HAPPY HALLOWEEN EVERYONE!
You were asked! You chose! And now you have only yourselves to blame! Now the fate of the Little Sisters of Rapture shall be revealed in this fifth installment of Vrykerion Versus Video Games: BioShock Let’s Play series.
So a while back I made a post detailing my “Injury System” for Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition. It was roughly modeled after the Dragon Age: Origins injuries but without all the unruly book keeping that came with the ups and downs of temporarily changing ability scores. Well, now a new edition of the game is upon us and I figured why the heck not update that old chart for the newest edition of the game. It’s something to work with right? While the new Dungeon Master’s Guide DOES have an Injury chart, it feels a bit severe and well – permanent – than some of my injuries. My injuries are things you see happening to inconvenience someone that they would sustain in a fight. The official table in the book is like… OH BAHAMUT YOU ARE #$%&ED UP! I mean, losing body parts? Yeuch! So here’s MY chart:
|Roll||Result||Normal Effect||Complicated Effect|
|1||Injured Arm||Disadvantage on Strength Checks & Saves||Disadvantage on Strength checks & saves. Disadvantage on Melee & Ranged attack rolls.|
|2||Injured Leg||Disadvantage on Dexterity Checks & Saves. Speed reduced by 5 feet.||Disadvantage on Dexterity check & saves. Speed reduced by 15 feet.|
|3||Cracked Skull||Disadvantage on Wisdom and Intelligence Checks & Saves||Disadvantage on Wisdom and Intelligence rolls. Including spell attack rolls. Can’t use spells that use concentration.|
|4||Cracked Rib||Disadvantage on Constitution Checks & Saves.||Disadvantage on Constitution rolls. Vulnerable to Piercing, Slashing, and Bludgeoning damage.|
|5||Stomach Wound||No CON modifier when you roll hit dice.||No CON modifier when you roll hit dice. Hit dice roll is halved (round down.)|
|6||No Injury Sustained|
As before, falling unconscious will result in one injury from the normal effect column (unless they roll a 6.) This injury can be treated in a town or city (DM Tip: feel free to charge a physician’s fee, or have a doctor ask a favor for treatment. Great story hook!) or by a DC 15 Wisdom (Medicine) check in the field and outside of combat. However, if the players opt for the Wisdom (Medicine) check, a failure will result in the injury becoming complicated, and become the corresponded complicated effect. A complicated injury MUST be treated in a town or city.
There’s also an alternate rule with these that I came up with after playing some test games of 5th edition and found that especially at low level things can be particularly deadly for players. I’m sure that’s great for a lot of DMs and Players out there. Lethal, deadly, and risky – Yay. Yea, that’s how a dungeon crawl SHOULD be. But for me? I prefer a good story. So do my players. So having characters drop like flies isn’t exactly a great feature for me and mine. So I also added this:
Alternate Death Rules: In the event that a character dies (by failing 3 death saves or taking lethal damage) they can try to be resuscitated after combat is over. By making a Wisdom (Medicine) check with a DC 20, they can be brought back from the brink but automatically sustain 2 complicated injuries. Roll against the injury chart above with 2d6 instead of 1. The PC will sustain both injuries. If one of the dice is a 6, reroll it until you get a 1-5. If BOTH dice end up being rolled as 6s, then the PC has complications during the resuscitation and dies permanently.
Naturally you can play around with these making them worse or easier by switching around the DCs. Like a DC 10 to treat an injury and a DC 15 to resuscitate using those alternate dying rules. Or crank them up with you wanna get edgy with it.
So despite being in the “early access” crowd for Shadow of Revan, I actually didn’t really bother with it until just last night. Partly because I was working towards getting my first class in Final Fantasy XIV to 50 and really enjoying it, and partly because well as expansions and large patches in MMOs are wont to do: Break. So I figured a week isn’t a big deal and I’ll wait till they patch some things up and then try it out. Glad I did too. Really dodged a bullet with that whole training cost bit, huh? Am I right folks? Why are you all looking at me like you want to hurt me?
I’ve already weighed in on my take on disciplines so I won’t retread the same ground here, but there were some other new surprises waiting for me when I logged in. For instance, I can now use my formerly ‘human only’ white eyes on my cyborgs. Apparently they really loosened up on things like that. Hairstyles too I noticed. I’ll admit, I actually sprung for the pompadour for one of my smugglers. He is a space pirate after all, and what’s a space pirate without a fancy hairdo? Am I right, anime? I also found out that basic commendations rain from the frickin’ sky now. I suppose that makes sense since they changed basic commendations function to cover both classic & planetary commendations now too. Not only do you get three of the things per mission or daily on Rishi, but you also get three crates of them with 99 each for completing the Prelude mission that has you go solo through the Forged Alliances flashpoints. That’s 297. With that and the other conversions from the patch, my Jedi Guardian had hit the 1000 cap within 30 minutes of visiting Rishi – AND I ONLY OPENED TWO CRATES. Talk about wanting to make sure you are geared and ready.
