Finished TAZ: Balance

Sep. 22nd, 2017 12:05 am
owlmoose: (moose sign)
[personal profile] owlmoose
So I kind of blew through the rest of TAZ, including all the freely available live shows except the one that posted today (but not the two Flophouse episodes). I am probably not sucked in enough to shell out the five bucks a month to get at the bonus content -- paying for one D&D show seems to be my limit -- but who knows. From Crystal Kingdom right through the end, the story and characters grabbed me in their teeth and refused to let me go, and I found it one of my more satisfying listening experiences in awhile.

I have a lot to say, but most all of it is spoilers. I am VERY glad that I was not at all spoiled for the main story arc, because watching it all unfold for the players as well as myself was a huge aspect of my enjoyment. So putting a spoiler cut here.

Spoilers through the finale. )

It'll be interesting to see how things change when they start playing their new games next month. I expect that I'll enjoy whatever the Critical Role gang gets up to next, in large part because I've already seen them do other things with their various one-shots, so I feel confident that my attachment is as much to the players (and especially the DM) as to the specific team of Vox Machina. I haven't gotten the opportunity to know the McElroys quite as well yet, so I'm not sure whether the changes will take with me, especially if someone else is GMing. But I'll certainly stick with it, at least for now. I look forward to discovering what direction the boys go.

Fashioning Little Miss Lonesome

Sep. 19th, 2017 07:07 am
renegadefolkhero: Demon Saito (demon-saito)
[personal profile] renegadefolkhero
I have a two-step process to confirm if Fashioning Little Miss Lonesome is the right otome for you.

First, I must inform you the game contains body negativity and name-calling. The heroine is called sow, pig, etc., as Saito tries to goad her into dieting. He also calls her a bitch a few times. She refers to herself as "slant-eyed" on multiple occasions. If you can tolerate this, go to the next step.

Now, I will need you to view the image under the cut. Please be advised this image may be disturbing to more sensitive viewers.

Read more... )

Still game? Okay, let's get to it. FLML is best described as an irreverent parody that occasionally breaks the fourth wall. It has two main routes and a third unlockable 3P route. The heroine, Ema, is a tall recluse who wants to eat pizza and be left alone, but when she crosses paths with two handsome guys, one who claims she is his "muse" and is obsessed with designing clothes for her, and another who demands that she let him be her producer, she can't get a moment of peace. They won't leave her alone until she agrees to be their model, and then the real torture starts as they whip her into shape and force her to wear embarrassing clothing.

Read more... )

Reading Challenge

Sep. 19th, 2017 06:56 am
fereldanwench: (Disney - Belle & Book)
[personal profile] fereldanwench
I set a reading challenge on Goodreads for 20 books this year; I've only read 8 so far, so I don't know if I'll meet it, but it's a substantial improvement over the past couple of years where I've netted like, 2, maybe 3.

I finished Last Flight--Asunder is my favorite Dragon Age novel (Evangeline ♥), but this would be a close second. If you like Wardens and want to know about pre-Dragon Age Blights in Thedas, it's a pretty good read. Also, some glimpses of modern day templars and mages looking for refuge in the Wardens, which is just my kinda gooooood shit. Also, griffons.

I still need to finish A Court of Wings and Ruin, but after that, I'm done with Sarah J Maas. This one is dragging so badly, and after giving some of her other books a shot, I've come to the conclusion that me enjoying A Court of Mist and Fury so much was a fluke. Also, her fanbase is ridiculous.

What's gonna get me an easy 3 reads is the Paradox series by Rachel Bach. I wanted to read some sci-fi to help with my Mass Effect fic, and this came up on a military/sci-fi female protag book list on Goodreads. I'm about a third of the way done with the second book now.

They're nothing ground-breaking, and there are a few tropes that I'm not wild about, but overall I've been having a lot of fun with them. Devi, the protag, is 100% my kind of lady: she unapologetically loves her whiskey, she loves her fucking, and she loves her fighting. I actually stayed up way past my bedtime one night last week to read, which is something I haven't done in years. Since college, I think.

