as the one in Persona 3, but it's still a bloody brilliant storyline in its own right. It also wins on the replay front, because it's quicker and easier to get through, even if it's harder to get the real ending. And it's downright hilarious in places.

For those interested, the video up there is a dub of Hiimdaisy's Persona 4 comic, which is both split-your-sides-laughing funny, and also fairly accurate to the game. Check it out sometime ;D

You heard the man.