So with all that out of the way, what exactly were my first impressions of Rishi? Well, it can mostly be summed up in a single sentence: “Where the heck am I?” True to the spirit of a place called ‘Smuggler’s Cove’ the layout of the first location you visit in Rishi is a confusing mish mash of boarded up walkways, run down buildings, and a seedy underbelly (and I mean that literally. The only grass is lower ground level area that’s underneath the walkways.) The introductory missions are not much better in terms of clarity. Talk to certain people who are somewhere in the city. Talk to one of these town crier droids, but you have to find a way to stop them from walking around. No details on how. Just find a way. (The answer for those who are confused is to find the interactable broken lamp posts and shock the hell out of the droid when it patrols near and then talk to it.) I stopped for the evening when I finally found those who were responsible for convincing everyone in this pirate town that I was a cannibal murderer who paints the hulls of my ship with the blood of my victims (Okay, yes. My Defender IS red, but that’s not why. I’m a Jedi for Obi-Wan’s sake. Also, haven’t I heard this somewhere before?)
I will hand it to this expansion. Rishi definitely feels like a different world than what we’re used to. Especially since it’s unclear if it’s even in the same galaxy. During the Sith Warrior opening, Quinn mentions (WHY ARE YOU STILL HERE, QUINN?) that Rishi is named after or in or something to do with the Rishi Maze – a neighboring galaxy. Wait. Now I’m confused. Is this a galaxy less far, far away or more far, far away? The last time I heard about anything from outside the galaxy, we met the Yuuzhan Vong. Sooooo… should I be worried? Actually, Wookieepedia defines the Rishi Maze as “dwarf satellite galaxy” to the galaxy. Well… that just clears everything up doesn’t it? Yeesh, maze is right. Everything about this place is confusing.
Still, the start of Rishi is definitely enough of a curiosity to keep me wandering around ‘oo-ing’ & ‘aah-ing’ at everything and ignoring quests for a good half hour. Probably more if I didn’t feel like I should PROBABLY get some sleep at some point. I’m looking forward to seeing where this expansion goes! Also, there is a pirate outfit. Like a honest to goodness space pirate outfit. I’m not saying I’m going to look for Treasure Planet. But I’m not not saying that.
So those of us who pre-ordered the new digital expansion for Star Wars: The Old Republic – Shadow of Revan – were finally given the keys into early access. I personally haven’t dove into it yet. Oh I will, and there’s a spot on the Story Summaries all set for it. But I prefer to play games when I enjoy playing them. After all, I don’t get paid to do write this stuff. (As cool as that would be. This actually costs me money to do. I chock it up to hobby fees. Like glue for model kits or something.) I did however log in to check out the new gear sets, the currency conversions, and of course the new skill system dubbed “disciplines.”
Disciplines are kind of… well, they’re sort of… okay, it’s a pretty straightforward take away from World of Warcraft’s skill/talent revamp from Cataclysm. The majority of your chosen specialization’s passive and active abilities are granted to you along a per-determined track as you level and occasionally grants you points to add bonus talents that are shared for your entire advanced class that give extra benefits that are more universally useful. Unlike WoW’s revamped system, the order that you gain these passives and active abilities is not stashed away on a website, but plainly laid out in the discipline interface.
Of course the main complaint with this whole thing is that it is simply dumbing down the system and removing player choice. To which I can only respond with: Were we playing the same game? Beyond the usual argument that everyone essentially took the same talents based on min/maxing forum recommendations, there just wasn’t enough talents to give you any choice to begin with! I’m serious. In the old talent trees, you had to put 5 points in a tier to get to the next one, yes? Well, 80% of the tiers only consisted of 5 points worth of talents. So you HAD to take all of them to keep going up that tree. The only times I usually found any choice was the occasional tier that had a choice of 2 points into a PvE talent or 2 points into more of a PvP talent, in which case you choose based on your preferred content.