(no subject)

Sep. 17th, 2017 10:38 pm


Sep. 17th, 2017 09:59 pm
renegadefolkhero: @ (at)
[personal profile] renegadefolkhero
I've become moderately obsessed with Brogue. I wasn't sure if I'd take to ASCII roguelikes, they seemed a bit impenetrable. I can happily report Brogue is a great starting point. It's an item-driven roguelike wherein you (@) are trapped on the first level of a dungeon and must descend to the 26th floor and obtain the Amulet of Yendor to escape. There is no character build or lore to learn, you just go.

Within a few minutes I was totally engaged. Short, evocative descriptions set the scene nicely and the game's symbols quickly become familiar. Each playthrough the potions and scrolls are named differently (in one PT a red potion might give strength and another the red potion makes you invisible) so while there is some cumulative knowledge from trial and error there is also a lot of, "Okay, stand back, I'm going to drink this and see what happens." You can sneak up on enemies and stab them in their sleep, or hide in a corridor and wait for a wandering enemy to pass and get in a surprise hit. You learn tricks, like the surest way to beat a Jelly (fucking jellies) is to back into a tight space so they can't spawn behind you. You can recruit allies or go alone. There is no one way to play. I just learned you can even succumb to demonic temptation (enable easy mode).

Typographic symbols are naturally beautiful and Brogue enhances its ASCII with creative and pretty effects, from blazing fire to the pastel haze of confusion. Toads, when touched, may cause you to hallucinate, and everything in the dungeon ceaselessly changes form until the effects wear off. There is a tileset version of the game (right screenshot), but I started with the ASCII version and I find it easier on the eyes and more appealing overall.

In his overview of roguelikes, Waltorious notes that these games generate memorable stories, and user-generated stories are the strength of the medium. I remember that time I was backed in a corner, surrounded by jackals, desperately chugging all my unlabeled potions, and just happened to drink a potion of descent, which whisked me to safety. I remember the time I decided to burn a wooden door with a fire staff I'd just found and seriously underestimated how powerful it was, engulfing the entire room in flames. In some ways, this type of player-driven story feels more personal than big cinematic story-based games because so much of this story relies on my imagination, how I've come to perceive the dungeon and its inhabitants. I think this is a game I'll be playing off and on for a long time.
owlmoose: (BMC - cloisters)
[personal profile] owlmoose
There's a lot of fandom cross-pollination between Critical Role and The Adventure Zone, which makes a lot of sense -- they're both story-focused Dungeons & Dragons campaigns, a family of nerds playing their beloved games and sharing them with an audience -- but despite my love for CR, I'd been a bit reluctant to dive in to TAZ. But then I learned that the current campaign would be wrapping up soon (I understand it's recently done so), and I decided to give it a shot. I'd been listening to it every now and again as I had time, but it didn't suck me in as completely as Critical Role did... and then I reached The Eleventh Hour, which is the fifth main story arc. I'd noticed the GM's storytelling and the players' character work improving over time, but everything took a serious level up in the previous arc (The Crystal Kingdom), and early in The Eleventh Hour everything solidified, pulling me into the story to the point that I'm now dying to know what happens next.

It used to be that I never wrote fic for a canon that I hadn't finished, but anyone who knows me and my relationship kinks (specifically, separation and reunion) will probably not be surprised that I was taken by the urge to write about one particular scene. Cut for spoilers. )

I'm sure this moment has been ficced a thousand times, but I learned my lesson about looking for fic when I'm behind on a canon from Dragon Age. ;) So for now I'll just present my own quick take on the scene; maybe once I've finished the Balance storyline I'll revisit it with the full knowledge of anything relevant that happens later. Note, I'm still early in the arc that follows Eleventh Hour (The Suffering Game; I've only listened to the first episode) so please no spoilers for anything later in comments.