So how is the system being dumbed down at all? I suppose the loss of being able to hybrid-ize and go half and half down two trees is going away, but we knew that. Hell, we knew that was part of the intent of this new system. But beyond losing hybrid specs, all you’re losing is having to manually put those 5 points into the only 5 slots – in other words: busywork. Which for someone like me who field respec-ed a bunch, busy work is something I can do without. In fact I’d prefer discipline paths and the talent points to be on separate resets so I wouldn’t have to re-do the talents every time I switched from DPS to Healer.
I’d argue that this system DOESN’T dumb down the game. It is equally as dumb as it was before. Or as smart as it was? You know what I mean. Nothing has really changed, beyond you not clicking as much in the menus. Hybrids are a bane of any company who strives for a sense of “balance” (Futile as that seems to be in MMOs, or at least in the perception of the fan base of MMOs) so seeing them getting kicked to the curb is no shock. I think people are just over-reacting to change mostly. Choice was an illusion before, and now we just get it straight. Fine by me.
That’s my 2 credits on the whole mess at least.
So now armed with our Tuna Can Grenade Launcher (Patent Pending), we must find a Camera that can scan genetic information… Soooo, an iPhone.
Okay. Now that I’ve come up for air, it’s time to talk a bit about what I’ve been doing down in the gaming depths. The past two days have been filled with little else other than one. Singular. Activity. That being Dragon Age: Inquisition. Now, of course, I’m known for my somewhat heretical enjoyment of the “Not cool to like” Bioware titles – Dragon Age 2 and Mass Effect 3 – so my opinion is going to be a bit suspect on these things, but I have to say that Dragon Age: Inquisition is probably one of the more addicting games I’ve played in a long time.
The story is pretty simple at first. There’s a giant hole in the sky where the veil between the magical Fade world and our world have been torn asunder and now demons are pouring out like it’s a Necronomicon Spring Break in Transylvania. You also fell out of the hole, being the sole survivor of the explosion that caused it and with a weird glowing thing on your hand that can actually close the smaller holes dubbed Rifts. So now it’s up to you and your buddies to close the hole! At least at first that’s what is going on. I have a sneaky suspicion after 15 or so hours of game play that something else is waiting in the wings. Considering I know there’s a place called Skyhold and I haven’t seen it yet, but we’re already marching to close the big hole… yea.
The characters are diverse but there’s none that I immediately latched onto as favorites like I did in Dragon Age 2. I’ll admit that the characters were the big selling point for the second installment for me. From Merrill’s innocent quirkiness and dark reveals to Isabella’s love of life and even Anders and Fenris and their opposing view of the mages. Here we are treated to a veritable menagerie of characters and sadly to say only a handful of likeables thus far. Cassandra comes off as a cross between Miranda from Mass Effect and an ill tempered drill sergeant. Solas (pronounced Soul-less) feels pretty much soul-less due to having that elven “I’ve lived more than 100 hundred lifetimes and am all knowing and all seeing and thus don’t need to care much” thing going on. Varric is… Varric, I can’t really describe the fast-talking, double dealing, best example of a bard in gaming I’ve ever seen any other way.
About the only character I actually dig thus far on a personal note is Sera and that is because she is completely bat-$#!* insane. Her introduction can be boiled down to she has just killed a lot of people and stolen all their pants for absolutely no reason except maybe to sell them. Too bad my first playthrough is a lawful good mage. My Chaotic Neutral rogue playthrough however is gonna love her.
There insane amounts of little things to explore, collect, and unlock but each of these little things will help you in some way. Seriously! Either by granting experience to your character, giving you more power which you use to send people on missions, or giving you Influence which is kind of like XP for the entire Inquisition and lets you unlock overall power boosts like being able to open harder locks or getting extra XP from codex entries or kills. I spent the first day doing absolutely nothing with the main story quest and just wandering around the hinterlands doing little odd jobs and finding doodads and resources.
Yes, resources. Because crafting in this game requires an insane amount of resources. But it’s not all annoying. See unlike MMOs where you need a certain kind of metal and a certain kind of wood to make an item, DA:I boils it down to just need 10 metal and 2 wood. Any 10 of one type of metal and any 2 of any kind of wood will do. Now which metal and wood you use will affect things like bonus stats or color and pattern of the item, but the fact that creating things requires categories of items instead of specifics is much easier. Especially when you will need specific crafting materials to fill requisitions from your army, essentially researching things to help your forces and thus help yourself like better weapons or gear. For instance, I don’t know how much of this was me clearing up territory and claiming it protected by the Inquisition and how much of it was me filling up requisitions but as I kept playing I noticed that a pair of Inquisition soldiers would just appear in random spots with chests of a few useful items for you.
On that note, another great thing about this game is that it actually feels like you make progress. You know how in Skyrim you would do something insane like almost blow up Winterhold but then afterwards no one pays even a single thought let alone any lasting effects? Or in well ANY MMO you can clear out an entire fortress of baddies and kill their leader only to have them all just waiting for you in a few minutes? NOT HERE. If I bring a band of bandits under my command, every bandit in that company of rogues is now an ally and will no longer attack me. If I clear out the mage and templar strongholds, suddenly the mages and templars go from open war breaking out everywhere to nearly gone save for maybe a random pack wandering the wilderness. Yea, those strongholds and camps you clean out? STAY CLEANED OUT. You control that territory now. It’s yours. Oh geeze does that feel good. Because that means you can clear out the major conflicts in areas and then have nothing to contend with exploring except beasts, demons, and the occasional highwayman or Carta team (dwarf thugs) to deal with.
So thus far this game has been so much more addicting than Skyrim ever was. It’s that right blend of basic to use but expansive to master mechanics, a truly consistent world, and engaging characters that I might not instantly cling to like in previous installments but are interesting enough for me to want to see where their character paths take them while we try to save the world. Except Solas. He’s kinda just boring. Screw you, Solas.
I got a chance to go see Disney’s newest flick ‘Big Hero 6′ this past weekend. I really didn’t know what to expect going in to the theater. I was roughly familiar with the source material: a 90’s-tastic Japanese super hero team created by the ever loathsome Scott Lobdell and starring every Japanese movie stereotype known to man – ninjas, samurai, giant monsters, robots, etc. I was also aware that the team working on this film were also the ones behind Wreck-It Ralph, a film that now ranks among one of my all time favorites. So what does this strange collaboration of Disney magic and horrible 90’s comic schlock produce? Actually something pretty fun.
While the film was based on an American comic book, it doesn’t really draw its overall influence from there. In fact, I’d say the film has stronger ties with Eastern media like Astro Boy (in many ways this film reminded me of the underrated 2009 Astro Boy film that Imagi Animation made). The film centers around a young genius named Hiro who loses his mentor/best friend/pseudo-criminal-accomplice big brother in an accident leaving him horribly depressed. Hiro also comes into possession of Baymax, his brothers final invention. Baymax is a big inflatable robot designed to help take care of people who are injured or in need of medical or psychological help. With Baymax at his side, Hiro discovers the accident that took his brother may not have been an accident after all but the works of a super villain. So Hiro, Baymax and Hiro’s friends must suit up as super heroes to stop the villain.
If that sounds a bit run of the mill, it kinda is. One of the films… I hesitate to say “flaw” because it really isn’t but one of its traits is that it is a very formulaic film. If you’ve seen super hero movies, you’ll recognize all the major story beats here. From the fact that the group isn’t coordinated at all in their first fight with the villain and end up taking each other out, to the newly energized and ready to work as a team battle that gives them more direct challenges to overcome from the villain which they use a lesson from earlier in the film to help overcome. If that sounds familiar to you, then the rest of the story will probably as well. It gets to the point where superhero comic book fanboy character Fred even starts pointing out tropes. However, as they say, god is in the details.
What makes the film wonderful is all the little details that break the mold. From the vividly diverse cast of characters, voiced by an equal diverse cast, to the fortitude to risk releasing a Disney super hero movie without a love story stuck in there in anyway. Think about that. Disney AND Superheroes. Two groups who are known for the token romantic interests with guy gets the girl endings. Not here. Not even a hint of it. Which is quite the breath of fresh air actually. In the original comics, Hiro and Honey Lemon WERE an item and I was wondering how they would pull that off, especially since the main character is around 14 years old and the rest of the cast is 18+ and in college. There’s been some complaints against Honey Lemon, that she has the quickly becoming cliche “Disney Face”. You know, that Rapunzel, Anna, and Elsa all use the same rough face. Luckily, they did change it up a bit with Honey. She is somewhat implied to be a Latina character (voiced by a Latina actress who brings that out with various vocal inflections) and she is also a friggin twig. Like not “princess skinny” where they are thin but still have hips and a bust and toned legs, etc. No. Honey in profile would like more like a straight line. Not like anorexic sickly skinny either. Just a twig. Reminds me of my real life sister who is also a twig. So at least there’s SOME deviation there.