Title: Magnus Knows
Fandom: The Aventure Zone
Rating: All audiences
Wordcount: 735
Characters: Magnus, the Chalice, Magnus/Julia
Spoilers: Yes, through Ep. 48 (The Eleventh Hour, Chapter 8)
Notes: See above :)

Magnus knows. )

Wayward & Early Access

Sep. 14th, 2017 06:42 am
renegadefolkhero: hyper light drifter (Default)
[personal profile] renegadefolkhero
Well, I broke my no early access rule recently so I could be distracted by Wayward, a survival rougelike. You can play a free version in the browser. I wanted a new survival thing and I read it had a steeper learning curve than Terraria.

In Wayward you are a castaway who washes up on a randomized turn-based island with randomized tools who has no memory except... treasure. The game's difficulty is controlled by a malignancy/benignity point system. Destructive actions like mining, chopping down trees, and hunting peaceful animals earns malignancy (negative) points, nurturing actions like farming and foraging give benignity (positive) points. The island is kinder to those with positive scores, but if the number drops into the negative the island becomes increasingly angry and more powerful enemies (and ultimately bosses) spawn. It's an interesting system that gives the player control of the difficulty level. There is a default hardcore permadeath option and a casual option with endless lives. You are awarded certain permanent bonuses when you pass milestones (like survive x turns, craft x objects), and these bonuses can affect your starting stats, skills, and inventory on future games.

The reviews for this game were spot on. The game is difficult in that it has a learning curve and realistic implementation of things like encumbrance. You can't just run around with 500 boulders in your pack. Going in blind, I died a bit and wasn't really sure what to do, but I kept experimenting and trying, and once the game's rules and mechanics began to click it was a lot of fun. Discovery is a huge part of the fun and the community is very spoiler-conscience, but I can give you one non-spoilery tip: if at first you do not succeed, try, try again. This goes for actions like mining or harvesting as well as general play. I recommend the permadeath option because dying over and over helps you experiment with new starter tools and learn from your mistakes. Once you get the hang of it and you know some tricks starting over isn't a big deal. I've found I prefer playing that way. Casual mode takes some of the sense of urgency out of emergency situations.

Wayward has really piqued my interest in roguelike games in general and there is no shortage. A lot of these games have been in ongoing development for years (sometimes decades), so many of the titles are perpetually betas/early access while still being fully playable games--early access is part of the culture basically. I still have complicated feels and reservations about early access games but think this genre pulls off the "buy this unfinished game!" thing better.

Wayward is not ready yet, but the core components are there and it is really close to what I wanted, a turn-based top-down pixel-art hybrid of Starbound/Stardew Valley/Star Tropics?/Something Something (that's a lot of stars). That's a pretty specific ask and I haven't seen anything else like it.

All In a Day's Coup

Sep. 13th, 2017 11:25 am
renegadefolkhero: hyper light drifter (Default)
[personal profile] renegadefolkhero
I hate people MMOs and multiplayer, but I live vicariously through the Eve Online shenanigans that occasionally make their way to mainstream game news sites. There is an Eve News outlet but honestly I can barely keep up with the news cycle in our world.

I see they now have a free-to-play version that is maybe okay. I really, really hate MMOs, but I am tempted to poke my head in there.

Flirt Early and Often

Sep. 12th, 2017 06:07 am
renegadefolkhero: hyper light drifter (Default)
[personal profile] renegadefolkhero
If there's one thing we can count on in Bioware games, it's lots of opportunities to flirt in ways that are embarrassingly awkward or inappropriate.

I think the worst one I've seen in MEA so far is the "I didn't tell you to put your shirt back on" flirt with Liam, which I heard about beforehand and purposefully triggered to see how bad it was. I actually reloaded my save because I felt unclean, like some cloven-hooved non-ruminating animal.

MEA has casual and committed relationship options and some characters have both, which I didn't realize. You can casual as much as you want, but apparently after you commit you can't flirt anymore. I think you can flirt again if you end the relationship, and it might be possible to have two full romances in tandem, but I have already accidentally spoiled myself twice looking for totally innocent non-cheating information so I am leery of digging around any more to confirm this.

Anyway, I flirted at least once with everyone for science, and when I started feeling weird and slightly guilty about all the special attention I sealed the deal with Peebee. It's all about the innuendo so pointedly strong it's awkward but also hot.