At its heart, the film is about a young man coming to grips with loss and dealing with the grief that resulted from losing someone close. From isolation and depression, to lashing out in anger and accidentally hurting your friends in the process. It handles it magnificently as well. With the care and understanding that such a story deserves. You never feel Hiro’s actions are because he’s being annoying or going over the top. The film is very clear about his actions coming from a place of deep hurting, and it conveys that to audience perfectly. At the heart of this is Baymax, who serves as the emotional foil for Hiro. Baymax is designed to be calm, gentle, and understanding. He’s a robot whose sole purpose is to help those in pain, be it physical or emotional and as such is there to help Hiro through this journey.
While this film isn’t the amazing, jaw dropping experience that was Box Trolls or Book of Life, it does bring a lot of heart, fun and originality to a fairly predictable formula. So yea, you may have seen this story before. But at least you can sit through it knowing that at least its a well done iteration of that time worn tale of capes & cowls. If I actually used stars, it would be a solid 4 out of 5 from me with a definite recommendation to see it at least once. It’s more debatable whether it will be just as enjoyable on subsequent viewings (definitely will be just as quotable), so it may not be a “BUY IT DAY ONE BLU RAY NAO!” kind of flick, but definitely a go see it once. Preferably in the theaters for that big screen experience.
Nothing like visiting a brand new place, is there kiddies? A chance for new friends, new toys, and new MAYHEM.
Oof. If you ever needed a reason to feel burnt out on a game, it’s trying to burn through all the class stories during a small window of 12x experience. Holy cow. I just finished up the bounty hunter storyline again, and don’t worry faithful readers the reviews are currently in the draft pile on that one. But between just playing the game, and then trying to write some NINE THOUSAAAAAAAAAND words or so trying to summarize each class story, I suppose burn out was inevitable. Just like… /whew am I right? So where does that leave us?
Well, it means I clearly need to clear my head for a bit. Cleanse the pallet of TOR a bit before the new expansion drops and I dive head long back in. Oh trust me, true readers. I am far from The Old Republic. The reviews will be done in good time. But the Class Story Summaries ARE done, and I always considered that the more important of the two projects since they offer people an idea of what the class will be like chapter by chapter without spoiling it. I am proud of that and it is pretty much the most visited thing on the website right now, trailed only by the occasional visit from the once HUGELY popular couple of World of Warcraft Achievement guides I did way back in another life as a blood elf. /awkwardcough.
So what is there to look forward to? Well, I have finally gotten set up to start delivering semi-regular Let’s Play videos. The BioShock ones have proven to be quite popular so far. I mean I’m not Markiplier or Pewdie Pie or anything. But I’m not trying to be. I’m trying to be me and my usual silly self while playing games I love. I’ve got a massive steam library of stuff to play and a bunch of console games as well. So I plan to keep those up as long as they’re fun. I’ve taken feed back from quite a few people and made them much shorter, usually 10-15 minutes in length. So folks put off by my original 45 minute video of Shadowrun Returns back in the day need not worry. You can always check out my videos by using the YouTube link at the top of the page and hey feel free to show your support and subscribe!
In the online front, I’ve hopped over to my favorite palette cleanser of choice: Final Fantasy XIV. If you also dabble in there you might bump into me on either the Gilgamesh or Jenova worlds under the trademark name of “Vrykerion” (Shocker) or the lesser known “Puff Tanix” (My default gnome name and also the name of my chinchilla.) There is just something wholly appealing and being at the opposite end of the spectrum of The Old Republic as a game where you can level every single class with a single character and never need to switch alts for crafting or other play experiences. So you can probably expect some rambling from that end soon.
Also there’s one other thing in the works, but it is a sloooow burn on that one so I don’t want to say too much about it. But the design work on it has been going on for nearly a year and it’s finally getting to a workable point, so there may some news on Vry’s Super Secret Project as well.
So worry not faithful readers and viewers, between all that and my usual yakking about offline games and movies (Speaking of which, Book of Life. Go see it. The Hat demands it.) There will be more then enough content to sink your teeth into during this minor vacation from the galaxy far far away.
HAPPY HALLOWEEN EVERYONE!
You were asked! You chose! And now you have only yourselves to blame! Now the fate of the Little Sisters of Rapture shall be revealed in this fifth installment of Vrykerion Versus Video Games: BioShock Let’s Play series.
You can pick up your friends, you can pick up your enemies, but you can’t pick up your friends and throw them at your enemies. Wait… you can? Huzzah!
VOTING IS CLOSED. CHECK BACK ON HALLOWEEN TO FIND OUT THE FATE OF THE LITTLE SISTERS IN VRY PLAYS BIOSHOCK PART 5!