Romance spoilers, spoilers about some person on Kadaara I don't care about at all, and decision importance in MEA )

I don't really remember too many other choices to be honest. A lot of the reaction choices feel so fleeting and unimportant, usually "Am I an impulsive asshole in this one isolated event or not?" But IIRC the original trilogy had a lot of moments like that. There were a few times you could do something major, like shoot a person, but there were also a lot of times you could just be an asshole. Having the option was always refreshing, even if I didn't use it.

Fashioning Little Miss Lonesome

Sep. 10th, 2017 04:08 pm
renegadefolkhero: hyper light drifter (Default)
[personal profile] renegadefolkhero
I was going to make a Serious Gaming post about Serious Gamez but I happened to see this on Steam and now it's like...


I approve?

I was gonna play R18 eventually, and my hand slipped and now this is on my wishlist, so what choice do I have? It's probably better this way. Otherwise I was gonna cut my teeth on Saya no Uta or something.

Tomb Raider II Fan Remake

Sep. 10th, 2017 12:26 pm
fereldanwench: (Tomb Raider - Classic)
[personal profile] fereldanwench
I'm behind on replies and catching up here, but I just need to have a moment because I have been waiting for this for years.

Nicobass, a renowned modder/3D artist in the community, has been working with a small team (with some unofficial assistance from Crystal Dynamics) to give Tomb Raider II a remake in the vein of Anniversary for the past few years. The demo was just released, and it is phenomenal.

For the most part, I enjoy Crystal Dynamics' first run with Lara (the "LAU" trilogy--Legend, Anniversary, and Underworld), but my 2 biggest gripes with them are 1) there is a lot of hand-holding when it comes to solving puzzles and figuring out platforming, and 2) in an effort to make the controls more fluid, they also lost a lot of precision and player control. Crystal also has a tendency to lean towards very desaturated environments, whereas the original games always had a vibrancy that made them so inviting to explore.

This remake really feels like it was made by someone who appreciates and thoroughly understands the spirit of the classic titles. Platforming requires paying close attention to the subtle visual clues in ledges, rather than just slapping white paint on them, and the player is encouraged to do a little trial and error when it comes to figuring out where to go. The puzzles actually feel satisfying to solve--They're actually something to accomplish, whereas a lot of the puzzles from the LAU era were pretty basic and didn't require much effort.

It's made in Unreal 4, so it's beautiful, but I really think Nicobass went the extra mile because it doesn't have that generic U4 look to it; it has just a touch of style and personalization that you can also see in his renders. I absolutely love Lara's model--She has the exaggerated long legs and big boots and wears her signature red glasses in the game. Her animations are natural and fluid; I love it when she crosses her arms if you idle, and her walk has a swagger rather than that hyper-exaggerated sway that looks so bad ass and confident.

It's not a 1:1 remake--The demo covers about the first half of the Great Wall level in the original game, but there are so many new areas to explore and additional secrets to find. But it still hits the most iconic areas, like diving into the pool to retrieve the key for the tower with the aggressive spiders. It's an expansion as much as it's a remake.

Because it's built on the same movements and combat system in LAU (Underworld, specifically, I think) some of the controls still have some of that slippery feel to them, but it feels substantially tighter than in Legend or Anniversary.

It is just an amazing undertaking, especially given that it was largely done by one person, and I just can't say enough good things about it. I can't wait for the full version to be released.

Card for Ladies Bingo

Sep. 10th, 2017 12:15 am
owlmoose: (avatar - korra)
[personal profile] owlmoose
I realize I haven't had the best of luck with fic bingo cards lately, but how could I resist [community profile] ladiesbingo? My card under the cut.

And Bingo was her name-oh )

There's one prompt on here that I should probably have asked to be excluded, but oh well -- I can work around it easily enough. Or who knows -- maybe I'll get a fun idea to subvert it. I have thoughts about which rows and columns I might tackle, but if there are any prompts in here that you're dying to see me write, let me know!


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